• World Bipolar Day, which falls on March 30th, is a worldwide day dedicated to the observance of bipolar disorder I and II.
  • The holiday aims to reduce the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding bipolar disorder, and is symbolized by a black and white striped ribbon.
  • World Bipolar Day can be a time for individuals to become better informed, both about the disorder’s symptoms, as well as how to offer support.
  • By becoming better educated about bipolar disorder symptoms, those who are practicing empathy can learn how to respond more effectively to agitation and anger from loved ones who have bipolar disorder.

World Bipolar Day is celebrated on March 30th every year. This day, which focuses exclusively on bipolar disorder I and II, is non-coincidentally the birthday of the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

World Bipolar Day aims to inform and destigmatize the general public related to all things bipolar disorder, including the signs, symptoms, and daily lives of those who carry a bipolar diagnosis. 

Why Is There a World Bipolar Day?

World Bipolar Day serves to educate the public about bipolar disorder I and II, to reduce the fear and misunderstanding that often accompanies the mention of these (and other) mental health conditions. World Bipolar Day can bring better awareness to the effects of bipolar disorder, including how it influences someone’s emotions and daily life. 

Bipolar disorder may cause states of:

  • Mania, which is often experienced as a state of elevated energy and mood, where an individual has a spurt of ideas, motivation, and creative thinking 
  • Hypomania, which can be thought of as similar to mania but ultimately less intense and with a shorter duration
  • Depression, which is experienced as poor mood, agitation, fatigue, and a dismal world view—and can last a week or more 

These different emotional states and their duration may vary depending on the individual, and aren’t always experienced by everyone. With proper treatment, which may or may not include medication management, many people with bipolar disorder may display no visible signs of the condition, even while carrying a diagnosis. 

What Are Effective Coping Skills for People with Bipolar Disorder?

World Bipolar Day can also help educate those with this condition (or who are experiencing its symptoms) about effective distress tolerance skills. Reflect on the following distress tolerance habits during World Bipolar Day:

  • Practicing sleep hygiene, which can stabilize circadian rhythms
  • Eating at a regular time
  • Prioritizing a balanced, nutritional diet
  • Staying consistent with your medication 
  • Making sure you’re working on identifying difficult emotions through journaling

And lastly, exercise is one of the most important things one can do for overall fitness and mental wellness, and may be uniquely helpful in treating bipolar disorder I or II. Lithium (a salt), is one of many medications used to treat bipolar disorder and is also excreted when we sweat. 

Even simple self-care tasks, such as hanging out with your dog, cleaning your house, watching a movie, or treating yourself to a night out of the house can all help reduce the unwanted effects of bipolar disorder. 

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What Color Ribbon Is Used to Raise Awareness for Bipolar Disorder?

The ribbon used for World Bipolar Day is black and white striped, which symbolizes how this disorder can cause drastically different emotional states. The World Bipolar Day ribbon can be hung in one’s office, home, or displayed on clothing in support of those who have bipolar disorder, and to raise awareness for this mental health condition. 

What Is the Best Way to Deal with a Bipolar Person?

World Bipolar Day also brings to light how important it is to handle interpersonal relationships with our loved ones who have bipolar disorder. If you know someone with bipolar disorder, treat them as you would any other person—with patience and respect. 

Even if you know someone with bipolar disorder, they may not show it. If you do know they have a diagnosis, and they’re comfortable talking with you about it, check in with them, in terms of what can be helpful. 

Maybe certain things can help you keep from triggering them if that’s been an issue in the past, but don’t make it about their condition. Work with the symptoms that you see. 

For example: 

  1. If they’re really irritable, don’t take it personally. 
  2. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with you?”, equip yourself by talking with them about their triggers when they feel better, or researching the condition from a knowledgeable source. 
  3. After researching or talking to them, you’re likely to discover that one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be intense irritability. 
  4. With this new knowledge in hand, you can practice empathy and compassion, and if they start to make you feel upset or unsafe, express how you feel in a patient manner. 
  5. Maintain your boundaries, so you don’t have to stick around for unpleasant dynamics, but be consistent. 

How Do You Calm Down Bipolar Agitation?

Remember that World Bipolar Day is about eliminating fear, misunderstanding, and stigma associated with this condition, while educating us all about the true effects and signs of the condition. 

If the person with bipolar disorder isn’t a danger to someone else or themselves, don’t make their agitation about their mental health condition. If they’re upset, just take some space. It’s not your job to control or maintain someone else’s emotions. 

If their agitation is truly related to their bipolar diagnosis, then medication is typically the best way to calm bipolar agitation. Not everyone with bipolar disorder will get angry. That’s why asking what you can do to help is usually the best way to neutrally approach the situation.