My name is Clair. I am 41, I am married and have two teenage daughters.

I love animals, walking my dog along Rimrose valley, crafting, playing the flute and going to the theatre to see musicals 

I also have bipolar. 

Diagnosis and living with bipolar

When I had my 2 daughters it was thought that I had post natal depression, but after a few appointments with the psychiatrist he thought it was more than just PND, but because of the stigma around mental illness I was scared and discharged myself.  

As my daughters got bigger I was really struggling with depression and was referred to my Community Mental Health Team where I was quickly diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2. 

Looking back I could see highs and lows that I had experienced for many years. 

I have continued to struggle with bipolar and my moods. Finding the right medication combination has been challenging and I have often felt like a science experiment.

This is not the case with everyone and when the right combination is found bipolar can be controlled with medication.

I still have highs and lows. I love the highs! I feel great, lots of energy, I have been known to paint the fence at 3am, I feel very happy, but I am irritable at times and I act without thinking, often going on big spending sprees. 

As I come down from the high parcels often start to arrive that I have ordered, that a lot of the time I do not even want and I know the low will probably come. 

I hate the lows. I struggle to find motivation for anything; getting out of bed, cooking, cleaning, eating, pursuing hobbies.

Sometimes I just want to die because living seems too hard. 

Mental illness is still met with stigma and fear although things are very slowly improving. 

I have experienced seeing fear in people's eyes if I disclose I have bipolar. 

I have also experienced discrimination. 

People sometimes think that people with a mental illness are lazy or need to sort themselves out. 

What people do not see is how hard people with a mental illness fight to stay alive and do very basic things. 

I want to raise awareness of bipolar, to help society see that I am not dangerous, I am not stupid and I still have something to offer. 

30th March is World Bipolar Day. I wanted to do something to raise money for Bipolar UK so I am asking for sponsors as I have my hair shaved on the 30th.

Bipolar UK supports people with bipolar and provides valuable information for them, their family and friends as well as raising awareness. 

I hope that by raising money I will help to end stigma and help to support people like me who are living with bipolar. 

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Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.