Bipolar Disorder: Invisible Demons

The topic I rarely see talked about is hallucinations. I feel this is an important topic to open-up about.

What are hallucinations :

The word “hallucination” comes from Latin and means “to wander mentally.” Hallucinations have been defined as the “perception of a nonexistent object or event” and “sensory experiences that are not caused by stimulation of the relevant sensory organs.”

In layman’s terms, hallucinations involve hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling and even tasting things that are not real. However, auditory hallucinations (hearing voices or other sounds that have no physical source) are the most common type.

Hallucinations are most often associated with the mental illness schizophrenia. However, hallucinations may also occur for those with bipolar disorder when either depression or mania has psychotic features.

Hallucinations are one possible characteristic specifically of Bipolar I Disorder, both in mania and in depression; in (Bipolar II, they may occur only during depression; Cyclothymia by definition excludes the presence of hallucinations).

For most if my cognitive life, I have experienced hallucinations. My earliest memory was at the age of 9. I would see what I called “the dark man,” though my mother told me when I was about 6 years old I use to tell her about him.

The dark man is about 6-feet tall, is a silhouette or shadow, and doesn’t speak.Till this day I still see him from time-to-time.

I use to think I saw ghosts (including the dark man), I just thought I was haunted. That is until I was diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder four years ago. It took my psychiatrist and therapist to convince me all these years I had hallucinations and wasn’t haunted.

Realizing this was difficult as I thought I was just special, not psychotic.

Through my past four years of therapy I’ve discovered I have been undiagnosed (with bipolar disorder) since the age 15. Though my PTSD started around the age of 6, due to childhood trauma.

I understand those two diagnosis are the cause of my hallucinations. Many people with bipolar type 1 disorder have hallucinations. What’s scary about this is that sometimes you can’t tell the difference between a hallucination and reality.

Just recently I was doing dishes and noticed a person watching me. There was no one in my house at the time. This figure scared me. I closed my eyes and then looked in it’s direction, it had disappeared. What really scared me was that this was the first time I had seen what appeared to be a real flesh looking person. Most of my hallucinations are shadowy-figures.

Frankly, I don’t know what that means. Is my psychosis progressing or getting worse?

I also hear things that aren’t there. For example I hear music playing when I’m alone. I sometimes hear it when my family is home, but I’m the only one hearing it. I also smell things no one else does. These are all part of my diagnosis, per my psychiatrist.

I often feel alone when this happens. I can sometimes tell the difference between reality and hallucinations, but not always. I will pray for them to go away! Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t go right away. It’s when they talk to me that gets me really scared!

When I was younger these hallucinations would be more frequent. Now that I’m one medication it’s not as often. But still happens regardless if I’m maniac or depressed.

I’m currently taking: Abilify, Trileptal, Zyprexa, and Atavan. As I mentioned, the medications help but I still have breakthroughs. My psychiatrist is always concerned when this happens. Especially, due to the high milligram of medications I’m on.

A few tips I’ve used to cope (in no particular order):

  • Distraction
  • Listen to music
  • Watch TV/movie
  • Call a friend, family member, and/or crisis support
  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Art
  • Taking a walk or exercising
  • Call your psychiatrist and/or therapist
  • Trying to find reality with slow breathing and concentration
  • Get on your social media sites and try talking it out

It is truly difficult to find your center, but trying a few helpful tips can help. If your feeling alone, definitely contact a friend, family member, or even call crisis support.

Keep in mind these hallucinations will pass. You are not alone!



Living with type 1 bipolar disorder, PTSD (due to childhood trauma), Rapid Cycling, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Writing about my life experiences.

One thought on “Bipolar Disorder: Invisible Demons

  • Avatar
    September 20, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Your post is so interesting. It has me questioning if I might have bipolar l. I experience depression a lot more than mania (the depression is lingering with severe suicidal ideation with suicide attempts). But I can so relate to the dark man…what is up with him? He gets around…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Think Positive

Dr. Stephen Covey

Every human has four endowments- self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.

Demi Lovato

No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things.

Elbert Hubbard

Positive anything is better than negative nothing.

Helen Keller

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

Joseph Campbell

Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Leah LaBelle

Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.

Norman Vincent Peale

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Maya Angelou

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

Oscar Wilde

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Maria Robinson

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.