The highs and lows of bipolar.

The reason for this blog post is to showcase a poem a student of mine has written. They had to bring in an example of their own artwork to another module today, so this student had brought in a poem, and it’s incredibly good. More importantly it’s a brilliant example of what it’s like to actually live with a bipolar disorder. I think sharing this would help keep the topic of mental health in peoples’ awareness, and might help some to know they’re not alone in their daily struggles.

bipolar 1

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, but it’s not just one disorder, as many mistakenly believe, it is actually a collection of 3 disorders: CyclothymiaBiopolar 1 and Bipolar 2.  Bipolar 1 is where there is at least one episode of depression and mania, these episodes typically alternate. Bipolar 2 is where there are repeating episodes of depression with a single episode of mania.  Cyclothymia is a ‘milder’ (there’s nothing mild about it, but that’s the best term I can come up with) form of bipolar disorder and has numerous mood disturbances, typically with hypomania (not quite as intense as full mania, but still manic relative to normal patterns of behaviour) and moderate/mild depression.

Bipolar disorders are often described as an emotional rollercoaster.  In the manic phase individuals tend to show poor judgement and planning, are unable to clearly regulate their thoughts, plus they are overly optimistic and reckless with unwarranted high self-esteem that approaches grandiosity. The depressive phase is the extreme opposite and some individuals can have such severe depression that they contemplate suicide.  Suffers can also experience phases of psychosis and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It affects around 2.4% of people worldwide and age of onset is around 15-25.

There are a lot of famous faces who suffer from one of the bipolar disorders: Stephen Fry being a hugely famous example, who has covered his experiences in ‘The Not so Secret Life of the Manic Depressive’, a documentary that has been praised for raising awareness about bipolar disorders, and the struggles people who suffer from it, and other mental disorders, go through on a daily basis. Stephen is far from alone in the world of famous faces who suffer from bipolar disorders: Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia for those of you who are Star Wars fans), Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Russell Brand, Sinead O’Connor, Robert Downey Jr. and Catherine Zeta Jones. They all struggle with the same phases of mania and depression.

bipolar 2

Now, it’s easy for me to write about it from an academic perspective, but I have no real working knowledge of what it’s like to actually be bipolar, because I do not suffer from the disorder. I can only listen to people like Stephen Fry, to friends and students who come to me for support, help and advice. From an academic perspective it sounds terrifying, and an altogether exhausting and isolating experience, a bit like being stuck on a rollercoaster you can’t get off.

bipolar 3

So, this is where my student’s poem comes in, and I’m so pleased I’ve been given permission to post it here. Hopefully just reading this will help some of you realise you’re not alone, you’re not the only one who struggles with your life. There are others, and where there are others there is support and understanding. Here is my students’ story –an intelligent, brave, and determined individual who I wish every success to.

Vx

 

This is My Story – by K

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
Please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
I’m struggling with bipolar, extreme highs and lows,
Trying to act like I’m ‘normal’, hoping it doesn’t show!
Sorry if I’m over bearing, lavish, loud, in your face,
I’m sorry I don’t mean it, I can’t control my pace.
My ideas take over, telling me I’m right,
But the next day, in a different mood, I hide out of sight.

I love the world, I’m ecstatic, I feel like I’m on top,
But soon this turns to panic, and I need the world to stop.

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
I beg you, please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
I’ve struggled with relationships, I’ve drove them to the ground,
I’ve been told my intense behaviour can be difficult to be around.
My mind is always racing, disturbing thoughts go on and on,
I feel no good, and I’m worthless, but I need to be strong.
I’m a student and single mother, my fight is very real,
Every day’s a constant battle, and I hate the way I feel.

I love the world, I’m ecstatic, I feel like I’m on top,
But soon this turns to panic, and I need the world to stop.

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
I beg you, please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
It’s a long, lonely journey, filled with fear and dread,
I know that people love me, but can’t stop the sadness in my head.
It’s heart-breaking to admit, that I need help,
It’s so difficult accepting this part of myself.
The highs are amazing, so fast and on the edge,
But the lows are horrendous, with no hope ahead.

I love the world, I’m ecstatic, I feel like I’m on top,
But soon this turns to panic, and I need the world to stop.

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
I beg you, please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
I get scared and panicked, full of fear,
Why am I the only one, wo knows that danger’s near?
I can’t leave my bed, answer the phone or door,
Even letters remain unopened, piled up on the floor.
But please don’t judge me, please don’t think I’m dumb,
Just my body’s just paralyzed, I’m physically numb.
I’m still a valid person, my blood still bleeds red,
I just struggle with me feelings, and my thoughts in my head.

I love the world, I’m ecstatic, I feel like I’m on top,
But soon this turns to panic, and I need the world to stop.

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
I beg you, please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
I feel happy and I’m smiling, I convince myself I’m well,
Stop taking medication and end up back in hell.
The world can be so cruel, people judge, point and stare,
But unless you know my story, I don’t think that is fair.
I was a single teenage parent, left alone, and always tried to cope,
Now I’ve been given a chance at Uni, which has finally given me hope.
I’ve been treated like an equal, peers value my views,
Is my story changing? Do I have a chance not to lose?

I love the world, I’m ecstatic, I feel like I’m on top,
But soon this turns to panic, and I need the world to stop.

This is my story, I’m the age of 34,
Please don’t judge me, I’m statistically 1 in 4.
I’m struggling with bipolar, extreme highs and lows,
Trying to act like I’m ‘normal’, hoping it doesn’t show.

bipolar 4

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s