I periodically check bipolar symptoms lists to remind me of what exactly I am dealing with. It’s not about labels, it’s about understanding. This brain disease fluctuates continuously. Periods of mania can last a day or years. Same with depression. The percentage of wellness to illness I experience changes moment by moment. There is an ill part of me and there is a well part of me. Underneath it all is a place that can’t be touched by anything mortal. It’s when I forget I have an illness that I get into the most trouble. Awareness is critical.
Those with bipolar disorder often have instances of extreme happiness or sadness that are unusual or unpredictable. How can you tell this from a run-of-the-mill mood swing? Let’s look at some symptoms.
- Intense happiness or joy; feeling “high”; overly excitable.
- Fast speech; racing thoughts (person is hard to keep up with and may switch topics or thought patterns frequently).
- Impulsive; instances of “high-risk” behaviors, like quitting a job or ending a relationship.
- Insomnia or very little sleep (person can seemingly function with few hours of sleep).
- Unrealistic ideas of grandeur (person may feel as if he/she is invincible, has super powers, or is more capable than he/she actually is).
- Easily distracted.
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in once-pleasurable activities.
- Overly depressed, hopeless or sad.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
- Suicide attempts (suicide attempts are thought to affect up to 50 percent of the bipolar population, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology).
- Constantly feeling tired or fatigued.
- Poor concentration.