BIPOLAR AND ME
A few years ago I was perpetually suicidal. I had constant, unwavering world wide indifference. I self harmed. No matter how many times someone said "But what about your son?" I felt nothing. Nothing. I'd got to such a dark, ugly place that I was convinced his life would be better without me.
This state led to the moment that completely broke me and saved my life. After a particularly bad episode, police took me to A&E in my pyjamas and I was put in a little room away from the main waiting room. A nurse sat with me the entire time, I cried until my face was raw and red and I wasn't allowed to lock the door when I went to the toilet. We waited hours, until it was decided I needed to be admitted to the local mental hospital.
Following the short spell in the mental hospital (like a proper scary one where you're not allowed your phone charger for obvious reasons), it was suggested that I might have a personality disorder instead of the depression I thought I was dealing with.
I was vehemently against this conclusion. I thought "personality disorder" equaled axe-murderer. I thought these kind doctors where intimating that I wanted to hurt my loved ones - I know, I wasn't in a good place.
A few months later I was talking to a close friend who suffers from bipolar - she said the words that changed everything. I'd described my crushing depression that left me bedridden for days and my sudden urge to get out of bed and bleach the bathroom. She said, "Mate, you sound like me."
Getting a diagnosis was HARD. I took the private route, armed with a ragged piece of paper detailing my vicious mood swings written on it, from bone breaking depression to "Let's redecorate the entire house!" in a matter of hours. It took three private psychiatrists and a few years of following their advice and taking the meds and going back more and more exhausted with what was happening inside my head. I tried DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), I took the pills that made me put on loads of weight, I kept a mood diary.
Until finally two years ago, I found someone who got it. She diagnosed Cyclothymic Disorder - on the bipolar spectrum - and everything clicked. I wasn't broken, I wasn't going mad, the moods had a cause and I was prescribed a cocktail of mood stabilisers and anti-depressants.
Being diagnosed with a chronic mental illness is a weird one. Initially, it's relief and clarity and "HAHA I WASN'T MAKING IT UP!" yet sometimes I slip down the "Fuck, this is never going to go," rabbit hole. But it's OK, with the right medication, the right people around me and the right mindset, I'm just someone who needs to take it a bit easy sometimes. I have to watch stressful situations so I don't slip down the depression helter skelter and at the same time, I have to be mindful I don't get too carried away with the Rolodex of thoughts whizzing around my bonce.
I now run a local support group for fellow bipolar sufferers and their loved ones. And even though the route will inevitably be longer and I'll probably stray off track more than I'd like, I CAN see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. And for want of not sounding like something off an inspirational quote poster - I feel I can appreciate the good stuff now I've seen the shit stuff waiting for me at the bottom.
Written by Cas Imossi
Twitter : @mummynevasleeps
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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.