5 Misconceptions About Bipolar Disorder

Kelly Tompkins
5 min readMar 11, 2022

Trying to normalize the disorder one step at a time.

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

There is a stigma against mood disorders and specifically what I’ll be referring to today is Bipolar Disorder. If you watch any kind of media that mentions the disorder, the person is usually extremely violent or extremely artistic, not sleeping but pushing out beautiful pieces and having the time of their lives. It can almost feel like this person becomes possessed by an entirely different person or entity. But the disorder isn’t what’s in media, remember that things in TV shows and movies are generally the worst case scenario and at times, exaggerated.

While I won’t say what’s in media isn’t true at all, these are the things that I myself misunderstood until I was diagnosed and started to do my own research.

Note: I’m in no way a medical professional. These are my understandings of the disorder and are welcome to criticism. I mention disorders in this such as Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. I will more so be referring to how I feel having Bipolar Disorder as everyone has different experiences.

TW: I talk about suicidal ideation.

Everyone can be a little Bipolar

“Ugh, they’re so Bipolar.”

I grew up with people, even myself, using this as a blanket term to refer to someone who was “moody”. My mother would especially say this when someone was angry at her for what she believed to be no reason.

In reality, these people had reasons for their mood shifts such as having their feelings hurt, having a bad day., etc. This can make an actual diagnosis seem like it’s not a big deal- oh everyone has mood swings every now and then, we all have bad days.

From Nami (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar experience high and low moods — known as mania and depression — which differ from the typical ups-and-downs most people experience.

So unlike someone who might have a reason for the mood they’re experiencing, I would have periods where I had intense sadness or happiness with no source.

Kelly Tompkins

Austin,Texas sober girl. Lover of horror movies, cats, and fitness. Occasional bad poet.

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