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how to explain bipolar disorder to others

Bipolar disorder is a spectrum of moods that goes from the lowest of lows (suicidal depression) all the way up to the highest of highs (“god-like” mania), and everything in between. The person suffering from bipolar is unable to control where their moods fall on this spectrum, or how long that mood will last before transitioning.

Bipolar disorder is a severe and persistent mental illness with a 15% death rate. Typical symptoms include racing thoughts (which lead to hurried and nonsensical speech); rapid mood swings, ranging from depression all the way to mania; staying awake for days at a time without tiring; and grandiose thinking, such as believing you have more fame, money, or authority than you really do.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects the mind. Specifically, it alters a person’s ability to control their moods, thoughts, and the way they see the world around them. A person suffering from bipolar will travel back and forth on a very long mood spectrum that they cannot control. This includes moods typical people will never experience, such as suicidal thoughts or living in a consequence-free environment where a person feels invincible.