Bipolar: An Inside Out Fanfiction

Bipolar: An Inside Out Fanfiction - student project

I know this is a little different than the instructions, but I loved writing Sadness so much that I fleshed it out. :D



            That was the word psychologist had used. At first, none of them understood. Bipolar wasn’t what they were experiencing! They remembered seeing portrayals of people with Bipolar Disorder on television. Riley wasn’t old enough to drink or do other grown-up things. They just had a little more energy than usual. Right?

            Sadness was playing with the controls, tears in her eyes as the others slept. She couldn’t sleep—she had dream duty—so all she could do was think about how wrong their assertions were. Riley was tossing and turning uneasily. They were stable for now on the medication that the psychologist had prescribed them, but the doctor had stated that there could be breakthrough episodes. Fear had been having a field day.

            Riley was seventeen, and the last five years had been difficult. They were more manageable than the fiasco that had occurred when the girl was eleven, and for the most part, they had enjoyed her teen years. Riley had a boyfriend, her grades were amazing, her relationship with her parents was wonderful (though Disgust would never allow her to say so), and her college prospects were fantastic. Her life was on track. Until the day Sadness began to turn grey.

            It was a completely normal day. Riley had woken up, showered, and began texting her friends about their plans for Sunday afternoon. Nobody really noticed when Sadness started to dim. The others went along with their plans, chatting and working together to have a good time, while still being proper and cautious. Only when streaks had appeared in Sadness’s hair did Joy notice. She asked what was wrong, could she help?

            “No, Joy. I just feel like I’m going to lose it,” Sadness said softly. Her voice had a tone in it that none of the emotions could place. It was distant and hopeless.

            “Do you know why?” the yellow emotion asked gently.

            Sadness shook her head. “No.”

            And then it began to affect Riley. She did less with her friends, and there was this overwhelming feeling that everything was becoming too much. As the days passed, the blue emotion lost more and more color.

            The greying process disturbed Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Joy hadn’t been there when black began to ooze across the control panel, but they were cautious and began avoiding Sadness as much as they could. It only made her more miserable. Then, as they suspected it would, it began to spread like an illness. Headquarters began to turn black, and the memories they produced had a dull quality about them.

            Joy suddenly found that she had to work twice as hard at her job. After another week, it was three times harder. The greyness spread to the others first, and it started to affect Riley’s emotions. Anger began to get irritated. He would snap at the slightest provocation, which would sharpen his color for a few minutes before the red leaked away again. Disgust went strangely silent after a month, and Riley’s mental state deteriorated further. The girl’s fashion suffered, and Disgust didn’t have the energy to care how Riley looked anymore. Fear wasn’t afraid of anything, save that these feelings would never stop.

            Joy was affected last. The grey swallowed her in less than a day. And Riley lay in bed, curled up, feeling like she wanted to cry but knowing the tears wouldn’t make the gaping emptiness inside of her fill up. Joy, on the other hand, suddenly got another lesson in Sadness’s emotions. She cried, which would have shocked the other emotions if they had cared at all.

            “I don’t feel like being happy!” she screamed into what seemed an endless void of pain and nothingness.

            None of them could comfort her. They didn’t care anymore, But seeing Joy used up, greyed and dim, prompted them to cry. Riley cried, too, as they all felt that happiness had never been and never would be again. They just wanted everything to stop.

            After two months of grey, there was a sudden change in the emotions. Their colors started ebbing back. Strength returned to them, and they began to perform their jobs again. They were happy again, and Joy became overzealous in her attempt to make up for lost time.

            The problem was, they didn’t stabilize when they were the proper color again. Instead, light and energy surged through them until they were literally glowing. Headquarters took on this odd aura, and lightning seemed to crackle around them.

            Anger was still irritable, but there was a distinct difference. He snapped more enthusiastically whenever anybody was too slow for his liking. Disgust, on the other hand, was loud and talkative about everything, excitement at the possibilities that were in front of Riley bubbling over. Joy was ecstatic, especially after the greyness that had persisted for those long, long months. She was definitely overcompensating, but nobody cared. Even Sadness felt happy, bouncing off the walls with her new energy.

            Everything seemed to interest them. Even History, a subject they usually despised, was fascinating. They took in information at a startling pace, and they couldn’t bear to deny themselves anything. They spent money they didn’t have on things that Riley didn’t need, but that they just knew they couldn’t live without. They wore out Riley’s friends, who constantly asked if she was alright. They backed away when Anger flared up and snapped at them. They were fine! Better than fine! Why couldn’t those other humans see that and support Riley?

            When they started dimming again, they slowed their activities and interests back to a normal level. Afterward, they realized just how drained they were from the intense flip-flop. But life went on, and they tried to forget the up-down time. At least they did until their unusual energy flooded back, and off they went again, followed by more greyness a few months later.

            After a year of extremes, Riley’s parents were concerned enough to take her to see a doctor, who recommended a psychologist. Then they got the diagnosis. That one, utterly terrifying word.


            Sadness was overwhelmed, and she hid her face in her hands as if to stop the tears. She knew it was her fault. All her fault. And the others must hate her for it. A soft voice broke her out of her misery.


            “Joy!” the blue emotion gasped, turning around and wiping her cheeks; she knew Joy had seen the tears, though. “You should be sleeping.”

            “I can’t. Nobody’s asleep, actually. I thought I’d come and sit with you.”

            Sadness nodded, and they sat in silence, watching the dreams that Riley wouldn’t remember in the morning. Some were bizarre, but they were used to the way Riley processed things. Neither of the emotions spoke for about an hour. The quiet was broken by a hoarse whisper from Joy.

            “This is all my fault.”

            “What?” Sadness looked at the yellow emotion in surprise.

            “If I hadn’t kept Riley so happy as a child, this wouldn’t have happened. I think the body’s trying to regulate itself.”

            Sadness couldn’t believe it. Joy thought the Bipolar was her fault? How? It had started with Sadness. ‘But,’ she thought, ‘Joy has a hand in it, too.’ Sadness placed her small hand on Joy’s slumped shoulders.

            “You heard the doctor. It’s a chemical thing,” the blue emotion argued. “It’s not your fault. It’s the way the brain functions.” She paused as she considered everything for a moment the admitted, “And I guess it’s not my fault either.”

            “We were out of balance for so long, though…”

            “Yeah? Well, nobody’s perfect. That’s what Dr. Johnson said in our last session. Maybe what we did when she was a child had an impact, maybe not. But we don’t know. We can’t know. It could be genetic, it could be school pressure, or maybe something else.”

            Understanding surrounded them, and the warmth of companionship that had been between them for so long filled them. Their conversation only strengthened it. Joy knew it was okay to cry, and Sadness knew it was okay to laugh. They would get through this. With each other. With the others. Together. And that allowed them to relax and let go of their worries about what tomorrow would bring. They would worry about that when Riley woke up.