Yep, today it is World Bipolar Day - a day about spreading hope, furthering understanding and squashing stigma.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood episodes - intense depression and, depending on the type of Bipolar, episodes of mania or hypomania.
Mood episodes tend to last weeks, if not months at a time - there's a common misconception where people think someone with Bipolar experiences many extreme shifts in mood a day. This is actually incredibly rare - someone with rapid cycling Bipolar is characterized as having four or more mood episodes in a year.
Bipolar is a lifelong illness and, although it can be treated and symptoms vastly reduced if you are lucky, there is no cure.
People with Bipolar are very misunderstood; there's this thinking that Bipolar is simply feeling 'happy and sad', and so Bipolar is no big deal - EVERYBODY feels happy and sad! People with Bipolar that aren't able to work are labelled as 'lazy' or milking the system - no, we're simply struggling to live and too ill to handle a job.
Comments such as "I'm so Bipolar!" and "Isn't the weather Bipolar today?" only help further stigma, shame and misunderstanding.
Stigma also materialises in the advice given to people wirh Bipolar. Here's just a handful of lovely advice I've heard many times over the last few years:
Finally I leave you with this...it's a selection of physical illnesses / health conditions, with the injured party being given advice that people with mental illnesses are often given :)