The brain's weird ain't it? If you had asked me a few years back, if I would ever consider myself to have a mental health issue, I would have laughed and said “no chance!”. But here I am, today, officially diagnosed with rapid-cycling Bipolar Type 1(hell of a mouthful)
I am a 33 year old man, who so far has led an interesting life. I dropped out of uni, after changing course....twice, had a string of unhealthy relationships, held down various low-paying jobs until my current one, and generally been “a bit flaky”. I always put this down to my personality, but over the past few years things started to escalate further.
It took a major event for me to finally admit that I’m not just a bit of a loud person who gets exasperated easily, and may have some “issues”. I won't go into details that led up to it, other than saying it was entirely my fault.
I was due to go away, abroad, on holiday with my significant other. I didn’t see the point. For weeks before, it I caused fights, I just sat in, playing Diablo on my XBOX, ignoring friends, family, and her. I did the bare minimum at work and I took it all out on my partner.
In the end, the day before we were due to fly, I simply said I wasn’t going. I didn’t see the point as I'd hate it and I was staying here. In my head, this seemed like a reasonable thing to do (obviously, it's not).
The time passed, I was still playing Diablo; I killed countless demons in Tristram, killed The Butcher at least 100 times when eventually my partner returned. By this point I'd started to come around, and knew I was the arsehole. I was the irrational person in this situation. That is the point I finally went for help.
I fully expected my GP to say nothing was wrong. I felt like I was wasting her time completely. But she was amazing, listened to everything, didn’t judge, set me off on some anti-depressants, organised some therapy, and off I went on my journey. This was just the start.
It would later turn out 2 years later that my Bipolar was misdiagnosed as depression. However, I want to stress, this was entirely my fault. I only ever discussed the depressive episodes, never really considered my manic times as an issue. But, I would like to discuss my diagnosis process in another post, as it is deserving of way more than a single paragraph.
To circle back to the start, the brain is weird. This post is simply an introduction, a starting point for me to discuss my experience with mental health. How it has effected me, shaped me, and even influenced my career choices.
But the main, overarching point, of everything I will post, is that it's never ever too late to ask for help. Bipolar is predominantly diagnosed in the teens and early 20’s. That doesn’t mean if you reach 30 you don’t have it. It just means you haven’t asked for help yet.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if you aren’t sure you need it!
My name is Lee. I’ve spent the last 3 years of my job helping vulnerable people with various mental health conditions. This blog will hopefully give an insight into the diagnosis of, and the living with a Bipolar mind.
We're always stunned by how people who have never wrote a blog before, come up with such brilliant work. Lee's is no different. An incredibly honest account of his journey. Do you recognise anything in Lee's story? Let us know in the comments below.
You can keep up-to-date with Lee on Twitter, where he's @spaghettyhoop