Bipolar Disorder Videos on YouTube
by Leah Alexandra Goldstein
I host a monologue in my head all day long, as I assume most people do; I run through my to-do lists, organize my tasks at hand, and guide myself through my own emotional reactions. These are the types of things going through my head at 7:10 in the morning when I’m standing behind the cafe counter, sorting through twenties and fives, making sure they add up to four hundred. The first customer of the day strolls in somewhere around this point, she wants a latte and asks about the monkey bread and I see the same disappointed look in her eye every time I have to tell her, “no, not today.” If only people gave as much of a shit about human tragedies transpiring in front of their own eyes on a regular basis as they did their breakfast pastries. I hand her the latte, wish her a good day and resume my counting. I get so lost in the proper technique of sifting through bills that I almost don’t hear the door open.
It’s now 7:15am. The sun has just barely risen, I’m the only person in the cafe to help him. My inner-monologue changes pace as I see his hands flop on the counter in front of me. Should I protect myself? I wonder if these hands are weapons. “Coffee,” he mutters in a deep, raspy voice at me. It sounded like he had smoked at least two packs of cigarettes every day since he was a teenager. He smells like sweat. I say nothing, pour him a drip and hand it off. He throws a credit card down on the counter to pay for his $2.70 beverage. I run it and explain that he’ll need to sign the iPad screen. He looks up at me, picks up his coffee and leaves without finishing the transaction properly or saying another word. My inner monologue begins again. My heart is racing, but nothing even happened. Did I say something wrong? Why am I shaking? Why do I feel like I’m a frightened child again? Was that him?
It’s 11am on the first warm day of spring. It’s the first time I can go outside in 2016 with a pair of cut-off sweatpant shorts and an old, oversized t-shirt. It’s a late start to my first day off of work in over a week. I made a full French press that I intended to finish entirely alone with the comfort of my own thoughts out on my stoop. I love people watching. My thoughts are content to analyze my observations. A young daughter dragged by her impatient mother, rushing to get her in the car. A businessman wiping spilt coffee from his collar with a torn napkin. I take another sip of my now lukewarm java and when I look up, a greasy, overweight man in a white tank top looks down at me and says through his overgrown mustache, “you would be prettier if you smiled and grew out your hair.” I say nothing, stand up with my French press in one hand, mug in the other, shaking, and make my way back inside of my house to my bedroom.There, I close the door and lock it as though he were right behind me. My thoughts race. How dare someone invade my morning with their ideals? This was my morning to enjoy– my pleasant thoughts bouncing around my brain and now I’m left with the echo of one man’s ignorance for the rest of my day. My inner voice is outraged. It’s a year later and I can still see the words being formed from his mouth.
It’s 1995; it’s summer, a relentlessly hot day. I take my parent’s friend who has come over to visit to the backyard so he’ll push me on the swing set and watch me do cartwheels in the moist grass. I want to show off for someone who has never seen my tricks before. “Wanna see something cool?!” I ask him. “Go for it,” he encourages me. I use all my strength to jump up in the air and spin in a full circle. I land perfectly and he claps. “Okay, my turn,” he smiles, “Wanna do something else that’s cool?” I nod my head yes, eagerly awaiting my new friend’s awesome trick. He bends down and kisses me on my mouth. My young mind suddenly shifts away from what toy I am going to pick up next and when I can play basketball with my friends. It begins to wonder why a big person would kiss me. Why hasn’t this happened before? Why me? I experience a new feeling: the thought of “why?” without an understandable answer. I saw my mom and dad kiss. I’ve kissed my brother on the forehead before. But until this moment, I have never seen an adult kiss a child on the mouth. I feel the stubble of his beard against my soft baby-fat cheeks. His eyes are closed. I can feel his large hands grab my waist. It feels like he could pick me up because he’s squeezing me so tightly. I feel embarrassed. I didn’t want him to do that again. “Was it cool or what?” he asks. I wipe my mouth and tell him he should try a better trick. Maybe one with a jump or a spin move in it.
It’s 2017. My best friend calls me at 1:15am. She’s screaming. She’s grasping for words that she cannot find because maybe they don’t exist. “I’m so scared…they won’t believe me…I have a history of mental illness…I’ll never be seen at this hospital…he raped me.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not easy to navigate. A memory, a word, a smell, an instance can take one back to the exact moment the trauma first spoke to them. To the moment your bones broke in every weak spot you have. Your monologue quickly becomes your worst nightmare. Over. And over. And over again. Until you can’t breath. Like when you’re trying so hard not to think about something, but your brain is playing tricks on you and all you can think of is that one thing. Then you dissociate. There’s no sense of this loss of reality. It’s like being in a sensory deprivation tank. There is no up, no down and no ability to tell where you end and the environment around you begins. It’s real all over again. You drop to your knees and your body is trembling. You look up and there he is and there you are. You’re 6 years old. You don’t understand that you cannot trust certain people. You don’t know why he’s walking you to the corner of the old abandoned brick garage in the woods behind your house; the house where your parents are supposed to keep you safe because you’re a child. You don’t understand why your clothes aren’t on anymore and it’s getting dark and it hurts and you want to go home and watch an uncomplicated cartoon and hold your Barbies because you’re a 6 year old little girl and that’s what you should be doing right now. Not smelling cigarettes and beer on his clothes, on his neck, from his mouth. Not having all of your senses stained by his potency for the rest of your life. Not this.
If you’re living with bipolar disorder, or you have a friend or family member who has this diagnosis, then these bipolar disorder videos on YouTube will be great mental health resources.
At OC87 Recovery Diaries, we seek to #buststigma around mental illness by sharing stories filled with encouragement, hope, and change. In addition to first person essays, interviews, reviews, and a mental health podcast, we also present original short films on what it’s like to live with various mental health diagnoses. Check out these links to learn more:
– Original short films from OC87 Recovery Diaries
– All of our stories organized by diagnoses
– Our Mental Health Resources Column archive
Before you enjoy these bipolar disorder videos from a wide range of creators, be sure to subscribe to our channel on YouTube to get new mental health films as we release them each month.
What is bipolar disorder? – Helen M. Farrell | TED Ed
A narrated film with animated infographics from TED Ed, this bipolar disorder video is an excellent starting place for someone who is new to this mental health challenge. If someone you know has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this short film will explain causes, symptoms, and possible treatments in an accessible and visually engaging manner. If you live with bipolar disorder, this is a great resource to share with anyone who wants to understand and support you in a more informed way.
You might also like:
6 Bipolar Disorder Instagram Accounts That Are Busting Mental Health Stigma
Living with and Managing Bipolar Disorder
8 Tips for Telling Your Own Story
Do you have a story to tell? Chances are, you do. This free guide will walk you through our Editor in Chief's top suggestions.
Young, Black and BiPolar | Episode 1 | Ivy McQuain
In this web series, Ivy McQuain speaks honestly, directly, and passionately about her long journey living with bipolar disorder. Through tears, Ivy explains the denial, embarrassment, and stigma she experienced around being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Writing a personal essay for OC87 Recovery Diaries, Ivy answers this question:
Why did I let it go on for so long? Honestly, I was embarrassed and ashamed. Being Black with a mental illness is not the best thing to have. You can have a million other illnesses but NOT a mental one. You are instantly categorized as crazy or “throwed” off. It’s shameful. I am sure that’s why Blacks suffer the most from many common illnesses, because we refuse to (or are slow to) educate ourselves on the different things that afflict our bodies.
Successful in her professional life and a loving mother, Ivy says that it felt baffling to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Ivy’s series on YouTube is straightforward, no frills, and incredibly relatable for those reasons for people living with mood disorders. More links on OC87 Recovery Diaries: Young, Black and Bipolar by Ivy McQuain My Kids Know Mommy has Bipolar Disorder https://youtu.be/eOHxpd80srY
10 Signs of BIPOLAR Disorder: How To Tell if Someone is Bipolar! | Polar Warriors
This direct to camera, conversational talk on bipolar disorder is an excellent video for someone wondering if they are living with this mental illness before being diagnosed. In this bipolar disorder video, ten signs of manic behavior and ten signs of depression are reviewed concisely with some humor and also respectfulness to the serious nature of this diagnosis. In addition to mentioning disordered eating, possible addiction issues, and extreme reactions to daily life, this video goes over more symptoms that might be unexpected to someone not familiar with bipolar disorder. Remember that this resource is not meant to be a medical diagnosis. Instead, if you resonate with this general guide, use that feeling as momentum to get in touch with a doctor, therapist, or trusted advisor. Related stories: From Mental Health Institutionalization to Advocacy Having Hope After Being Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder https://youtu.be/W-SpgW2V4zs
OF TWO MINDS – Documentary on Bipolar Disorder | Life Issues
Different from the other bipolar disorder videos featured in this post, Of Two Minds is a full-length documentary film available on YouTube. Created by Lisa Klein and Doug Blush, the movie gives insight into the lives of three different people living with bipolar disorder over a three year period. Liz Spikol is a writer and journalist who has written a first person essay for OC87 Recovery Diaries and done an interview for our website on her experience being part of the film Of Two Minds. Also featured is Cheri Keating, a celebrity stylist based in Los Angeles. The third film subject is Carlton Davis, an artist in his mid-sixties. Watch this film if you’re feeling alone in your bipolar disorder diagnosis to see how other people with this experience are able to navigate life through ups, downs, and in-betweens.
Links to Liz Spikol’s posts:
Interview with Liz Spikol on Of Two Minds
Losing My Job, Keeping My Mental Health by Liz Spikol
Bipolar Disorder and My Story – Mental Illness Awareness Week 2017 | Laura Fritz
In the first line of this video, Laura Fritz says that she’s a wife, sister, daughter, and friend, who has bipolar disorder. Explaining the basics of this diagnosis, Laura also shares specific details of her experiences with hospitalization, denial, medication, therapy, and family support. This five-minute film is a good place for someone new to this diagnosis to watch. Laura’s bipolar disorder video is also a useful resource for parents and friends of people who have bipolar disorder because she offers practical advice for those allies.
First person essays on life with bipolar disorder:
Challenges of Writing a Bipolar Book When You Have Bipolar
Married… with Bipolar Disorder: One Couple’s Unique Mental Health Perspective
Bipolar, Bravery, and Joy: The Story of Josie Thompson (official video) | Josie Thompson Solomon (444 project)
With a small filmmaking crew, Josie Thompson shares her mental health recovery journey in this bipolar disorder video. Interspersing shots from a seated interview with Josie, the film includes personal photos, cell phone videos, and an explanation of Josie’s 444 Project. Josie has interviewed hundreds of strangers on a road trip across the United States, and then again in Italy, about happiness, mental health, and the power of sharing personal experience to make meaningful connections and bust stigma. Upcoming, Josie is bringing the 444 Project and her mental health recovery journey to the Philippines.
Part of Josie’s recovery story includes her spiritual faith. Here are more stories from OC87 Recovery Diaries on that topic:
Finding My Faith Despite Losing My Mind
Faith and Academia Unmask a Psychotic, Bipolar Depression
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder | Monica Graham
A popular genre on YouTube is content creators talking directly into their webcams about any topic imaginable. Monica Graham is a young woman who creates videos on fashion, beauty, and now her own mental health. This is her first video talking about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder so she can participate in the effort to bust mental illness stigma.
Monica talks about the importance of receiving medical, therapeutic, and family support. Honest, earnest, and vulnerable, this bipolar disorder video is a good one to share with teenagers and young adults navigating this diagnosis.
More personal experiences with bipolar disorder: