World Bipolar Day is observed on March 30 every year, on the birthday of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh — one of the most influential artists in the history of Western art. His creativity was paralleled with his mental illness and he was posthumously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder dramatically affects the mood and may result in episodes of depression and elation, which can affect one’s health, productivity, and relationships. World Bipolar Day educates and promotes the spread of information on bipolar disorder through international collaborative efforts.
History of World Bipolar Day
World Bipolar Day is an initiative by the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) who partnered with the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorders (ANBD).
Bipolar disorder isn’t a modern issue, and its diagnosis dates back to ancient Greece. The earliest mention of the mental disorder can be found in the medical literature of the physician Hippocrates, who has often been referred to as “the father of medicine.” He documented his findings on two polar opposite moods — what is known now as depression and mania.
The modern conceptual understanding of bipolar disorder occurred in the 19th century.
Independent descriptions of bipolar disorder were presented to the Académie de Médecine in Paris in 1854 by French neurologist Jules Baillarger and French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Falret. The term ‘bipolar disorder’ had not been coined yet, so Baillarger referred to the illness as ‘folie à double forme,’ meaning dual-form insanity, and Falret called it ‘folie circulaire,’ meaning circular insanity.
In 1999, the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) was founded, and has since been researching bipolar disorders and helping people who are suffering from it. Bipolar disorders are more common than we think. Extreme mood swings go unnoticed or are dismissed as temperamental issues, while the inflicted person is actually going through waves of mania or depression. People with this mental illness lead disrupted lives, as the disorder impacts one’s ability to function. Fortunately, medication and extensive counseling can help with the treatment.
Living with bipolar disorder is not easy but, in the words of Van Gogh himself, “The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out all right.”
World Bipolar Day timeline
Aretaeus of Cappadocia begins medically linking mania and depression.
Robert Burton publishes “The Anatomy of Melancholy,” addressing the treatment of melancholy using music and dance.
French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Falret publishes an article describing ‘la folie circulaire,’ meaning ‘circular insanity.’
“bp Magazine” becomes the pioneering source of inspiration and information for people living with bipolar disorder, and their loved ones.
World Bipolar Day FAQs
What color ribbon is for bipolar disorder?
The ribbon for raising awareness of bipolar disorder is black and white stripes. The contrasting colors represent the two extreme sides of the condition.
When is World bipolar Day 2021?
World Bipolar Day is observed on March 30 every year.
Is bipolar a sign of genius?
Bipolar disorder is a curious condition, as it is often considered a shadow of creativity. Throughout history, the illness has affected gifted individuals and creative geniuses.
How To Observe World Bipolar Day
Help a friend
It is possible that a friend or loved one may be suffering from bipolar disorder. Pay attention to anyone showing extreme mood swings and get them to seek a professional opinion.
Talk about it
Talk openly and honestly about bipolar disorder. There is no shame in it! Share your experiences and get involved on World Bipolar Day.
Wear a ribbon
Black and white stripes represent the two extremes of bipolar disorder. Wear a striped ribbon to show your solidarity.
5 Facts About Bipolar Disorder That You Didn’t Know
It affects every aspect of life
Bipolar disorder is crippling and impedes success in every domain of life — work, relationships, and even day-to-day tasks like showering or sleeping, etc.
Bipolar disorder comes with other ailments
Bipolar disorder crosses the boundary of just causing mental problems — it affects a person physically as well in the form of spasms, migraines, and metabolic disorders.
It is different for everyone
Just like fingerprints, no two bipolar disorders are the exact same — diagnosis varies significantly, which makes characterizing the illness and prescribing treatment for it even more difficult.
Celebrities suffer from it, too
Demi Lovato, Mary Lambert, Kanye West, and Richard Dreyfuss are some high-profile celebrities who are combating bipolar disorder.
The cause can be anything
A research team from the University of Michigan conducted a study on bipolar disorder that spanned two decades and found that bipolar disorder cannot be given a single root cause, as it is mostly the result of a combination of biological and environmental factors.
Why World Bipolar Day Is Important
Support is vital
One in five people living with bipolar disorder end up harming themselves or ending their lives. On World Bipolar Day we extend support to these people in dealing with the challenges of this condition, and give them hope for a better tomorrow.
Timely diagnosis is crucial
As common as it is, many people don’t realize they are suffering from bipolar disorder. Learning about the disease and diagnosing it timeously can prevent it from becoming severe.
They are not alone
World Bipolar Day gives those living with this illness an opportunity to connect with others with the same symptoms, and get access to resources and treatment options that can improve their lives.
World Bipolar Day dates