(this is a personal blog)
I am spontaneous, excitable, obsessive, angry, happy, lost, empty, intense…
That’s me, that’s my Bipolar…however isn’t this just the emotions that makes us human beings? Well yes that is true, however with Bipolar disorder you find sometimes the emotions are magnified and more difficult to process or to get over.
With World Bipolar Day on the 30th March I thought I would give you an insight into how I see my condition. Also I will talk about how to support someone with Bipolar.
Although I have only been formally diagnosed with Bipolar last year I have had many interventions, talks and assessments from Health Care Professionals.
It usually takes many years for a true diagnosis as the condition is quite complex and everyone has different experiences of the condition.
I see my up times and down times like a long road with hidden bumps which give you the butterflies in your stomach. My moods hit my quick like a rush of energy. If you are unaware of what Bipolar is the main characteristics of the condition is manic highs and depressive lows that usually come in cycles.
Sometimes it feels like I’ve consumed numerous coffees, it is hard to manage and my energy is often hiding my behaviours.
I struggle more with high mood, and have to be careful not to make rash decisions. However sometimes it can be my most creative periods in my life. This can be wonderful the ability to paint, create something new in life, learn an instrument or sing a new song. However this can be all lost when I go into my low mood phase. I feel like it wasn’t worth while doing all the productive and creative things I completed.
Supporting someone with Bipolar can be challenging but here are a few of my tips to help your loved one or colleague along the way;
- Don’t be scared of the condition – Bipolar is often portrayed in films and the media in general as a dangerous and volatile condition. This isn’t always the case, get to understand what it means to live with Bipolar
- Do not judge – The classic phrases such as ‘calm down’ or ‘get over it we all have low days’ can be more damaging than helpful. Listen and be ready to help if needed
- Different ways of behaving doesn’t mean that someone has gone mad – Many people with Bipolar like other mental health conditions see the world slightly differently, or are more reactive to stress and difficult situations or cope by using different phrases, movements and tone of voice. Be understanding that everyone is different and the condition doesn’t seem as scary as you may have thought.
- Have a friends/family plan when times get tough. Sometimes it’s good to have a key world or action when you know your friend/family member is high or low. For example, “Time for a chai latte’ maybe a good phrase to say when low, to take time out with someone who needs your support without making a big deal about it can be so beneficial.
A final point…
Take a moment to look at this picture I captured a few years back. This really illustrates how I see my Bipolar. It shows light and dark in a pattern with a rainbow in-between, if I focus on this is how my life pans out I can manage my condition much better every day.