At times Bipolar Disorder is talked about in the media in an almost flippant way usually with a celebrity name attached to it and it lends people a belief that it is a widespread illness.
Only 1% – 2% of the population have Bipolar Disorder that will continue throughout their life.
Recent research suggest that 5% of the population could be on the Bipolar spectrum but this is not the same as receiving a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.
We all have background mood changes. They undulate slowly and regularly and occasionally make an impact on our lives. When the down cycle hits the bottom there can be days when nothing seems to go right and at the top of the cycle we can have those wonderfully productive days where everything that needs to be done gets done. This is not Bipolar Disorder, this is human.
Those of us with Bipolar Disorder have an overlying set of mood swings that are not always synchronised with the background cycles but when they are things can go badly wrong. Depression can become deeper and less easier to bear and mania becomes sharper and more cutting. Our mood swings can leave us on the edge of despair and/or throw us right into psychosis.
People with Bipolar Disorder are twenty times more like to commit suicide than the general population and WHO identifies it as one of the top causes of lost health in the 15 – 44 age group.
I have rarely become suicidal while depressed because I am cocooned in a layer of candy floss that melts and reforms letting in light and sweetening life one tiny gap at a time. I feel safe when I am depressed.
Mania scares me because it is the element of Bipolar Disorder that can kill me when it chooses. It is not the glorious thing it is often thought to be, it is pure and unadulterated madness. At its most extreme it is a psychosis that deserves to be shot down as long as it doesn’t take us with it. At its least extreme it no less poisonous, the poison simply takes longer to work its devilry.