Enjoying life with a mental illness is a strange thing. You learn to appreciate the “good times” more because you know it could change at any minute. For those of you who are not familiar with the term “manic episode” – it’s when someone with bipolar disorder experiences a “high” so to speak.
Over the years I have learned to recognize my mania, and to enjoy it now it is being treated with medication– everything just feels exciting, euphoric and at the same time overwhelming. The world all of a sudden seems magnificent. My creative mind is unleashed and my head feels like it’s about to explode with a thousand racing thoughts, but it doesn’t matter, IM ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!! My words get tangled up when trying to have a conversation, so I get irritated with everyone/I don’t understand why they aren’t going at the same speed as me, why does their day seem grey when mine is so colourful …?
I wear red lipstick and my hair is always perfect, I obsessively clean the whole house with bleach often ending up with burns and sores on my hands. I bake cakes, pies and cook meals to feed hundreds. I obsess over songs, playing the same one over and over again until I am word perfect. It’s usually during this stage my family worry the most, because they know the higher I go the harder my world is going to come crashing down.
I may be a little controversial with this article but bear with me. Part of the reason for the stigma around bipolar disorder is that we can be a little difficult to talk to and understand. During the mania phase I have a tendency to just talk whatever is on my mind most of the time with no filter. Often shutting people up or talking over them, when all I really want to do is to be able to tell you everything on my mind. Here are 5 small points on how you can support someone with bipolar.
- Avoid patronizing words – “Are you drunk? “ “Have you taken your pills?”
No, I’m not drunk and yes I have taken my medication… there is a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes these highs and lows that I have no control over.
- Keep them company –
Sometimes all I want to do is be near someone I can trust, I simply just don’t want to be alone.
- Protect them from harm –
Express your concerns over my manic behaviour, health or lifestyle. I sometimes can’t see it.
- Encourage me –
If I am obsessing about something that isn’t particularly harmful, let me work through it, I may benefit from it.
- Prepare for the crash –
Will you catch me when I fall? Having somewhere you feel safe and loved is so important, the comedown is inevitable, it’s best to be prepared.
If you have any other points you would like to add, please email me!
Ms Bipolar x