I recently watched a documentary on bipolar disorder, called Of Two Minds. I found it very interesting and really helped me understand Bipolar Disorder better. (Note: There was a bit of swearing at times, and is not meant for younger audiences.)
What is Bipolar Disorder?
“Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior.
People who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless, and sluggish. In between those periods, they usually feel normal. You can think of the highs and the lows as two “poles” of mood, which is why it’s called “bipolar” disorder.
The word “manic” describes the times when someone with bipolar disorder feels overly excited and confident. These feelings can also involve irritability and impulsive or reckless decision-making. About half of people during mania can also have delusions (believing things that aren’t true and that they can’t be talked out of) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).
“Hypomania” describes milder symptoms of mania, in which someone does not have delusions or hallucinations, and their high symptoms do not interfere with their everyday life.
The word “depressive” describes the times when the person feels very sad or depressed. Those symptoms are similar to depression, a condition in which someone never has manic or hypomanic episodes.
Most people with bipolar disorder spend more time in depressed phases than in manic phases.” To read more about bipolar you can read it here.
The following are quotes and points made within the documentary that helped me understand bipolar disorder a bit better and really brought to life the issues that arise for those with this disorder, as well as the loved ones around them.
“Its like taking your best day and your darkest moment and multiplying it by a million.”
Take a minute to let that sink in. I found this very powerful in the sense that it shows the polarity of the disorder and how it affects the human brain to such an extreme.
Your high all day and then at night. BOOM. The darkness hits you.
Imagine having such a great day. Imagine going out with friends, laughing and just enjoying life, and then BAM! Depression hits you again and you realize that you will never escape this reality.
What I do remember… is I was exhausted. How was I going to live the rest of my life?
A woman in the documentary said that she does not remember a lot of her childhood, or her teenage years. What she does remember though, was that she was exhausted. So tired of fighting and trying to be normal. Trying to imagine living the rest of her life like this was just too much to imagine.
He felt lied to… when he met her she was one person, and a year later, she’s another one.
Bipolar disorder affects relationships in a big way. When this man and woman met, she was in a fairly normal state with a bit of mania. Within the next year, her disorder forced her into manic depression. Knowing she had bipolar is one thing, experiencing it is another thing and can be very scary for loved ones to watch.
There is nothing worse than being trapped in your own body.. in your own mind.
One woman remembers a time where she realized how bad off she was, and knew that she needed to call her doctor. Laying in bed, she looked at the clock where it read 4:00. It took her until 9:00 to physically be able to pick up the phone off the end table by her bed. She shares this experience, and shares how scary it can be to be manic-depressive.
You just have to act sane; act the way you’re supposed to act.
One individual talks about how he was stuck in a psychiatric hospital, and learned that the only way he could get out was to act sane. To act the way that you are supposed to act. The problem becomes for those with bipolar disorder that you cannot keep track of what is reality and what is pretend anymore.
“I feel a lot of chaos in my brain.”
People with Bipolar Disorder struggle with having too many things going on in their brain, and they have no way to escape them. They often feel trapped within their mind, and feel an extreme sense of chaos.
I don’t want bipolar to define me.
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, we do not say, they are cancer. We say that person has cancer. That person has been diagnosed with cancer. That person is fighting cancer. So why is it that people with Bipolar Disorder are told, you are bipolar. One woman shares her thoughts on this, and says “Bipolar isn’t me. It is a part of. Just as I am a journalist, a daughter, a wife, a sister, or a mom.” One of the biggest statements made near the end of the film was that people with Bipolar Disorder just want to be well. They beg, “Just give me a cure.”