Your experiences of bipolar disorder will vary depending on your mood. You may experience some, or all, of the following.
Mania and mild mania (hypomania)
If you experience mania, you may:
- feel incredibly happy and have an unusually elevated mood
- be irritable and sometimes aggressive
- be more talkative, and talk very fast
- be easily distracted
- not think through your behaviour or actions
- not feel as if you need much sleep
- have more interest in sex
- behave in ways you’d usually think were quite extreme - such as going on a spending spree or devising extravagant or impractical schemes
During an episode of mania, you may not be aware of any changes in your behaviour. Your friends, family or colleagues may be more likely to notice changes. However, it’s possible to learn to notice signs that an episode may be starting and seek help earlier.
If you experience depression, you may:
- feel sad and negative about life
- lose interest in others, and the things around you
- feel worthless and lose confidence in yourself
- feel unable to make decisions
- have difficulty sleeping
- have less energy, and feel tired
- isolate yourself from your friends
- think of suicide
- feel guilty
- eat more or less than you normally would
You may experience symptoms of mania and depression at the same time or rapidly alternate between them (within a few hours). For example, you may feel sad but also have lots of energy.
During an episode of mania or depression you may also experience:
- Delusions. You may have strong beliefs that no one else agrees with – for example you may feel very paranoid.
- Hallucinations. You may hear, see, smell or feel things that other people don’t.
Not everyone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder experiences psychosis.