bipolar symbols

(scheduled post)

So many ways to express bipolar disorder… Most of them are dualities, showing neither the points between the poles, nor the very varied nature of the disorder.

Click to view slideshow.

It’s my blog and this is me after all, and thus I shall indulge in my usual pompous pontificating. Of the selection contained in that tharr slideshow above, this is the graphic that I feel illustrates bipolar best. The caption explains why far better than I ever could. I have one addition to make – I like the fact that it doesn’t involve emotion, or anything else that blatantly and visually implies that a human being has any hope of controlling. This was a purely rational choice, it doesn’t please my heart or my design eye, but I’m sure an overpaid ad agency or an underpaid artist could come up with a prettier version. The absence of faces and emotion also suggest the fact that bipolar isn’t all about moods at all. It’s not even filed as a mood disorder in the DSM anymore (the DSM 5 has it in a chapter of its very own). I’m not saying I think this is the best depiction ever, just the best of the images I found.


What most people see when looking at a person with bipolar is the two points and the curved line that represents the warped peceptions of the individual. The bipolar person on the other hand sees the straight line choices. There are no curved lines in the illustration or in the reality of the bipolar person. All the little inconsistancies of the straight line decisions will warp the plan of reality into what others see as wrong.

Of course, while the bastard is still called bipolar disorder, the binary images I loathe so much are, in fact, perfectly valid. Bah! And also, humbug! Thing is, even being filed as a mental illness detracts from its true nature. More people need to read more neuroscience and stop plastering us with emoticons. The name, descriptors and images haven’t got a hope in hell of refinement without it.


At this stage in my wandering thinking, what I’d like to see as the global official bipolar logo (har har) is the image to your left. My reasoning is as follows. Although the mood/emotion control centre is the brain and not the heart, they both work as symbols on real and perceived levels. Physically, the number one cause of death in manic depressives, is heart disease due to excess cortisol production. The other major physical effects are in the brain, including things like the hippocampus shrinking and taking our memory with it, grey matter losing the battle against white, and so on. Plus, it’s good looking. It’s so good looking that I’d be happy to see it tattooed right down my calf, purely for the eyecandy quotient.

How about you, sweet readers? Which symbol/s work or don’t work for you? What would you like to see as a new image? As the featured image of this post implies, let’s brainstorm.

Comments are closed.