It's 30 March, 2021 Bipolar Commemoration Day, or World Bipolar Day. Letters to Strangers+Zim joins the rest of the world in commemorating Bipolar Day. This year 2021 this day came when the world is in a global pandemic brought by the health crisis at hand.
This day is celebrated with the rest of the world to raise awareness to bipolar disorders and eliminate social stigma. The purpose of this commemoration is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness.
Bipolar disorder can affect every aspect of life: It may be difficult to fully comprehend the toll bipolar disorder can take on someone because it is often an invisible illness.
Bipolar disorder has many causes, from genetics to life events: many times, it is a combination of several biological and environmental factors that can trigger bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder rarely exists alone: As if a mood disorder that involves long-spanning depressions and manic episodes wasn’t enough to deal with, bipolar disorder can also come with other physical and psychological conditions to worry about. These include metabolic disorders and migraines.
Everyone’s bipolar disorder is different: Bipolar disorder is like fingerprints —no two people have the exact same symptoms and each diagnosis can vary greatly.
There are three main types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I is characterized by one or more manic episodes that last at least a week cycling with depressive episodes, with manic episodes - or "highs" not just in terms of joy or feelings of invincibility, but also sometimes paranoia or confusion - which are often severe enough to require hospitalization or other inpatient treatment; bipolar II, which is characterized by hypomanic episodes (less intense than manic episodes) cycling with depressive episodes, sometimes with stronger depressive episodes compared to bipolar I. There is also cyclothymia, which is when moods swing between highs and lows but not to the extent that it is characterized as mania, hypomania, or depression.
As we commemorate this Bipolar Day, we should remember that this illness can affect anyone. A number of prominent celebrities such as Kanye West and Demi Lovato are living with this disease, and stigma should be shunned by all to help communities if we want to make sure everyone can get the necessary help. The disease knows no status, color, sex or gender, hence the need to combat stigma at all levels.
A lot of information on bipolar disorder is still lacking in our society despite our increasing ability to access any information by a click of a button. A lot still needs to be done, but through this commemoration whatever well-researched information which is spread to the public makes a difference. It is upon this background that we are requesting the Zimbabwe government to implement the 2001 Abuja Declaration to channel 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector to allow for these non-communicable diseases to be attended to alongside other health-related issues.