I have bipolar, but not that many people in my life know. I was officially diagnosed 5 years ago but I think in my heart I already knew and had known for a long time. My behaviour had always been the same, there was no ‘big change’ that triggered it, it’s just who I have always been. I don’t tell many people as I really don’t want a mental health ‘issue’ to define me, because I am far more than ‘that girl who’s got bipolar.’
Another reason I keep it to myself is that I have my own business which involves working with different people on a daily basis. I would hate my bipolar to influence their decision whether to work with me or not, as being my own boss was one of the most self motivating things I’ve ever done and I am damn good at my job. My bipolar luckily doesn’t affect my work capabilities, being self employed I have a huge drive to succeed and as I love what I do even when I’m down or manic I’m still happy to work. It’s sad that the world still has such prejudice against mental health, but let’s be honest it does and I can’t have that stopping my earning potential. Some of my closest customers I have worked with for years are aware and have been nothing but supportive, but I think as they got to know me first it’s slightly different to learning about the bipolar straight away.
I have had a mixed reactions over the years from the people I have decided to open up to about it. The people that have known me since my teens weren’t remotely surprised, truth be told, I was a bit of a mess growing up. By mess I mean a totally train wreck. Now I am medicated and seem fairly normal to the outside world I can get a reaction of surprise from time to time. More than once I have been told ‘oh I just thought you were a bit crazy I didn’t realise you actually had something wrong with you!’ That always makes me laugh. There is one reaction I have had multiple times that annoys the crap out of me is when people say ‘I know how you feel I’ve had depression’ or ‘my friend was on anti depressants once and she’s fine now’ comments like this make me want to SCREAM. There is so much more to bipolar than depression and anti psychotics and mood stabilisers are not the same as anti depressants!!! I’m not taking away from anyone who suffers with depression but you can’t really compare the two as they are totally different.
The thing with bipolar is no matter how much therapy you have, or how well medicated you are it never goes away. It lurks in the back ground waiting to fuck it all up for you. It’s part of your brain chemistry and quite simply a part of you forever. Since being medicated I feel like a different person, I never thought I could have such a ‘normal’ life and I feel so blessed that I actually went to get professional help and get diagnosed. Those are words I never thought I’d say. But from time to time the world around me will start melting again and I feel like I’m drowning in a big black hole of despair (I realise how emo that sounds lol) . Right now it’s all about me recognising the signs that I’m doing down hill and to up my medication before the crazy really takes hold. The past 6 months I have been so up and down it’s draining, and not just on me, but everyone close to me too. Which makes me feel guilty, and a bit of a burden.
Having my children and boyfriend really helps motivate me to be the best I can be and to keep taking my tablets and to keep sane. Before them I had no real reason to even try to get better, I was either so down I wanted to die or so high that I felt like I was in a musical, literally! I am so proud of how far I’ve come, I’ve got lots of life challenges to handle in the future but with determination I know I’ll get there one day at a time.
The Secret Blog of a 30 Year Old
X X X X X