I have decided to write about my experiences of Bipolar because I hope I can help other people who have suffered from or know someone who suffers from mental health issues. I wanted to share something helpful, and I hope this will be a positive part of my blog. Keeping it seperate from my normal blog posts has not been an issue previously however I feel it would be more beneficial to talk about my experiences on this page and keep the rest of my blog about the other things I love and enjoy. Then everyone can choose whether they want to come to this part of my blog or not.
I want to explain where it all began and the experiences I have had in more detail. If you feel you can read further, please join me.
**How did it start?**
Everyone's experiences are individual of course but for me it all began way back when I left home at 18 1/2 to start nurse training. I had always been happy, grown up in a loving family and enjoyed life. When I left home I found it hard to settle and although I made good friends I felt like the odd one out. People commented on my mood swings and how I could be so ''up and then down''. I began having odd days where I felt depressed and over time these increased in frequency. I made up reasons for being unwell and never told anyone what was happening for me because I dint really understand. This went on for several years with the depressive periods becoming more frequent and longer. But it wasnt until I was about 35 that it came to a head. I had gone to the theatre with my girl friends to see a play. It was for me extremely emotional and I remember my friends having to calm me down at the end as I couldnt stop crying. We were the last people to leave the theatre and the staff were getting worried. I had just missed out on a promotion as well and when I got home from the weekend I just cried for hours. I took myself off to the doctor the next day and from then began my breakdown.
It is tough to recall just how bad it was but it got to the stage where I couldn't talk to people at all they had to talk to me and I was having trouble going outside cos I was agoraphobic but also claustrophobic when I got there. I had counselling and that really helped me to deal with some ongoing unresolved personal issues but not the actual underlying problem. I didn't feel my doctor was taking me seriously and it wasn't until about 2 years afterwards when I became ill again that he listened to what I had gone through and referred me to the mental health team. From that first appointment the specialist did a long interview and said I had Bipolar disorder. I began taking a regimen of medication and things slowly started to look up. But it has taken along time to get it right. I have what is known as Bipolar 2 where I have mainly depressive episodes and some manic periods but these are normally few and far between. It is the depression which is so debilitating and which can come out of the blue or sometimes it will come over a period of time.
Trying to describe what depression can feel like is very hard but I'm going to try. It is exhausting, I sometimes cry uncontrollably for hours end up with a headache and have to take painkillers. My mind goes blank and all I can see is blackness and grey. Getting up is sometimes difficult, even having a wash or shower becomes a waste of energy and you don't care what you look like or what you wear. I dont eat properly, I cant cook for myself. Sometimes when I'm very bad I cant even talk. I literally feel numb, if you have ever gone through a bereavement you will recognise this feeling, but imagine it never going away properly. Constantly being hyperaware of how you are behaving, is this it coming on again? Am I just sad or am I getting sick? Is my happiness normal or am I getting manic? Imagine living your life on a knife edge and you will have a tiny idea of what Bipolar means to me. Sometimes you can feel suicidal and it is the worst feeling in the world. Not wanting to live is probably the lowest place you can ever go to.
Below is link to Ruby Wax talking about depression:
** Helpful links**
''Working together to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life''http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/bipolar_disorder/
Time to change..........................
This campaign is about increasing people's understanding of mental health issues and to end mental health discrimination.