Numerous reports suggest that empaths are frequently misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. Based on my observations, it appears that seeking professional assistance to manage empathetic abilities and gifts often leads to a bipolar diagnosis as the most probable psychiatric explanation.
In my view, some empaths may experience receiving a misdiagnosis primarily because they continuously absorb the emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical energy of their surroundings. Consequently, they may feel as if they are on an unpredictable emotional ride, which could lead to a fragmented sense of self and overwhelming energetic experiences.
Bipolar disorder is primarily characterized by intense emotional states that vary from extreme highs (mania) to profound lows (depression). Since empaths absorb the emotions of those around them, they may also experience abrupt mood swings, fluctuating from elevated to deeply distressed in quick succession. This is why some empaths may initially mistake it for bipolar disorder. However, unlike bipolar disorder, the emotions do not originate within the empaths but are energetically transmitted from others.
Empaths possess a heightened sensitivity to energy and possess a natural ability to tune in to the emotions of others, allowing them to instantaneously perceive how others are feeling. This can cause empaths to suddenly feel anxious or drained when in crowds of people, to feel energized or fatigued depending on the people around them, to turn off or avoid news about tragic events, and to feel as though they need downtime to recharge after socializing.
Attuning to other people’s emotions offers empaths an in-depth insight into other people’s suffering, which then opens a pathway for compassion and healing. However, it may also mean that empaths react to what they are feeling and sensing as though it is their own experience, which can then cause their emotions to flip from one end of the scale to the other. For example, empaths may absorb the energy from an entire room, causing them to feel blissful, fearful, irritable, and sad—all at the same time.
While the symptoms may appear similar to manifestations of bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder is not yet fully comprehended by professionals. It is hypothesized that bipolar disorder is triggered by genetics and a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters that transmit signals to the brain, causing illogical and irrational thoughts and behaviors as well as reality distortions.
The effects of bipolar disorder vary from person to person, and the duration of the extreme highs or lows can fluctuate depending on the individual and their particular circumstances.
A noteworthy difference between bipolar disorder and empaths lies in the potential for individuals with bipolar disorder to exhibit reckless behavior and experience prolonged episodes of highs and lows, while empaths typically maintain greater emotional control and experience faster recovery from mood fluctuations. Furthermore, empaths are less susceptible to delusions and irrational thinking.
Another significant distinction is that studies show that individuals with bipolar disorder are less likely to exhibit empathy towards others, whereas empaths are known for their remarkable capacity for empathy and compassion.
I believe the lines between empaths and individuals with bipolar disorder can be blurred because both encounter intense emotions. However, the intense emotions experienced by empaths, as previously stated, are often transferred from others rather than arising from internal factors.
Empaths who are unaware of their empathic abilities face a significant challenge in distinguishing between their own emotions and those of others. As a result, they frequently absorb the emotions of people around them, such as joy, love, pain, anxiety, stress, depression, regardless of proximity, without fully understanding their source.
Empaths can internalize these emotions to such an extent that they can become incorporated into their own belief system. They may even lose their sense of self and begin to adopt the reality of others, particularly if they spend an extended period around someone radiating potent emotional energy.
If empaths are not aware that they are absorbing emotional energy, they may experience mood swings that can be confusing and even frightening at times, as it can be a challenge to find the logic in them. This may cause them to feel bewildered and struggle to take their emotions by the reigns.
Empaths may begin to perceive that something is significantly amiss, which may prompt them to seek medical assistance. However, if the healthcare provider is not knowledgeable about the characteristics and symptoms of being an empath or the distinctions between empaths and individuals with bipolar disorder, it is possible that they may receive an inaccurate diagnosis.
Experiencing emotional instability can be overwhelming, particularly when we are unaware of the cause of our struggle to regulate our emotions and cannot easily clarify why we are abruptly inundated with intense feelings.
When empaths take on other people’s emotions and feelings, they notice a sensation that feels like friction in their energy field. Friction happens when we are unclear of exactly what emotions we have absorbed, so the emotions ricochet around our energy field trying to get our attention so that we can process and finally clear them.
The reason empaths soak in energy is because they have the inherent skill of naturally soothing, breaking down, and transmuting negative energy so that it vibrates on a totally different frequency—one filled with love, understanding, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and oneness. Therefore, they naturally draw in energy and situations that are highly charged, and often toxic, so they can neutralize the toxic energy and dispel it.
This is why it is vital that empaths discern what is happening in their own lives, as well as what happens around them, and that they pay attention when their emotions suddenly change. This will enable them to understand why they are feeling a particular way, where it has come from, and most importantly, whom it belongs to.
By spending some time in silence or practicing meditation, we can sort through the vibrations we sense and process our experiences in a deliberate and effective manner. Once we have taken responsibility for our emotions, we can begin the process of examining our recent experiences to determine what has caused us to feel a certain way, or what emotions may have been transferred from the people or situations around us.
When “putting ourselves in other people’s shoes,” it is vital to do so without absorbing and taking on the associated emotions and feeling them as intensely as the other person does. Instead, we can empathize without becoming too emotionally entwined and living out other people’s stories as if they are our own. This can take time to learn, as it feels natural for empaths to try to lift low-vibrational energy.
By taking ownership of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, empaths can gain insight into the boundary between their own energy and that of others. This can help them distinguish between emotional, mental, and physical energy that belongs to them and that which has been absorbed from others.
Engaging in physical exercise, yoga, or meditation can aid in dispelling negative energy, restoring emotional balance, and replenishing our energy levels.
The author of this quote is unknown, but its wisdom is worth contemplating: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by a**holes.”
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Disclaimer: It is essential to seek advice from a medical practitioner if you have any concens about bipolar disorder since it is a severe illness distinct from being an empath that may necessitate professional advice, support, and potentially medication.
The author or publisher accept no responsibility for any damages, losses, or injuries that may arise from the use or misuse of the information presented in this context.
The information presented here is intended to provide general knowledge about bipolar disorder and should not be construed as medical advice or used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice.