Living with Bipolar…my story.
I have been asked by A LOT of lovely people to explain what living with Bipolar is really like. After my story being published in my local newspaper I am more inclined to share.
When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar over 12 years ago I was outraged. It had taken over a year going to counselling and filling out the same questionnaires over and over to finally come to this conclusion. I had struggled ever since I was a child. Mr Doctors had my back story on file and yet they still didn’t connect the dots. When ever I tried to get help I was thrown a bottle of anti depressants which I never took. I knew I hadn’t had an easy start but I couldn’t understand why I yo yo’d so much. The emotions I felt on the regular were intense and the thoughts that spiralled in my head were sometimes magnificent and other times completely terrifying. It didn’t help I lost my Mum at the age of 3. I was a lost little girl that just needed her Mum.
I couldn’t articulate what was going inside so I hid. I stopped talking, I stopped eating and I stopped being a normal little girl. Throughout my troubled little life I dipped in and out of depression mourning everyday for my mum, hating the world and blaming everyone around me. I watched my family feel pain and anger that overwhelmed us. I watched my Dad struggle to work. My Nan and Grandad appeared out of no where and I spent a lot of the time staying at others peoples houses. I would sit in the dark and sob. Wondering why this was happening to me and wanting so much for my Mum to come down and scoop me up in her arms. The pain I felt was unreal.
I went though school feeling much the same. Very distant and always being bullied for not having a Mum and being different. Kids can be so cruel. The only good thing about school was it gave me a focus and I loved being praised. My English teacher would always comment on my writing and said I would make my mark with it one day! I held on to that, I believed it with my whole soul.
Struggling through I managed to secure my first job but it didn’t last long. I found that this was a pattern I was to follow throughout my adult life. I would always get jobs but could never keep them, I would either get bored very easily, not go in, leave or get sacked. There was no consistency within my working life. I would always feel guilt, remorse and a failure. I couldn’t understand why I was always losing jobs.
Even to this day I still struggle with holding down a job. It has become very clear that it is part and parcel of being Bipolar. I have spoken to many other bipolar sufferers and they all say the same. I find it hard to keep down a job that I am not passionate about, it is not being lazy it is something much bigger than this. Also the mood swings can be become very apparent under stress. I would be the best employee one day and the next I would be withdrawn and depressed.
A day in the life.
A day in the life of me wouldn’t be easy to explain as everyday is different. My days are always governed by my moods. If I wake in a happy mood then I can usually sustain this throughout the day unless something happens to kick me off this vibe. But if I wake in a bad mood then this can have a knock on effect on everything in my life including the people I love and can last for weeks. And then there’s the crippling panic attacks that leave me gasping for air and feeling like a 100 watt bulb with a 1000 watts going through it.
I have found after having my son that my days are more up and down than they have been in the past. Instead of having a few weeks or months where I felt OK and then dipping into depression, every single day is different. I can sometimes even be happy in the morning and by lunch time without any trigger I am at an all time low. It is hard to control and even harder to explain.
Journaling is my therapy.
Living with Bipolar and not taking meds is hard. I also have kidney disease and taking meds isn’t an option for me. Sometimes so much so I don’t want to be here anymore. The pain inside when I am depressed is indescribable. I plough through like always. I refuse to give up on everything I have worked so hard to accomplish. I found a long time ago that I was very good at writing. I used this to channel my anxiety and depression and slowly but surely it worked. I have journaled since I was about 8. There is something very therapeutic about writing down your fears, your worries and your anxieties and being able to sort through them because they are out of your head and on paper. I find clarity when I have brain dumped in my journal and I make sure whenever I feel an episode coming on I write it all down.
Always moving forward.
Once I cottoned onto the fact that when I was writing or being creative I felt good, I could pull myself out of a dark episode and bring myself down from going too high. I had learnt to channel this illness into my passions.
What people don’t realise is that we all have quirks. It is safe to say that we all have some issues that can start taking over our lives. Every single one of us has a story to share. We slip into ourselves and become depressed and anxious because we are not learning how to live our lives alongside our quirks. We automatically think we are broken and we somehow deserve to always feel this way.
I am sharing this because I know how powerful sharing your story can be, I base my whole life on this fact. If we shared our experiences more then we could find ways to help each other and learn from other peoples differences. If you are reading this and thinking that your story is something that should be shared then stop thinking and start doing. Take action on this thought because it is the universe telling you to get yourself out there. I am a firm believer in that if you have a passion then you should be finding your purpose. When we have purpose we are capable of designing the lives that we want. Whether we have a mental illness or not anxiety can still creep in if you are not living aligned to your purpose.
Do I wish I never had Bipolar?
A lot of people as me this and my reply is simple. Bipolar doesn’t define me, if anything I have utilised my illness and turned it around. I see it as it makes me unique and I use the creative parts whenever I can. The lows are unquestionably difficult and I am still learning to make these easier to deal with but I can say that anxiety and depression no longer control me. I have the ability to turn my days around with focus, belief, journaling and my purpose.
If you need help.
I just want to say this….if you need help just ask. Don’t sit in silence because this isn’t going away it is part of you. Try to find your passion and purpose. What would your ideal day look like? I am going to include my group that is full of female entrepreneurs that suffer with their mental health but they have decided to channel it into their purpose or business. They are finding focus and more importantly they are beginning to believe in their inner power.
Sharing your story is one of the best steps you can take to gaining control back of your life. Showing your insecurities who’s boss and understanding your own calming techniques.
This is my story. I am living with Bipolar. I am not a victim of it, I am learning to play by the rules and learning to channel it into something meaningful.
Lots and lots of love