Empath or BiPolar? How to Tell
I routinely find myself being asked by "BiPolar" readers of my 7 Signs You're an Empath article if they, too, are Empaths, because they feel they may have been misdiagnosed. Let me be very clear in saying that I am not a psychiatrist and, even if I were, I could not diagnose you over the internet / email. I can, however, provide you with a few tips that may help those seeking the answer to this question. I must state, emphatically even, that this article is not to be used as medical advice, and if you decide that you are actually an Empath, please do NOT go off your meds without a lengthy consultation with your physician. Again, I am not a doctor, and this article is in no way intended as medical advice.
BiPolar Brain Imaging
Let's start with this. There have been studies performed on people with BiPolar disorder which include brain imaging. Images have shown that the brain displays certain characteristics of manic-depressive disorders (there are many variations) and if you've actually had one of these done, and your doctor has seen these specific characteristics, then I would not personally argue with the evidence. I would instead follow whatever therapy the doctor advises. That said, if you've not seen clear evidence to suggest this disorder is present, I would stay open to other possibilities, such as being an Empath.
Extreme Ups and Downs
Empaths may experience extreme emotional upheaval, but it should not present itself as an emotional roller coaster ride the way being BiPolar does. In other words, you should not be up-down, up-down. And the emotions should not last indefinitely. If you're experiencing these things, BiPolar disorder may be the issue.
Are the Emotions Easy to Clear?
Because the emotions an Empath soaks up from those around him or her are not their own, it's very easy to clear them with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). If are able to get rid of these emotions with one or two rounds of EFT, then that sounds a good deal like being an Empath to me (though, again, this is not to be taken as a professional diagnosis of any kind!) It's easy enough to find out: Read my article on How to do EFT and see what happens when you try it. It's very easy learn and takes about 2 minutes to see results.
Do the Emotions Stay Gone?
If you've picked up specific emotions of those around you and then successfully clear them with EFT (or some other healing practice), they should not return in the same way. You may pick up similar emotions from the same person if they themselves experience them all over again, or if you encounter someone else with the same vibe, but it should not feel precisely the same. If you've got BiPolar disorder, the highs and lows will often feel as though they've been experienced before in nearly, or exactly, the same manner. An Empath is able to distinguish between these things because it's not just emotions being experienced; parts of the other person's personality are also experienced, which makes each emotion feel a bit different.
As I've said, I can't diagnose anyone either way, but if you have clear answers to the above questions, I hope that may help your therapeutic process in either case. And if you are truly BiPolar, please, please, do not adjust your treatment plan without first speaking with your doctor. If you feel that you are an Empath, please also see my Tips for Empaths article.