What does being bipolar feel like?
Last Updated: 01/27/2022 at 6:35pm
Stacy Overton, PhD.
I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.
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Being bipolar feels similar to riding a slow rollercoaster with steep hills. It can feel confusing and stressful. Being bipolar can feel draining, and make it difficult to live day to day. There are different types of bipolar. Depressive episodes can include feelings of overwhelming sadness. In this type, you are prone to sleeping abnormally, having a hard time focusing, and/or socializing. There is also Manic episodes. Those episodes usually consist of abnormal sleeping, having a hard time focusing, and socializin as well. Both types of bipolar can feel overwhelming. People diagnosed tend to feel tired alot, and as if they will never get through their current episode.
Bipolar disorder is like a roller coaster of emotions, all of the sudden you feel happy and all of the sudden sad. When you go to people telling you are tired they don’t believe you . When you say you can’t do it they feel you are making excuses, no one believes you and it is traumatizing but yes it can be cured so don’t give up. Just try reaching out to counselors or someone you can tak to . Bipolar can be managed by taking steps and making a healthy routine . For a long term staying strong willl help :)
Bipolar disorder is an illness that produces dramatic swings in mood (amongst other symptoms). A person with bipolar disorder will alternate between periods of mania (elevated mood) and periods of depression (feelings of intense sadness). In between these two extremes, a person will have periods of normal mood. When someone is in the middle of a manic episode for the first time they usually do not realise that there is anything wrong. It is often friends, family or colleagues who first notice that there is a problem. Unfortunately the person may object if anyone tries to point this out as they may not believe they need help. This is quite understandable because people experiencing a manic mood swing often feel better than they ever have done before. The trouble is that this wonderful sense of happiness leads you to become increasingly detached from day-to-day reality. Many people report that when they have recovered from one of these episodes they regret the things that they said and did while they were manic. Doctors use the word 'hypomania' to describe less severe manic episodes. Hypomania needs to be watched, as it can escalate into mania. Then for someone with bipolar disorder, a depressive episode can be much more severe.
When you’re taking the right medication it doesn’t feel like anything to have bipolar. Unless...unless you are under heavy heavy stress. At that point there is a good possibility that your symptoms may resurface. Your life may be a bit more of a roller coaster ride than most, but if you take care of yourself and try to minimize stress, your life should go along as normal with very few hiccups. The only problem is you may start to feel so normal that you think you don’t need the medication or you go into denial and then it will make life very difficult for you. You’ll have to start the process of finding the right medication and becoming stable all over again.
Bipolar is having your body racing a million miles when your Spirit is buried a million miles below and then after a while you go so far down into a black hole which you know all too well, it’s a dark time and it’s back again you don’t know how long or why it came but it’s here and it’s so real, it kills , literally and so you have no energy and all those plans you made and events you entered are gone to pieces and when you don’t turn up people don’t worry for you they just give out and add stress into your life spiraling you worse before all the healthy things you had going are gone and your back on square one before you get so dangerously high that’s you can do anything you decide to buy a new car have a party, have the drugs because you only live once but that brings your once chance at life so dangerously close to death and you’re all too aware of this as it’s happening the atonal voice lost between the extremes is constantly screaming warning you but it’s never heard, you only hear that when you’ve made the mistake and then it guilt's you into thinking your terrible and have no purpose and can’t do anything right and you’re down again, low on money sobriety compromised people you’ve annoyed you can’t even explain how it happened you’ve lost those who are important to you and you’re feeling worse than ever and the only sure thing is that this will continue uncertainty you and indefinitely until it claims you for good
Being bipolar feels like the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs. For every person it's different, but for me at least it's like being in a state of change that remains pretty constant. When I'm depressed I stay depressed for a long time, months even. It doesn't get better for anything and the only way to get through it is to push and wait it out. When I get manic, it's not for as long but boy oh boy it's destructive. I ruin everything I touch when I'm manic, it feels like. I'm at the top of my game, I have so much energy, I have the motivation to do everything. I feel like I'm invincible and nothing is going to stop me, except for me. I stop making sense after a while, I start getting more and more delusional and my hallucinations get worse. It's not a nice feeling once everything starts going south.
Being bipolar feels like one minute you could be on top of the world where others can feel happy and then something goes wrong and instead of dampening the day, it ruins it entirely. Your emotions are always to the extreme but people who don't have bipolar may not understand this so when they see us reacting in a way due to our bipolar - many think we are overreacting or being dramatic... But these feelings are real to us. It is difficult but more and more people are being educated on mental health and so the stigma and misunderstandings around bipolar are definitely improving
Being bipolar has not always been easy. It’s like for one second I am doing algebra then I am thinking about what will I eat. It’s like all of my emotions are heightened. It has its pros and cons. When you are happy you are on cloud nine but when you are sad you feel like you can’t breathe when everyone else can. The attacks are the worst part. In my worst one I cut my hair and dyed it but how you deal with it is indeed your choice. For example it was my choice to make bipolar my strength not my weakness!
Originally, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder back in 2008 and it was very hard for me to adjust to the fact that I needed medication. Bipolar Disorder, for me, is a feeling of deep pain in my gut. A deep depression for weeks on end that didn't seem like it would ever let up, followed by a week or so of being so extremely peaked that I am talkative and ramble. Sometimes my head goes so fast I would get anxious and agitated. I also go through periods of extreme anger. Seeing as I am now diagnosed with Schizo-affective disorder due to paranoia and hallucinations on top of mood swings, I still suffer quite a bit from the effects of cycling moods, but am on medication that really helps me. A lot of times I don't feel like I need or like the medication, like I don't need counseling, but then I have a really bad few weeks and I know I definitely do. It may be hard to live with a mood disorder like Bipolar, but it is manageable and there is hope so never give up!
It is like being on a roller coaster- one minute you are up soaring the skies with the wind in your hair and life pulsing through your being, and the next minute you are down in the very pits of hell, staring into a bottomless abyss. The switch between happy and depressed is unpredictable. Sometimes the high's last weeks and the low's last a few minutes, sometimes it is the other way around. The kicker is that it mostly feels like what's happening inside is so removed from what is happening in real life. There is no causation. Strap yourself in and just ride it through.
Being bi polar feels wonderful and heartbreaking. It's strange that I say that right? Let me explain. The issue with bi polar disorder comes from the fact that we feel a certain emotion too much. Bi polar episodes are categorized by mania and severe depression episodes. One minute you are completely fine. You are so happy and joyful and you feel like you can do anything... You feel so powerful! Then the next minute comes and you're crying... a lot! It hurts even more when we get depressed because just a second ago, everything was great. We feel TOO much. We don't just experience happiness, we experience an overwhelming sense of joy and the same goes for depression. A person without bi polar disorder will feel a little sad but someone with bi polar disorder we feel absolute despair and we have no idea why. Being bi polar is like being on a never ending roller coaster. The ups and downs can get so exhausting but I am here to tell you now, I am proof that we can get better. I am proof and so many other people out there are proof that we can fight this disorder! Bi polar disorder sucks and it so awesome!
Being bipolar is hard, at first. Nobody “gets it”. It is the sensation of a wood chipper being run with no logs. There is an appetite for “content”, but none to feed through, so my mind just gobbles itself up, instead. I love college work. I love difficult learning . Mostly, because it occupies the wood chipper so I can use valuable time and energy to enjoy the day and my relationships. It’s a battle, but most things are. It involves lots of creativity, which I dig, so that part is kind of fun. Directing it all can be a challenge, but that’s half the fun.
Being bipolar means one minute you can be happy and healthy and in a good spot and then all of the sudden everything just flips. You could have thoughts of starting over or moving or something spontaneous that normally wouldn't happen. Being Bipolar is a hard thing to deal with because it often means you are stable mentally or emotionally. Bipolar is a disorder where one day your happy and the next you feel down and depressed and cant get out of bed. It is something that can normally be helped with a licensed therapist or a psychiatrist!
It feels like one week, you don't need to sleep or eat, you do everything that crosses your mind for even a second, you can do anything. You're on top of the world, nothing can take you down. You don't need reasons to do things, you just do them. Full steam ahead. You are amazing. You are phenomenal. Then the next week, you could not be more depressed. Life hasn't changed between those two weeks, but you have. You feel like a different person. You are worthless, you cannot accomplish anything, you barely have the energy to get out of bed. Having bipolar disorder is like having two different faces that just cover who you really are without your consent. There's you, and there's the song that takes over you. It can be the siren song of triumph, or the swan song of despair. And you're never, ever in control, even when you feel like you are. Every once in a while you have moments where you feel like yourself, and those are precious. It's so hard to figure out who you really are. But in the end, you have to work hard and heal and get help and eventually, if you're lucky, you find yourself.
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It feels like one day or moment you’re on cloud nine and the next you’re in the deepest crevice of the earth. you can feel the happiest and all of a sudden it’s just gone, and you’ll experience feeling hyper and then have a major mood crash, and it genuinely sucks. you can want to run a marathon, but then the next second want to cry and shrivel up into a ball. it gets tiring having a roller coaster of emotions, but as soon as the feelings become manageable, it will in fact get so much better. i promise.
It feels like this feeling of instability that you cope with for the rest of your life. It's feeling on top of the world and then crashing with no parachute. I try to appreciate the good aspects; my creative mind, my ability to feel empathy, my intelligence, and the fact that I can help others who feel its debilitating at times. The days when you are in the depressive phase of your cycle are the darkest and you never know how long it will last. It can be scary and cause other emotions like anxiety or stress from feeling like you can't please anyone or even do your job, be a parent, or finish the simplest tasks. It is a process and an ongoing education of knowing triggers, patters in when you cycle, and having self-awareness while being brave enough to seek help with you need it.
I have bipolar 1, and it feels like I have uncontrollable emotions at completely random, but triggered times. Sometimes I’m so elated I’m irresponsible, and others I’m so depressed it feels like nothing will ever be okay. These emotions can happen at anytime of my day, on any day. Bipolar makes me who I am, but It is not the only piece of me. You may see cartoons that represent bipolar with a mood swing that moves rapidly between highs and lows, but it’s more like a Merry-go-round of emotions that stops and goes occasionally, but never rapidly swings. I can be depressive for weeks or manic for weeks. But I rarely switch from high to low immediately! Although it does happen.
It feels normal until it suddenly doesn't. Bipolar is unique in that it's really a combination of feelings that happen in a cycle. I'm someone that's far more at home with cycling manic, until it gets out of hand. I like to think of it like I'm water tubing on a lake. Sometimes, you have to lean into the wake so you don't get knocked off. I find that when I'm manic it's easier to lean into and just let myself feel. I feel elevated, like I need to go run for 5 miles just get my head back in order. Sometimes I feel restless, like my spirit is too big for my body and I'm bursting out. It can be scary! When I'm swinging down, I struggle with memory loss and general apathy. I don't become depressed per say but I feel like a massive weight is on my chest, holding me down and stopping me from ever catching my breath.
In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, it's common to experience feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria. If you're experiencing a manic episode, you may talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and be hyperactive. You may also feel like you're all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness. Bipolar disorder is included in the Social Security Listings of Impairments, which means that if your illness has been diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner and is severe enough to keep you from working, you are eligible to receive disability benefits. n summary, these data provide evidence that, in adult bipolar illness, depressive symptoms become more persistent over decades in younger adults while manic and hypomanic symptoms do not.
For me, being bipolar feels like a bungee cord. One minute you're having a great time, full of adrenaline, weightless, and on top of the world- and the next, you're plunging at the speed of light and hoping the cord doesn't snap on the way down. The feeling of the depressive half is so bad for me. I'm bipolar 1 with psychotic features, and I handle my mania really well- however, when it comes time to be depressed, it is so overwhelming that it physically hurts, it feels like my body is on fire, and it is hard so to do anything in that misery, even just move. Other symptoms I struggle with are the paranoia and delusions when manic, the sleep cycle changes, and the absolute loudness of my brain. After taking medicine, I realized my internal thoughts were so loud they affected my processing ability- for example, I didn't know the clock on my wall audibly tick-tocked. But to be honest- The hardest part is the isolation you feel, in a world where not many people feel emotions as strongly as you do, it is hard for them to empathise with how it feels to be in the middle of it constantly. I wouldn't say medicine would fix everyone, but what I realize is that my support system is great until my emotions veer too strongly one way or another- it didn't help me cope better, but it helped my support system empathise more. So when I'm in a crisis, and I'm back into that realm of "too far gone", it's still as bad as ever. It can feed into my paranoia and delusions that people don't really care for me at all, when I realize not everyone has the scope or experience to help people with my illness. It is still very isolating feeling, though, and somewhat aimless, like pushing a boulder up a hill to have it roll back on me again.
That depends as there are different kinds of bipolar disorder. But the main symptoms have to do with rapid changes in moods. People with Bipolar disorders are usually quick to go from happy to sad or mad at any moment and there aren't always triggers. People with Bipolar disorders might also have periods of time where they haven't grandiose thoughts and heightened motivation or excitement and then fall into states of depression and laziness following. They can go weeks being completely positive and then out of nowhere they seem like a changed person. They also might have a "short fuse" and anger or sadden easily without notice of any triggers.
Being bipolar feels like you are 100% helpless. For me, it is like having no control over my thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is more than just a rollercoaster of emotions since, we as humans, all experience many emotions in a day. The highs can be life altering dangerous. And the downs, is just... horrible. In disphoric episodes, I can just lose it instantly. No regard for people or materials. No thinking of the consequences. Being bipolar is a struggle that I face everyday. And everyday, I have to try my hardest to be normal knowing I will never truly be.
According to the website mentalhealth.org "People with bipolar experience episodes of severe depression, mania, overwhelming joy, excitement, reduced sleep, and reduced ambition. The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. No two people share the same experience." According to some persons, it can be a confusing condition. People with bipolar may be reluctant to share how they are feeling. One example of what bipolar feels like is talking so much that no one can get a word in one minute or speak so fast it is incomprehensible. Individuals may enjoy the mania because that is when they experience the most energy to achieve their goals.
Contrary to popular belief, bipolar disorder is more than just mood swings. Bipolar is a mood disorder that includes highs and lows that can last for days, weeks, or even months. Highs are referred to as "mania" and lows are referred to as "depression." There are 2 types of bipolar- simply referred to as bipolar 1 & 2. Bipolar 1 is what people typically think of, as it features episodes of mania, and usually depression. Bipolar 2 experiences more depressive episodes, and hypomania, which is basically a "less high" mania. People with bipolar disorder do not need to be constantly fluctuating between these states to be considered bipolar. In fact, there are many people who only have a manic or depressive episode once a year and stay emotionally stable, or baseline, for the rest of the year. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any emotional highs or lows, as these could be a sign of several mood disorders.
It feels like you are not you. It feels like this illness takes on a whole new version of the person you are. You think, feel and act differently. The deep dark depression feels never ending, like you’re constantly bobbing up and down below the surface of life. The colours and sounds don’t feel real and life never feels like it will change and that darkness and the torturing pain from the intense sad emotions, is what your life will always be. The hypomania feels so much more positive, life feels doable and that intense sadness becomes intense euphoria. You know you’re on top of the world. You believe you can do anything because you’re so worthy and important. You deserve the best of everything and everything will fall into place for you. But then, when those little thoughts of coming down start creeping in, the come down becomes visible and you know you’re going way further down the rabbit hole than your previous comedown. The inbetween stage feels like a strange grey area, where you are more aware. You come to terms with your reality. Your meds, Side effects, Relationships, Your job, Finances. It’s a mess but you won’t do anything about it because before you know it, the cycle begins again. Each time getting a little bit worse. You feel so alone and so different to everything and everyone.
I've had a psychosis with manic characteristics but am not bipolar diagnosed. It felt during my psychosis that I was a very important person (married to Jesus). It is a sign of bipolar during mania that you have a blown up self image. I had as well the characterics that I was very happy and lots of energy. I didn't sleep the whole night and was very energetic. Before the manic psychosis (and after as well) I was always very insecure but because of the blown up self image I was suddenly the most secure person in the world.
People with bipolar experience both episodes of severe depression, and episodes of mania – overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, huge energy, a reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions. The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. Bipolar disorder can cause your mood to swing from an extreme high to an extreme low. Manic symptoms can include increased energy, excitement, impulsive behaviour and agitation. Depressive symptoms can include lack of energy, feeling worthless, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts high or irritated mood. more energy and greater goal-driven activity. elevated self-esteem or grandiosity. reduced sleep. higher than usual frequency of talking. rapid speech flow and flights of ideas or racing thoughts. being easily distracted.
It is living in the literal moment. Just focusing now on what do I need to do in order to survive. Wake up, exercise, a good diet, focused work, relationships all done in the moment. Not wanting to remember yesterday. Afraid of tomorrow. Sometimes to happy and sometimes to sad. Feeling on top of the world and then feeling as if the world is on my shoulders. Wanting to be something else and yet not even aware of what else might be. Trying to survive to get through each day by just moving. At times having a great hope. At other times such terrible discouragement.
At times it feels like I can do anything and a few days later I feel absolutely useless. I feel so creative and amazing like one of the smartest people in the world then wanting to die for the smallest reason or becoming really upset at something I cannot control. I act irrationally and emotionally and verbally which I know is not the right thing to do but at times I just loose control of my emotions and become enraged and scream and become borderline violent to the ones that I love for reasons that I cannot really explain other than simple frustration at times i become afraid of what I might do in the wrong situation or if I was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and how easily it could end in mine or someone else being in danger or being hurt and me maybe going to jail and my family having to suffer for all of it.
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