It’s been awhile.
In fact if I’m
perfectly honest I don’t think I’ve ever really been myself.
moved house, AGAIN, but this time back to the water, back to where I feel safe
and it feels good. I’ve felt a clarity that has got my brain focused again,
thinking about writing again (this blog post has been coming together for weeks
now!) and it’s exciting. I feel about as close to the real me as I have in
It’s given me the
strength and the opportunity to take the steps I need to follow my vision, my
In June 2008, I
was diagnosed with the brain disorder Bipolar Type 1, and it changed my life as
I knew it forever.
I don’t like to
use the term “mental illness”, I think it conjures up negative associations
like movie style crazy psych wards and tragic news reports….. Don’t act like
you don’t know what I’m talking about…. We all judge! I was guilty of judging
For those of you
that don’t know what Bipolar is, and having knowingly lived with this for 6
years, it appears that many don’t. Bipolar Disorder is an illness. It is a chemical imbalance that affects the
normal functioning in the brain so that the person affected experiences
extremes in moods. The person may be so affected they may experience symptoms
of psychosis where they are unable to distinguish what is real.
And I won’t even
go into the effects this condition has on conducting basic day to day tasks
that you take for granted like cleaning, eating, budgeting and sleeping.. I’ll
save that for another day.
made me re-evaluate my entire lifestyle. I was forced to make massive changes
in my life. And it wasn’t just about me, it affected my family too.
I had a choice, I
could continue living the disruptive troubled life I had been (which was always
normal to me, even though I always knew something wasn’t right) or I could make
the changes necessary to try and live a functioning existence. I made the
decision to be well.
This would require
taking daily medication for the rest of my life, regular Psychiatric sessions, CognitiveBehavior Therapy sessions with a Psychologist, routine visits to my GP, blood
tests to check my general health and blood levels, maintaining a strong support
network (or support scaffolding as the
specialists call it! ) with family and friends and developing my own coping strategies.
And can I tell
you, its hard work. It’s a full time job in itself. And it’s not easy, not just
for me but for the loved ones in my life.
I found great
healing in the creative work that I do. Fashion Styling, blogging, writing and
working with the various publications and brands over the years and it has
helped to soothe and calm my soul so to speak.
I have been lucky
enough to work with some great people who were accepting of my condition and
gave me the time and patience I needed when required. But it hasn’t always been like that. And
after many many years, I’ve realized that working for myself is definitely the
best and healthiest option for me.
relationships of any kind is very difficult for me as it can be very hard to be
in my life. I am aware of this. But for those that have the compassion and
patience to stay, know they have a very loving and loyal friend in me.
illness, is not something I would wish on anyone. To try and function in
society knowing that potentially my behavior or actions may cause grief or
shock, scares the living shit out of me. But I work so hard to make sure that
doesn’t happen. I guess this is why I tend to shy away from public outings at
times if I’m feeling slightly fragile or agitated. This is because I have no control over my
actions or emotions and would hate for anything to happen that may embarrass
myself, my loved ones or cause anguish to strangers that may not understand my
condition or what is going on.
I’ve hidden this
side of me for so long, to my detriment. I’ve “conformed” to fit in to make
life easier – but for who?
Having bipolar is
a curse, it is a thief that steals and never gives back. I’ve lost at least 10
years of my life. But it has also given me an insight and wisdom that I believe
I wouldn’t have. My creativity and intensity has come from this illness and I
wouldn’t give that back for a million years.
I’m not ashamed of
who I am, so I’m not hiding it anymore.
I hope by opening
up about living with this medical condition that I can educate about what it’s
like day to day, the highs and lows of living with Bipolar Disorder. It’s more
than just extreme mood swings, it’s more than just popping a few pills.
There is a lot of
good and a lot of fabulousness that comes from this illness as well. Don’t get
me wrong the lows can be very low and the highs are unbelievably hectic, but
the “normal” – we don’t like that word, is also very unusual too and can be
There’s going to
be some changes coming soon to the blog and it’s going to include the same
fabulous fashion and beauty I normally cover, introducing you to new brands, my
day to day style etc… as well as my food and lifestyle reviews. But it’s also
going to include what I get up to on a daily basis incorporating my health
stuff – which as I’ve said, I’ve hidden this aspect for so long. For example,
my therapy appointments, managing my medications, how my mood swings change and
effect me etc… – just so you can see the work involved with managing a
condition like mine.
It’s part of who I
am. And I love that person. It’s made me who I am. And although it can be
brutal at times and has caused me pain (and others) it’s a massive part of my
life and I want to share it with you.
For more information on Bipolar Disorder:
Labels: bipolar, bipolar disorder, mental health