Bipolar: Episodes Can Change


Did you ever have a time in your life when things were going along a certain way, but then all of a sudden things changed? For example: You had plans for a certain career, but then found yourself in a totally different career than the one you had foreseen yourself in?

Or…Had you imagined marrying a certain type of person, but found yourself instead married to a completely different type of person than the one you imagined you would marry?

These are just examples. But you get what I mean. The thing is…We can’t plan for every eventuality in life. Sometimes, no matter what we do, the unexpected happens. Things change.
And there’s nothing we can do to help that.

There’s something important you need to know about bipolar disorder, in case your doctor didn’t tell you. Bipolar disorder can change. There are different kinds of bipolar disorder. And you can be diagnosed with one type of bipolar disorder, but as you get older, you can actually end up with a different type of bipolar.

Here’s a case study: Sylvia had bipolar disorder for most of her life, but wasn’t diagnosed with it until she was older. When she went into bipolar episodes, she always went into manic episodes,
though. She never experienced the bipolar depressions she heard so much about.

However, when she was well into her 60’s, Sylvia experienced a bipolar depressive episode that thoroughly confused her, since she had never had one before. It was a particularly bad one, where she couldn’t even get out of bed for three weeks.

When she eventually came out of it, she asked her psychiatrist about it, and he said that since she was older now, her bipolar disorder had changed. They went over her triggers and found out that, in fact, her age did have something to do with her depression.


Here’s the thing about aging and bipolar disorder. As you get older, there are other issues that affect you other than just your bipolar disorder, but that can contribute to a bipolar episode.

For one thing…You’ve heard of “senior moments,” right? Where you start to have memory problems as you get older? Some people do get depressed over that issue.

Another thing that can lead to depression in older adults is not being able to do the things they used to do just because of the aging process itself. At first there can be a sense of denial, and they might still try to do those things…But then get frustrated when they find that they can no longer
do them.

There might even be some anger before there is the inevitable acceptance. Or they might experience depression, especially if they have bipolar disorder.

The “Empty Nest Syndrome” can contribute to a bipolar depressive episode, too. As children get older and leave home, your role changes, and that can cause problems, even making you depressed if it’s hard for you to accept the new change and the fact that your children (and you) are getting older.

Physical illnesses beset older people more frequently as well, and that can be a cause for depression. There are normal things like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that older people have to contend with, but there is also the fear of stroke and heart attack as well.

All these things can combine to give a person with bipolar disorder the risk of having a bipolar depressive episode even if they’ve never had one before.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,



  1. Extremely helpful article. Never heard this before. I am a 77 psychotheapist and experiencing many of the things you mentioned. You’re articles are always fantastic and your writing style very clear and down to earth. I’m sure you are helpong many. God bless you.

  2. My partner who was only diagnosed after a manic episode 7 years ago,is definitely getting worse with depression.He’s 60 later this year and at the moment all he does is sleep most of the day.This is even after having 12 sessions of ECT earlier this year!I think his psychiatrist has given up on him and doesn’t know what to do with him.Help!

  3. like parent, like child! That’s one for new parents and singles now considering having children of their own. How promising! Unconditional Love!!!!

    A special hug – a main squeeze perhaps? or a warm Daddy Embrace – chicken excluded! lol

    it was so hilarious while I was watching a Football game do grown men kick each other like that? I hope no sports fans nieces will be emulating grown silly men, Dave!


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