Bipolar disorder Pendulum: stories and information Mental illness is still met with stigma and fear I'm Clair, 41, and married with two teenage daughters. I love animals, walking my dog , crafting, playing the flute and going to the theatre to see musicals. I also have bipolar. When I had my daughters it was thought that I had post-natal depression, after a few appointments with the Psychiatrist he thought it was more than just post natal depression, because of the stigma around mental illness I was scared and discharged myself. As my daughters grew 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 continued to struggle with bipolar. Finding the right medication combination has been challenging and I have so far felt like a science experiment. I realise that this is not the case for everyone and when the right combination is found my bipolar can be regulated 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 a manic episode, parcels often start to arrive that I have ordered, that a lot of the time I don't 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. Mental illness is still met with stigma and fear, although things are very slowly improving. I have experienced seeing fear in people's eyes the moment I disclose I have bipolar. I have also experienced discrimination in the workplace too. People sometimes think that someone living 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.