Bipolar disorder is one of those conditions surrounded by many misconceptions. People often equate anger problems or erratic mood swings with bipolar disorder. A quick emotional shift can prompt am insensitive “Oh, I’m so bipolar” joke from someone unfamiliar with the truth of the condition.
Although they experience a mental health disorder, a day in the life of a person with bipolar disorder probably doesn’t look as out of the ordinary as you may think. They are people who experience joys, fears, excitements, and difficulties, just like everyone else. So what does a day of living with bipolar disorder look like?
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorders are a group of mental health disorders that affect mood, energy, emotion, and ability to function. They are characterized by mood episodes or distinct, intense emotional states lasting for periods of days or weeks.1 These typically include two primary mood episodes:
- Manic episodes: Happy or irritable mood, extreme amounts of energy, high spirits
- Depressive episodes: Low or sad mood, little or no energy, low spirits
There are three primary types of bipolar disorders:
- Bipolar I Disorder: Consists of manic and depressive episodes that usually last about two weeks
- Bipolar II Disorder: Consists of hypomanic and depressive episodes, but with less intense manic episodes
- Cyclothymic Disorder: Consists of hypomanic and depressive episodes that are milder than those experienced with other types of bipolar disorder
What does a day in the life of a person with bipolar disorder look like?
Bipolar disorder is a condition that can severely affect a person’s ability to function when left untreated. A day in the life of a person with bipolar disorder may look very limited when they haven’t received any help for their condition. Severe bipolar disorder can affect their ability to maintain employment, stay in school, build healthy relationships, or participate in meaningful activities.2
Depressive episodes can be debilitating. The symptoms of depression experienced during these periods can make it almost impossible to get out of bed or interact with others. Despite the cyclical nature of bipolar disorder, it can often feel like a depressive episode will never end.
On the other hand, manic episodes are often overwhelming. Some people with bipolar disorder use manic episodes as a way to make up for the “lost time” of a depressive episode. They might make a lot of plans and keep themselves busy. People are also more likely to participate in risky behavior during manic episodes, such as substance abuse.
However, once someone receives treatment for their bipolar disorder, their life looks similar to any other person’s. They can receive and hold down fulfilling jobs, have strong relationships, and enjoy life. Although they might have times when they feel more “up” or “down” than others, they can learn to manage their bipolar disorder and function in daily life.
Finding help for bipolar disorder
If you or a loved one are living with bipolar disorder, help is available. It might feel like an impossible thing to overcome, but you can learn how to live with your condition. Managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is possible through a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and ongoing mental health treatment.
Programs like Clearview Treatment Centers can be the first stop for anyone with bipolar disorder. Our evidence-based, comprehensive approach to mental health treatment equips you with the necessary tools and skills. Please call us today at 866-339-3544 to speak with an admissions specialist and find out which program is right for you!