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"The mood swings are extreme and last for prolonged periods of time"

Bipolar Disorder affects over 1m people in the UK, but is still very misunderstood. Abby shares her experience of the realities of Bipolar disorder

Hi my names Abby and I have Bipolar Disorder.

It seems unknown territory sometimes when you say that you have Bipolar as people have either no idea what it is or you get generalised.

Bipolar is a mood disorder formed of mania and depressive episodes. People often don’t truly understand Bipolar and think some days you are happy and the next you are sad, but it’s so much more than that.

The mood swings are extreme and last for prolonged periods of time and you have no control over them.

I have Bipolar 1 and was diagnosed in 2009 after having serious hyper mania for 7 years. The mania made me into a person that, looking back, I didn’t even recognise. I was a person who was out of control and my behaviour was shocking to say the least. A culmination of spending money excessively and getting in trouble with the police to feeling a state of euphoria and that I was unbeatable. I think the difference was that I never knew I had mania or even Bipolar for that matter so I couldn’t recognise that my behaviours where out of character.

I then had a period of Depression that lasted about 3 years which was the deepest and darkest time in my life. This time I knew I had depression and it was a tough pill to swallow, feeling hopeless, not good enough and thinking everyone would be better off without me. I struggled to say the least, but after my diagnosis I knew there was a way out. 

It took me accepting that I had a serious mental health condition to move on to learning to cope with my condition and know I could achieve what I wanted in my life.

Fast forward to present day and I am happy that I have continued to look forward, having a few bumps along the way but that is usual with Bipolar. I am medicated but it’s not a magic pill. I still feel the ups and downs of the condition so some days are better than others but I know as I’ve overcome my manic and depressive phases before I can do it again with vengeance! 

I always say mental health does not define you and you can achieve what you want in life irrespective of if you have a mental health problem. I now am a successful professional running a project I founded 10 years ago and it’s still going strong. I’m married and have the most amazing support network. I feel so grateful for how far I have come and continue to be the best version of myself. If you fancy listening more to my story and learn some coping skills listen to my podcast ‘Wellbeing with Abby O’

 Wellbeing with Abby O | Podcast on Spotify 

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