Disclaimer: The content on this site are from my own personal experiences and are my own personal opinions. I have bipolar type 1 disorder.
I am not a trained professional.

Is bipolar disorder a serious mental illness?

I consider it a serious mental illness as it has negatively affected my life in a serious way. I don't like the term illness however, as that implies that I am sick all the time which isn't the case at all. The mood fluctuations has made it difficult to maintain work over the years. I have started ventures and haven't been able to complete them due to a depression (which followed a hypomania). Stress from work had in the past triggered insomnia, which resulted in a mania.

What is disabling about your condition?

  • Lack of Energy: Sometimes you have energy to do something, then during it you just run out of energy, and can't do it anymore.
  • Intolerable to Stress: Stress can cause you to have a breakdown. I have worked in the past, but I have also had numerous breakdowns.
  • Memory: The medications can impact your short-term memory ability, and your ability to recall.
  • Emotionless: Depending on the medication you are taking - it can leave you feeling emotionless, flat, or even a zombie in some circumstances.
  • Fatigued: Medication can leave you feeling tired all the time, unable to do anything, or enjoy anything in life. Then when you stop medication, you can enter into an unstable mood.
  • Depressed: Depressions by themselves are disabling; as your brain slows down, so does your ability to communicate. Productivity diminishes. Suicidal ideations are common with severe depression.
Just because those are possible side effects, doesn't necessarily mean at the moment I am experiencing any.

Why are you making this public?

I have done my best to hide this disorder for the last decade, and decided to make it public for a number of reasons:
  • The disorder isn't going away, it is a lifelong condition. Anybody of any concern in my life already knew of my condition. And anybody of any importance should know about my condition.
  • I've had episodes in the past where my friends would talk amongst themselves, rumours spread, so I figured it's better to be honest and try to explain my situation without hiding anything.
  • I was also in denial of my condition for a very long time. I believe it is better to own your condition, and own your identity. Even if that identity means that I appear slightly abnormal.
  • I'm in the process of creating community sites to help those who are affected. I want to find others to reach out to and communicate with.

What are the states of moods?

Psychotic Depression – In this state you're in a psychosis but in a nightmarish way. You're in a living hell and are suffering from delusions of guilt, shame, or feel personally responsible for something terribly gone wrong. It is essentially an opposite of manic psychosis, but however a manic psychosis could transform into a psychotic depression depending on your mind.

Severe Depression – In this state your brain is pretty much telling you to just kill yourself. It is a terrible state to be in, and suicide ideation is very common throughout each day.

Depression – In this state your mind is just down, but you don't feel like killing yourself. You are just sad. It impacts your life negatively, productivity slows down.

Normal – In this state you are feeling okay. Most people fluctuate around this state. You can still experience happiness and sadness – but hypomania is different to happiness, just as depression is different to sadness.

Hypomania – In this state you are feeling more than okay, and have great thoughts. You feel that everything is fantastic, and you can rush into decisions or have impulsiveness. The feeling is somewhat pleasant.

Mania – In this state (from my experience) is not a good state to be in. Insomnia. Manic state of mind; you can lose grip with reality, and easily enter into a psychosis. It doesn't necessarily mean by default you are in a psychosis however. Your mind cannot switch off.

Psychosis – In this stage you've lost grip with reality and have entered a dreamlike state of mind.

Do you go into a psychosis?

In a mania I can go up to a week without sleeping properly (insomnia), so in that kind of state you enter what I call a waking dream. It is like you are in your own imaginative world, but very much living it. It depends how your mind is, it can also be a waking nightmare. I have experienced both realities. In a nightmarish one, suicide is very common, which almost happened in 2016.

Are you dangerous in a psychosis?

I am mostly only a danger to myself when they do occur – which can require being placed in hospital care until it has ended. I have a belief in life to not harm anything, I can't even hurt a bug on purpose let alone another human. I mostly believe in a Buddhist way of life and values. And even in a psychosis those values still remain.

Do you hallucinate in a psychosis?

No. I haven't experienced any hallucinations or "hearing voices" apart from my own internal voice. I experienced different ideas, beliefs, and viewed the world differently. It's an altered state of perception but without hallucinations. However, you do experience delusional ideations, and just as if you're in a dream your mind runs wild with ideas. And like a dream, you don't realise you're in one. What you think and experience is very real, with little insight in how your behaviour seems.

It doesn't mean however people that have bipolar 1 don't experience hallucinations, sometimes you can. But personally, I haven't. Living with psychosis is impossible; delusions can seem very real with little insight.

What's the difference between Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Schizophrenia, and Schizoaffective?

Schizophrenia is a different Illness entirely. Even though both Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia can experience psychosis, schizophrenics tend to experience psychosis most of the time. There are periods of the illness where it goes into remission however. There is no mood disorder present.

Schizoaffective is a mixture of Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia, but diagnosis can be tricky because you have to experience psychosis without a mood episode. It is generally considered less severe than Schizophrenia. Psychosis can last weeks also, whereas in Bipolar 1 is only a matter of days until your mood settles.

Bipolar 2 is a less severe version of the Bipolar disorder, where the person doesn't experience full mania – but only a hypomania state. Depressions can be as deep however. But no psychosis occurs during mania or depressions.

Often diagnoses change overtime once more symptoms are presented.

What are the side effects of medication?

Depending on what you take, it can cause:
  • Weight Gain: It is common to experience an increased appetite when taking certain medications. I use to take Olanzapine, and it caused me to gain weight. But however since I’ve switched drugs, weight gain is no longer an issue.
  • Slowed Thinking: It is common that some medications slow your thinking process down, to a point where it can be disabling. It can even lead to you feeling like your zombified. But it prevents episodes right?
  • Memory Problems: It is common that some medications can cause short term memory problems, or even the ability to fully recall. Sometimes you’re in a conversation and are trying to think of something, but the ability to recall is slowed down enough that when you think of it – the conversation has already moved past that point.
  • Fatigued: Some medications can leave you feeling tired all the time.

If you are experiencing harsh side effects from a medication; it is recommended to talk to your psychiatrist and find something that works better for you. Everyone is different with regards to medication, some may experience nothing but negativity with one drug, but it works wonders for someone else.

iBleh Community

The website is still in development. This will be a community support site. I will advertise it as soon as it is completed.