Bipolar is an “Episodic Illness”


That’s funny

How misleading is this term?

I am assuming that we are talking about episodic meaning that the illness comes in episodes and in between episodes we are


I hope this is not upsetting to the newly dxed that are reading this.  It is okay!

But Bipolar is not an episodic illness

It is a brain disorder

this means that your brain is always disordered

You may have episodes of mania and episodes of depression


in between

we are STILL Bipolar

the brain doesn’t just “fix” itself in between

we aren’t “normal” like everybody else in between

and there is a lot to Bipolar that is not mania and depression.

there is a lot to Bipolar that is constant

Maybe there are lucky people out there who have squeaky clean Bipolar.  Up and down and A okay in between.  That is great. I don’t know you. Reveal yourself in the comment section.

But hey Newbies!

This isn’t supposed to make you feel bad….this is to help you.

So you don’t go along in between “episodes” thinking you should be fine and feeling crazy and wondering what the hell is wrong with you….

“Oh no, I suck at being Bipolar. I’m not being Bipolar correctly.  I don’t fit the rules.  I’m not manic but my thoughts are racing.  I’m not depressed but I feel overwhelmed and can’t leave the house.  What is wrong with me? There must be something else wrong with me?”

relax.  It’s  just Bipolar.

And here is the other reason why it is a helpful thing to know…

because then you won’t expect yourself to be like everyone else and you won’t treat yourself like you are “normal.”

What I mean by that is that if you ask any veteran Bipolar, they will probably tell you that wellness is something they work for every single day.

It is good for us to set high expectations for ourselves and try not to let this illness hold us back…

but most of us find that we feel better when we also accept that fact that it might.

And that we have to live life differently than the nonbipolars do.

We have to take care of ourselves ALL the time.

This means different things for different people.  It can be very individual and reveals itself in time as you learn about your own patterns and triggers.

And why is this good to know?  Because the more you commit to the daily maintenance of your wellness the greater chance you have at living a life NOT controlled by Bipolar.  Counterintuitive perhaps but true.

Example.  I am blogging (among the many other things in my life).  I am also Bipolar (if you haven’t gotten that by now).  Having Bipolar doesn’t mean I can’t do this….


It does mean that I need to be extra careful about the added task, the added stressor.  And if I feel those warning signs that I am wavering, I will need to circle my wagons and focus on my health.  A break may be in order. (Now that may be a good reason to subscribe! You don’t want to lose me!)

But if I wasn’t working on my balance every day, I probably would not have my shit together enough to pull this off.


I like the word flare up instead of episode.  It just seems more fitting for what it is.  Mania and depression and anxious crap and everything else that comes with Bipolar.  It is a flare up of the “illness.”

It is very misleading to call it episodic.

It encourages one to think that they can sit back and relax once they’ve “recovered” from that pesky depression or mania.

Nope.  Bipolar is daily. Bipolar is constant.

But that information should empower you to do your damnedest to fight for your wellness.

Just to hammer it home…

Bipolar is not an “episodic illness”

It is an all the time brain disorder.


Add Yours
  1. Jim Buchanan

    So true. I’ve gone a long time since I had a serious mania, and my depressions usually only last a week or two these days, but I’m never free of bipolar even when I’m not in either state.. I’m also aware that it could come back in full force at any time.But much of the time I enjoy life.


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