I was filling out a questionnaire on being Bipolar last night and it occurred to me that while those of us that are Bipolar know the signs and symptoms, others may not. I think it is important to recognize them. I went a few years undiagnosed because no one in my circle was really familiar with them. Now there are a host of other symptoms and everyone is different, but here are just a few symptoms (I encourage you to research more!):
– often anger or aggression
– high energy
– requiring little or no sleep
– loss of interest in activities
– increase in sleep pattern
– low energy
– suicidal ideations or attempts
During my highs, I can work all day, go to the gym and play back to back hockey games. I can go three weeks without sleep and I’m very irritable. I had other symptoms as well. I was a shopaholic (in the real sense, not the cute novel). I often had euphoria – heightened level of happiness when I wasn’t in a low. I had racing thoughts and rapid speech.
During my lows, I can’t do any of my activities, show up for work, and I sleep all the time. I’m also suicidal. I also have a fixation with death during my low. I read the local obituaries multiple times per day and then I start plotting my own death.
Whether or not you have Bipolar, knowing signs and symptoms can save lives. In my case, I had been diagnosed and was in complete denial when an OPP officer called my family and said he recognized the signs of mental illness in me. I had not told them I was diagnosed so this was a complete shock to everyone. But luckily the cop intervened and I got the treatment I required.