Author: Ambika Paul
The road to healing has been like walking on a tightrope with no flashlight or map; and I don’t know if there’s an actual finish point. From my experiences with Bipolar disorder, I’ve learnt to not suffocate myself with expectations of what my recovery needs to look like. Bipolar episodes always appear to show up with different symptoms each time and I have to learn on the job.
Sure, there are many coping strategies that I reach out to when I’m manic or depressed; running, journalling, spending time with my cat and anything that’s creative but sometimes even those fail me. And that’s where my medication always comes in, saves me from the uncontrollable highs and pulls me from the destructive lows.
When I notice myself getting sick again, I reach out to my psychiatrist. So far my medication has never failed me and I refuse to believe it ever will. I spent years unable to understand what was “wrong” with my mind, how other people seemed to have consistent moods and why I was the only one who “felt too much”. But eventually I learnt that this comes with the territory of having Bipolar Disorder. What I do know now is that no matter how bad it gets and no matter how many times Bipolar disorder smacks me to the ground; I will get up again and I always do.
I started reaching out to those around me and sharing my symptoms even if the sharing was followed by shame. I reached out to an amazing online community and finally I don’t feel as broken and alone as I used to feel living with mental illness. I am now working towards giving people the same, a place to share their stories, struggles and hopes of living with mental illness.
This Blog is written in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Every May, we champion mental health by improving understanding and knowledge about brain health. We share individual stories and coping tips to start important conversations and bring our community closer together. Together, we can build belonging and awareness!