In conversation: life with bipolar disorder

28 March 2018

In the lead up to World Bipolar Day on Friday 30th March we want to focus on raising awareness around bipolar disorder and self-management techniques through people's stories. 

Bethan finds her mixed diagnosis of Cyclothymia (a type of bipolar) and PTSD useful, whilst Amy finds the umbrella term bipolar helpful but does not necessarily identify with the several clinically defined types. 

In these videos they enjoy chatting and sharing stories about their lives, how bipolar has impacted them, and discussing themes such as relationships, self-management, professional support, and key moments 

They do this in the hope that their stories will encourage shared humanity, reduce stigma, and increase understanding and openness around bipolar. 

Do you connect with their stories? What would your advice be to someone you care about who is experiencing bipolar? What self-management tips help you?

Relationships

"Have I ever told you about my traffic light bra system… if I’m feeling a bit unwell I have three different bras in three different colours, and I use my blue one if I’m feeling a bit low, my pink if I’m feeling a bit happy, and my yellow in a mixed state" 

"I used weather emojis and sent them on Whatsapp … a sun for good mood, lightning bolt for hypomania, rain and lightning for mixed state, and then rain was a low episode"

Self-management

"It is very much in my mind that I might have a period of my life again which is really hard and difficult, I consciously capture happy memories and thoughts as I go that I can use"

"Self-management changed for me when I realised I didn’t know how to manage hypomania"

"I love that there is a mixture of everything you can use  ... and you have a little box of tools"

Professional help

"Professionals can be incredibly invaluable in unlocking ... big feelings of shame after a low or high"

"The thing that helps me to manage the rollercoaster the most is therapies"

Breakthrough moments

"We realised it was the middle between the highs and lows that had always been missing ... and that felt so freeing to know why I had always struggled a little"

"Whatever you think of bipolar... if you've lived the life you can have through bipolar, you really do know what it means to be free"