This blog post has been written for The Nackered Network - https://www.facebook.com/The-Nackered-Networker-101725491188943/
The Nackered Network is a Facebook page dedicated for blogging about matters of mental health & related disorders.
My Bi Polar Story
I want to influence the mental health industry through my experiences, realising that if one can understand their mind, they can help themselves and accept their mental health as a part of who they are and use it to their advantage as if I Can, You Can.
How did you notice that something wasn’t right?
In 2016 I was diagnosed with Bi Polar. At the time I had no idea what it was, except that it was a label. My energy levels were high, but I was always hyper throughout life as this was my personality. That said, there were times when I was feeling low too.
As a child, I have always been very hyperactive, talkative and always enjoyed pulling all nighters. I found the more I stayed up late, the more energy I seemed to have after I passed the stage of being tired, and as long as I kept talking, this kept me awake. Nobody ever said this was unusual for me.
A few times people close to me said to me: “Stop talking to people, they don’t want to talk to you.”, or “Stop texting and calling others, they don’t want to hear from you.” Despite being told this, I carried on being me, a chatty individual who enjoyed texting and chatting to others. I didn’t realise that I was talking more than others, again I was being me.
Anyway, despite all this I continued being myself. I found some people really did appreciate me for being me despite there still being some people telling me to stop talking or texting them. I contacted these people less where I knew this was the case, or where I got no response from them, as I finally got the message to let them go.
Nothing officially got picked up until I was 30 years old.
Looking back, I realised prior to the diagnosis I had pumped myself up with so much positivity and I was literally buzzing, inside and outside and it was showing through my behaviour, being very erratic and frantic. Even at the hospital, when I told a family member I could feel my phone plug vibrating when I pulled it out, I just couldn't understand it, but I knew I felt it, even though it was just a plug! How can you feel a plug vibrate?
I realised I had raised my vibration levels really high, so high and I couldn't even control myself. I was out of control and I was so unaware of what was happening to me. For this I am forever grateful that my employer at the time did look after me and advised me to be escorted straight to the hospital at the end of the day. Little did I know, I would be off sick for months!
As far as I was concerned, there was nothing wrong with me, I was feeling great. I realised I needed to know how to control my energy, but I had no idea how to. This I didn't learn then, as I stayed home, took medication, was knocked out to sleep for 14 hours each day. Previously I had hardly slept, 3 to 4 hours maximum daily for weeks and was so wide awake and alert. Having stayed at home on medication for several months, my energy levels went back to my normal state, a lower vibration level - so normal, I couldn't feel myself buzzing anymore.
As an accountant, work keeps me busy and I am always under pressure. Somehow, on my last day in the office, I did no work and my entire work schedule got cleared just like that. I recall things happening, as if everyone I interacted with was helping me. Others were happy to be around me, I was connecting with some who I never spoke to and everyone just seemed happy to be around me. I was working until 10pm every day, and I wasn't even annoyed, I was just buzzing with joy. What I realised was energy was flowing through me, and out of me too through my behaviour. I was elated, and what I realised now is, I needed to learn to ground my energy, and focus it.
I am happy to say my work environment has dramatically improved since then. I still work as an accountant, the role is still high pressured but I never work until 10pm every day. I only work late at the beginning of some months when things don’t go to plan, as some accountants are aware, this is our busiest time of the month.
What treatment was recommended?
Initially Diazepam and Zopiclone (sleeping pills). The instant I took Diazepam it made me sleep for 14 hours straight and it was instant! I was never told this, to the point the first time I took this medication downstairs after dinner, and I was falling asleep walking up the stairs to my bedroom! I think I must have slept in my clothes that day as it was that lethal.
Afterwards for the last 4 years I have been on Sodium Valproate – used to treat manic behaviour.
I was initially on 2000mg dose and over the last 4 years this has been reduced to a 400mg dose.
Historically Sodium Valproate was initially used to treat epilepsy. Studies showed over the years that this calmed people’s moods down too, hence is the reason it is used for anyone with bi polar who experiences more of the manic state, like myself.
Thinking about this, is bi polar and epilepsy similar? As why would the same medication be used for both especially if they are different?
I believe we are energy, and bi polar to me means having naturally high energy which is directed either really high when elated/manic, or really low when depressed/suicidal. I have been in all of these states my life, fluctuating between them.
From this, my view on epilepsy is that one has extreme energy which cannot be controlled, to the point that the body has an electrical shock.
How’ve you been since diagnosed?
I have more highs these days than lows, but I am aware of my feelings now and understand it better. I don’t feel I will ever get depressed again, as I have found a way to get myself out of depression or rarely reach that state of mind again. I believe it didn’t happen overnight, it would have been something that built up over time, feeling low constantly to become a habit of something you get stuck in.
Being diagnosed has made me aware of my behaviour, that I have been bi polar my whole life, but it never got picked up until I was 30 years old.
I use meditation and yoga as natural ways to be calm, rewiring my brain, to stop reacting and respond more. This is still work in progress. I am also seeking a therapist for regular sessions, to enable myself to understand my behaviour and past even more so.
Whether we choose to believe it or not, our past affects our future and it only gets uncovered by triggers or pivotal moments in our life, which affect us in certain ways as a result.
We can move forward to change our beliefs and focus, but we can also look back to uncover our subconscious beliefs, accept them, and change our perspective on them, which otherwise may block a fulfilling future for us unknowingly.
Find out more about me on my website/blog: https://www.icanyoucan.co.uk/
Check my facebook group for daily mindset ideas/quotes generally and some specifically linking to my experiences of bi polar: https://www.facebook.com/groups/icanyoucan.co.uk/
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On a mission to inspire everyone through my life experiences as a british born female indian diagnosed with Bi Polar because I believe that if I Can, You Can.
Other useful resources:
Mental health in punjabi communities - https://www.taraki.co.uk/
Mental health awareness website created by Liz Rotherine who is diagnosed with bi polar, sectioned and recovered. - https://heads2minds.co.uk/
Bi Polar Charity Support - https://www.bipolaruk.org/
Mind – Further details on Bi Polar – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/about-bipolar-disorder/