Bipolar Passion vs. Bipolar Anger

March 17, 2015 Natasha Tracy

Have you ever considered that sometimes what looks like bipolar anger is really bipolar passion? I am a person with bipolar and I am a person who is intense and passionate (Bipolar and Displays of Emotion). In fact, it is my opinion that people with bipolar are frequently passionate people. We feel things more strongly than others so this makes sense. I don’t mean romantically (although, perhaps, there too), I just mean passionate about ideas, creations, art and so on. But, in my experience, this bipolar passion can be interpreted by others as bipolar anger.

Bipolar Anger

As I’ve said before, people with bipolar disorder do have issues with bipolar and anger/aggression. And while anger is not a diagnostic symptom of bipolar disorder, many people do experience anger as a part of bipolar. This is true.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that every impassioned argument is driven by bipolar anger.

I suppose I can understand that if you see a person with bipolar angry all the time you might assume that motivations and intense reactions are anger-based but you have to remember that we’re not all the same, not all situations are the same, and sometimes they’re not.

Bipolar Passion

Some people have issues with bipolar and anger but do people sometimes mistake bipolar passion for bipolar anger?I, often, make very intense arguments and shout about things I think are wrong or take strong, unpopular stances on issues in my writing. That’s just how I am. I suspect it’s one of the reasons I have the audience that I do.

But people misinterpret this passion and bipolar anger. And let’s be clear: I can be annoyed, irritated and intensely passionate without being angry. I tend to get hopped up on righteous indignation regarding ideas, and not mad, per se.

Reading Bipolar Passion as Bipolar Anger

So when people assume I’m displaying some form of bipolar anger, I just want to remind them that they are reading into my words. Unless I say I’m hopping mad about something, I’m likely not. And it’s really not fair to say that just I have bipolar disorder what’s happening is a display of irrational, bipolar anger. It isn’t. My arguments tend to be very well-thought-out, rational and often very passionate and I stand behind them.

So, do I get worked up from time to time? Yes. I suspect most people (bipolar included) do. But this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m angry. It may just be that I’m like many: a terribly passionate bipolar.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, March 17). Bipolar Passion vs. Bipolar Anger, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

March, 18 2015 at 11:21 am

So true....

March, 18 2015 at 1:50 pm

I am newly diagnosed, PTSD and BP2. What is getting to me is the assumption that my anger/sadness/happiness, etc. Is because of my BP. can't I be angry because the situation warrants it? Do you know what I'm saying? The BP is not just the "negative" feelings that I have. I have not shared my diagnosis with many, four people, and I know they mean well, but it is only a PART of who I am. "Normal" people wake up grumpy at times, too!
I really enjoy your articles! :-)

March, 18 2015 at 4:15 pm

How true is this. I should act like Dalai Lama or i'm sick or something, it doesn't matter did someone hurt my feelings or am i extremely happy about something, its always my illness. Even some of my friends (needless to say not my friends anymore) were like that, never bothered to find out about bipolar, but if i show any emotion ( many times they were pretty rude about something and i got sad or grumpy) i was immediately ill. If i ever had an argument with my husband (7 years happily married and we argue prob twice a year) and if they hear about it, they immediately asked what did i do. Its like i don't have a permission to feel like a "normal" person, but i'm lucky i have a good family, friends and a great husband who understands that its not always illness.Funny thing that those ppl think i'm "crazy" because i have a diagnosis, but ... my bills are never late, i take care of my family and pets, im working part time and i study diploma at the same time, i have many job qualifications, my house is clean and i don't smoke, use drugs or i hardly ever drink and i have a happy marriage, my kids have manners and they do good at school, what those judgmental friends can't too often say. ( and no i'm not better than anyone, just an example how ppl think that ppl with mental illness can't take care of things) i am passionate about things, but we both are and we use it to enjoy art and the other things together. i can be angry too and nothing makes me more angry than if someone hurt my family or friends, i can be grumpy if my day doesn't go well, i can swear like a sailor if i hit my toe, but that has nothing to do with bipolar. We have a right to feel like the others.

Charles Mistretta
March, 19 2015 at 3:45 am

As a child I was a walking video camera - memories implanted by strong emotions still persist. Viewing them today makes more sense. The actions and attitudes of the distant past have come and gone, but I am...

March, 19 2015 at 2:08 pm

Most creative 'right brained' people are passionate about something...
I have always been a passionate person feeling pleasure, pain and everything in between more deeply than the average person and I'm not ashamed to say it.
In my humble opinion, life is not worth living without something to be passionate about

March, 19 2015 at 3:09 pm

With regard to anger I am more apt to turn it in on myself than out on someone else. Growing up there was only ONE person who was allowed to get angry and he could scare the stripes off a zebra
At the beginning of my bipolar journey the medication I was given flatlined me emotionally but now with new medications/doses I'm slowly starting to come alive again and it feels great.

April, 2 2015 at 6:45 am

I have Bipolar I and am very passionate too. I sometimes talk loudly and gesture a lot. I also like to stand up when I am feeling extremely passionate. This has been mistaken for aggression and I have been asked to sit down before. The first time that happened I was shocked when I figured out that I was scaring someone. I can have really loud body language. I now know by the looks on peoples' faces when I need to tone it down.

J. Scott Bugher
April, 10 2015 at 1:54 pm

Fell upon your site again via Dr. Ronald Pies. Funny... I contacted him to justify what psychiatric care had done to me, and I contacted him because you didn't reply when I contacted you, but no worries, several pro-psychiatry people haven't replied since my questions are too challenging. Given your opposition has abundant supporting evidence to back our claims––which, as for me, are fair and balanced since I feel psychiatric treatment has its place, though for only about 10% of those doped or electrocuted today––I can appreciate all of the reluctancy to reply. I mean, just the fact I've had psychiatrists tell me the worst that can happen upon swallowing 30 days' worth of Effexor will result in only diarrhea (weird... 3 days on the intro dose and I entered psychosis) and that Abilify belongs in public drinking water, it's clear to me that psychiatrists are utter frauds. The best was my final psychiatrist back in Indiana. When I told her I was accepted by 3 of 7 MFA Poetry programs and chose to attend Virginia Commonwealth––1 of 3 poets out of hundreds of applicants, tuition waived, stipend, 2 additional scholarships––her grimace grew into a deepened grimace, and she told me I should set more "reasonable" goals. Like what? Oh, she said apply for disability (again), find menial part-time work (I've longed to stock shelves), and look into assisted living (so I can really feel a deep sense of integrity and independence). My 1st of 3 years is almost done, I've maintained a 100% A grade level and think I'll just keep going and let a deserving person take that disability I was told to apply for.
And pardon my insensitivity to your disease. A psychiatrist decided, not diagnosed (that's what real medical practitioners do with their silly blood tests and microscopes and abilities to explain the illness and its treatment), my brain is sickened by bipolar disorder. It's been a fascinating experience, these past 7 years as a bipolar person. My health just kept declining among 5 or 6 docs, starting at sliding scale MDs up to traveling and paying desperately out of pocket the "top" authorities on the matter. I don't know where the threshold is for common sense, but each new doc would get my med records with a higher number of drugs taken each time. I'm now at 35 psychotropics. Despite my 5––FIVE––new drug-induced physical afflictions, which calls for more medicine, psychiatrists just kept stacking them without considering the drugs to be problematic. In September I moved to the east coast and booked all 5 specialists I need to see at 37 years of age––humbling given my grandpa is 87 and sees only one GP once per year. All five specialists came to the consensus: "Psych drugs are literally killing you." (addressed to me). So now I'm detoxing off all this crap, which has been overwhelmingly hilarious. Withdrawal is utter hell, the basement beneath hell, actually the crawlspace in the basement beneath hell, but the torment subdues and more of "me" surfaces, then we do it again. I'm down to only one more drug. Is a psychiatrist helping me? Sort of. While my past psychiatrists would laugh when I'd suggest dropping the dope, my new psychiatric NP, who practices functional medicine, arguably the most radical and essential reformation movement in medical history, has been helping me off the dope and has "prescribed" me probiotics, a gluten & dairy free diet, fish & krill oils, and all those silly vitamins. So strange. I pay her $55 for a half hour, not a psychiatrist's 12-minute variation of a half hour, more of a 45-minute "I actually care about you" half hour, and I'm recovering. Healing. I'm functioning again. Off dope, I was depressed and anxious and was okay by living with it because I just did that––I lived, worked (a dream career as touring bassist for 7 Grammy winning singers), exercised, socialized, and all that "normal" stuff. On dope, I learned what having bipolar disorder is like. Depression that killed my living skills (shower once per month, inept to hold a job, etc.) and mania that screwed my life up (maxed out 3 major credit cards on stupid business ideas and am now bankrupt), which is really weird since I was on all that helpful "medicine." Prior to drugs, I had melancholia at best, and it'd last about a week at a hospitals, no suicide attempts, thoughts of death at the worst. An mania? I'd go to support groups and hear people talk about stripping naked, duct-taping their eyes shut, getting in their cars and speeding in reverse on the highway. All I could contribute to the conversation was that I'd spend a little more time painting or playing guitar than I'm "allowed" to according to psychiatry.
I get that you call on us to stop hating psychiatry. I try not to, but when I've lived all those years debilitated due to med intoxication and ignorantly believing psychiatrists are "experts," it's too hard to forgive such a wannabe medical practice. I'm not involved in any organized anti-psychiatry movement, but I've had a website-in-progress for about a year that should open some eyes once complete. Likely another year yet since there is so much content to format and work with. Most anti-psych sites are so poorly designed that nobody pays attention to them. And I get what you're saying in the "stop hating" post you put up years back. Hating sucks. It doesn't harm those deserving of it, but only the hater, so I choose to cap my hate and challenge psychiatry instead.
So, yep, I just ranted but would enjoy engaging in a civil dialogue with you. No swearing, hatred, anger, and whatnot. I just want your answers to my questions and would be happy to reply to any you might have for me.
FYI–– You mention in this article anger is not a diagnostic symptom for bipolar disorder. The MDQ BD test states irritability is a symptom. Hm. To be irritated, one is angered, provoked or annoyed. To be angry is to feel or show anger. And why isn't anger a diagnostic? I mean, being confident and energetic are symptoms, no? Making phone calls and having a strong libido are symptoms, too, yeah?
Give me a shout. My email was entered above, website too. Need my number? Just ask. Skype. FaceTime. Anything. Or if you know a doctor willing to chat with me besides Pies, who just told me "sorry you had an unfortunate experience. attached is my book-in-progress." (Uh, thanks Pies?), please forward that doctor my contact info.
Take care,

September, 23 2019 at 2:23 pm

I call it "Caring Too Much", I tend to care to much about things, e.g. Elephants, injustice, animal rights, human rights, etc. Think I have always been this way. Sometimes I wish I were God and could undo all the unfair conditions and evil in the world. It's so hard for me because I care too much, it really sucks.

Leave a reply