Bipolar – Can You Tell?


I was thinking about something today. I was thinking that I have several people who work for me who have bipolar disorder, and how I always brag on them, about how you would never know that they have the disorder, unless they told you. They tell me, too, that when it comes to

being around other people, that others would never know that they have bipolar disorder either unless they told them. It just doesn’t come up.

Of course, I live in New Jersey, and they live in other places, all over the map. But I was wondering about what they look like in person. I mean, not their looks, but whether in person, that you can or can’t tell that they have bipolar disorder. So that made me think about you and your loved ones.

If there’s over 6 million people with bipolar disorder, chances are that you know more than

just your loved one with the disorder. Can you tell or can you NOT tell just by looking,

if someone has bipolar disorder or not? I mean, what does someone with bipolar disorder

actually look like? Interesting question, don’t you think?

See, what made me think about it, too, was the many emails I’ve gotten from people like

you, asking me about whether “it” is the bipolar or the loved one, and about whether they are “faking” it or not. That’s been a real big issue, according to the emails and calls that I’ve gotten.

So I give it to you. What do you think? What has been your experience? Can you tell just by looking, if your loved one has bipolar disorder or not? If so, what is it about their behavior that gives them away? For those of you who can’t tell, what is it about your loved one’s behavior that is different, that doesn’t give them away?

This is what I think – that the difference in people is that some are high-functioning and some are not, at least by what the people who work for me are concerned, this is what makes them different.

High-functioning behavior can make a person with bipolar disorder NOT stand out as someone with the disorder. Does that make sense?

Whereas, on the other hand, someone who has bipolar disorder, but is NOT high functioning, would be someone who you can tell DOES have bipolar disorder.

I have seen this firsthand – in the people who work for me, those I have interviewed for my courses, those who I have talked to at the support groups I attend, and others I have heard from via email and phone.

I’d like to say that everyone with bipolar disorder can be high-functioning. Unfortunately, not everyone can… But I believe that a majority of them can. They have to try really hard, though.

They have to take their medication religiously, go to all their appointments with their doctors,

psychiatrists, and therapists, eat a healthy diet, exercise, keep a good sleep schedule, stick to

a good treatment plan, have a good strong support system that they go to for help, be productive, and do all the other things they need to do to stay stable. And they need to do all these things for the long term.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. My girlfriend is what you would consider a high -functioning BP person. She knows she has it but
    won’t seek medical help…no therapy, doesn’t want
    to be on BP meds…but chews tobacco(yes it’s true) and takes muscle relaxants to help with the anxiety and other symptoms. We’ve been together for over two years and I just recently moved out because she started pushing me away when she found out she was losing her job. She went into a depressive episode…no interest in physical pleasure. She doesn’t think of us as a couple anymore but I know she still loves me and wants me in her life. She’s not suicidal depressive and functions well enough that she can fake it around her friends and family most of the time. My question is if she can hold it together except when having to deal with a relationship and living with someone…do I have the right to expect her to seek help? She is the love of my life and would like to marry her but I don’t know
    if that is realistic given her opposition to seeking therapy and taking meds…

  2. I loved her unconditionally!
    In the year 2000 I met her on an on-line dating site. First a few e-mails then a few phone calls then I was invited straight to her couch. It all seemed genuine. The truth is that she picked me out and used me for everything she could. I will never be the same and it is now 10 years later.
    The short version: The first 3 years we lived together. The next 3 years were long distance and the last 1 1/2 years we were back together.
    She had to move to Reno, NV. and I lived in Malibu, CA. She agreed to keep the relationship going and we planed to get married after her son went to collage, after her 3 year stay in Reno. I was faithful and flew to be with her at least 4 times a year. I paid for so much because of the written promises to pay me back. She later told me that she never had any intention of paying me back. I paid for her to move there, to move two more times (which included my time away from work, airfare, truck rental, labor, her first / last / security and to fill up her refrigerator) I made many of her car payments, many rent payments (she said that she will be living in her car next week) She had two surgeries and I flew there to be at her side and take care of her… etc.
    No matter how bad things in life get, if you are involved with a bipolar-1 person, everything can get A LOT worse.
    When the 3 years were up I flew there and rented the biggest truck I could, put everything she owned inside and drove her to Topanga, CA. I bought a 3 karat princess cut engagement ring and popped the question. I bought a 2007 Audi and at the last second she twisted herself onto the paperwork. So, one day I came home from work and she was not home. I got situated from the day and wondered if I had any new e-mails. I touched the keyboard and wham… the screen woke up and there was her AOL account. I saw a few red flags along the way and had some doubts about her total honesty with me, so… was it wrong of me to peek at her 3 years of “sent” mail? It was right there. Almost like it was begging me to see it. My heart was about to pop out of my chest because I am honest and I felt that it was wrong to look. But I did look. I started from when she first got to Reno up to one week after I bought the car. I read my own note that I wrote to her saying that I was coming in on flight #… and how much I missed her. Her next e-mail out was to a guy saying for him NOT to call or come over because her friend from L.A. (me) is coming in for a visit. Then the note of mine after I got back home and that I was missing her all ready. Then the very next e-mail was to this guy saying that I have just left and that he should come right over because she just shaved her legs.
    The e-mails went on and on like that. Intimate relationships with many many men. I was in shock! I felt like a professional soccer team just kicked me into their victory cup and I ran outside and threw up.
    I didn’t tell her that I knew what she had done because in 3 weeks from then I agreed to film her sisters wedding and I should take that time to sort out my feelings and get a grip. On the flight back from Ohio and the wedding I ceased to communicate as some part of me shut down and knew that I had to endure it NO MORE.
    A few days later I finally told her that I knew about her and another guy. I knew of 7 or 8 guys but I wanted her to confess. She didn’t give an inch. I told her a name and she knew that I knew something truthful. She didn’t give up. I said I knew about more than one guy. Finally she said that she would tell me if I first told her everything I knew. I told her “that wasn’t how it was going to work”. So she finally told me “5 or 6 guys”.
    The next day I started moving out my things. The day after that I found myself needing help to carry my big TV to my truck. So, on my way there I saw someone that I knew and offered him $15.00 to help me do that one thing. He agreed. So we drove there and I told him to be careful with the woman that might be there. I went straight to work un-plugging cords and she came out of the room wearing a full length bathrobe. She focused all of her anger on my helper. I don’t know why. He calls my name and I look up and she is swinging her fists at his face like a wind-mill. I run over and separated them then went back to work… Yeah, right. She wouldn’t stop. After 3 or 4 of those I just stood between them. I wasn’t mean but it now was the way that it was and nothing can be done about it. She charges at him like a train. I wrap my arms around her waste to stop her and she is dragging me. I’m a strong guy so I decided to stop her. We spun around and one of my feet tripped on the corner of her bathrobe. We fall to the carpet like a sack of potatoes. We didn’t even bump into anything else. So I quickly picked her up because even though she hurt me in the worst way possible I would NEVER lay a physical hand on her, ever! She was fine. And me too, thanks for asking. But she started again so I did the same thing but this time we do a little turn and her waste, which was right in front of mine, runs into the arm of the couch. It was the perfect place. She landed on the seat cushion and I landed on top of her with my arms around her waste. My weight prevented me from pulling my hands out from around her and I even laughed a little because of the insanely dramatic predicament I was in. I bounced a little and pulled my arms out from around her. I didn’t push on her to get up and I really don’t know how or if she really did get her arm (the arm that was to the back cushion) hurt but she started screaming and wouldn’t stop. The other guy and I got that lousy TV into my truck and she called 911. I spoke to them and said that I didn’t lay a hand on her and she is flipping out. But we are breaking up and I am moving my property out. I said good bye and me the TV and that guy drove away. I went to the family house up at Trancas and sat there in shock. About 30 minutes later a police car pulls up and they pull out their guns! No, I’m not kidding!!! They yell for me and they slip in the front door like they were in a movie. Because of that bipolar woman’s lies I had a police pistol pointed at my forehead! They arrested me in front of my neighbors and booked me. While in jail an officer comes over and says that she told them that I paid an ex-con $15.00 to beat her up and leave her there for dead.
    That cost me $5,000.00 for a $50,000.00 dollar bond and another $5,000.00 for an attorney. And I only tried to stop the commotion!
    It went on and on with her and the lawyer and court and phone messages… I’m still frightened of women and the stories that will be believed to land a good guy in jail. I have 3 hours of phone messages recorded on CD’s for the court to hear and the e-mails to prove every word I’m saying is true.
    They dropped all the charges and the D.A. actually used the words “SORRY, we made a mistake”. I asked him if I could get my money back. My very professional long time attorney said that he has never heard the D.A. say that. My attorney also told me that he has met a lot of crazy people in all his years but my ex girlfriend was by far the craziest. He also said that she was the devil himself.
    So, if you don’t believe that things can get any worse then I will tell you right now that you are dead wrong.
    Her name was on the new Audi so she stole it and drove to Memphis, TN. And… I have no credit any more either.
    Oh, I’m on my 4th attempt at filling out the papers to get a restraining order on her only because she won’t leave me alone and that she said that she would own this family house when she got done with me. There is so much more if you want to hear it.
    Also, after I moved out and she was still there the landlord that was 75 years old was arguing with her about her having to move out and he dropped dead right there from a heart attack.
    Oh yes… I am afraid of disturbed and disordered people. Especially women.


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