Most days start off like any other, I open my eyes, I look at the ceiling and think, ‘what kind of day is today?’ Some days I feel tired and hungry, this is a normal day. However, some days I feel so incredibly optimistic, I feel as though I could fly, I feel completely comfortable with everything in my life, I feel as though I can excel in everything but other days I wake up and I feel ashamed to be who I am, I feel a failure, I feel a burden, I feel as though I take up too much oxygen in the world and I’m just a waste of space- these are my bipolar days.
Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows. -bipolaruk.org
Having bipolar doesn’t mean you are depressed, it means you go through phases which you are in a state of depression, these can be very intense. On the other hand, bipolar can cause you have extreme highs (also known as mania), these two are intense but they can make you feel amazing. But the truth is, for me, as soon as I get a high I crash and burn and find myself thinking thoughts nobody should ever think and feeling things nobody deserves to feel. Don’t get me wrong, there are many days where I am happy, cheerful and not suffering from what I call bipolar days, however, it’s always there in the back of my mind, lingering, ensuring that small things remind me that I’m not ‘normal’. I class myself as normal, most people I know think of me as normal as well, but, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, and I think that it’s more prominent towards people with bipolar, the reason being many people think we are simply ‘hormonal’, ‘indecisive’, or just using it as an excuse for bad behaviour.
So, what exactly is bipolar like for me? Mania sessions mean I have lots of energy and I feel as though I can do anything and everything. I’m overly optimistic about everything, mania has been fantastic when I’ve needed to get lots of work done!
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, I enjoy making them laugh by acting like a fool. Making people laugh and smile makes me feel as though I’m on top of the world, I feel unreachable, invincible almost.
I wake up with a huge smile on my face, ready to conquer the day. I stay up all night but don’t feel tired. I talk too much, I talk to fast and switch between conversations, people find it difficult to hold a conversation with me and sometimes even I find it difficult to keep a conversation going because I just can’t keep up with what I’ve said and what I’m thinking.
All of this might sound appealing to you, but there are its downsides, I spend so much money, I argue with those I love for no reason but the fact it gives me something to do. It can be exhilarating, but it’s also dangerous.
When this ends, though, which it does very quickly, I burn out, I crash and burn and feel as though I have nothing left and I quickly fall into the depression stage.
I want to be alone, it’s not because I want to be alone it’s because I know I’m a horrible person to be around when I’m feeling like this. I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to go out, or see anyone.
Although I know it’s not true, but I feel as though people hate me and for the ones who I know don’t hate me, when I feel like this and I see them out and enjoying their lives, it’s like being shot with the reminder that I’m not like that, I can’t live every day to it’s full, my mind is stopping me.
It doesn’t matter what it is, I don’t enjoy working, being with friends or being with family. I have to get a train daily, and sometimes, the thought of getting the train, being squashed, overhearing cheerful conversations makes me feel angry- I don’t know why I feel angry but the smallest things aggravates me and makes me dread doing the simplest things.
I turn into what I imagine being the grumpiest person on earth, I wholeheartedly hate myself when I am like this.
I’ve been able to accept now that the mania and depression are only temporary feelings. Whilst I may perminately have bipolar, I am able to acknowledge that there can, if I’m lucky be weeks, even months where I dont suffer from mania or depression, and these are the moment’s I strive for. Accepting the fact my mood could change at any time makes me enjoy the calm more, it makes me appreaciate the small things in life and I’m able to thank the people who mean the most for sticking by me through the tears, laughter and despair.
Bipolar affects 1 in 100 people. I’m not alone and neither are you. If you find yourself reading this and thinking ‘that sounds just like me’ please seek help, Mind is a fantastic charity which provides a helpline for those effected by mental health illness.