One of my friends who falls firmly into this category, (I could go on and on about her, as she is pretty ace) has Bipolar. I asked her to write a bit about it for me to share with you all.
There is a wonderful trend in the blogging world at the moment to write about experiences of Mental health issues. Statistically 1 in 4 of us will encounter a mental health problem in some form or other during our life time, so talking about it is really valuable.
I will leave you with this little excerpt into my friend's experience of living with Bipolar.
I was diagnosed with bi-polar a few years ago, but looking back I can see the sometimes wild pattern of crazy highs swinging to dismal lows has been the fabric of my life for as long as I can remember. These days I am medicated, so my symptoms aren’t so dramatic. So let me tell you about some of my pre-medicated days, as they were, I think, quite interesting…
I am talking crazy times. I wasn’t ‘crazy’ all the time – I had, and still do have, ‘episodes’. Times of mania when I temporarily lost my mind, and myself, for a while. Here are a few examples of my crazy moments:
- Walking down the street with no trousers on.
- Deciding, in the middle of the night, that my town was a mess and so I went litter picking, on my own in the city centre.
- Knocking on my neighbours’ doors asking to borrow shampoo, wearing nothing but a towel.
- Going to the registry office to get a marriage license with a man I had just met, believing that God had sent him to be my husband.
- Visiting an armed robber in Strangeways for a cheeky snog.
During these times my symptoms vary. Sometimes my mind will race so fast I cannot keep up with it, and my speech and actions increase in tempo too. I need very little sleep and can stay awake for days at a time, being active throughout the night without requiring any rest. I get inspired by every tiny thing, enthusing about how amazing things are then later looking back and realising they are actually quite mundane. I can be ludicrously happy, drunk, out of control. It seems like my mind and mouth disconnect, I hear words coming out of me, my own voice, saying the most shocking things yet I seem to have no power to hold back. My confidence soars and I become fearless. At times I am super cranky and irritable, swearing a lot and flying off the handle at the slightest little thing. I have also, in my pre-medicated days, lost all sense of reality, I started to believe that I was magic and wore my head covered fearing that my powers would escape were I to uncover it.
My medication dampens down these symptoms and stops me from losing control, though I still have days when I know I need to stay home and not talk to anyone lest I cause trouble.
Then there are the ‘downs’. Here I am very fortunate, for my times of serious depression are few and far between. I have had really dark times when the world lost all its colour and I simply longed to be dead. But usually my down times are not so severe, and present themselves in lethargy, over-sensitivity and low self esteem. Friends have commented that my version of down ishow they function normally – so in this way I am fortunate indeed. And as the pattern of cycling continues, I always find comfort in knowing that whatever I am experiencing will in time move on to another phase.
I resisted medication for a long time, fearing that it would steal my personality. But following a particularly bad manic episode which wreaked havoc in my relationships and hurt those around me I agreed to give it a try. I have never looked back. I still feel the highs and the lows, but not in such great measure; they are dulled down, diluted. I have learnt to recognise the early warning signs and to adjust accordingly. If I feel manic I clear the calendar and try to take it easy, be gentle with myself. I avoid people, and situations, which trigger me off, and I try to live as simple an existence as I possibly can.
When I look back on my path of life I am so grateful that I have been protected by a power infinitely greater than myself. Yes I have been in some crazy situations, some of which were hideous, but the consequences were not dire, I am still here to tell the tale. And as for today, I am smiling.
If you are interested in reading a few more things like this, here are a few I have found recently.