Christmas is a time of festive joy, of giving and receiving - ‘it's the most wonderful time of the year’, or so the song goes. But several years ago I decided to make a change to the way I celebrate Christmas - I decided to abstain from receiving gifts and I’ve been all the more joyous for it since! I sound like a real-life Grinch don’t I? But don’t worry, I don’t have green fur; I just have Bipolar (II) Disorder.
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When I started grad-school I was full of optimism. I was 21 years old and I had just graduated with a strong first class honours from a good university; I skipped the MSc, easily securing a place straight onto a prestigious PhD programme where I was to spend 4 years studying the scientific art of molecular biology. However, behind a thin veil of success I was locked in a constant battle with (then undiagnosed) bipolar(II) disorder.
My name is Sophie, I’m a research scientist from Mansfield, England and I live with bipolar (type II) disorder. I decided to start speaking out about mental health after realising how little my condition was understood in some professional circles. When I first got diagnosed I thought my career was over; I didn’t see anyone else ‘like me’ represented in my field and didn’t know how to make mood management work around my job. I decided that visibility was important so I chose to open up about my mental health.