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7 Warning Signs Bipolar Depression May Be Heading Your Way
Most people who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder typically don’t mind the upswings – the hypomania and mania. It’s the downswings – the bipolar depression – that can really get under a person’s skin. Some people are able to track their moods very well, or they know their symptoms well enough to know when a new episode is underway. But not everyone does. Sometimes even the people who are very in tune with their body and mind might occasionally miss a sign every now and then. At times, it may feel like an episode hits out of nowhere and catches you off guard.
To help you better recognize when your bipolar depression is sneaking up on you, we have compiled a list of the top 7 warning signs that an episode is heading your way.
Daily Tasks Are More Draining Than Usual
When bipolar depression is underway, our daily tasks and basic routines can become somewhat draining. It may happen gradually, and then suddenly once the episode hits. Even things like showering, brushing your teeth, or even making your morning coffee can feel exhausting and zap you of what little energy you may have left. You could be fine one day, and wake up the next feeling like everything you do is draining you more than usual. Take this is a sign that you may be heading toward a bipolar low.
You may already know that when you are in a bipolar depression that you don’t want to talk to many people, you might stop going out with your loved ones, or you might even fear leaving your house in general. You may also want to be left alone in solitude. These signs first start to appear sometime before you even hit that low point.
You may start to find that you are having a hard time socializing and that your anxiety may be higher than normal when talking to people. You slowly stop returning phone calls, emails, or text messages and just think, “Yeah, I’ll get back to them later.” But then later never comes. When an episode is impending, you may also start to cancel your plans just because you don’t feel like going anywhere, or because you feel that you don’t have what it takes to socialize with your friends, family, or colleagues at the moment in time.
Most people who are bipolar typically tend to have issues with concentration to begin with, but when bipolar depression is on its way concentrating may feel almost impossible. If you were able to focus to the best of your ability and all of a sudden you start to notice your focus is starting to fade, that might be an early indicator of an episode.
Changes In Sleep Patterns
Changes in sleep patterns are sometimes the most noticeable sign that an episode is about to occur, but some people tend to overlook this major detail. Sometimes those sleepless nights where you just lye awake in bed for hours staring at the ceiling can mean something is about to happen.
A major sign of a bipolar depression heading your way can be new or worsening daytime sleepiness where you just feel like you need to take it easy or nap when you never used to feel that way before.
Difficulty being able to stay asleep and fall asleep are both also signs of bipolar depression as well as if you were to start sleeping for longer periods of time more often.
Irritability And Anger Issues
Sudden worsening irritability and anger outburst are actually sometimes a sign of both mania and depression for people who are bipolar. If you start to notice that your patience is beginning to wear thin out of nowhere there is a very good chance that you could be heading toward a depressive episode. You may even feel like you just don’t have what it takes to deal with things or people right now which increases just adds to the irritability.
Unexpected Feelings Of Guilt
When someone who is bipolar is heading toward bipolar depression they may gradually start to feel guilty for things that they have absolutely no control over. They may even feel guilty when they have done nothing wrong. Feelings of guilt go hand-in-hand with depression and should be taken as a warning sign.
Brain fog can be a sign of an impending bipolar depressive episode. It may feel like everything is cloudy inside your head. You may have trouble remembering even the smallest things such as basic words, where you placed an item or even things on your to-do list. I like to call this sign “bipolar brain fog.”
What are some things that you notice when you are heading toward a bipolar depressive episode? Feel free to leave your answer in the comments section.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.