21 Quotes About Living With Bipolar Disorder

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated March 3, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Each year, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adults in the US, or about 2.6% of the population. Those who are having difficulty coping with this illness or who are looking for solidarity with others who have experienced it may benefit from reading the quotes below. First, we’ll provide a brief overview of the key symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to navigate

Symptoms of bipolar disorder (manic depression)

Bipolar disorder, previously called manic depression, is a mood disorder marked by periods of mania and depression. While untreated bipolar disorder can have a significant negative impact on a person’s life, relationships, and overall well-being, it’s considered to be very manageable with the right treatment. That’s why learning to recognize its signs and symptoms can be helpful, so you can seek support if you feel you may be experiencing it.

There are a few different types of bipolar disorder, but they’re generally all characterized by alternations between two states: mania (or hypomania, a less severe form of mania) and depression. Both must represent marked differences in behavior and result in significantly impaired functioning in order for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder to be considered. If you’re experiencing symptoms of this or another mental health condition, it’s recommended that you meet with a medical or mental health professional for evaluation and treatment advice.

Symptoms of a manic episode can include:

  • Racing thoughts

  • Quickly changing topics when speaking

  • Speaking more quickly than usual

  • Needing less sleep than usual

  • Being easily distracted

  • Restlessness

  • Engaging in risky and/or impulsive behaviors

Symptoms of a depressive episode can include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or despair

  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Fatigue

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Significant changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns

  • Slower speech and/or movement

  • Thoughts or behaviors related to self-harm or suicide

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 by dialing 988.

Again, if you’re experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder or another mental health condition, it’s typically recommended that you meet with a medical or mental health professional for care as soon as possible.

Quotes about bipolar life

Having any type of mental illness can feel isolating at times, especially when distorted thoughts are telling you that you’re the only one. That’s why it can be helpful to remember that you’re not alone if you’ve been diagnosed with a condition like this. The quotes below reflect some individual experiences of living with bipolar disorder that may resonate with you.

  • "When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder the year I turned 50, it was certainly a shock. But as a journalist, knowing a little bit about a lot of things, I didn't suffer the misconception that depression was all in my head or a mark of poor character. I knew it was a disease, and, like all diseases, was treatable." –Jane Pauley

  • “But the ‘mixed state,’ the mercurial churning of both high and low, is the most dangerous … the impulsive nature and physical speed of psychotic mania coupled with depression's paranoid self-loathing.” –David Lovelace

  • “I was actually manic a lot of the times that I would take on workloads, and I would say, ‘Yes, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.’ I was conquering the world, but then it would all come crashing down, and I would be more depressed than ever.” –Demi Lovato

  • “Such sensations spread over my spine and head...such an exaggerated tiredness; such anguishes and despairs; and heavenly relief and rest; and then misery again. Never was anyone so tossed up and down by the body as I am, I think.” –Virginia Woolf 

  • "One of the things so bad about depression and bipolar disorder is that if you don't have prior awareness, you don't have any idea what hit you." –Kay Redfield Jamison

  • “For a long time, I thought I had a severe sleep disorder, but it wasn’t normal insomnia. I was working and working, irritable, and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania.” –Mariah Carey

  • "So, when I was 24, someone suggested to me that I was bipolar, and I thought that was ridiculous. I just thought he was trying to get out of treating me. But he was also responding to the chaotic nature of my life." –Carrie Fisher

  • "I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it's completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it." –Catherine Zeta-Jones

  • “At least when I was an adult, I had a name for what was wrong with me...It’s easier to make sense of things when there’s a big, fat label slapped on top. But as a child, I knew nothing. I had no diagnosis. All I had was a vague and gnawing awareness that I was different from other children, and that different was not good.” –Terri Cheney

  • “I am good for a while. I'll talk more, laugh more. Sleep and eat normally. But then something happens, like a switch turns off somewhere and all I am left with is the darkness of my mind.” –Unknown

  • “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.” –Stephen Fry

  • “It’s having the motivation to change the world one moment, then not having the motivation to wash yourself.” –Unknown

  • "Because of my bipolar disorder, I tend to have these mixed states, which are depressed but loud and agitated. So I can be terribly irritable. I go to cognitive behavioral therapy in order not to yell at my children." –Ayelet Waldman

  • “I actually stopped talking. I actually listened. So I knew that I wasn't all the way manic, because when you're all the way manic you never listen to anybody but yourself.” –Unknown

  • “Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony, and music inside me.” –Vincent Van Gogh

Bipolar quotes about hope and resilience 

Bipolar disorder is treatable, typically with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. These methods can help you stabilize your moods, learn to adjust distorted thoughts, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. If you’re just getting started in the diagnosis or treatment process or are facing challenges along the way, these quotes about hope and perseverance from others with bipolar disorder may be helpful.

  • "Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." –Carrie Fisher

  • "You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle." –Julian Seifter

  • "Life is like a piano; the white keys represent happiness and the black show sadness. But as you go through life's journey, remember that the black keys also create music." –Ehssan

  • "Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused." –Alan Cohen

  • "Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift." –Maya Angelo

  • “It is possible to live well, feel well, and also find happiness with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness.” –Demi Lovato

  • “Until recently, I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry, and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me, and I got back to doing what I love.” –Mariah Carey

  • "For what it's worth: It's never too late, or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it…I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." –Eric Roth (Benjamin Button)

  • “At times, [having bipolar disorder] can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.” —Carrie Fisher 

  • "I am bipolar, and I am proud. And that is why I wanted to write a book. To shine a light on mental illness, to be vulnerable about the days I let it take control and paid dearly for it, and to tell anyone fighting a similar battle: You are not alone. You are not broken." –AJ Lee

  • “It can be a long and difficult road, but mental illness is treatable. There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” —John Green

Treatment options for bipolar disorder

Again, bipolar disorder is treatable, and many people who have been diagnosed go on to live stable, independent, fulfilling lives.

First, there are various types of talk therapy that can be effective. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type that can teach an individual to learn to recognize and shift distorted thoughts that can lead to distress or undesirable actions. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is another type that’s designed to help individuals with bipolar disorder develop skills to design and manage their daily routines in ways that can promote mood stabilization and healthy functioning. 

When it comes to medication, antipsychotics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed for some individuals. Finally, hospitalization may be initially required in severe cases in order to stabilize the person and help them put systems in place to manage their illness.

Seeking support from a therapist online

As mentioned above, therapy is typically a key pillar of treatment for bipolar disorder. However, not everyone is able to regularly attend in-person therapy appointments, whether due to a lack of provider availability in their area, because of anxiety or nervousness, or because of cost. In cases like these, online therapy can represent a viable alternative. 

With a platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed provider who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of home. Session costs are also less than those for the average in-person session and comparable to the cost of most insurance co-pays. 

A five-year study published in 2021 about telehealth treatment for bipolar disorder found that participants with this illness experienced decreased symptoms and increased quality of life as a result of online therapy. This means you can feel comfortable choosing whichever therapy format feels best for you. If you’re interested in exploring therapy through BetterHelp, you can see counselor reviews from clients facing similar challenges below.

Treatment options for bipolar disorder

Again, bipolar disorder is treatable, and many people who have been diagnosed go on to live stable, independent, fulfilling lives.

First, there are various types of talk therapy that can be effective. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type that can teach an individual to learn to recognize and shift distorted thoughts that can lead to distress or undesirable actions. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is another type that’s designed to help individuals with bipolar disorder develop skills to design and manage their daily routines in ways that can promote mood stabilization and healthy functioning. 

When it comes to medication, antipsychotics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed for some individuals. Finally, hospitalization may be initially required in severe cases in order to stabilize the person and help them put systems in place to manage their illness.

Seeking support from a therapist online

As mentioned above, therapy is typically a key pillar of treatment for bipolar disorder. However, not everyone is able to regularly attend in-person therapy appointments, whether due to a lack of provider availability in their area, because of anxiety or nervousness, or because of cost. In cases like these, online therapy can represent a viable alternative. 

With a platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed provider who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of home. Session costs are also less than those for the average in-person session and comparable to the cost of most insurance co-pays. 

A five-year study published in 2021 about telehealth treatment for bipolar disorder found that participants with this illness experienced decreased symptoms and increased quality of life as a result of online therapy. This means you can feel comfortable choosing whichever therapy format feels best for you. If you’re interested in exploring therapy through BetterHelp, you can see counselor reviews from clients facing similar challenges below.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to navigate

Counselor reviews

"Lisa Arce has aided me in changing my life for the better. I have struggled for years with things I never thought I could manage. Lisa's consistency, knowledge, and ability to hold me accountable for my actions and thoughts was exactly what I needed to start challenging mental illness and take control. She is wonderful, relatable, and so easy to talk to. 10/10."

"Sadie is a wonderful listener and is very empathic. She doesn't judge and really seems to understand the ups and downs."

Takeaway

Reading quotes from other people who live with bipolar disorder can offer a sense of hope and solidarity to others who have been diagnosed with this illness. If you’ve received a bipolar disorder diagnosis and your provider recommended therapy, you can seek the support of a qualified provider either in person or online.

Find support for bipolar disorder symptoms
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