Living with bipolar throws you many challenges. Sandra shares her story with Bipolar UK’s readers

The following contains references to abuse, suicide and promiscuity that might be triggering. If you are affected by any of the issues raised you can seek help via our resources pages.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar and EUPD in January this year (2020), and I can now see that I have suffered with this all my life. However, with a stable job, a family and a diet and exercise routine I managed.

For me bipolar was 70% hereditary and 30% trauma. My parents loved me deeply and I came along as a surprise when they were over 40. My Dad was incredibly strict and would call me names and beat me until I was 10 years old.

At the age of 13 I started to babysit for a couple who lived over the road. The man started to groom me and I we had a relationship for 18 months, where he would abuse and have sex with me, even when his wife was asleep in bed. This stopped at the age of 14.

Not long after that I started a relationship with a boy closer to my own age and we had a child when I was 17 and we got married. This man went on to be exceedingly lazy, not help with our son or around the house and he became physically violent. We split two years later and then I was more or less on my own until I met my second husband when I was 25.

We lived happily together for 7 years and had a daughter. But then I went manic (unbeknown to me) and started partying and having casual sex with other people, so we split.

I then settled and met a kind and decent man six months after splitting from my second husband. I married this man some two years later and brought his two children up along with my daughter (my son was by then at University).

I had a good full-time career, was busy bringing up a family, a daily exercise routine and a very healthy diet; all of this masked my symptoms, but my husband knew something was wrong and he could not deal with my extreme organisation, fast talking and lows.

After being married for 9 years, the situation got worse after I left my career to join in business with my husband and I donated a kidney. For 10 months before the donation I was spending huge amounts of money and was manic, then after the donation I spent 7 months in deep depression - not wanting to get out of bed or even brush my teeth.

One day I got up and everything felt fine. I got another job, took my rental property off the market and decided to leave my husband, who had been very cruel and dishonest when I was depressed for 7 months...and he himself had landed us in financial difficulty..

I lost my job after four weeks and left my husband that night. I originally went to stay in our apartment in France for a week, which extended to more or less six weeks given I contracted Sepsis and was in hospital for a while in Grenoble. I also started a brief affair with a friend over there.

I then went to Mozambique for two months, where I have a house as I had nowhere to live, during this time I was very promiscuous and slept with many men. I spent a fortune on living, treating friends, buying a car and solicitors fees.

When I got back to the UK on New Year’s Eve, I went in to deep depression and suffered from severe anxiety. I stayed with my cousin and tried to take my own life. I was put in a psychiatric unit for one week and diagnosed with Bipolar II and EUPD. Since then life continued to be hell. I attempted suicide many times and I now live on my own in a house I previously rented out. My debts will soon catch up with me and I cannot afford to live there.

The good news is my husband is speaking and trying to support me (clearly reconciliation is not on the cards). I am rebuilding the relationship with my 18 year old daughter and 30 year old son. I have Christian friends who are helping me find my faith again.

I have taken part in the three recent webinars run by National Centre for Mental Health (Wales) on behalf of Bipolar UK. I have to accept that bipolar is not my fault - I have to learn to manage it with medication, lifestyle and help from professionals.

I am interviewing for jobs, and I hope I can secure one soon. I pray that I can move into the acceptance phase. My life will not be the same as before. I want to live. Committing suicide would be the worst thing I can do, that would destroy my children and it is the final act which I could never come back from.