Moods are like clouds in the sky - .
They come and go

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder


Having lived with Bipolar Disorder for 13 years, I feel it is important to highlight some of the key facts for you.

  • Approx 1% of the general population lives a Bipolar life.
  • Approx 35% of those individuals will attempt suicide.
  • 70% live mostly between 6pm and 6am.
  • Characterised by periods of mood change from depression to mania.
  • Majority of people return to normal thinking between episodes.
  • 25% have been stable for a while.
  • 83% of cases are considered severe.
  • Frequency and types of episodes varies between individuals.
  • Length of episodes vary.
  • Diagnoses is made if an individual presents with an upswing in mood.

As we all know, Bipolar is a mental health condition that essentially effects mood. These moods can vary from extreme lows (depressive/hypomanic) to extreme highs (mania/hypermanic). Symptoms can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Lack of energy
  • Delusions/hallucinations

This is not the full list, just a few so you have some idea. The full list can be found on the NHS website (link at the bottom). Bipolar can also vary in its severity, as such there is more than one type and not everyone will experience it in the same way depending on a person’s diagnosis.

The different types

Bipolar type 1

People diagnosed with Bipolar type 1, experience manic episodes, whereby their mood is extremely elevated with what seems like an abundance of energy. The flip side of this, however, is low, depressive moods or hypomanic. This can result in feeling low in energy and loss of motivation.

Bipolar type 2

Although the symptoms can appear similar to that of type 1, the effects can be slightly less taxing on the individual (even if it does not feel that way). Whilst manic and depressive episodes will still happen, the impact of these on every day life may be less severe. The main difference between the two is mania, which only happens in Bipolar type 1.

Bipolar 3 Rapid cycling mood

Four or more episodes of either I or II type disorder within a given year.

Diagnosing Bipolar

There are many factors that can lead to a diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder, it is not something you just “catch” like a cold. It is not contagious, that being said, research over the years has shown there could be a genetic link. This means that if there is a family history, there is an increased chance of it continuing down the line. Stress can also be another factor, whether there’s family history or not. It is thought that 1 in 100 people live with Bipolar, which when you think about that is relatively high.

Diagnosis does not mean that you can not live a “normal” life (define normal), there are medications that can be prescribed that can help manage the symptoms. There are also other things you can do, which I hope this platform will go some way to helping with. These are techniques I’ve used myself; I still do. It won’t be for everyone, that’s for you to decide. 

To conclude

I have only summarised some of the research I have carried out myself, in an attempt to better understand my own condition. In doing so, I hope to help others realise that, as hard as it can be sometimes, especially during periods of low mood, it is possible to live your life and live it well.

I am by no means a medical professional and nor do I claim to be. I am merely someone who has lived experience with this particular condition. If you want further information, this can be found on the NHS website or alternatively you can talk to your health professional(s). Some useful websites are listed below for your convenience: