As part of our I Am/I Have campaign, we've spoken to our volunteers, patrons and supporters who have joined our campaign to say "I am more than my diagnosis".

Over a million of us from all walks of life across the UK have bipolar. Despite its prevalence, stigma and discrimination means we're all too often identified by the diagnosis, instead of the countless characteristics that make each of us who we are.

Take a look below to hear personal experiences of bipolar and why our supporters believe they're so much more than their diagnosis.

James Wade, professional darts player and Bipolar UK patron

James Wade - I Am/I Have campaign image

My job has a very macho, sporting environment and when I was first hospitalized, I came out to find some people acting very differently towards me. My experience with bipolar has been very up and down, like I’m on the fastest rollercoaster but there’s no getting off! Now I’m on the right path with good support, therapy and medication

I’m now very open about my condition and happy to talk about it to others to dispel the stigma and preconceptions about bipolar.

As well as being a professional darts player, I also work on cars, which are my passion, and enjoy fishing! I’m also a husband to Samantha who’s been there with me through the toughest times. I have bipolar but I am also a dart player, a mechanic, a fisherman and a husband.

Loren, Bipolar UK Media Ambassador

Loren - I Am/I Have campaign image

I am a media professional. I am an auntie. I also have bipolar. Most of the time I am well, happy and myself. There are times when I am unwell and my world is consumed with my illness, but these are the blips – not a normal fixture in my life. I have a strong circle of support with my friends, family and colleagues.

People are surprised when I tell them about my diagnosis. There is a significant lack of knowledge and understanding of this illness, which is why I volunteer with Bipolar UK to help break down these barriers.

So yes, I’m a media professional and an auntie. I’m creative, positive, outgoing and successful. I’m defined by my personality traits, these are what makes me ‘me’. I just happen to also have a diagnosis of bipolar.

Emily Maguire, singer-songwriter and Bipolar UK supporter

Emily Maguire, singer-songwriter and Bipolar UK supporter

I am a singer-songwriter. I have bipolar. Sometimes when I’m not well it feels like my whole life is dominated by that diagnosis. But my friends and family know that when I am well I am just like any other person who is busy, motivated, and generally - on a day-to-day basis - OK. They don’t see me as someone with a mental illness, but someone who is occasionally unwell.

Some people think that if you have a mental illness you must be ill all the time but this simply isn’t true. 99% of the people I meet would have no idea that I have bipolar unless I tell them. The fact that I do tell them as part of my concerts is my way of challenging stigma - it confounds their assumptions.

I’m not just bipolar, I’m a singer, a songwriter, a musician, a friend. All these things define and make me who I am. I am not an illness, I am a human being.

Jeremy Clark, Public Servant and Bipolar UK Trustee

Jeremy Clark, Public Servant and Bipolar UK Trustee

I am Jeremy, a Trustee and volunteer for Bipolar UK, as well as a service user. I also see myself as a survivor of the worst that bipolar has thrown at me.

Having experienced bipolar symptoms since I was 16, it took years before I found the right support. There were periods where I was very unwell; thinking I was on a mission to save the world and that I was going to be crucified, and at other times suffering from severe depression with persistent suicidal thoughts.

But a few years after my diagnosis, I learnt about Bipolar UK. I still remember the mind-blowing relief of attending a Support Group for the first time and finding other people with similar stories to mine.

Today, I manage bipolar with the right medication for me, psychotherapy, good diet, lifestyle changes and lots of other protective factors, with support from the charity where people really know what they're talking about. 

I am a public servant, a sinologist, a brother, and a cook. Oh, and I have bipolar.

Liz Moss, Bipolar UK Volunteer

Liz, Culture Vulture and Bipolar UK Volunteer

I am a long-term volunteer for Bipolar UK and have been known to host a summertime fundraising BBQ for the charity.

This campaign has given my friends and me a chance to examine who I am (which can sometimes be different to how I see myself). One thing that certainly rings true is that I am so much more than my diagnosis.

That’s not to say bipolar isn’t a major part of my life. Managing bipolar is an everyday achievement and I have dedicated over 5-years to helping others affected by bipolar through a number of Bipolar UK’s support services.

But that doesn’t mean my diagnosis is the sum total of me. I’m also a keen footie fan, a loyal friend and a self-confessed technophobe! And, yes, I have bipolar.

Your donation will help provide a range of services offering the support people need, when they need it. You can make sure there's someone at the end of the phone to listen, a nearby group to share lived experiences, a 24-hour peer forum and more.

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