Bipolar Boxing Match

“Bipolar is like a Boxing match- and we’ve got to keep fighting.”

My name is Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva for those unfamiliar with Irish names!) and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder six years ago aged 21, whilst studying for an MA in Modern History at University. Like anyone who suffers from this illness, more often than not it has been an uphill battle.

Recently my partner, who has been a great support, said to me that he saw the experience with Bipolar- or at least my experience-  comparable with a Boxing match. And the more I thought about it, the more I really liked the sporting metaphor.

He said, “You’re the fighter, and I’m the corner-man. I dust you off, wipe your brow and push you back into the ring again.”

Like an opponent in the ring, Bipolar can shell out devastating blows that can truly knock us for six. And once these blows have been dealt, it can be hard to constantly find the drive to get back up again. But when we feel like we are down and out, on the ropes and struggling for breath… That’s the time to dust off the boxing gloves, pull yourself together once more and start to fight all over again.

True, in Boxing there are 12 rounds and then you can stop and come up for air. Sadly, that is not the case with Bipolar Disorder. The fight is a continuous one that goes on for the rest of our lives. But despite the difficulties- the desperately dark lows and sky-scraping highs- there can be a slight reprieve between rounds. That is where the Corner-men, and women, come in. When we feel like we have mustered all the fight we can manage, they’re the ones to hype us back up again. They’re the ones who wipe the sweat from our brows, the ones who pick up. And I know that, yes, I am the fighter. I am the one dealing with this illness. But a Boxer can’t do it all alone, and neither can we.

I am very lucky in that I have a whole backroom team behind me every step of the way. I am not fighting alone, and if I do have a wobble or a relapse, they are there to keep me on track. I have an NHS team of psychiatrists, psychologists and not to mention my partner, friends and family. So I say to each and every one of you reading this who are also suffering and managing to keep fighting, we truly are Bipolar Warriors and as long as we have people in our corner, we will always be more than fit for the fight.

And to those of you with loved ones fighting this fight, know that your support- your kindness and understanding- goes a long way in helping us continue to battle on every day. We could not fight this fight without you.

And if you feel like you’re lacking a backroom team or support network, please reach out to someone. There are always people willing to help, you deserve it- you’re worth helping.

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