Living with Bipolar Disorder is a constant struggle. Even though it’s been over two years since my last manic episode and my moods are stabilized by medications, I still have to watch my actions and think critically about whether I am a healthy kind of happy or sad.
There’s nothing like having a great day to cause a moment of panic and then some deep inner reflection and analysis to decide if you’re having a great day because life is great… or because you’re manic. Over the past few years I’ve learnt how to tell the difference, as I am sure others have done as well.
A few months ago I logged back into an old abandoned Facebook account to see if I could pull off some old photos. As I flipped through the pictures it was like someone had documented my moods in selfies.
Pictures taken in 2012 and 2014; Both in Manic-Depressive episodes.
Some of the photos I remember taking, others I don’t. But by simply looking at my face (more specifically my eyes) I could tell where I was in my emotional roller coaster. Not only that, but I could see the changes in the way I dressed, what activities I was taking part in and even what I was doing with my hair!
My last hypomanic episode was the longest one to date. During that time I dyed my hair every four weeks (or sooner). I went from brown to red to burgundy to brown to blonde to black to brown. My poor hair was so damaged by the time that I got healthy again that I ended up having to essentially shave my head.
Picture taken in 2010; one of the first hypo-manic episodes we can remember.
Seeing these photos got me thinking about how there can sometimes be physical signs that someone is struggling with Depression, Anxiety or other Mental Health concerns. So it makes sense that there would be physical signs of someone being hypo-manic or manic depressive as well.
Pictures taken in 2014; one of the longest but last hypo-manic episode to date.
I want to leave off asking you this… Do you have physical signs or symptoms that you watch for to help you manage your mental health? Share them in the comments below.
Nichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, business owner, daughter and friend. She has a Marketing Diploma and a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.
Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.