Today is 30th March, which is World Bipolar Day. I have spoken a lot about my experiences with bipolar, shedding mostly a positive and destigmatising light on the condition. It is a large question to ask whether one would choose to live or not to live with their disorder and so I wanted to outline today the journey I have been on in coming to terms with my diagnosis.
In the initial stages of my mental illness, I denied the existence of my affliction. I rejected what the psychiatrists said and didn’t comply with my medication. I didn’t speak to loved ones about it, leading to some of my friends being shocked when I finally “outed” myself on social media and the big world wide web.
That was a big thing to do.
Telling the world about the suffering I had been through was not a decision I made lightly. I understood the stigma I could face and the risks I was taking. But it felt truly cathartic to release my anguish onto a page whilst raising awareness about a condition that, months before, I had refused to accept. I had opened the floodgates and the feelings poured out in forms of blogging, video making and poetry.
Now, I have embraced Bipolar as part of my identity. I have found a balance that works for me. I take my medication as prescribed, I go to counselling sessions and talk and I associate myself with others who have been through similar experiences.
Yes, this is a story of recovery, but living with bipolar is an endurance exercise. Sometimes it can be about resigning myself to the fact I have it and accepting life as a struggle. Sometimes it is about the desire to come full circle back to where I was before I was admitted to hospital with my first manic episode. But at other times, I think of it as an enlightening process and that rather than simply returning to my baseline after my multiple “blips” along the way, I see that it has enabled my progression through life. Therefore I believe wholly that I have come out the other side more educated and more understanding about myself and who I am. So, whether it is a happy or an unhappy World Bipolar Day for you, there is always hope of not only recovery, but discovery along the way too.