Is This Bipolar, or Just Burnout?

Alex Turner
9 min readNov 2, 2019

Emotional Turmoil, Mental Health & Daily Practices — the Subtle Differences Between Burnout & Bipolar, from an Enneagram 4

Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

This week I got bogged down — badly.

I got through it by the skin of my teeth, and so I’d actually sat down to write a pithy article, “5 Quick Tips on Getting Unstuck,” or something else along those lines, but what transpired on the page made me recoil in horror.

Yeah. A tricksy mental health stigma showed up and stared me down.

You see, I’m a Type 4 on the Enneagram — which means I can swing wildly from sheer joy to deep despair — and back to joy again — in a matter of minutes. It’s emotional turmoil.

And it’s par for the course — so I think it’s all normal.

I’ve got pretty comfortable with it — to what would apparently be most people’s discomfort. I’m pretty comfortable with those deep dark, intense emotions. And also the nicer, lighter, brighter ones... Hurrah.

It’s really not that abnormal for me to bounce up and down between them several times a day.

Are you thinking it yet?