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I’m 56, female and I have bipolar 1 which was originally diagnosed as bipolar 2. It’s a mental illness that affects my moods and the way I manage my life. I was diagnosed in 2006 having previously been misdiagnosed since teenage years with bouts of major depression. Psychiatrists and psychologists I consulted did not investigate deeply enough to uncover the fact that I’d also experienced moderately manic episodes and one major episode. I did not know enough about bipolar to ask if the mania (or hypomania as it mostly was at that time) was relevant. Hopefully now, with all the information online about bipolar, things have changed and people will feel more encouraged to see a psychiatrist and seek the correct diagnosis.

I’ve also been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder traits.

After having achieved some stability on medication in my late 30s early 40s, I began to experience major episodes of both depression and hypomania again in my late 40s.

Some would say predictably I completed a psychology/sociology degree in my 30s to understand more about mental illness, behaviour, social issues, welfare and mental issues relating to the criminal justice system. I would have liked to have worked in any one of these fields but bipolar instability prevented me from doing that so I worked in other less demanding areas. I admire those who can maintain careers while having bipolar.

Currently I’m still mostly unstable with depression being predominant but with both hypomanic and mixed affective states occurring two to three times a year and two full-on manic episodes recently (thankfully short duration due to treatment).

In depression I am in the deepest, darkest hole, crawling through thick mud which threatens to engulf me. Daily life is a struggle, I live with the constant urge to self-harm and suicide is always on the agenda. In a hypomanic/manic states I bounce off walls, believe that I can achieve the impossible, attempt multiple tasks that turn into chaos, laugh hysterically at nothing, talk so fast I could beat a machine gun, can’t sleep, get jumpy, get irritable, have difficulty distinguishing reality from unreality, behave impulsively, have heightened sexuality and spend far too much. Hypomania/mania can feel great at the time but it’s exhausting and decisions made in this state are never good ones.

In my effort to achieve stability my ongoing treatment consists of regular visits to a psychiatrist who manages my medication regime and also guides me through psychotherapy. My medications are a frequently changing “cocktail”. It is not unusual for people with bipolar to take a number of medications to remain stable and there are numerous combinations. No one combination is perfect for everyone.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences and thoughts about bipolar disorder, about the treatment I’m having and how bipolar affects my life, the lives of those around me, and what impact it has on other life events.

Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional nor a scientist and the opinions stated on this site are those pertaining to my personal experience. They are not a recommendation. There are many sites online that are written by professionals and which contain validated scientific information and I encourage you to seek those out.

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A MOOD CHART

mood_chartThis chart is a free download you can find at  MOOD CHART

I keep a modified version of a Mood Chart with daily entries for my medication, sleep hours and quality, my mood on a scale of one to ten and a space for a general comment.

As well I write a journal which details activities, interactions, feelings and thoughts.

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13 Comments

    • Alice, Summer, Jack
    • Posted March 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm
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    • Reply

    Hi, We are 2nd year performing arts students and we’re doing a university project about bipolar and were wondering if we could have your permission to use part of your blog as a monologue sequence. thank you.

    • Yes, sure you can use parts of my blog although there are heaps more interesting, well-written blogs around than mine! No doubt you’ll find them during your research.

      Cheers and all the best with your project.

  1. I came across your blog today. Your story sounds very interesting, and I am very excited to read more. You and I may be kindred spirits – we have the same blog design after all :P

    • Thanks for commenting, I must go and check out your blog. I will be writing another entry soon.

  2. Its really wonderful that you chose to share youe experiences with others. I wish I could give you a hug:-) I’m sharing this blog on the Facebook page of “Mehac Foundation, which is a voluntary organisation trying to improve mental health with a few projects in Kerala, a Southern state in India. Will come back and read more. Cheers:-)

    http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php#!/mehacfoundation

    • Thank you for sharing my blog. I have visited the Mehac Foundation facebook page and website. I can see that you are all doing wonderful work through the projects you are running. I wish the organisation well for the future.
      I am fortunate to be living in a country where the public mental health system is about to receive more funding and where I also have the affordable (through private health insurance) option of private mental health care. I acknowledge that not everyone has the opportunities that I have.

  3. Hi
    
I’m a psychotherapist, part time Johns Hopkins faculty member, and writer in Baltimore who specializes in the treatment of bipolar disorder (I wrote a book, The Hypomanic Edge, about the link between hypomania, success and the American character). The reason I’m writing you is that I have a link to your blog on both of my practice websites, in sections entitled “Bipolar Resources,” where I have hundreds of links to books, websites, blogs, and articles about bipolar disorder. I was hoping that you might consider a reciprocal link to my sites, listed below. I say reciprocal link, but if for some reason you can’t or don’t want to link to me I will still list your blog link and soon an RSS feed when my webmaster is done, unless you have an objection, in which case I would have it removed. All the best and thanks for your consideration.

    Best,
    John Gartner, Ph.D.

    http://johngartnerphd.com/index.html


    http://www.johngartner.com/

  4. Nice website from what I’ve seen, it’s very couragous of you to post your journal online. My brother is bipolar/schizophrenic and has been through many of the stages you’ve described. It’s interesting to see it from a first hand perspective. I took psych classes in college and none of them come close to describing what you must go through.
    A tip in case you are interested, I have heard that neurofeedback can help with the mood swings. There are units that connect to game systems to assist in “learning” how to control the alpha/beta rythems in the brain. There are also clinical sessions with trained psychologists but I’ve heard they can be pretty expensive.
    Buena suerte!

    • Hi Steph, Thanks for the comment. I originally started this website for my own use as a place to journal my experiences but I hope that others can find it and identify with it in some way. I also did a degree in psychology/sociology and the texts/lectures really don’t explain what it is like to live with bipolar (or schizophrenia). I’ve heard about neurofeedback but haven’t investigated the possibilities of it as a treatment option.

  5. I actually like what you submit here. Highly insightful and intelligent. One problem though. I’m running Opera with Debian and parts of your current structure pieces are a little wonky. I realize it’s not a regular set up. Yet it’s an issue to keep in mind. I hope that it will help and continue to keep up the top notch quality writing.

    • Hi Jerome, Sorry about the wonkiness :) I actually know nothing about setting up web sites which is why I’m using the basic WordPress format. I am aware that pages do not always show the same in various browsers but I have no idea how to fix it. Thank you for the compliments on my writing though. It is great to get feedback.

  6. Hi, I was diagnosed with bipolar last 2008.
    I used to take seroquel to help me sleep but now i’m ok so i dont take any meds anymore.
    i’m just surfing the net now to validate if i do have bipolar coz i dont believe what the doc says.
    but i guess, it is true coz i dont feel normal.
    i feel blue during spring and high in summer and autumn. im usually high like i speak really fast.
    i almost killed myself coz of depression. now im not taking meds but i believe im ok.

  7. very interesting …. so brave of you to put your journey online…..


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