Bursting the bubble of bipolar

Blowing bubbles for World Bipolar Day

People affected by bipolar disorder, their families, friends and the community, blew thousands of bubbles for ‘blow bubbles for bipolar’, an international initiative to raise awareness and help end the silence surrounding bipolar disorder.

The floating bubbles represented the ‘high’ or ‘manic’ moods a person with bipolar might experience, while a falling, bursting bubble represented the ‘low’ moods.

Helen Hadlow, who attended the Westmead Institute Medical Research event, has a close connection to bipolar and other mental illnesses.

“So many people close to me have been personally affected by mental illness,” Ms Hadlow said.

“You never know if, or when, your family will be affected, so it’s important that we have a greater understanding of bipolar.”

The Westmead Institute Brain Dynamics Centre director Dr Mayuresh Korgaonkar said it was an important step towards raising awareness about the disorder.

“Up to one in 50 of us will experience an episode of bipolar disorder in our lifetimes, so it’s surprising how little the everyday Australian knows about the condition,” Dr Korgaonkar said.

“Breaking down the stigma of bipolar is a community effort.”

Those affected have a greater risk of suicide compared to the general population and may experience difficulties in maintaining relationships, and finding and keeping employment.

“It’s important to know that with the right treatment, we can successfully manage the disorder.”