Today I’m bringing you something just a little different, something I have never done on my blog before! So, one mental illness that I’m pretty clueless about is bipolar. I’ve never really read much about it, or ever heard what it’s really like to live with this illness…that’s why I’m working on this post.
A friend of mine suffers with bipolar. She so kindly agreed to answer some of my questions surrounding her bipolar, and to help me understand it that little bit better. Yes, I could read pages and pages of NHS or wikipedia information on bipolar, but hearing what it’s really like from somebody who is affected by it within their everyday life has so much more meaning. This is extremely raw, personal and real ❤️
So, what is bipolar? Bipolar is a mood disorder, causing extreme mood swings. People who suffer with bipolar can feel overactive and on a huge high at one point (mania), but then experience feelings of severe depression, which makes them feel extremely low. These highs and lows usually alternate, and reoccur throughout different points of the individuals life (this could be through stress/emotional times). Here, I’ve asked my lovely friend what it’s really like having this mental illness and what it means for her during her day to day life.
Q: What are the main symptoms of bipolar you personally experience?
A: My bipolar symptoms mainly started within a really deep depression/suicidal state. Never getting out of bed not wanting to eat for days. Then, the next day I would be completely fine, completely happy, almost like I was hyperactive all the time – almost feeling like a high (feeling dizzy and not with reality at the time). This is called being manic, you can do a lot of damage if you are not careful of your surroundings and can get into serious trouble with it actions that you wouldn’t normally do. Being bipolar in my personal experience is that I can either be happy as anything, but the next minute I would be angry, depressed or suicidal without any warning.
Q: How did you come to the conclusion you had bipolar? Did you know yourself?
A: It all started mainly with having anxiety that later on developed into OCD and depression- to the point where I couldn’t move, wash my hair, keep myself clean and had very little motivation to do anything let alone drink a glass of water. Then from that deep depressive stage, I started becoming wreckless with my actions and wasn’t aware of what I have been doing. I’d have extreme outbursts of anger and sadness towards myself that’s when I realised that I knew this wasn’t just depression and that it is something else. I went to the doctors, they had upped my antidepressants and referred me to cahms because of self harming and how messed up I felt (April 2018). I started to test online for my symptoms and every single one of them concluded that I had bipolar type 2. I had been already been diagnosed with manic depression and awaiting a doctors appointment.
Q: What coping strategies do you use to help yourself?
A: I am very critical when it comes to self help, because I lack so little motivation in everyday tasks. So, if I have just came out of a depressive episode, I would take small steps at a time to make me feel better when I was recovering. I also find drawing very good, whilst listening to your music at the same time. It often makes me feel better when you have a good piece of art to look at – if you do not like drawing, I suggest colouring books that are designed for stress relief. I also have a nice hot soak in the bath with a load of bubbles, watch my favourite programme and put face mask on with bath salts. Cleaning is another thing that I like to do…I feel like I can be calm in my own space when it is cleaned. Getting out of the bath to new pjs and new bedding makes me so happy.
Q: Is bipolar something that affects how you live everyday?
A: My bipolar does effect my everyday life, even where getting up for school is a struggle. I don’t know if I am going to wake up to being manic, happy, angry, depressed…Also I feel dizzy and ill a lot of the time which makes me weak, faint, etc. Either I feel tired, or really awake there is no in between!
Q: What do you wish other people would understand surrounding your bipolar?
A: A lot of people don’t really understand my bipolar, when in reality it’s awful living with this day in and day out. This, with other things like self harm makes you feel numb, without realising what damage you are causing to yourself. I often say to people that have the ‘mental health is attention seeking’ mentality is how about try being in our shoes for a day. Mental illness can happen to anyone at anytime. Mental illness doesn’t care if you are happy on holiday, or out with friends etc, it will always find a way to make you feel dragged down.
I’d like to thank my beautiful friend for answering my questions and letting you guys in on what it’s really like to live with bipolar. She’s so brave for putting her thoughts and feelings out there like this, it’s amazing that she was on board with raising awareness and being this open about mental health on a social platform. If you are going through the same or anything similar, I’ve popped some links below that may be of support.
You are not alone my angels.