Tweeting When You Live with Bipolar Disorder

Twitter is a great platform for reaching other people with our illness. You can share information, get moral support, and give it to others. But it can also be a trap. Grandiosity, rage, and paranoia are just some of the symptoms that it feeds. The following suggestions are based on years of using this social media platform:

  • Be sure to limit your InterNet time. Get out and interact with people, get some exercise.
  • Everything on the InterNet can be searched out and seen by potential employers, family members, etc. For this reason, exercise caution when you are tweeting and publishing your bio if these will be a problem for you. Twitter allows you to have a pseudonym so you can post anonymously. And you can change your userid at any time — something few other social media applications allow you to do.
  • Use these abbreviations: BP=Bipolar Disorder, BPD=Borderline Personality Disorder, #SZ=schizophrenia, SZA=schizoaffective disorder and The Beast=Depression.
  • If you like what someone has said, retweet it so your followers can see. If you want to save it for later viewing and reflection, favorite it.
  • If you want someone in particular to see your tweet, include their name at the end of your tweet. E.g. “I am having a terrible time with racing thoughts today. @Bipolar_Blogs”
  • Use direct messaging sparingly.
  • Give people a little time to follow you back. Bipolar_Blogs gets more than 50 new follows a day. We can be swamped.
  • Use tags such as #bipolardisorder so others can find you easily.
  • If you see someone broadcasting spam — especially someone who isn’t normally a spammer — let Twitter know.
  • Don’t give out your Twitter password to anyone and be cautious about who you give access to your account.
  • Private mode may protect you from freaks and spammers, but it can also lose you followers and prevent you from being retweeted even by your followers. If concealing your identity is a concern, consider the measures described above.
  • Someone is always wrong on the InterNet. You are powerless over other people’s views and behavior. I usually give one or two salvos before pulling out. If you are starting to repeat yourself or becoming insulting, it is a good sign that you need to pull out. If other people annoy you with your comments you can unfollow them, block them (they can’t hear you and you can’t hear them), or mute them (they can hear you but you can’t hear them).
  • Retweets are your letters to the editor. When responding, it is good form to retweet the remark that prompted you to engage with them. I tend to retweet anyone who talks to me unless they are spamming or saying something off topic.
  • If you think you are going manic, stay away from Twitter or limit yourself to one or two tweets a day if you can.
  • Don’t be upset if someone doesn’t respond or retweet your message.