Ten years ago I was a whirlwind of extreme moods, constantly battling against each other. I would suffer from severe depression, which decimated my sense of self worth. I was constantly signed off ill from work, and my career suffered because of it. I always felt exhausted and for a twenty three year old that was far from normal. It reached the point where I thought I might have M.E, I was so physically and mentally worn out.
If it hadn’t been for the other extreme I lived with, I may have started to believe it was true. That other side was mania. I would go weeks or months hardly sleeping or eating, full of a vibrant energy that never relented. I was brimming with ideas, creativity and inspiration, but at the same time I could be intensely angry with everyone and everything around me. When all this energy had depleted, as it inevitably would, I again would fall into a depression. Bipolar ruled my life, but I had no idea why. I would have to wait another four years until I was formally diagnosed.
I was also in denial. I was suffering from psychosis. I was hearing voices and I was too afraid to face it. Too afraid to tell anyone. I pretty much lived in fear and confusion of what I had, or was going to hear, next. I refused to look up why I might be hearing sounds and voices, instead I buried my head in the sand hoping it would magically all go away. I hid all this behind a smile.
The last ten years have changed me as a person. I met my future husband, who would become my safety net when things got tough. We’re not just husband and wife, we’re best friends. I went from chasing a career working with children and families, to having it all collapse around me. I was defined by my job and when I had to give up work, because of my poor mental health, I had to change my focus. I learnt there was more to life than work, and spent more time enjoying myself with friends and family. I was diagnosed which changed my life forever. I spent years finding the right combination of medication that would work for me. I’ve had therapy, but not found the one that has truly helped me deal with bipolar.
Race forward to 2019 and I have much more stability. I won’t paint a picture of recovery for you because that isn’t the truth. I still struggle but now I understand bipolar and feel more in control. The same with psychosis – which I’m facing and spreading awareness as far and as wide as I possibly can.