To all my beautiful friends,
I want you to know that I have a mental illness called Bipolar Disorder 1, which sometimes means that I have a chaotic mind and a chaotic world.
This doesn’t mean you have to treat me any differently or give me more sympathy. I just want to tell you how to spot the signs and the change in behaviour. These behaviours do not define me; they are part of the illness.
I’m still a person like anyone else. I just have a complex illness that’s often hard to cope with and predict.
Although many people experience these emotions and moods in everyday life, the difference for those living with bipolar is the intensity, severity and extremeness they can present.
Bipolar disorder I, unfortunately, is the more severe disorder in terms of symptoms. This means I'm more likely to experience mania, have longer ‘highs’, be more likely to have psychotic experiences, and be hospitalised.
I don’t fit into people’s normal expectations, but I have come to accept that. Your acceptance of that is so important to me; I don’t want you to reject or judge me on my changing behaviours. Please understand this is not always me and when it happens, the storm will pass. Be patient with me, and the person you love and accept will shine again. All I want is to be loved and not feel alone. Your voice or your touch is often all it takes to make me feel OK.
Listen: Mia Freeman explains how routine allows her to manager her mental illness. (Post continues after audio.)
I don’t like living with this illness and I don’t like being weathered and battered by its cyclic storms; it comes and it goes and it's exhausting. Like a real storm, my bipolar disorder is marked by significant disruptions to my normal life. Instead of strong winds, hail, thunder or lightning, I get irritable, erratic, irrational, seek constant reassurance and lose insight.