A timely lifeline Even if you are not that confident and meeting people in an unfamiliar environment fills you with dread, Tulisa found the eCommunity to be a safe environment where users interact, build their self-esteem and knowledge. It’s a bit of a double edge sword really when you’re shy and retiring like me it’s difficult to ask for help at the best of times let alone when you are living with bipolar too. The crushing and in a way debilitating way insecurities rob you of those that can help you is criminal. Hence the reason why I was attracted to the anonymous way you can interact with like-minded people on the eCommunity. I came to the eCommunity on recommendation and after reading up about it on the Bipolar UK website I decided that finding out about my illness particularly from others and also learning from their experience of mood disorder would be of benefit. I wanted to help others too. I have depression most of the time. I’ve also had psychosis but my mood is mostly low. Day to day things are hard, it’s a definite struggle but I’m helped and I learn a lot from those who frequent the forum. There are literally thousands of possibilities and access avenues to help and advice from people who like me live day to day with an illness that can at times be all consuming. One area where I feel I have benefitted greatly was learning about the different side effects of medication. I’m not so sure where I would have picked up such a vast array of knowledge in such a short space of time. One thing which is very clear is I’ve learned a lot as there is a large diversity of experiences around diagnosis, treatment and side-effects from treatment and medication. Looking back on before I joined it made me wonder how I coped when I had a limited exposure of people living with bipolar. Now I get to interact with thousands with a larger range of experiences. Having a group who instantly get where you are coming from because they have the same lived experience is definitely a lifeline I would recommend anyone joining if they are feeling a lack of support.