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Sally Buchanan-Hagen

My Manic Summer: Take 2

It seems that my last blog post was somewhat prophetic. I am currently sitting on a bed, in a psychiatric hospital, recovering from my second psychotic manic episode. 

This episode evolved much like the last did, with me becoming so elevated that I lost insight and subsequently stopped taking my medication. I had been hypomanic and compliant with my medication for months, but January and February (summer months in Australia) are still bad months for me regarding mania. 

I Can’t Guarantee I’ll Never Become Manic Again

I have only been hospitalised for mania once (you can read about my experience here). My memory of that time is hazy and distorted by the manic lenses I was wearing but to say that it was dramatic is putting it lightly. I had just turned 23, was newly diagnosed with bipolar (I had been diagnosed with bipolar type II less than 6 months before but needless to say that diagnosis turned into bipolar type I) and had been hospitalised for the first time a few months prior for a depressive episode (which was traumatic for everyone involved).

9 Lessons Bipolar Disorder Has Taught Me This Year

As 2015 is drawing to a close I often find myself reflecting on the things bipolar disorder has taught me over the past 12 months. This year, like the last few years, has been a steep learning curve. However unlike last year where I became fully acquainted with my bipolar disorder as it immersed me in extreme depths of mania, depression, mixed states, psychosis and paranoia, this year I have been able to process and embrace the life-changing lessons this illness has taught me:

1. To be more tolerant and question perceptions

The Dog

Creativity in bipolar disorder is more often than not associated with hypomania/mania instead of depression. However, I wrote this description of depression eighteen months ago while I was in hospital and psychotically depressed: 

My dog has returned to me. Not my cute, loving and gentle dog, but my big, all- consuming and unrelenting black dog. This dog doesn’t like to play and when it does, it pins me down, sits on my chest and doesn’t let me get back up, all the while barking a flood of abuse in my ears. 

Keeping Both Feet Firmly On The Ground

“I think you’re becoming elevated” are words that make the ground fall out from under my feet. When I hear someone even hint that I am unusually energetic, cheerful, speedy or irritable it feels like my grip on reality is weakening. I can picture my ascent into mania all too strongly as the times when I have been manic and out of control rise to the surface of my mind. 

I Wish We Had All Been More Aware of Mental Illness

As far as I’m concerned this week is the best week of the year. It’s not only Mental Illness Awareness Week, but here in Australia it’s Mental Health Week. Although mental health promotion and awareness of mental illness should be continuous throughout the year (not only during one week), now’s one of the best times to start talking about it. 

Bipolar Is Just One Part of Me

Recently I had coffee with my cousin and we were discussing the times I have been unwell. This lead to me talking about how I write for print and online sources about bipolar, my passion for mental health promotion and how I volunteer for a mental health organisation. After this she warned me against becoming too caught up in the mental health world and that I should focus on other interests too. At the time I thought how can I not be consumed by this world when it has been my life for the past few years and will continue to be? 

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