Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disease or manic depression. People with the disorder often experience swings in mood that can vary from mild to a disassociation with reality.
As with many other mental illnesses, people like to express their personal journeys through a meaningful tattoo. Some are funny while others can appear extremely serious. Everyone processes their diagnoses differently so it should come as no surprise that highly creative and heartfelt designs are commonplace. Living with bipolar disorder can be a challenge as it takes time to find the right therapist and the proper medication and dosage. These difficulties are often expressed through art and when in the form of a tattoo, can help others see that they’re not alone. Here 25 tattoos that symbolize, comment on, or express emotions about bipolar disease.
This clever symbol tattoo means “I am greater than my highs and lows.” “It’s a tattoo to remind myself every day that my bipolar disorder symptoms don’t rule my life,” the person with this tattoo shared with the image.
Because people dealing with the disorder often feel that their emotions transform them into someone else, double faces or multiple face tattoos are a popular choice. Here’s a particularly emotive one.
Stay on Track
“Been taking my meds daily now and feeling better than ever,” the person with this palm tattoo shared. When you’re directed to take medication that alters your moods, it can be a real challenge. This acts as a helpful reminder that it’s the right thing to do no matter how “good” one feels.
Another favored tattoo is a bipolar ragdoll. We saw many different variations of this tattoo as we searched through them for this list. This is one of our favorites of this type. The artist explained that they were inspired by Tim Burton. We don’t get the reference, but we wanted to include it in case you do!
To the Point
If you want to live loud and proud, this would be one way to go about it. This very tidy word-tattoo tells you everything.
This “bipolar deer” looks like it’s been kissed by Lisa Frank. These gorgeous pastels are blended beautifully and overall it’s so soft and delicate. We don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like it.
In Your Head
These wavy letters are very in right now. This works really well for the word “paranoid” because the tattoo seems to be shivering or shaking. It’s a clever use of this style.
Everyone experiences waves of emotions but for people with bipolar disease they can feel like tidal waves. This design combines two smiley faces to convey its meaning.
Dead or Alive
This skull/face combination is fascinating and beautiful. It’s the perfect visualization of the common symptoms of the disease.
Here, we find two cherubs floating above the word “bipolar.” We’re not entirely sure what message this is attempting to convey but we definitely thought it looked neat. Perhaps, these angels are guardians?
The artist who shared this design wrote that she was inspired by emotions. We must agree that the design reads that way showing the different feelings one person can have.
“This tattoo has a lot of meaning to its wearer,” the artist who shared it writes. “The wearer of this tattoo suffers from bipolar, and his dad has given him the nickname broken toy… So with some thought and some changes we came to agree on this design, instead of being a ‘broken toy’ we decided to make it a toy which may have been broken but repaired and functional even if it’s not the societal perspective of ‘fixed’ or not broken/normal.”
This haunting design will take your breath away. We love the florals on one side that are balanced by dark thorns on the other.
“A tattoo for mental health awareness and her own struggles with bipolar,” the artist shared. What a gorgeous and hopeful design.
“Being bipolar is more than just being depressed or manic, there are so many different aspects of it and for me, these colors represent that,” the person with this magical tattoo shared.
How absolutely fabulous are these two umbrella tattoos? We find one for sun and one for the rain to represent the highs and lows. 10’s across the board!
Here, we find a happy cat and a sad cat and, in case you weren’t sure what those symbolized, the artist has included the word “bipolar” below. These cute neotraditional designs are always a hit.
As you can see, tattoos that convey emotions are at the heart of the matter here. The person with this tattoo included the caption, “smile now cry later.”
Of all the popular mental health tattoo designs out there, the chemical, serotonin is, by far, the most popular choice. This is particularly true for those dealing with depression and other mood disorders.
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This tattoo with retro vibes is everything you could want in a tattoo. It appears both deeply personal and highly emotive.
At first glance, this tattoo might not read “bipolar tattoo” but once you notice the symmetry of the design, you can see that it’s conveying some sense of balance. We love this trippy, unique design.
Wow, these two faces are slightly creepy, but there’s no denying what point they’re trying to get across. The flowers and aqua background are very nice touches here.
On bad days, it can feel as if you’re living in black and white versus good days when you’re seeing the world in full color. This very sharp and tidy tattoo is unusual for the butterfly genre, but we welcome it.
Sing Your Song
Here, we find a songbird caught in the rain. A touch melancholy, but handsome nonetheless. When the rain slows, it’ll sing once more.
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This is a darker design than others on this list, but the artist explained it was a collaborative effort to give their client exactly what they wanted. A tattoo of an angel removing a mask to reveal what is inside seems appropriate.
There you go! 25 mental health tattoos that focus on living with bipolar disorder. We hope you feel inspired and heartened by these deeply personal designs.
If you are struggling right now, it’s encouraged that you ask for help. SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They can help connect you with the resources you might need.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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