I hate being Bipolar; it’s awesome!

Having now written a few blogs I felt it was time for me to address an issue that is close to my heart, and with Mental Health Awareness Week a mere month away it seemed like a pertinent time to do so.

So let me introduce myself…

Hi, I’m Emily and I am bipolar No no no, let me do that again.

Hi, I’m Emily and I HAVE bipolar. (Case No. 1: I am not bipolar, I am Emily – I just happen to have bipolar.)

Those of you who know me may find this surprising; Emily – the weird/funny/loud/happy/smiling/laughing/crazy girl – has BIPOLAR?!

YUP.

Having bipolar doesn’t mean I can’t be myself though. I was first suspected as being bipolar in 2015, but at the time it was thought it was situational and that I would grow out of it so I was given medication and left to my own devices. OOPS. Thank you NHS.

After a further (nearly) two years of relentless highs and lows I was finally formally diagnosed and given the correct medication (Yay.) which has sorted me right out. Thank you NHS.

When I tell people that I am bipolar I am always asked the same questions:

  • What does that mean?
  • How come you are so normal?
  • Do you ever go crazy?
  • What were you like before you had bipolar?
  • What happens if you don’t take your medication?
  • How do you cope with work and life?
  • What’s it like when you are manic?

When people ask me these questions I explain to them the following:

  • What does that mean?
    • Dictionary definition (I love a definition.): A psychiatric illness characterized by both manic and depressive episodes, or manic ones only.
    • For Emily? I have bipolar type 2 disorder, which simply means my highs are not hyper mania (only mania, which isn’t as bad), but my lows (my depressive states) are much lower than a bipolar type 1 sufferer. Type 2 is characterized by the fact that my lows are much more frequent and last for a longer period than most.
    • For layman? My brain doesn’t produce the right chemicals to function at a healthy level – a bit like a diabetic….but in my brain.  

 

  • How come you are so normal?
    • What even is ‘normal’?!
    • How come I can function like a healthy person who doesn’t suffer with a mental illness? Medication and practice.
      • I take two types of medication – anti-depressants to boost my low moods and get my chemicals functioning at a healthy level and a mood stabiliser to keep me on that healthy level.
      • Practice – it has taken me a lot of hard work over a long period of time to be where I am now and I do not underestimate how hard that has been for me. Yeah, I still get bad days and good days – as anyone does – but these days no longer leave me catatonic and debilitated. I am never going to get rid of the bipolar, the best I can do is to manage it – and manage it I do

 

  • Do you ever go crazy?

    No.

 

  • What were you like before you had bipolar?
    • What was I like? Well I was me, I have always been me and it is likely that I have always had bipolar. What was I like before I had medication, however…a bitch, to be quite honest (excuse my French). Ok, that may have been a bit strong.
    • In short, I struggled.
    • In long, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. It was like I had PMS constantly. I was up and down like a yo-yo. I was most certainly moody, but that moodiness stemmed from a very deep depression which led to me self harming (something I have struggled with up until September 2016 – 7 months cut free, go me!). This moodiness was put down to teenage angst – by myself more than anyone else! I knew deep down that it was more than that though. On the flip side, however, I was bubbly and loud and excitable – like I was permanently drunk.
    • Again, I certainly don’t underestimate how difficult this was for my family – especially my Mum – to deal with. Not knowing who was going to walk into the room at any moment, not knowing what to say in case it elevated my mood either way. I admire everyone who stuck by me through these years, thank you.
    • Being undiagnosed led me to make some bad decisions. Undeniably. I won’t go into detail here as there is no need – it is all water under the bridge; but if I was medicated ‘back then’ I have no doubt my life would be very different now. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my life now, because I do – very much so! I just may not have as many regrets. 

 

  • What happens if you don’t take your medication?
    • Generally I’m pretty good at taking my medication as I know how horrible it is for me when I forget for a couple of days. In the times that I have, however, I don’t go crazy, or mad, I just become very low. I become introverted and quiet. I have a tendency to be very catatonic. Thoughts of self-harming lurk in my conscious mind. My self-esteem becomes low. I start to berate myself for being the one who’s unwell.
    • This still doesn’t mean I am crazy. It means that my chemical balance has slipped. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

  • How do you cope with work and life?
    • You learn. That’s all there is to it. You learn how to cope; you learn your triggers, you learn what helps you to stay well. For me, being at work keeps me well – it gives me something to focus on and a reason to remove myself out of my mattress and duvet fort. I am still learning my triggers, but I am definitely closer than I was six months ago. Knowing my triggers means that I can manage my life in a healthy and structured way, but also recognise when I may need help from someone else (my Mum.).

 

  • What’s it like when you are manic?
    • First off, I hate the word manic. It makes it sound like I am insane. I am not.
    • The best way I can describe it is it’s like you’re having all the thoughts in the world all at once. Your brain is loud. Your brain doesn’t stop. It’s everything, all at once, all of the time. It’s exhausting.
      • MaybeIshouldtakeupanewhobbymaybeIshouldgetanewjobmaybeIcouldbuyahouseooohshoesmaybeIshouldgotravellingoohIlikethosejeansletsbuythemitsokIcandefinitelyafforditohhipersonIdontknowlookhowhappyIammaybeIshouldmoveawayIneedtoeathealthynowaitIamnotunhealthyWowlookhowgoodIlookImsoconfidentandhappylookattheseniceclothesletsbuythemIammqueenoftheworldIcandoanythingIwanttodoandsoonandsoforth.

WHY ARE YOU TELLING US THIS, WOMAN?!

Because it’s important. That’s why. It’s not important for me, but it is important for you to know about these things. 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of mental ill health so I would wager that you have suffered or know someone who has suffered from poor mental health at some point in your life.

Thankfully we don’t go around with a sign on our heads letting people know, which is why it’s important for you to be aware. Mental illness isn’t just extreme conditions, it can be anything from anxiety, OCD, loneliness up to psychosis, schizophrenia, and everything in between.

Most importantly though…

IT IS OK.

It is ok to talk about it. It is ok to suffer from it. It is ok not to understand it. But it IS NOT OK to be ignorant of it and it IS NOT OK to treat it as a taboo and it is most certainly NOT OK to treat people negatively because of it.

You wouldn’t be scared to talk about, or treat someone negatively because of a broken leg, or a pulled muscles so why should you be scared to talk about a broken brain or treat someone negatively because they are not on their A-game? It’s no different.

I know this has turned into a bit of an essay, but if you take anything from this please, please let it be that it is good to talk about it, and it is ok to talk about it. There are people out there that will listen, and there are people out there who can help. I promise. Pinkie promise.

#PRAYFORAWARENESS

 

This is a link to the Mental Health Foundation website

This is MIND – they are great.

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8 thoughts on “I hate being Bipolar; it’s awesome!

  1. Hey this is great – well done writing such an honest and dignified blog. Hope it helps you and others. Am here if I can help or support you in anyway. Go girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are an inspiring young woman, I wish I had a handle on my own mental health at your age instead of in my 40’s. My green and blue awareness ribbons that I have tattooed on my arm start conversations and I see people getting physically uncomfortable when they ask what they mean, well they did ask!
    Keep going beautiful, one step at a time x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so proud of you Em., who you are whatever ‘state’ you are in. It takes a great woman to be so forthcoming and outright about the difficulties they face and the triumphs they have. Know that I understand in the same way as your mum and that I am there and support you whenever and whatever. X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been to so many dark placed ones thebadt 2 years and always felt very alone, I know I wasn’t but I couldn’t speak with family and relied very heavily on two very good friends. One of whom I’ve lost recently (not through passing but other personal problems) I’ve been told I was in not so many words ‘mental’ and been referred to occupational health 3 times but I’m always classed as alright so I guess I must be, reading your blog makes me think maybe there is something that I can and should do. Thanks Emily you’ve helped me without knowing me that well 😘

    Like

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