I live with and suffer from Bipolar Disorder
By Tressey Allison

I live with and suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

I say it like that, because for me it’s true. Bipolar disorder is a ‘black’ thing that’s with me, always. There are so many times I want to shake it off, give it back and say, ‘I don’t want it any more, thank you very much.’

What, How, Why?

I hate that I live with and suffer from bipolar disorder, because it rules me, and I no longer feel ‘normal,’ whatever that is. Since being diagnosed eight years ago after not being or feeling right for some time, I now know that I was suffering from mania during that time.

I was erratic, suffering from headaches, awake all night with thoughts in my head. Then there was the problem that I couldn’t sit still, or stop talking. Yet at times, I was so tired and emotional that I would suddenly just break down and cry.

For 6 months I went back and forth to the GP, until one day she said the words:

‘I believe you may have bipolar disorder.’ Immediately  my thoughts screamed, “What, how, why?”

Having heard of the condition, I found I didn’t really know anything about it. I was lucky. At that time we had private health care, and I was referred straight off to a consultant at the Priory. I met with him the following week, and was admitted that same day.

That was 8 years ago and I’m still coming to terms with my diagnosis.

The first year after receiving my diagnosis is a blur

The year of diagnosis I barely remember. It is a blur, apart from the fact I know I was very hard to live with. I almost lost my family through my behaviour. Somehow, I became addicted to spending money on the internet. Shopping anywhere and buying things became a real problem. Anything with the word ‘Sale’ had me buzzing and I would bulk buy items.

Fortunately, these could be sent back on the days I felt ‘normal’.

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When I realised what I had done, I sent them all back, only to do it all over again a few days later.

How could I have changed my whole self?

There were many things I did. Some, I’m really ashamed of, and can’t believe I did.

Never before would I ever have described myself as that type of person, but when you suffer from this condition, what is you? What is normal?

How could I have changed my whole self in a matter of months, to be diagnosed with this condition, and to now need to take medication for the rest of my life?

I’m frightened

I don’t want to take my medication but I’m frightened of what I might become or do without it. To not feel ‘normal’. However, on it, I don’t believe I will ever be that person I was eight years ago.

I spend my days now pretending at least most of the time. People think I’m a happy, carefree sort of person. They believe I’m fairly outgoing and easy to talk to. It’s true, I am all these things, and I like this about myself. However, I’m also constantly worrying about what other people think of me, and trying desperately to be liked by everyone. I have very little self-esteem, so I laugh at myself so that I’m laughing with others. Unfortunately, that means I will always put myself down.

Fighting a constant battle

I don’t have any wonderful ‘highs’ any more, because the medication takes care of that. However, it leaves me teetering on the edge of depression, something that is constantly hiding just behind me.

I have put on four stone in weight in the last eight years, and because I am little it hasn’t done me any favours. Although I’ve tried to lose weight, I only put it back on, and more.

It’s an increasing battle and it leads back into that deep hole of depression.

I don’t think well of myself, and can’t believe anyone else could either.

In my head I fight battles constantly and it’s tiring. I never truly switch off unless asleep, and I hate suffering from bipolar disorder.

Worrying that they will say ‘Enough’

I know of all the ways in which to help myself. I had 6 weeks in the Priory to help with this, but it doesn’t make it go away. It just sometimes relieves the symptoms. Being surrounded by people who know me, where I feel comfortable to be me, is helpful.  I have a very supportive family and friends, but I worry all the time that one day I will go too far and they will snap and say they’ve had enough.

There is no end to it

I live with and suffer from bipolar disorder. This is me. This is what and who I am. I could go on for hours telling you about it, about how it affects me and the people who know me.

There isn’t an end to it.

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