Bipolar Disorder: What Is It And What Are YouTubers Saying About It?
28 March 2017, 13:54
You may have heard the term 'bipolar' in relation to mental illness, but we'd all be forgiven for not entirely understanding this complex and often overwhelming mental health issue which affects around 1-2% of the UK population, although reports show this could be closer to 5%.
For YouTube fans, American gamer Markiplier has had a huge impact in raising awareness about bipolar disorder and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for depression and bipolar charities. Having someone in the limelight speak so openly and honestly about the disorder means boundaries are breaking down and the stigma is rapidly vanishing.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
In its most blunt form, Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition where the paitent experiences rapid mood swings between alternative ends of the scale; from extreme euphoria to crippling depression. You may hear people talking about bipolar in terms of "manic depression" and they both mean the same thing.
Experiences of mania can be very dangerous; for example, someone experiencing a "manic high" would become more likely to engage in risky behaviour such as excessive spending or driving too fast. During a depressive episode, a person can be prone to suicidal thoughts. However, none of this means they can't live a normal life with a full time job, studies, a family and friends.
A person may end up diagnosed bipolar with no history of mental health issues or known triggers. As such, the more we create awareness of the issue, the more people will feel comfortable speaking to their medical professional about it.
What Does Bipolar Feel Like?
If you're suffering from bipolar or someone close to you has been diagnosed with it, it can be incredibly hard to explain. Going through a depressive episode could mean feeling tired, sad and hopeless, losing interest in things which normally please you and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
During a manic high, a person can feel elation for long periods of time, have masses of energy, talk very quickly, feel very self important, doesn't sleep or eat and can make very bad decisions. It is possible a high and a low can co-exist.
Markiplier And Bipolar
In 2015, Markiplier ran a three-hour long Super Mario livestream to help raise money for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance via Twitch. In that space Mark managed to raise $75,000 for the charity that's incredibly close to his heart.
At the time, Mark said: "Too much doubt and misunderstanding surrounds these subjects and it needs to be addressed with the same seriousness as physical illnesses."
Mark has also uploaded videos talking about his struggles with mental illness, thus helping to fight the stigma and educate his subscribers, of which he has nearly 17 million in total.