It is also known as manic-depression, and primarily affects the mood of the individual, causing (at times) extreme fluctuations and mood swings. For all you women out there, kinda like “that time of the month”! These mood swings swerve from extreme mania (happiness) to extreme hopelessness (depression) and can last for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years at a time. It can seriously affect: relationships (no kidding) both platonic and sexual in nature, employment, school and can lead to suicide; usually in the “depressive” and not “manic” episodes.
To try and illustrate what I’m getting at in regard to mood swings here is a fairly crude graph:
“Downs” when you get dumped by your partner, or your gerbil ends up on death’s door after accidentally eating too many m&ms and could quite possibly cark it.
“Ups” when you’ve just passed that exam, eaten a rather delicious tofu burger, watching someone with their dacks round their ankles circling a pool table, just had delicious mind altering sex – for example.
Now the green line is an example of the mood swings a normal person may experience, kinda veering from ups and downs at an occasionally but not over dramatically sudden sense.
The purple line is someone suffering from bipolar…I think you get the gist…somewhat sudden, erratic, and careering way above and below the normal range of ups and downs.
Coming to terms with Bipolar Part III