How do I know what are normal emotions and what ones are caused by bipolar?

How do I know what are normal emotions and what ones are caused by bipolar?


This is a question I myself am struggling with hardcore lately. I’m constantly on the verge of tears and almost always on edge. I can hide it at work and/or in public, but when I get home I’m like a ticking time bomb.

There are a number of factors that could be contributing to my anxiety/sensitivity/emotional instability lately …

1. My Bushia (that’s Polish for Grandmother) passed away two weeks ago. I miss her … A LOT! And I’m not quite sure I gave myself enough time to grieve.

So am I emotional because I’m just trying to process her death?

2. I just started a new job. It’s the first time in THREE YEARS that I’ve been in the work force. I love my job too, but it tears into all the me time I had while I stayed at home. Not to mention the kids time, the husbands time, the cooking dinner time, and the cleaning time.

So is this why my anxiety is so high?

3. I have a lot of big decisions to make … like soon. Some personal, some not so much. And then all day I am needed to make even more decisions. (Though as they don’t affect me directly, I kinda like making those ones!) So if someone asks me to decide on even the tiniest thing, such as what to have for dinner, I blow.

So is this why I’m so sensitive?


Am I just going through a down cycle? Am I overreacting to all the normal ups and downs of life because my brain has a slight chemical imbalance at the current time?

And what about all those times where I have no idea why I feel like crying? I hate those moments! And lately, they wash over me quite regularly.

Now if I had to pinpoint out of ALL these emotions/feelings which were normal and which were bipolar, I think I’d probably be pretty on target.

1. Grieving – Normal

Everybody grieves. It’s natural to feel sad. You just lost someone who was important to you. I’m pretty sure my lack of response and/or grief is the abnormality in this situation. I’m the queen of Avoidance … and I rule that kingdom well!

2. Stress/Anxiety over life altering changes – Normal

BUT bipolar tends to kick that anxiety into overload. So although the stress is normal every day stress … I may not react to it as calmly/rashly as those without a mental illness.

3. Sensitivity to excessive responsibilities – (usually) Bipolar

Sure having too much on one’s plate is bound to have an effect on oneself. But (correct me if I’m wrong), someone without bipolar/a mental illness is unlikely to fall apart (as in turn into an absolute crying/yelling idiot) over whether or not to make broccoli or asparagus for dinner!

I’m not sure if you’ve picked this up, but it seems to me like there is no clean cut answer for which emotions are typical or bipolar induced. I think the key to figuring it out is stepping outside of the situation (mentally of course…) and ask yourself,

“Does this reaction seem rational? Do my friends/family react like this during these sorts of situations? Is it POSSIBLE I might be over reacting?”

I know it’s easier said than done, but it IS possible. And if you still can’t decide if what you are feeling seems to be “the norm”, ask who’s opinion you trust/value what they think of your current reaction. Most often, if they think you’re overreacting a bit, they are probably right.

OR you can be like me and avoid trying to figure out whether or not you’re you or you’re your bipolar. (But I wouldn’t suggest it!)

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!