Every year, on March 30th, we celebrate World Bipolar Day – an opportunity to raise awareness about this illness and to help end the stigma. The date is also the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, an internationally recognized artist who lived with bipolar.
This year, we’re celebrating the strength and courage of our clients who live with bipolar. We invite you to celebrate World Bipolar Day by learning more about this mental illness through the information below and through our clients’ stories.
What is bipolar? Can it be treated?
Bipolar (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental illness that affects 1% of Canadians. People diagnosed with bipolar can experience shifts in their mood, activity levels, ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, energy, and concentration.
A person can experience bipolar symptoms at any age. Usually, people with bipolar are diagnosed in their teenage years or early 20s. While the symptoms of bipolar may cause issues in relationships, bipolar is treatable. With medication, psychotherapy and support in place, symptoms can be reduced and people can lead fulfilling and dignified lives.
People experiencing symptoms of bipolar can connect with a doctor to go through a physical exam, blood testing, and a psychological evaluation. After that, a specialist will assess the symptoms and discuss treatment options.
If untreated, bipolar symptoms get worse over time, becoming more severe and leading to suicide.
At LOFT, we offer one-on-one support as well as supportive housing to people living with mental health challenges, such as bipolar. Our team works with each client to help them manage their treatment and live independently.
Learn from our clients
Our clients’ stories are inspiring examples of what is possible when people have the right support in place. Learn more about their challenges and achievements below.
Andrew was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teen. He found himself fighting with his family, dropping out of school, and even getting hospitalized several times.
With LOFT’s support, Andrew is managing his mental health well, reconnecting with his family, and building his video production business. Read his story in his own words.
Trevor was 30 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar. Not long after, he lost his job, marriage, and access to his children. Now in his 60s, Trevor appreciates the support he receives at St. George House. Watch Trevor tell his story in his own words.
When she was growing up, Pauline says her parents treated her poorly. She suspects the symptoms of bipolar played a role in it. Pauline made the tough choice to set out on her own after Grade 10, and she didn’t return to school.
Despite living with mental health challenges, life was good for many years. She had a desire to help people and pursued a job as an occupational therapy assistant, and later became a nurse’s aide, assisting people in need of home care. Read Pauline’s story.
How to get help
Do you know someone who might be experiencing symptoms of bipolar? Have you experienced them yourself? Visit our How to Access Services page and learn how to gain access to our services.