Category: Personal Story

The Working Wounded: Bipolar Disorder on the Job

The Working Wounded: Bipolar Disorder on the Job

This Labor Day has brought back a gloomy memory. “You’ve failed at everything you’ve ever done, Daddy, and you’ve been sick all of my life.” Those stinging words came from my then 27-year-old son.  He regretted saying that to me and apologized the next day. My...

Facing a Psychiatric Hospitalization

Facing a Psychiatric Hospitalization

I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office recently in a large, oversized chair staring at the slightly crooked pictures on the wall. A boat. A beach. African figures. I could hear the ticking of the clock as I scanned the piles of books and patient records underneath,...

The Guilt I Felt When My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Bipolar

The Guilt I Felt When My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Bipolar

I have bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD and OCD. It’s not easy living with me sometimes, especially if I forget to take my meds. I also have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. I am 41 years old, and I have spent most of the first 40 years stretching my body and mind...

Pushed to The Brink

Pushed to The Brink

When I wrote about my bipolar disorder, anxiety and PTSD, I thought it was the hardest thing I did. But now I realise that what I’m writing about today is the hardest thing I have ever done. The only reason this has taken me so long is the same reason why I kept quiet...

Parenting Made Interesting

Parenting Made Interesting

For parents taking care of a child who has autism, life is an everyday challenge. Sometimes, it’s good. Other times, not so much. But what if you’re a single parent? What if you’re a single parent who has bipolar disorder? What would it be like then?...

Explore Your Options For Affordable Psychiatric Care

Explore Your Options For Affordable Psychiatric Care

My first instinct when realizing I needed psychiatric help because I was having a breakdown, was to call my company’s EAP (Employee’s Assistance Program). I was lost and they advertised at work that this program could help with many different things, one of them being...

What I Didn’t Realise About Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

What I Didn’t Realise About Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Recently I gave a keynote presentation at the Victorian Collaborative Mental Health Nursing Conference in Australia. It was amazing and inspirational to see the great work so many mental health nurses are doing. The title of my keynote was ‘World Changing’. This title...

How I Saved My Life

How I Saved My Life

I roll over to the edge of my bed and start searching for my pills: white pill, purple pill and a couple of other pills my psychiatrist said I needed. I’m not ready to get out of bed, but I know I can’t miss another day at work. By the time I’m in...

7 Things I Learned at the Psych Ward

7 Things I Learned at the Psych Ward

Does the title of this blog scare you? Does it make you laugh? Does it make you cry? Make you shudder? It might do one or all of those things. Most people never want to admit they have been to a psychiatric hospital. I can’t say I would have ever dreamed I...

Burnt

Burnt

I have recently experienced a mental health burnout.Normally, when I say that I mean I’m tired of dealing with my own mental health, but not this time. This time I am just jaded regarding the blogging I do.Just over two years ago I went public with my condition on...

Learning to Manage a Manic Mind

Learning to Manage a Manic Mind

If you walked into my house right now, this is what you would see: dishes piling up, laundry in piles waiting to be folded, a dirty floor and me in bed.It’s happening again. I’m having another manic episode. This one, though, is different. Maybe it’s the empty house...

Life in the Cycle of Anxiety

Life in the Cycle of Anxiety

Have you ever been so afraid of tripping that you couldn’t take a flight of stairs, even though something like that would never happen? This is the stage setting for my anxiety disorder. I have written about my bipolar disorder a lot of times, but my...

Meds, Memory Loss and My Support System

Meds, Memory Loss and My Support System

Approximately three years ago I started noticing that something wasn’t quite right. At first it was little things, like putting my glasses in a desk drawer instead of on my nightstand like I normally would. That was just the beginning. It progressed rapidly. Within...

Inside the Mind of Someone with Social Anxiety

Inside the Mind of Someone with Social Anxiety

I have been dealing with social anxiety since around the time I was diagnosed with Bipolar. That’s 8 long years dealing with both Bipolar and social anxiety. I used to keep myself at arms-length from people for fear of being rejected, since my social anxiety causes...

Support For Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

Support For Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

Suicide is a permanent solution to what, with the proper help, could be a short-term situation. It needn’t be permanent. Seek the help and support you need.When I attempted suicide, I caught my support system off guard, including my doctors and psychiatric...

Bipolar Disorder: My Story and My Passions

Bipolar Disorder: My Story and My Passions

Hey guys! If you haven’t noticed, this is excitingly my first blog post for IBPF. I just thought that maybe before jumping into all the big issues, you might want to know a little about me and my relations with bipolar disorder. And I totally understand! Whenever I...

judgMENTAL (Filipino)

judgMENTAL (Filipino)

This article is available in English here. “Ginagawa mo namang malaking bagay yang sakit mo sa utak!” “Puro yang sakit mo na lang lagi sinasabi mo. Masyado mong ginagawang glamoroso!” “Hindi mo naman kailangan ng gamot eh. Nasa utak mo lang yan!” “Maging postibo...

judgMENTAL

judgMENTAL

Above: mixed media on canvas by Zaeli Eliza“You’re making mental illness as if it’s a big deal!” “You talk too much about it. You’re glamorizing your illness!” “You don’t need medication. It’s all in your head.” “Think positive. Toughen...

The Blahs

The Blahs

Here’s a post I didn’t think I’d ever write! I have been on what is considered to be the best mood stabilizer for over a year, and my mood symptoms have been totally under control. No ups, no downs. I have also been taken off the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor...

Bipolar Disorder and the Damage of Addiction

Bipolar Disorder and the Damage of Addiction

Addiction is a disease. It can turn someone strong into a powerless human being. It can make someone a prisoner in their own body. “My name is Laura and I am an addict.” That sentence took me three years to say out loud. I always will be an...

An Open Letter to Bipolar Disorder

An Open Letter to Bipolar Disorder

Dear Bipolar, You have been my closest companion over the years. You found me in high school and refused to leave my side. You convinced everyone that I was always low and moody, making me lose friends in the process. You convinced me that I was less of a person...

Baby Steps Towards Progress

Baby Steps Towards Progress

Since learning I have bipolar disorder, I have come to the reluctant realization that progress doesn’t always occur on my timetable. In my mind, I can see how things will be when I’m “all better,” but every time I race towards recovery, I inevitably stumble. It’s like...

Coming Out After 25 Years With Bipolar: Who Am I Anyway?

Coming Out After 25 Years With Bipolar: Who Am I Anyway?

I’m not who I say I am. That’s because my family would prefer I not use my given name. Many of them don’t believe in bipolar disorder. They think my difficulties were created by using street stimulants during my halcyon Hollywood years, struggling to stay...

Running Stop Signs

Running Stop Signs

I was driving much too fast. I didn’t see the stop sign. I sailed right through. The stereo was pumping and my hands gripped the wheel. My foot was pushing harder on the accelerator.I came up to a second stop sign and again I saw nothing. I pushed on the pedal to go...

Self-Actualization After Psychosis

Self-Actualization After Psychosis

I hate coincidences. Ever since I’ve recovered from my bipolar psychosis, I’ve had to be wary of coincidences. Psychosis is a very difficult thing to deal with and understand. I’m going to attempt to delve into this very taboo subject because I want people to know...

My Symbol of Hope

My Symbol of Hope

For many months, I have been suffering from suicidal ideations. I was completely honest with my psychiatrist, my family and friends who support me. I told them that it was not something I wanted to act on, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. For more than...

Dealing with the Loneliness of Mental Illness in India

Dealing with the Loneliness of Mental Illness in India

There’s a reason many of us have trouble sharing our personal battles with mental illness. The reason is the label our society has put on mental health; that anyone who visits a mental health specialist is “crazy,” or “insane.” Mental illness is...

Overcoming Fear With Understanding

Overcoming Fear With Understanding

After 11 years of suffering quietly, I resolved to speak out about something most of us decide is a secret to take to their early graves. For years, decades, lifetimes of silence makes the thing nonexistent to the world. The only reason for this silence is the fear of...

My Beacon of Light: Electroconvulsive Therapy

My Beacon of Light: Electroconvulsive Therapy

Two years ago there was one thing above all in the mental health world that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and it was electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Not the thought of the procedure itself, but the side effects. As a nursing student, I did a...

Learning Through Art and Others

Learning Through Art and Others

Apart from the mental conditions I was diagnosed with and am being treated for, I am a recluse and an introvert by nature. Even so, neither of those make me remorseful nor ashamed. I admit though, whenever I am “comme ci, comme ça,” I still do try to be a...

Divorce: Writing and My Recovery

Divorce: Writing and My Recovery

“I want a divorce.” The sentence I was afraid of was coming finally came from his mouth. It felt like a ton of bricks and an ache in my stomach. I felt like I was in a movie where the camera zooms out and shows you like an ant.Shortly after he moved out, I overdosed...

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Dear Dad,  On your birthday, and on every day, you should know how appreciated and loved you are. I am your daughter that was shy, was afraid of strangers, had separation anxiety from Mom (from what I hear), and was afraid of my own shadow. I played it safe...

Mania and Marriage: Coping With Hypersexuality

Mania and Marriage: Coping With Hypersexuality

Have you ever cheated on your best friend? Have you ever betrayed the trust of someone you cared about more deeply than yourself? How did it feel? For me, it felt like my entire world collapsed around me. My husband — my best friend — no longer trusts me. I broke my...

My Path to Mental Health Advocacy

My Path to Mental Health Advocacy

Until I was 16, I thought that my uncle had died of cancer rather than suicide. There was always a dark joke in the family that we have a history of mental illness in our lineage. There is the distant cousin who lived in a tiger cage because, well, he thought he was a...

Depressive Breakdowns: The Angry, The Weak and The Strong

Depressive Breakdowns: The Angry, The Weak and The Strong

Your buttocks are cold and aching because you’ve been pressing them for too long against those filthy concrete steps on the hallway, in front of the elevator. There are cigarette stumps and ashes all over the place, but that does not bother you in the least. You’re...

Don’t Wait for Someone to Notice Your Symptoms

Don’t Wait for Someone to Notice Your Symptoms

There were a lot of warning signs that I had a mental illness, long before my first diagnosis. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was a child. I would have massive mood swings and extremely violent temper tantrums that often resulted in the...

What Love Means Now

What Love Means Now

My version of love has changed from the past several years. When I was younger, love to me was an infatuation. When I was in my 20’s, love was lust – yes, there is a difference, but the label of love was used. Now, in my late 30’s, love is completely...

Overcoming the Stigma Within

Overcoming the Stigma Within

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was in shock. I had no idea about mental illness or mania or psychosis. I had no idea that my brain could be responsible for altering my reality, for making me think certain thoughts, or for making me feel sad when...

Self-Harm, It’s Not Just Cutting

Self-Harm, It’s Not Just Cutting

Self-harm is a way of dealing with deep emotional pain. Hurting myself made me feel better when it was the only way I knew how to cope with feelings like anxiety, sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. It’s an outward expression of inner pain—pain that...

Living with Bipolar Disorder, Acceptance Goes A Long Way

Living with Bipolar Disorder, Acceptance Goes A Long Way

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was young, fifteen or sixteen years old, but before that I had been seen by doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists for depression. I think ‘manic’ stages were assumed to be me being a ‘normal’ kid: happy, productive, and...

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Four

When I envisioned myself at 24 I always thought I would be a huge success. I would be on the front page of fortune magazine, I would have a nice car, a nice house, nice family and nice job. I assumed I’d be out of the house and on my own. I’d be working a career I...

The Face of Bipolar Disorder

The Face of Bipolar Disorder

What does someone with bipolar disorder tend to look like? Are they blonde, have curly hair? Do they talk differently or walk slighter faster than the average person? Much of the time you can’t tell by just merely looking at someone’s outer...

Continuing Recovery

Continuing Recovery

“Hey, how are you?” Oh man. Yikes. Whoa. Here we go again. I pause and consider my options in response to this question. If you have bipolar or experience any other form of mental illness, you probably understand why this question can be so tricky to answer. Do I...

My Manic Summer

My Manic Summer

The summer of 2013/2014 was magnificent, exhilarating and glorious. It was also a manic summer. I had just come out of one of the darkest winters of my life, where I was hospitalised and everything had ground to a halt for months. Spring came around, and with it...

I Have Been Diagnosed Bipolar- Now the Real Journey Begins

I Have Been Diagnosed Bipolar- Now the Real Journey Begins

The best part about having bipolar disorder, is knowing you have bipolar disorder. There aren’t any other tangible benefits, but there are definite ways to cope. Even though I had hundreds of friends and thousands online friends, life after my diagnosis was...

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes: Getting better at them all the time

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes: Getting better at them all the time

(‘Changes’ song lyric sample from David Bowie, album “Hunky Dory” 1971)When the seasons change, I often have a bipolar relapse, one that starts small, like a snowball, gathering speed and size as it rolls down the hill, exploding on the impact...

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