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7 Things Only People With Bipolar Will Understand

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1. Explaining to people that there is a difference between “moody” and “bipolar” 

I had told a colleague that I have bipolar and she laughed. When she saw that I wasn’t laughing with her, she asked me if I was serious with my claim. This is very common for me. Unfortunately many people mistake moodiness with bipolar. However, one cannot really blame them. The media is full of examples in which mental illnesses are used as adjectives: “I feel so depressed”, “She always makes me take off my shoes; so OCD”. 

2. You feel like you are sharing your body with a stranger 

You wake up and you are on cloud nine for no apparent reason. All you want to do is dance and sing and possibly skip work. You know, however, that you are a responsible person who enjoys work, and dancing isn’t your thing. There are moments in my manic episodes when I ask myself if I was the one who did all of those crazy things. Manic episodes for me can be anything from reckless spending to binge eating. Credit card receipts and bank notifications act as the only proof that I am the one who brought my bank balance to zero. 

3. You have developed a thick skin 

Stigma is very real when living with a mental illness. I remember when I became vocal about the pain and darkness I feel every time I experience a depressive state; I had people telling me to stop. For some reason, being open about my illness made people uncomfortable, and some even began to distance themselves from me. Losing a friend is hard, but the thought of helping another always keeps me motivated – even on days when people try and be nasty about it. 

4. Some people think you take pills for fun

The first thing I do when I wake up is take my medication, because I know how important it is for me. Many people have questioned whether I really need medication to manage my bipolar. The answer is YES! There are people who manage their mental illness very well without taking anything for it, but I am not one of them. I remember very well the person I was when I was off medication: I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate, had hallucinations at times, and was always irritable and suicidal. I prefer to not go back to that place.

5. Explaining to people why you can’t drink alcohol

You go to a party and all you have a juice, or in my case, tea. People look at you funny. They ask if you can’t find the alcohol of your choice at the event. When this happens I smile and politely tell whoever is asking “My medication doesn’t allow me to drink”. Some will look puzzled and walk away, while others will ask why this is the case.

6. Relationships can be challenging

The depressive side of bipolar is very familiar territory for me. It is in this space that the self-loathing manifests and spills over into all my relationships. I cut myself off because I feel like I am too ugly, too boring, too annoying, or whatever other false truths the depression feeds me. All of my relationships have suffered because of it, and some still continue to suffer. You can only cancel so many times before people stop inviting you to parties or dinners. I would break up with people who loved me because I thought they just felt pity for me, and I would enter abusive relationships because I believed that is all I deserved.

The only way to have a healthy relationship is to work on it, and that is what I now do continuously. I listen to the advice my mother gives me, I try my best to attend all events I’m invited to, and I’m open about my illness in romantic relationships.

7. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for

There are days when all you want to do is keep sleeping, but you get up, shower, and have breakfast. That, even though very small, is an achievement. The small triumphs are the ones that remind us that bipolar is not winning.  So don’t be too hard on yourself when you are having a bad day.

To read more from Ros, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here, visit her website, or read her contributions to The Mighty.



I stock pile certain pills.

I'm like two people at times I go from please cuddle me to don't touch me to but why aren't you touching me after the space I asked for is being applied.. Ugh

Yes. To all of that. Thank you so much for this blog. Brings comfort to me that maybe, just maybe, BP2 is not winning.

how well I know the signs, I have had it for years. not everyone understands, but true friends do . they are the ones who keep you going.

Need help

Hi Marie, I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I want to let you know about some resources that are available to help you. If you are in a crisis, there is a Crisis Hotline or Text Line you can access by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page: 

If you are not in a crisis and want to talk to someone online, we recommend the website It’s a free, anonymous online chat with a trained listener. 


I myself agree with the above statements. At times I feel so weak,worthless and hate my life.
On the odd occasional day of waking I will wake up but it is a struggle to get motivated in the morning but then I put on my favourite song and it gives me motivation to get up and ready and start a new day. Hell yes it's punishing but I have to look forward because there is my partner and family who love ❤ me so much.

This is a normal response to expect from somebody with bipolar. You should try psychotherapy exercises, or speak to a psychologist.

thats all true,you have no idea how difficultto have bipolar in africa,there is zero knowledge of it among the masses

I have a massive struggle with paranoia it controls my life

My family has abandoned me, for now.

Every day is a struggle and nobody understands me or even cares I feel like I should throw myself away. I try hard but end up failing every time. I can't do anything alone it seems. I use to have be ambitious and think I could now I've failed a lot in different things I feel defeated and want to give up. I've been on a really bad down swing and I'm worried.

I have a lot of low periods of depression I just want to sleep to escape the torture that my mind puts me through. I refer to my mind as my prison there's no escape and as the mind is so complex I am positive enough to say there will never be a cure

Only people with bi polar could understand. sometimes I wish my mother will call and say just to say I am proud of you for getting the help that your father and I could not provide or tried to take care of you. But that will not happen at all. But I am ok with this desease and surviveomg.

I drink every day all day on lithium, when will i die?

Hi Adam, we can imagine how tough this must be for you. We are deeply concerned about you and we want you to know that help is available to get you through this. If you are in a crisis, please call this number which is a crisis line with listeners trained to help you: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), as we are not a crisis center. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page:

If you are in the US you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. If you are not in the US, call your country's drug abuse hotline to find out where you can get help.

If you are not in a crisis and would like someone to talk to online, we recommend the It’s a free, anonymous online chat with a trained listener.

·   Athlete Beats Addiction (blog)

·   Dual Diagnosis (blog)

·   Dual Diagnosis: Relapse and Recovery (blog, goes with above)

My anxiety stops me from going to seek help. I’m afraid the doctor will laugh and doesn’t care. I spend my days off work in bed watching the clock waiting for my partner to come home. Then I go mad like a puppy and put a lot of pressure on him. I don’t eat or drink all day then go over the top when he’s home. He’s tired and I’m hyper and he worries because I won’t leave the house without him and always say I hate going to work. I’m falling asleep at work and very ratty with patients. I don’t know what the answer is. I just want be normal.

This is all so real for me. I have lost many friends due to pushing them away while caught in a depressive episode and put myself in physical and financial danger in my hypomanic cycles. What bothers me the most is the people who trivialize this illness and other mental disorders with comments like "I'm so bipolar lol" - educate yourselves and open your minds to the fact that millions out there are suffering with something you may be very lucky to never experience. Mental illness is not something to take lightly and by doing so, the stigma is only perpetuated.

Ever notice how "normal" people are always the victims of bipolar people in a lot of the online articles about coping with bipolar people? You dont see to many about how easy it is for manipulative people to abuse and control a bipolar person. We are frequently labeled the bad people because we have an illness we never asked for. Now those who wont do anything to get better are typically scary sobs but i for one have put a lot of effort into getting stable and staying that way in the face of mountanous odds that some person who cant handle a bipolar hissy fit will NEVER be able to truely understand. Guess what you normies arent always so "normal" or great to us either. Infact normal people seem to delight in causing me hardships and then telling me i am bipolar if i get mad about it. It's like you lose your freedom to have valid negative emotions just because you are bp. Also they like turning us into lab rats and zombies when it comes to the medication game. The side effects i have gone through have ranged from being larthargic beyond anything depression ever did to me to akathisia which ganked me out like a tweaker for months. My life is hell with bi polar and most of the resources online seem to be aimed at protecting everyone from me and turning me into a criminal for being born. I have had trouble with jobs but also am putting myself through school because i want a life i love and you effing normies seem to step in the way of that wayyy more than my bipolar 1 severe manic ever did. Also i wouldloveto hear the other side of a lot of the commentsand posts i see and ask the bipolar people so how supportive is your support anyways? Most are probably crap support bitching about how bad a hand theyve been dealt. I agree with the ones that say to leave the bipolar person because you werent doing shit to help them anyways really.

I don't know if i'm going through or developing bipolar but i have a lot of the early signs. and for a 12 year old like me, it's hard to tell my parents and i know they wont believe me and i would feel embarrassed. So I just kept it to myself. I blow up on my friends almost every day and have a hard time paying attention. My sleeping has been like 2-5 hours and I feel like I'm just starting up on a normal day and it still does for me. It's irritating for me to have to go through this and keep it to myself. Especially for someone who doesn't know how to handle it well and is not even a teenager yet. Keeping it to myself is really hard because even though I need help, I don't want to contact anybody that my parents will know about and plus i don't have anyone to help me through it in real life because nobody else I know has Bipolar. and I could tell. People and my friends have been mad at me because of my actions and me blowing up on them. They just don't get it. I hate it. I kept pushing them away and telling them to leave me along or back off and it's difficult. I hate it so much. But again, I don't want to tell my parents. They don't know how I act at school and they won't believe me because of it. i don't know what to do or say. I need help. and badly. If someone can help me, that would make my day even though I've been in a depressive and irritated episode this whole day and probably will be for I don't know how long. Please, I need some help.

Hi Spencer. I'm sorry you are going through this, and going through it alone. I am not a professional or anything, but I would encourage you to read some of the above comments and visit those sites or make those phone calls. There is help out there, and people out there who can help. You are not alone.

Recently diagnosed, although I've suspected for quite some time. It explains a lot. Another thing I have found is that when I tell people about it, some have responded, "You can't be bipolar, because I knew THIS person and you don't act like that." You are right that they would never say that about someone who has cancer. Plus, I want to tell them, I didn't share my manic episodes with you, so you don't know what I did on "business trips." I'm not ashamed of the things I did, because all of it has shaped who I am. But there are things I don't want people who matter to me to know. So don't dismiss me.

I am trying to deal with bipolar without medication . I always get told 'depression is the price I pay for being so creative ' and how proud family are for me being able to cope . Truth is I'm not really coping, I am just very good at saying and doing what makes people happy . You do become good at fitting in after spending 20 years copying normal people .
I have read every self help book, and am constantly looking for something to help . I'm so tired on the inside. It feels like breathing through mud, and everything inside me is replaced with gravel that is constantly grinding.
Last night I thought I was going mad, I was not in control of myself and I thought I was going mad! It scared me so much . After a meditation sleep thing I found on you tube and praying to anything outside of me I finally fell asleep .
My partner don't believe in "mental health issues"
And puts it down to me being a bit emotional .
I'm so tired, and I don't want to lose it .
I have 2kids and they are my world .

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