I work very closely with a man who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder decades ago. It’s no secret. He’s written about it in his first book (self-published) and has blogged about it (well, written about it–I manage his social media, website and blog, so technically I turn his essays into blogs). He claims to be the first person ever cured of the bad effects of the disorder, while keeping the good, such as energy and creativity.
Because of my work with this man, I have learned a lot about Bipolar Disorder. It is considered a mood disorder, and with the right treatment for the specific person, its symptoms can become very manageable. I am especially active (or–I am an active voyeur) on a Facebook page dedicated to the sufferers of bipolar disorder that has a huge number of followers. I started reading this page months ago in order to learn as much as possible about the condition, and specifically how it impacts other people.
Then, I learned something else. I think we are ALL bipolar. I mean, we all have fits of glee and plummet to deep sadness. Right? Come on, I can’t be the only moody person on here. And, it’s more than just being moody for me. Some days I see the world as my oyster and feel I can accomplish so much (that would typically be described as mania or hypo-mania) and other days, I don’t think I can do anything realistically that will better the world or even my little life. That’s depression. I’ve never spoke to a doctor about this, and based on conversations with many friends, lots of people feel this way. Few people are truly even-keeled, even if that is how they present themselves on the exterior.
I dug a bit further, and started reading their frequent questions to one another within this forum. “Do you have vivid dreams?” YES! Well, turns out, according to some or their studies, many with BP also have vivid dreams. Do you frequently feel “deja vu”? YES! It’s so cool and it happens pretty frequently. Guess what? So do those with BP disorder. “Do you have trouble staying in relationships?” YES–doesn’t everyone? However, according to the posts, those with BP think that they have a high percentage of people who have trouble staying in relationships. “Do you have to frequently spend time repressing one emotion on the inside, but acting another way?” Uh, isn’t that part of normal society and life? I can’t actually say what’s on my mind, nor can I hit people (like Julia Roberts) even if that’s how I feel on the inside.
I know, Bipolar Disorder is very serious and taken to its extreme, it has lead to suicide. A topic about which I am too familiar and about which I will blog when I am ready. But tons of people without BP also take their lives. I do want to better understand BP. And I do want to believe it really is different from regular human experience. But everyone I know feels moody, stress, highs, lows, frantic, etc. We all overspend to just numb the pain. We drink. We otherwise do not act in our best interest. I know there is a technical answer, but in lawmen’s terms, what makes my boss’ bipolar disorder any different from my moodiness?