What Really is Bipolar Disorder?

About 1 in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at some point in their life.

After consulting several medical opinions, and being a Bipolar victim myself (I am not a doctor), I prepared a brief of Bipolar disorder, as clear for anyone to understand. You might be going through the same without your knowledge. It is important to note that this is not a medical diagnosis and you would need to see a special doctor in order to receive a detailed diagnosis. Bipolar Disorder is sometimes called Bipolar Affective Disorder or Manic Depression. I prefer to just use ‘bipolar’ rather than ‘bipolar disorder’ as since I believe I have an illness, not a disorder.

So What Really is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder used to be called ‘manic depression’. You will get a lot of information about the latter. As the older name suggests, someone with bipolar disorder will have severe mood swings. These usually last several weeks or months and are far beyond what most people experience. These are:

  1. Low or ‘depressive’ feelings of intense depression and despair
  2. High or ‘manic’ feelings of extreme happiness and elation
  3. Mixed feelings, for example, depressed mood with the restlessness and overactivity of a manic episode


The high moments are extremely high, one could be meeting Elon Musk of Tesla all of a sudden and building mental journeys to the moon. You are extremely full of good ideas, well analysed, and they work very well in your mind. These excitement moments could lead you in making very fatal decisions in your life including your marriage, your career, your spouse, your finances and other very important aspects of your life. You could quit your job on the go during a bipolar high, or just tell your employer to go to hell.

You could marry someone during a high moment.


People with bipolar disorder go through a lot of personal spells in their life. I remember a moment I just quit my job without any prior plan or thinking, and just told my boss ‘I quit’. Just like that. At that moment it’s not you. You don’t understand what happens. Those decisions are made for you by an overthinking part of your brain.

There are many triggers to these periods shift from low, middle and high. I was once looking for a job, got very good interviews with exceptional companies and was excited about it. I would spend my entire time prepping for the interview, in excitement mode, poring over everything, even interviewing myself in my head. I would tackle all the questions. Damn, it was good. I would research everything. You see, I am not a fast thinker, but my mind is able to connect a lot of things. I have always been exceptional at understanding. Knowledge is about patterns, and my brain is very good at it. I have always known this since I was young. Things make sense to me so easily. The way it links objects for my understanding has always amazed me, even topics I am not good at, I make the connection, and I understand really well.

So back to the interview preparation. I would be ready. I would have all the answers, I would be full of energy. I would be ready. I would convince myself that I was getting this job, and it would be convincing. Then comes the real moment for the interview, and just like that, my lowest moment would shoot. I would become someone else. I would be dead inside. I would forget everything. I would be mad with myself. I would leave that room knowing that nobody in their sane mind would give me that job.

Maybe it was the anxiety triggers or the probability of not getting that job that would trigger my low moments. Maybe it’s that fear. Or maybe it would be the battle between my reality and being bipolar. I have never understood that. That’s just a typical example of someone going through bipolar.

How common is Bipolar?

From medical research, about 1 in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at some point in their life. It usually starts between the ages of 15 to 19 – and it rarely starts after the age of 40. Men and women are affected equally.

There are several Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar 1

  • You have had at least one high or manic episode, which has lasted for longer than one week.
  • You may only have manic episodes, although most people with Bipolar also have periods of depression. Untreated, a manic episode will generally last 3 to 6 months.
  • Depressive episodes last rather longer – 6 to 12 months without treatment.

Bipolar 2

If you have had more than one episode of severe depression, but only mild manic episodes – these are called ‘hypomania’.

Rapid Cycling

If you have more than four mood swings in a 12 month period. This affects around 1 in 10 people with bipolar disorder and can happen with both types I and II.


The mood swings are not as severe as those in full bipolar disorder but can be longer. This can develop into full bipolar disorder.

Author Note - Disclaimer

"Bitcademy Blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the Bitcademy Blog Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or seek expert advice."