Today is Bipolar Awareness Day and we’re working with Bipolar UK to encourage people to share their experiences of bipolar.
Because awareness will lead to large scale acceptance and understanding of this mental health condition within society. We need to ‘take the lead’ and use the power of social connectedness to raise awareness of mental health.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed, are currently being assessed or know someone impacted by bipolar, sharing your highs and lows will help us eliminate any taboo surrounding bipolar and show others that they’re not alone.
Here are some of the stories Bipolar UK has received on their #BipolarAndMe feed so far:
“In a funny way, my experience of bipolar has changed my life for the better. Family, friends, professionals and Bipolar UK have all supported me. First, we (me especially) had to become aware of the problem; to accept that I had the condition, and then to take action.”
“It took a while for me to be given the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, for years I was told it was just depression and anxiety and I was always prescribed anti-depressants which made me a lot worse, I kept on going back and telling them what had been happening to me and how they made me feel and then one time I saw a different doctor who was fantastic and explained to me that she thinks I might be suffering with Bipolar Disorder and she referred me to see a mental health specialist and I was given the diagnosis of Bipolar.
“Being Bipolar is far from easy as many of us will know. I think a lot of people don’t really understand Bipolar and I have to be honest, only very few people know I suffer with it because I’ve found that people then don’t see me as a person anymore and just as Bipolar. My family, boyfriend and two best friends are absolutely amazing and very supportive. I still find it hard to talk about how I am feeling because I don’t like to worry anyone and also sometimes, I don’t even know myself how I am feeling and it is hard to explain. It can be very frightening, especially when I feel suicidal because the feelings that I have are so intense and if I hurt myself, I am riddled with guilt for feeling like that and hurting myself because then I think of the people who love me.
“I get days where I sit at work and I am trying to hold back the tears but then they just pour down from my face and it’s hard to stop them. I have got in trouble at work a couple of times and have been told that when I walk in the door, I need to put all of my “issues” to one side. Oh how I wish it was that simple and I could just switch off being Bipolar. I still come into work every day, even though sometimes it feels impossible and all I want to do is lock myself away from the world and I do get my work done, it’s just difficult because sometimes I find it very hard to interact with people and I feel completely numb.
“Going through hypomania is a completely different kettle of fish, I am the life and soul of the party and nothing or no one can stop me. I am the most confident person that you will ever meet, I love the world and I love life. It then becomes hard to control after a while and I have done some stupid things, it can be like someone completely different takes over my body but at the same time, I can look back and think I have also done some pretty awesome things as well but I know that feeling like this won’t last forever and I will soon come crashing back down into a bottomless pit of darkness and sadness. I have started to make positive changes to my life and I only like to have people around me who really love and care about me. I have found that by getting rid of toxic people from my life, this has helped me a lot. It can be hard even for my loved ones to understand but at least they try and do everything that they can do help me. This in itself has helped me massively.
“I don’t expect people to understand but it would be nice for people to have awareness and to also be aware that it lives with me always; it’s not something that I can just switch on or off. I have Bipolar but it doesn’t define who I am, I am still me, this is just a name for my extreme highs and lows. I am a personality – not a disorder.”
“Bipolar is an invisible illness. People don’t realize I’m in a constant battle with my own mind. Mania is not fun; it’s scary for everyone else around me. I’m mostly oblivious to it until after it’s happened. I’ve embarrassed myself on numerous occasions and struggled to hold a job down. Mainly due to me getting paranoid, anxious, or manic. I’m lucky to have amazing support from my family and friends. I am not bipolar, I have bipolar! People need to realize I’m normal a lot of the time. I have normal moods just like everyone else. I can still function and look after my son, although on occasions just getting out of bed feels like I deserve a medal. I take my meds, visit my mental health nurse regularly and remain stable most of the time. I still have crippling anxiety but am slowing learning to cope with the help of my nurse. I hope bipolar awareness day helps people to understand that although it’s invisible, bipolar is a serious mental health condition and that no two people will have the same experiences of it.”
“I was diagnosed with bipolar after a traumatic few months in regards to my mental health. Getting the right diagnosis was so important as my previous depression/anxiety diagnosis meant my treatment was making me worse. I was diagnosed and medicated with lithium until around February last year when I made the decision to come off my meds. For me, this alongside major lifestyle and life changes have resulted in me being well for around 12 months. Whilst I find it difficult to accept I still have swings because generally I feel well, I’m slowly figuring out what is me and how bipolar fits into that but hopefully the journey ahead will be a positive one.”
“Thank God for my doctor and the support I get as I wouldn’t be here today. The guilt I feel for what my family put up with is immense for in the darkest of moments they hold my hands and in the manic moments they help to calm me to keep me safe. The crisis team have been a life saver too along with the medication which takes enormous courage to believe in and take…there are some good people out there and I know how lucky I am to be surrounded by them but also my faith wraps its arms around me. It’s a constant battle on all levels.”
“Bipolar is just exhausting. Constantly second guessing my emotions, my reactions and my moods. Medicated (lithium), since ’99, but it’s knackered my thyroid, so despite taking thyroxine, still feel exhausted all of the time. Struggle to concentrate, memory is rubbish and although lithium controls the scary highs, for me it’s not so great on the lows. Lack of funds and therefore lack of consistent mental health support is a real issue. I’m only seen by a GP. I’m mum to a 6 year old – so I constantly worry about my parenting and whether or not he will also have to live with this condition. I work part time and feel as though I’m dragging myself from one place to the next, chasing my tail and fighting – always fighting – against this condition. Thing is – I don’t look ill. You don’t ‘look bipolar’. I just look tired. People have NO IDEA how hard it can be to live with this condition. Thankful for friends and family who do give me valuable support – I know I’m a tricky pancake a lot of the time….”
To read more visit the Bipolar UK live stream.
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