Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?

People ask this al of the time. Here is my basic answer:
The only way a person can have bipolar disorder is if they have mania. If you have mania as described below, you have bipolar.
Mania refers to energy. It can be an upbeat energy that we call euphoric or an agitated depressed energy called dysphoria. It always means energy. The #1 symptom of mania is needing less sleep and NOT being tired. People who are manic do not need to catch up on sleep. Everything is sped up.
For example, a person will sleep three hours a night and say things such as, “Sleep is such a waste of time. I get SO much more done! I can’t believe I used to need so much sleep!” And they will be all over the place in terms of cleaning the house, writing a book, driving fast, talking fast, meeting new people and being super happy….. if it is euphoric.
If it is dysphoric mania, the same energy is there, but it is a negative energy. The person is aggressive, violent, depressed, upset, agitated, physically uncomfortable and confrontational. The sleep is the same- we don’t need sleep.
Mania has two levels. Hypomania and full blown mania. People with bipolar two have hypomania. People with bipolar one have hypomania and full blown mania. Some people with bipolar only have mania, but this is rare. The vast majority have mania and depression. This means that a mania will be followed by a depression, so it is about the comparison.
I have bipolar two with a separate psychotic disorder and a head injury that created a separate anxiety disorder. I live with hypomania- symptoms include excessive creativity, obsessions, grandiosity, aggression, hyper sexuality, racing thoughts, less need for sleep, sped up physical actions, lack of insight and the ability to do a gazillion things at once. Then I crash and get depressed.
You can’t have mania unless you have experienced the sleep changes. Yes, anxiety can look like mania as it is so agitating, but anxiety has insomnia, not needing less sleep.
It is essential to know that mania is alway episodic. This means you will see a beginning , middle and end to the mania. It is not a personality disorder. So, the person is very stable when not manic.
Do you have bipolar disorder?


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