Bipolar Depression Symptoms


What is sadness?

Normally, sadness is a healthy emotion. It occurs when people lose things, feel helpless, or are in difficult situations. As a symptom of bipolar disorder, the sadness is more intense, disproportionate, and frequently, crippling. The intense feelings of sadness may prevent a person from going to school and work.

What is it like to experience this sadness?

The person feels intensely sad and hopeless. They may cry for prolonged periods of time. Possibly, they feel hopeless, lonely, and believe life has little to offer. When these feelings of sadness are intense, the person may not understand what caused them to feel this way. This can be frightening and confusing.

In severe bipolar depression, the person may be unable to experience emotion.37 Instead of feeling sad, they feel emotionless. They may feel numb, hollow, or empty.

How can I recognize this symptom?

The person who feels intensely sad may cry uncontrollably. It is difficult to console this individual. They may have a pessimistic outlook on life. They are difficult to motivate. Facial expression of emotions is inhibited.17

How does this bipolar disorder symptom impact life?

The individual may find it difficult to have positive interactions with friends, family, and coworkers. They may experience low concentration and fatigue, and may wish to isolate and stay at home. Socializing, leisure activities, or employment may appear to be insurmountable tasks.

For family and friends, it may be difficult to understand why the person has such little motivation, energy, and such a pessimistic outlook on life.

My Story

In my depression, I felt more numb than sad. I was emotionless. My feet felt heavy, the door seemed miles away, and brushing my teeth felt like an impossible task. I just wanted it to stop, and I was crushed by the fact I couldn't make it go away.

~ Adela, London, UK