Though a series of tweets on Monday, Tesla founder Elon Musk, confessed to having Bipolar Disorder. “I wonder if the ups and down he had make for a more enjoyable life”, this was a twitter user’s comment on Musk’s apparently happy Instagram profile. In turn, Elon replied with a series of tweets hinting at mental turmoils he faces on a daily basis.
“The reality is great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress. Don’t think people want to hear about the last two.”
What is Bipolarity
Bipolarity is a medical condition wherein a person experiences extreme mood swings. Additionally, it often comes with a long drawn battle with depression or even anxiety. Previously known just as a mood disorder, this condition is marked by elongated periods of mania and depression.
The “great highs” don’t uncommonly associate with periods of mania. Further, while maniac, a person undergoes high adrenaline rushes, aggression or excitement, periods of insomnia, high activity and increased libido, among others. Whereas, the “terrible lows” that Musk mentions, are the periods of dark depression. A person with bipolar depression is extremely withdrawn, hopeless and helpless. It often happens for no reason at all, and sometimes for the most redundant ones.
Some days, a person wakes up in a happy mood, willing to conquer the world. The very next hour, the person might want to curl up in a corner and cry. The instability and inconsistency that comes with being bipolar, contributes to immense frustration and of course, “unrelenting stress”.
“Are you Bipolar?”
“Yeah…Maybe not medically tho [sic]. Dunno. Bad feelings correlate to bad events, so maybe real problem is getting carried away in what I sign up for.”
The highs, lows and stress and that Musk talks about, are no doubt the symptoms of Bipolarity, however, he hasn’t received a medical diagnosis of the same. Elevated stress is a very major cause of depression and might even contribute to worsening the mood disorder. The statistics of depressed people worldwide, is rising sharply, only to prove how much turmoil the modern man is facing.
Elon Musk, the 46-year-old Tesla founder is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated business tycoons on this planet. It is, therefore, not shocking to realise that the man with $16.1 billion net worth, is subject to immense public scrutiny and subsequent stress.
Sustained or chronic stress, like what is caused at a high-power job, causes elevated levels of hormones like cortisol, and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. This imbalance has been directly linked to depression.
How important is a medical diagnosis?
Diagnosing a disorder is important for two primary reasons. One, it helps understand the changes the body and/or mind is undergoing and the consequent problems. Two, diagnosis is the first step towards treatment and betterment.
Elon Musk mentions that he knows he is bipolar, perhaps because of the symptoms. Yet, he hasn’t really sought medical help. That is a fatal decision. Given that Bipolarity is an incurable disorder, it becomes even more important to seek medical professionals, begin therapy and take medication.
A proper medical treatment plan is the only way to deal with disorders.
In recent years, we have gone through stories of many celebrities and public figures who have confessed to being depressed, anxious or bipolar. We also have, unfortunately, witnessed many tragic deaths owing to lack of treatment. It is therefore of utmost importance that we gather our courage and go seek help. There is no shame in asking for help.
Depression affects more than 300 million people a year worldwide, a figure that is steadily climbing. Further, 51 million people (and counting) suffer from Bipolar Disorder.
In the past, Stephen Fry, Catherine Zeta Jones and Demi Lovato, among other celebrities, have admitted to being bipolar. The first step towards recovery is acceptance and the second, most important, is to seek medical help. There is no other way to deal with a mental disorder than to talk to a therapist and consult a psychiatrist.
Common people and those with high power jobs are equally at risk of developing mental disorders. We need to change our reactions, from being ashamed and in denial, to seeking solutions. What can be done is to bring out more stories in the open, start conversations and encourage medical treatment.
Only few can imagine what it feels like to be constantly fighting with your brain. A lot of us are actually fighting those battles every day. It is so very important to tend to a broken bone. Similarly, it is so much more important to care for this head of yours.
Years of bottled up stress and trauma, contribute to clinical depression and aggravate mood disorders and anxiety.
Take care yourself. If you feel odd and edgy and are facing problems in dealing with routine life, please go seek help. The medical professionals are there to understand you and help you out.