Have you ever felt like you’re being pulled in several directions at the same time? For people with bipolar disorder who have mixed episodes, this can be a common experience.
A mixed episode is when a person living with bipolar experiences depression and mania at the same time. Although having a manic episode and a depressive episode at the same time may sound confusing, it’s actually pretty common. About 40% of people with bipolar disorder will experience a mixed episode at least once in their life.
Sometimes it’s tricky explaining how you’re feeling during a mixed episode — that’s where music can come into play. We listen to music when we’re sad, when we’re happy or when we’re angry. Music can even help us explain what mixed episodes really feel like.
That’s why we asked members of our bipolar disorder community to share one song that perfectly describes their mixed episodes. Below you can read what they shared with us.
Here are the songs our community shared with us:
1. ‘Lithium’ by Nirvana
“‘Lithium’ by Nirvana since the lyrics go back and forth when it comes to feelings. One part is ‘I’m so happy’ then ‘I’m so ugly.’ ‘I’m so lonely’ then ‘I’m not sad.’ You guys who know the lyrics know what I’m talking [about] when I say it’s back and forth. For me, it describes both mania and depression. And I’ve used it many times to help me explain to other people what it’s like to have bipolar disorder, especially when it comes to mixed episodes.” — Deziree M.
2. ‘Where Is My Mind?’ by Pixies
“‘Where Is My Mind?’ by Pixies. This song really speaks to me, especially when experiencing a mixed episode. I feel like I’ve lost my mind because of the unpredictability and rapid mood changes. This song nearly always brings a tear to my eye, but in a more cathartic sense rather than a depressing one.” — Ella F.
3. ‘Losing My Balance’ by J. Cole
“J. Cole’s ‘Losing My Balance’ helps me think straight and keeps me calm. It’s a beautiful song.” — Quintana
4. ‘Unwell’ by Matchbox Twenty
“‘Unwell’ by Matchbox Twenty because of the lyrical descriptions of ‘talking to shadows on my wall,’ but also the way the music is happy while it talks about things that are sad.” — Kimberly F.
5. ‘Wild One’ by Green Day
“‘Wild One’ by Green Day. [It reminds me of] being manic while wanting to hurt myself. The phrase, ‘Covered in angels and demons and halos now’ and being all dressed up with nowhere to go.” — Annalisa J.
6. ‘Needy’ by Ariana Grande
“‘Needy’ by Ariana Grande. It really explains a lot of my thoughts and emotions. Also, it helps me realize I’m having a bad period and it helps me focus getting back to my ‘normal’ ways.” — Mendy S.
7. ‘I’m Gonna Show You Crazy’ by Bebe Rexha
“‘I’m Gonna Show You Crazy’ by Bebe Rexha. ‘I’m tired of trying to be normal, I’m always overthinking, I’m driving myself crazy, so what if I’m f*$&ing crazy?'” — Megan B.
8. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen
“‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It mirrors the tempo I run at.” — Genevieve J.
9. ‘Manic’ by Plumb
“‘Manic’ by Plumb because [it feels like] I’m living in a hurricane. Like I’m pouring sunshine and rage.” — Ashley B.
10. ‘How It Feels To Be Lost’ by Sleeping With Sirens
“‘How It Feels To Be Lost’ by Sleeping With Sirens. It puts into words how it feels to not know what is happening in your head and the confusion. The lyrics are almost like a conversation between me and my bipolar.” — Katie S.
11. ‘Avalanche’ by Matthew Good
“I don’t usually tell anyone. It’s the song I feel perfectly describes who I am and my life in music. It’s not even necessarily just the lyrics but parts of the song make me feel like I’m walking through life dragging my corpse through the day and it kind of transitions to feeling like I’m on a merry-go-round, like a speed up version of bipolar disorder. I always listen to it with headphones and the lights off. It’s good when I feel alone in the world because the musician is bipolar as well. It’s ‘Avalanche’ by Matthew Good.” — Emily A.
We hope that these songs help you feel more understood while going through a mixed episode. To get support from those who’ve been there, you can always post a Thought or Question on The Mighty using the hashtag #BipolarDisorder.
Have a song that perfectly describes mixed episodes that’s not included here? Feel free to let us know what it is in the comments below.