Celebrate World Bipolar Day with Maple
Join the bipolar community on March 30th to celebrate World Bipolar Day!
We celebrate World Bipolar Day (WBD) on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday March 30th. Van Gogh is one of the most influential artists in the history of Western art and his creative talent has been studied and enjoyed by millions of us worldwide. It is also important to recognise his grapple with his mental health and it wasn’t until after his death that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For that reason, and many others, we believe in the importance of advocating and educating people around the world about Bipolar disorder through international collaborative efforts.
Bipolar disorder can be a life-long mental health problem that predominantly affects your mood. It is usually defined by periods of mood changes called episodes of mania (or elation) and depression which can last from weeks to months. There is so much we can do to raise awareness around the disorder and by celebrating World Bipolar Day with us you can too!
Celebrating our differences and our commonalities brings us together in unique ways and is an important and fun part of life. People with bipolar disorder deserve to be celebrated, recognised, and advocated for.
How will you be celebrating World Bipolar Day?
Why is World Bipolar Day Celebrated?
Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, affects about 45 million people worldwide and roughly 1.3% of Australians. The reality is bipolar is also one of the most overlooked health concerns in Australia and can be very hard and timely to diagnose. Bipolar is an invisible illness and therefore difficult to comprehend the toll the disorder can take on someone. This disorder can impact every aspect of life from daily activities such as sleeping and other routines to relationships and careers.
Bipolar disorder also has many causes. It can be passed down through genetics but also triggered by major life events or trauma. The University of Michigan conducted a 12 year long study that found there is no one single genetic change, life event or chemical imbalance that determines the root cause of bipolar disorder. Often it is a combination of several biological and environmental factors that are at play.
Every single person with bipolar disorder is different, each diagnosis will vary greatly and will likely experience different symptoms. It can very much be a life-threatening disorder with an estimated 1 in 5 people diagnosed with bipolar dying by suicide, which proves that support is vital.
Therefore, on World Bipolar Day, the birthday of Van Gogh himself, we celebrate, support, advocate and raise awareness for those who live with the challenges of this condition and those that may not yet know that they are.
How to Celebrate World Bipolar Day
In recent decades we have travelled so far in understanding mental health conditions and how to better treat and support those living with them. However, there is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness. Dedicating a specific day to a condition on a yearly basis gives us the opportunity to shine a light on it and advocate for a better understanding.
There are many things you can do and take part in on World Bipolar Day:
Talk about it
Talking about mental health plays a huge part in reducing stigma. Bring up the subject with family, friends or co-workers about World Bipolar Day and share facts that you have learned. You could also include it in your email signature or share information on your social media.
Share your story
Sharing our stories is one of the best ways to reduce stigma and create a better world of understanding. Although it can make us vulnerable, it can also generate support. You don’t have to do it on World Bipolar Day but you may find it a good time to start. If public speaking isn’t for you, you could reach out to a local publication or a reputable blog where you can share your story anonymously.
Wear a ribbon
The ribbon that symbolises bipolar disorder is black and white striped. The stripes represent the extreme opposites portrayed in the episodes of mania and depression that people with bipolar disorder experience. A green ribbon also represents mental health awareness. Wearing these ribbons can create a space to talk about bipolar disorder.
Join events or fundraisers
Celebrate and advocate by joining events or fundraisers. Look for events near you to join or volunteer with or create one yourself. This could simply be a get together for like minded people willing to learn and share stories, or elaborate events aimed at raising money for the cause. Reach out to local mental health associations to find out if they have any events happening.
Support groups can be a great way to connect with others. Everyone’s experience will be unique but it’s important to receive assurance that you are not alone. There is a lot of power in sharing your story and hearing others perspectives. You can also learn how others are managing the disorder and share tips that might work for you.
Events for World Bipolar Day
Bipolar Australia is holding a series of short presentations on the 5 days leading up to WBD which will be good for people living with bipolar, their family members, carers and friends and any other professionals willing to learn more about treatment and experience with bipolar.
Bipolar Australia is also hosting an interactive online Q&A session with a panel of experts on March 30th WBD.
Australian Rotary Health
Deakin University’s IMPACT Strategic Research Centre and the Australasian Society for Bipolar & Depressive Disorders Ltd (ASBDD) are also presenting a free community event ‘World Bipolar Day – Questions Unanswered?’. Due to the Good Friday Public Holiday, the event will be held on the evening of 28th of March 2018.
The Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder
The centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder (CYBD) is holding a public education event hosted on World Bipolar Day to increase awareness, reduce stigma and inspire hope for anyone with an interest in learning more about youth bipolar disorder.
However you choose to celebrate and advocate for World Bipolar Day on Wednesday, the 30th of March, make sure you are safe, have fun, and wear your striped ribbons!