Misconception Monday: Bipolar Disorder Watch

ParadoxSocks
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Welcome to another installment of Misconception Monday. Today we're looking at bipolar disorder and the misconceptions surrounding it.

I've was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 with psychotic features at 17. At 32, I've recently been discharged from a mental health unit. Along the way I've heard many misconceptions from both professionals and non-pros alike.

Two of the biggest misconceptions are to confuse it with other disorders or illnesses, particularly having multiple personalities or schizophrenia, or that we just have hundreds of stroppy mood swings a day!

What misconceptions have you heard about bipolar disorder? Do you believe in any of the (what others may call) misconceptions?
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Deyesy
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The biggest misconception is definitely the split personality thing or that you're either instantly sad and then instantly happy.

Another one is that there's only type of Bipolar too. It's a mental illness that needs more awareness of what it physically is :/
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ParadoxSocks
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(Original post by Deyesy)
The biggest misconception is definitely the split personality thing or that you're either instantly sad and then instantly happy.

Another one is that there's only type of Bipolar too. It's a mental illness that needs more awareness of what it physically is :/
I'd give my left kneecap for an instantly happy option. Not manic happy because that isn't happy fun times for anyone, just happy happy.

What did you think people with bipolar (or bopobip, as suggested by my autocorrect) were like before you met me?
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CoolCavy
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That you go from happy to sad in like a day and that anyone moody is immediately 'bipolar'. Its like when slightly tidy people say they are OCD
Also not the same way round but the number of people who go 'BPD' is that bipolar????? no. its . ****ing. not. read. the . actual . acronym. bipolar. is . one. word. where. do . you. think . the .P . is . coming .from
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ParadoxSocks
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
That you go from happy to sad in like a day and that anyone moody is immediately 'bipolar'. Its like when slightly tidy people say they are OCD
Also not the same way round but the number of people who go 'BPD' is that bipolar????? no. its . ****ing. not. read. the . actual . acronym. bipolar. is . one. word. where. do . you. think . the .P . is . coming .from
OMG YES! Is the P just floating in from nowhere? There's such a mix up between bipolar and borderline PD. My sister's diagnosis is constantly bouncing between both and the stop starting of medication is probably not helping her to stabalise!

People definitely throw the word bipolar around a lot. It's kinda hurtful when it's attached to negative situations such as somebody having a hissyfit. I'm not saying that hypomanic me isn't an absolute arse - if somebody can't keep up with my thinking or thought pattern then God help them - but it's not as the same somebody daring to display emotions.
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chelseadagg3r
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My brother has a type of bipolar, though I'm not sure what it's officially called. It's always referred to as rapid-cycling by his doctors. A lot of people don't believe he has it because it's not 'traditional' in that each episode lasts longer which makes it really difficult for him to get any help
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Great thread! I don't have a diagnosis of bipolar per se (my diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, which encompasses symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar) but I've had someone post insensitive or downright weird memes about "bipolar" being like split personalities, on my Facebook wall :erm: Made me really uncomfortable tbh and I wasn't sure how much to publicly educate that person coz I'm not good with assertiveness or confrontation tbh In the end I unfriended her after a while coz there was just a clear lack of understanding and even moreso, a clear lack of willingness to try to understand
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I've heard a lot of people joke about very rapid mood swings = bipolar, but in the majority of cases the swings actually last days, if not weeks or months.
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CheeseIsVeg
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awesome thread
My Mum has bipolar and it can really take a lot of different forms as I've seen
posting to watch !
Spoiler:
Show


all I can really add is that it can be quite scary to experience and explain to younger members of the family who don't quite understand

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ParadoxSocks
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(Original post by chelseadagg3r)
My brother has a type of bipolar, though I'm not sure what it's officially called. It's always referred to as rapid-cycling by his doctors. A lot of people don't believe he has it because it's not 'traditional' in that each episode lasts longer which makes it really difficult for him to get any help
Rapid cycling is like the bonus features version. My mother has it and you really don't know where you are with her throughout the day. It's really awkward to work with and getting help is extra fun because anything outside of the regular understanding just isn't covered.

(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Great thread! I don't have a diagnosis of bipolar per se (my diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, which encompasses symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar) but I've had someone post insensitive or downright weird memes about "bipolar" being like split personalities, on my Facebook wall :erm: Made me really uncomfortable tbh and I wasn't sure how much to publicly educate that person coz I'm not good with assertiveness or confrontation tbh In the end I unfriended her after a while coz there was just a clear lack of understanding and even moreso, a clear lack of willingness to try to understand
Ugh. I can understand confusion but when people aren't willing to even try it's just frustrating. I have bipolar with a sprinkle of psychosis (highlights including running away from a bin and freaking out at a security guard) so I confuse GPs and other people but a general understanding of simple bipolar shouldn't be a massive deal.

Original post by Anonymous)
I've heard a lot of people joke about very rapid mood swings = bipolar, but in the majority of cases the swings actually last days, if not weeks or months.
Yep, the majority of people with bipolar do cycle in much bigger waves. Rapid cycling happens but it's not standard issue!

(Original post by CheeseIsVeg)
awesome thread
My Mum has bipolar and it can really take a lot of different forms as I've seen
posting to watch !
Spoiler:
Show


all I can really add is that it can be quite scary to experience and explain to younger members of the family who don't quite understand
It was terrifying at home with my mum and I had no idea why she acted the way she did and why we always had money issues when we appeared to live within our means.

Explaining it to future children will be hard but I'm on a mission to provide a more stable childhood.
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suitepee
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The one misconception which I see a lot is that mania is all about feeling happy and amazing. When I'm (hypo)manic, I do feel euphoric, but at times extremely irritable and experience a lot of rage at very small things. After a few days of no sleep and not eating I start to feel really physically unwell but can't slow down which makes me more irritable. When I'm manic I also have no memory of what happens, so I only really learn about what happens through others - usually terrible things which I am really ashamed of. I would much rather have a depressive episode personally - at least I feel slightly more in control.Then there is the obvious one - that any period of feeling slightly more confident or energised is mania - it doesn't really bother me so much though, I just try to point people in the right direction.
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suitepee
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
That you go from happy to sad in like a day and that anyone moody is immediately 'bipolar'. Its like when slightly tidy people say they are OCD
Also not the same way round but the number of people who go 'BPD' is that bipolar????? no. its . ****ing. not. read. the . actual . acronym. bipolar. is . one. word. where. do . you. think . the .P . is . coming .from
I get this a lot a work - you never know on a referral if BPD is bipolar or borderline PD. Some people do use the acronym BPAD for Bipolar Affective Disorder which helps, and the acronym EUPD is now much more commonplace over BPD for borderline pd. Still confusing at times though!
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by ParadoxSocks)
Rapid cycling is like the bonus features version. My mother has it and you really don't know where you are with her throughout the day. It's really awkward to work with and getting help is extra fun because anything outside of the regular understanding just isn't covered.


Ugh. I can understand confusion but when people aren't willing to even try it's just frustrating. I have bipolar with a sprinkle of psychosis (highlights including running away from a bin and freaking out at a security guard) so I confuse GPs and other people but a general understanding of simple bipolar shouldn't be a massive deal.

Original post by Anonymous)


Yep, the majority of people with bipolar do cycle in much bigger waves. Rapid cycling happens but it's not standard issue!


It was terrifying at home with my mum and I had no idea why she acted the way she did and why we always had money issues when we appeared to live within our means.

Explaining it to future children will be hard but I'm on a mission to provide a more stable childhood.
Spoiler:
Show

can relate, it was more of an alcohol abuse which was very awfully covered up and hard to explain



:grouphugs: you're going to be great!
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ParadoxSocks
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(Original post by suitepee)
The one misconception which I see a lot is that mania is all about feeling happy and amazing. When I'm (hypo)manic, I do feel euphoric, but at times extremely irritable and experience a lot of rage at very small things. After a few days of no sleep and not eating I start to feel really physically unwell but can't slow down which makes me more irritable. When I'm manic I also have no memory of what happens, so I only really learn about what happens through others - usually terrible things which I am really ashamed of. I would much rather have a depressive episode personally - at least I feel slightly more in control.Then there is the obvious one - that any period of feeling slightly more confident or energised is mania - it doesn't really bother me so much though, I just try to point people in the right direction.
Yes! I've nearly taken Deyesy's head off while hypomanic. He just said "you don't like me at all when you're manic. End of." Anything anyone does isn't good enough even if when I'm rational it's completely fine.

I have a nice sweet spot before mania where I'm awesome and capable of writing but I know the inevitable temper is creeping up behind me.

Seeing people in the full depths of mania while being in the MH unit was horrible. I'm glad I forget most of my outbursts and psychotic meltdowns. I'll take quiet, hiding away from the world depression any day.

(Original post by CheeseIsVeg)
Spoiler:
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can relate, it was more of an alcohol abuse which was very awfully covered up and hard to explain


:grouphugs: you're going to be great!
Eek. No fun at all. The worst I suffered was her extreme OCD and her temper. So much love to you.
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