For yourself but not by yourself: what I have learned along the way- by Ms Bipolar

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Up and down with balance

Warning, this article may be triggering for some readers

I STARTED having difficult or should I say different thoughts at a young age that at the time seemed ‘normal’ to me as I knew no different … now looking back I know I was definitely wired differently.

I can clearly remember back to being in school and sitting in class and drifting off into my own world … next thing I know, I had one of these drawing compasses in my hand digging my initials into my thigh until I drew blood, I clearly remember the feeling of freedom, control and satisfaction.

Odd, I know, but true!

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I vividly remember walking home from school at about 13 years old and having visions of me running across the train tracks and what would happen if I did, would I hurt myself? Would I die? Would I be missed? What would happen?

I didn’t know that other people thought like me, and that the thoughts that were running through my head were not right.

In this last year, I have finally learned to manage my condition alongside medication. Sometimes changing from one medication to another but also becoming more relaxed about its changes as I get to know what they mean and know that (most of the time) I can control them. So here’s what I’ve learned:


  • Don’t hide from it: get to know your condition from research as well as the behaviours you associate with depression, mania and overall bipolar. If you feel something is wrong, admit it.
  • Don’t hide behind it: mania is the very worst of you but you are still you. Whilst you learn to control your condition you may have limited control over your behaviour but your actions are still your responsibility. If you catch yourself saying ‘I don’t have to do this because I’m depressed or mentally ill’ get someone to give you a swift kick in the backside. Distancing yourself from responsibility is also distancing yourself from reality.
  • Know yourself: Get to know your triggers. This is probably the hardest part. You need to start paying attention to what triggers mania or depression for you.
  • Love yourself: forgive yourself for mistakes or ‘bad behaviour’ instead of beating yourself up, resolve to do it differently next time and move on.
  • For yourself but not by yourself: Each person has to learn their own way to control their condition. It’s incredibly easy to recognise other people with bipolar when you recognise the behaviours in yourself, but it’s very obvious when they are struggling. There is nothing better than recognising your fellow bipolar person and sharing stories with each other.
  • Use your family and friends! Help them to understand, explain to them your triggers but also how to help you manage your moods. Often friends and family feel helpless when it comes to mental health not knowing how to deal with it, what’s appropriate to say or not.

Love Ms Bipolar x

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