Bipolar Mood Swings are….

I’m often asked how we can tell the difference between bipolar disorder and the typical ups and downs of everyday life.

One of the best ways to figure this out is to remember that bipolar is unexpected.

It is not… and I must emphasize this…. bipolar is NOT a reaction that makes sense.

Bipolar behavior is off kilter. Too loud. Too quiet. Too weird. Too difficult. Too open. Too closed. It is excessive.

Bipolar mood swings don’t match the mood of the room. They don’t match the mood of the event that they are reacting to. They don’t match how regular people behave.

And for the majority of the time, the moods have NOTHING to do with anything. They are what I call free form moods!

Mania is all about energy so the manic mood swing is over the top in terms of body movements, brightness of the eyes, loudness of the voice, expansiveness of the body and lack of preparation for how our behaviors will affect ourselves and others.

Depression can be agitated or weepy, but it almost always has a negative view on any situation whether the situation itself be negative or positive. In other words depression clouds the situation instead of being a reaction to the situation.

The list of words on the graphic can help you determine if you or a loved one are having a mood swing or a regular response to every day life.

Bipolar is not normal behavior.

Bipolar behavior will stand out from the norm.

Yes, we do have a norm. And bipolar is not normal. Our stable selves are the norm.


If you’re new to my work, start with Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and then Getting it Done When You’re Depressed.

Partners can start with Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. This is a great book for family members and health care professionals as well.

My book of essays on life with bipolar,  OMG! That’s Me  Vol.2 is available on Amazon.

I have an article from Bp Magazine on the BoHope webpage called ’‘Does My Teenager Have Bipolar?’ that can help parents and health care professionals decipher typical teen behavior vs. the behavior of a teen with bipolar.


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