I’ve looked around a bit and some people say they get too attached to people too quickly or have irrational hatreds and can’t explain it, but I really don’t know anything about it or why it occurs in people with bipolar disorder.
Do any of my followers have an input?
I really suggest starting with the DSM IV Entry For Bipolar before trying to get into the minutiae of behavior. Can they develop an irrational hatred for someone else? Yes, but don’t most people? There are plenty of examples out there of perfectly “normal”, “sane”, and “rational” individuals who develop an irrational hatred for someone else and act on it. They kill people over it and they have done so for centuries without the help of a chemical imbalance in the brain. The same is true for attachment, someone who is lonely may subsequently become too attached to someone else who takes an interest in them during a short period of time. What matters are the circumstances surrounding the character.
Or are you wanting a disorder that will allow your character to hate someone else just because they are there and they exist? In which case, that’s not really bipolar. Are you looking for a character who suffers from having high emotional states that they swing between so fast it makes your head spin? Again, that’s not really bipolar. Bipolar isn’t someone having an excess of emotion and it doesn’t necessarily lead to paranoia. Most people who suffer from or were born with bipolar behave like mostly “normal” people for most of the year, they cycle in and out of their manic states. It’s more seasonal than anything else, though what that season is depends on the person. If an event or action happens within their manic period it may set them off, it could be something small or stupid like accidentally taping over an important event, getting into a fight with their kids, getting a parking ticket, anything really could be a triggering event that will lead to a blow up. But it will only be while in their manic state and a few seconds later, everything may be fine and they’re back to normal. Do they hold onto those feelings for long periods of time? That’s going to depend on the individual and it’s not necessarily a hallmark of the disorder itself.
It’s also worth remembering that bipolar is one of the easier disorders to treat with medication. If you’re working with a character in a modern setting, you’re going to need a reason in the text for why they are not seeing a psychiatrist and why they aren’t taking steps to “deal with” their disorder. A character who knows that they are bipolar will behave differently from a character does have it but refuses to admit it. Bipolar is also one of disorders where you can track its genetic history through a family, if they have it then it’s likely that someone else in their family does also such as their mother or father, grandparents, uncles and aunts, etc.
Like all disorders, how much it affects their behavior will depend on how strong their bipolar is. Not all people with bipolar are created equal, people are individuals, they have different personalities and they handle situations differently.
Much like ADD, Autism, and Schizophrenia, Bipolar is poorly represented in the media and much of the information you’ll find on most television shows, in most movies, and in most books is painfully inaccurate.
Here’s what I think you should do if you’re serious: get a psychology textbook, contact a psychiatrist in your local area who handles disorders and see if they’d be willing to talk to you about it, take a psych class at your local community college or at the college you may be currently attending if you’re a college student, find out if there’s anyone in your own life who lives with the disorder who might be willing to talk to you about it. It’s going to be very difficult for you to write about someone with a mental disorder, any mental disorder, unless you yourself posses it or know someone else in your life who does. The mental thought process and the behavior will be too difficult to manufacture on the page otherwise.
My two cents.