For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced symptoms of bipolar disorder. As I got older, though, it became clear that my experience with bipolar differed from what usually comes to mind. After years of trying to figure out the right treatment and diagnosis for my situation, I’ve finally come to terms with living with atypical bipolar disorder.
Atypical bipolar is characterized by episodes of extremely low moods (the depression) followed by intense highs (the mania). Every few days or weeks, sudden shifts in mood can occur with little warning and no obvious trigger. The swings can also happen suddenly throughout the day, leaving me feeling exhausted and unable to focus on everyday tasks.
The depression side of this condition can make every day feel like a heavy burden and take a toll on my motivation levels - even the most mundane challenges become far too much effort. On the flip side, while there are certain benefits to being manic such as increased productivity and creativity, it can also lead me into risky behaviours or reckless decisions that don’t always turn out well for me in the long run.
Living with atypical bipolar is far from easy but I’m slowly learning ways to stay in control when my emotions start shifting; writing down thoughts and feelings has been extremely helpful at keeping anxiety away and giving peace of mind. I’m also working closely with a qualified psychologist who help me understand how my hidden triggers may be affecting my behaviour so that I can get better at managing them in the future.
Although there are certainly ups and downs living with this condition, things have gotten much easier since taking control of my mental health care - sometimes actually going through an episode helps me come out stronger than before! And knowing that I’m not alone makes everything more bearable too.