Mood swings for bipolar people can be very drastic and can occur as often as hourly, especially during relapses. When the emotions are extreme, it can be easy to associate them with the disorder. But what if they’re not polar? How do you differentiate “normal” feelings from “bipolar” feelings?
It can be difficult to step outside yourself and make a non biased judgement of your own emotions. One way to facilitate that is to start a mood journal. It can be on paper or you can download it on an app for your phone. Once you have kept it for a few weeks, look through it and see if you can recognize patterns. Better understanding of past moods will help you moving forward when similar emotions, triggers and events occur.
As a caregiver, you can keep your own mood journal. Record both your own and your loved ones’ feelings. Recognize that sometimes your own emotions can be exasperating situations. Try to separate “reaction” emotions for both of you. All people have situations where they over-react. That’s human. Don’t automatically assume any strong emotion is a bipolar one.
5 Questions to Help Evaluate Your Mood Journal
- Was there a build up to the current emotion or was it sudden?
- Does the situation not warrant the level of emotion?
- Does it take a long time to move out of the emotional state?
- Do the predominant emotions occurring keep moving in one direction, up or down?
- Does each following situation make the predominant emotion stronger?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you may be having a bipolar episode.
Each person is different and so is everyone’s normal level of emotions. The more understanding you have of your own moods, the better you will become at recognizing what your own “normal” is. Keeping a mood journal is one way to reach that understanding.
Do you have any tips that help you distinguish between your own “normal” moods and “bipolar” emotions?
Recommended Reading: (affiliate links)
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families
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