Bipolar and Grieving: My Story

So as far as you guys can see, I’ve been away for a short while. I’ve been grieving the loss of my boyfriend, the one person I could depend on more than anything. He suddenly passed on May 7th. I started this blog not long after to try and keep myself sane and going, but I guess I was just in denial about what happened.

I stopped writing a few days before his funeral and that’s when things got tough. I spent more time with his family and I grew really close to his brother. I threw myself into going to the pub near enough every night after the funeral for a good month. I was a wreck.

I always thought grieving wouldn’t be different with bipolar but I guess it really is. I never went through the 5 stages of grieving (if so, I guess I’m still stuck on denial) but instead I lost myself. I took myself you of my daily routine of waking up at the same time, eating and so on I stopped going boxing because I hated how it made me feel without him. I was such a mess. And the only time I figured something was wrong was when I actually screamed at my mother for the first time since before I was diagnosed with Bipolar. I knew I was getting myself into a state and I would end up having a breakdown and an episode. And I couldn’t do that.

Instead of putting myself on the line and trying to make myself worse with my constant drinking habit and my sabotaged routine, I knew I needed to change my life around, especially for his sake. He was my first and only love and I knew this would have to get easier.

3 months later: I’m sill suffering. But I’m not in the rut I was in. I took a break from working (so now I’m unemployed, but I feel so much better for not having job-related stress too) but have decided I want to start building myself a career again. I have my routine back an I’m even boxing again.

I went to see his mum on Saturday. This was the real heart-breaker for me. Sure, she calls me almost every day and has done for the last 3 months, but she wanted me to help her sort some of his belongings from his bedroom. And we sat there for over 6 hours speechless whilst we boxed things. I broke down so much but I never wanted her to see me like this. I was not throwing myself back into the anger and denial: which I have now learnt was the mania and psychosis. I’m just learning how to manage.

But on a lighter note: I’m back!

Being friends with someone who’s Bipolar

Hi guys, I know I haven’t posted for a while but I have something to ask of you.

This is not my survey and all responses are anonymous – as you know I have Bipolar Disorder and one of my closest friends is writing a book where this illness is actually key. I’ve helped him with how it feels to LIVE with this, but now we’re looking for honest (and anonymous) friends & family to tell us how they feel.. I’m hoping that you guys will do this for me because it’ll only take a couple of minutes. Usually I don’t post something like this but my I hope some of you guys will fill these 5 short questions out for both me and my friend.

THE LINK IS HERE

Bipolar Articles: “signs of Bipolar”

Maybe it’s just me, but the way I found out about my Bipolar was not because of the online articles that state different signs and symptoms of the illness. To be honest, I’ve began reading a lot more around the suspected signs and symptoms just because I want to see how many of the suspicions actually align with me and in certain articles, I’m left more disappointed than expected.

My biggest annoyance when seeing things on these articles is usually the first sign: “mood swings”. Well done, you’ve described basically 90% of teenagers and young adults there, does that mean they all have Bipolar? And simply saying “mood swings” does not describe anything at all. Bipolar is a lot more than “mood swings”.

I read an article the other day (and I can’t believe I have lost it – I should really have linked it here) that stated “if you feel depressed, you may have Bipolar”. This wound me up. In one sense, it is right, but people need to look more into other symptoms than ju the depression and mania or even the mood swings as I stated above. I remember looking at the comments on the bottom of the article from young adults asking what the “chances” of being Bipolar are because they’re constantly depressed. Articles like this are so misleading.

I’m currently looking at the article “10 Subtle Signs of Bipolar Disorder” by Health and must admit that this is probably the most realistic and informative article I’ve read on the subject of basic internet diagnosis. It talks through different signs from the mania and depression through to trouble at work and even alcohol and drug abuse. Whilst I would not diagnose myself from any of the things I read on the internet, if I was to match my symptoms up to something, this would be the most likely.

Looking into things, I guess most articles about Bipolar are written by people who don’t really understand the illness and that sucks.

 

COME TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BIPOLAR DISORDER.

If you want to share (anonymously or not) anything about your experience about Bipolar, come leave a message in my contact. I can post this for you. I’m really interested in knowing about your experiences, opinions or anything you’d like to share.

Bipolar & Relationships: The Toxic Ex

I thought I loved him. I really did.

Even though we weren’t together for such a long period of time, I’ve built myself up over the years to not fall for people or trust what others say and I guess that’s why I always have my guard up. I met him in December and I thought he was different so slowly started to let my walls come down. I just didn’t realise it would be a mistake.

I tried to explain to him about my Bipolar and what it can do as I didn’t want him to think it would be scary being in a relationship with someone who has this illness. I tried to show it was more than just moodswings and even explained previous episodes I had suffered. We talked about my medication (to a slight extent) and one thing I never do is talk about my Bipolar to people in case they use it against me. Just like he ended up doing.

Everything was good for a few months. We go on really well and I supported him through his own illnesses. At this point, I was stable with the Bipolar and hadn’t really suffered any kind of relapse. I was clean from self harm for almost 2 years and I thought he would support me. He never really spoke about what I was suffering and I always thought that was because he was too nervous around the subject to talk about it. It just turns out he really didn’t care or want to understand.

We broke up and decided to remain friends. He became very bitter and make joking remarks to me, always commenting on how my appearance was or how certain things about me didn’t make him happy. I can remember being laid in bed with him one afternoon and he just turned to me and shouted “your voice really annoys me” and it was just like glass had shattered. I didn’t understand how someone could be so cruel to me. Especially when they were “still in love” with me. I knew he was toxic and I knew he was hurting me but I couldn’t walk away. Each time he’d bring my confidence down, him and his best friend would tell me it was a “joke”. But then things turned sour.

I remember being sat in the pub with him and to be honest, I know I wasn’t myself. But he kept making more remarks about how “shit” I was as a person, knocking my confidence so low that I could tell I was about to break. I stopped eating, I tried to talk to him about my problems but he made sure I knew that his were “worse” or he had “years on me” so it really made my issues seem minimal. And being sat in that pub, he laughed in my face and told me to “stop being crazy and take the crazy tablets”. That ruined me.

I thought I was crazy. I stopped taking all of my medication because I thought I was crazy. I really was fucking mad at that point! And that’s where my latest episode came into play (I’ll write about that separately).

Now, it’s 4 weeks since I last spoke to him. He ruined me and made me feel so small. He laughed in my face when he found out about my episode; he told all of his friends it was his fault and he was proud that he’d made me relapsed. But you should see me now: I’m stable, I’m happy and I’m actually not crazy. Not like he thinks anyway.

Bipolar and work: the reasons I quit my job

I loved working in a call centre. Though the managers and big bosses may have been asshats, the atmosphere was great and really helped me find who I was behind hiding in my disability. I remember my first day in “training” for the job and how I was so nervous because I didn’t know a single soul. My anxiety must’ve been so obvious to begin with but I knew I had to suck it up, get out of my comfort zone and just act confident for once in my life. And doing so really paid off. I made friends, became one of the best workers in the contact centre and enjoyed every aspect of my job, especially the challenges.

Part of my bipolar recovery means I need to put myself into a routine and that’s what I’ve worked so hard to do for the last 4 years. I’d make sure I had the same routine when getting up for work (starting with waking up), had the same seat when actually at work and even requested to have the same break and lunch times each day – something that never actually happened for anyone else. Whilst I worked towards doing all of this and even asked management for the support, it became clearer as time went on that nothing was actually going to help me in that place if I didn’t have the support of those above me.

I’d been in my job almost 8 months when things started to get bad. I remember my depressive state taking over and practically demolishing all of my confidence and everything I had worked so hard for. It was like the medication just suddenly stopped working and my mindset completely vanished. My manager at the time was the bet support I could ask for and tried to understand my condition as much as he could but I knew he was struggling to get it. I don’t blame him: Bipolar isn’t something you just learn about for the sake of it.

The day my first breakdown came was a few weeks after things started to deteriorate. I took a call and for some reason, I had an awful man screaming at me down the phone. I almost lost it right at the beginning of the call but held on, trying to help as much as I could. Then he wanted someone higher. I still stuck it out, making myself deal with this. But for some reason, I just broke. I can’t remember everything because my mindset was so damaged, but I know I had the most amazing support around me and they all understood my breakdown.

I seemed to rapid cycle for the next few months, everything going pretty steady (for me anyway) until 3 months later. They’d decided to move me teams to a brand new team where I knew nobody and didn’t feel comfortable at all. Part of my mental state meant I relied on those around me and I wouldn’t even be sat near them any more. Management wouldn’t help and I can remember someone high up laughing and saying “you’ll be fine” like disregarding people with mental illnesses and their concerns was his actual job. This ruined me even more.

I ended up staying 3 and a half months longer even though I couldn’t even cope. Most of the time, I ended up being off sick because I couldn’t bring myself to go in. I remember having an episode in February of this year and having 4 absences in a month just because I tried to go back but couldn’t even manage to. My life was ruining slowly by the corruption of my bipolar and the routine being demolished. I genuinely didn’t know what to do.

I was told in March I would be having a “disciplinary” for my absences and that’s when I realised: they didn’t care that I had a mental illness. They didn’t care how much it pained me to come in everyday and how much I was suffering because they weren’t helping. I couldn’t do this any more. I had to go.

I loved that job and most of the people there, but the high management didn’t care what was happening to their workers and that’s what broke me. No matter what notes the doctors gave me or what panic attacks I had, it still didn’t matter. I loved the people and most of the managers there were amazing, but the fact that the support I needed wasn’t in place didn’t help.

I hope to go back there once my bipolar is better – I just need the support at the minute.

Bipolar Article: “The Trap” – Friendship with Bipolar

So lately I have spent a lot of time reading different things about Bipolar just to see other people’s perspectives or struggles. It’s abundantly clear that every person who has Bipolar has a different experience and in some sort of sad way, this is something I find beautiful.

I’ve read about the affects on relationships and friendships and after being diagnosed with Bipolar for over 5 years now, I understand exactly how it can affect the people around you. I’ve read a lot of those “things not to say to people with Bipolar” or whatever other articles may be out there along the same lines and it’s pretty accurate.

My favourite article I’ve read at the moment definitely has to be this one. It’s around the friendships and relationships when suffering from Bipolar and is written by my favourite website at the moment, BPHope. In the article, the author Julie talks about a letter received from her friend Melissa who couldn’t handle the effects bipolar had on Julie and their friendship. Julie read the letter and saw nothing but criticism, overlooking every nice piece of evidence written about her. This was the breakdown of the friendship and this really broke my heart to read. It shows how people without bipolar struggle to remain friends with us, but also highlights the importance of how both people with and people without Bipolar can keep the friendship alive. At the bottom of the article, Julie includes her “tips” for being a better friend and I completely agree with these  as someone who also has Bipolar.

Whilst the article focused solely on the person with Bipolar mending the friendship and trying to overcome the struggles of it, I couldn’t help but wonder if there had been any articles written for the reversal of this: how to help save a friendship when your friend has Bipolar. To me, this side of the article is highly important to me. I guess this is because it’s the article I low-key want my friends to read and understand. At the moment, I haven’t found the perfect article around this, but can  guarantee the moment I do, I’ll be writing about it.