World Bipolar Day
Today is World Bipolar day.
We think it is important to share with you, direct experience of someone who has a diagnosis of Bipolar so that it can end the stigma and misdiagnosis of Bipolar.
How would you explain what Bipolar is in your own words?
A roller coaster of emotions that you cannot control. Being so happy that it is euphoric and then feeling so low – that the only escape is to sleep. And then there are the parts in between I call them the me days. Where I am ok and not too high and not too low.
Can you give any examples from past experiences whereby your diagnosis has been limiting to you and challenging?
There are many challenges that occurs when you have Bipolar – for me was not getting a diagnosis quick enough, which led me to using substances to balance my moods, as I could not understand how I could be so extremely happy one minute, then feel like ending it would be the best thing. Therefore I used substances to stay high.
Other challenges are relationships, as it is very hard for people to understand Bipolar and what comes with a person who has it.
It is hard for someone to be around the highs and lows, as they are so extreme and can come at any point. I am very lucky as my partner understands when I am high and low. On the highs, she lets me go through it by supporting me – taking the bank cards away as spending when on a high for me is usual, as I want everything I see. And on the lows, she brings me food, tea, water, holds me if I cry and leaves me alone if I need to be left.
Lastly, sticking to a schedule is very important for me, as this helps me to keep things straight in my mind. I have been very lucky as futures in Mind support me.
The limitations are when you are on a low you want to isolate yourself from the world. This can be challenging if you need to work -as they do not always understand.
Can you explain how you have managed your mood swings- what helps you to maintain a good sense of wellbeing
-Keeping a diary – this was very useful on the low periods
-Talking to people
Acknowledging that my disorder does not define me and I can get through the highs and lows of Bipolar
How do people respond to you once they know you have been diagnosed with Bipolar? positive and negative stories?
I have been very fortunate that I have had very positive responses from everyone.
What would you say to someone who has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar or who is struggling?
I would say – you’re not alone. Make sure you talk to someone. Explain to the people around you how it feels to have bipolar and encourage them to read about Bipolar so they can understand you better.