Veganuary: Week 2 Hello! It’s me (not Lionel Ritchie unfortunately). This week was chicken-free as promised, to start off with. However, I had some unexpected changes arise. I wanted to leave this challenge and not publish this blog, but my team encouraged me to do so, and I thought it would be interesting for other people in my situation. As some of you may or may not know, I am affected by bipolar disorder indirectly; I have a close family member with the diagnosis, and when they are unwell I do everything I can to support them. I know some of you reading this blog will know exactly what that entails, and honestly that knowledge and feeling of camaraderie is something that I think is so valuable about our charity. Never before had I felt like I was in the company of a group of people who understood completely and absolutely what I was going through, and listened and shared with me without judgement. This sudden change in routine means that I have fallen off the wagon on occasion. This was something I felt so guilty about, but I realised that there would be other people in my situation, feeling guilty for a change that they promised they’d make this New Year, but that was proving more difficult than they had anticipated. Convenience eating, particularly when you’ve got a million other things going on, doesn’t always adhere to veganism, and that’s fine! I would say I’ve been vegan about 80-90% of the time, and that means a huge number of animal products I would’ve consumed, I haven’t done. I think more than anything, I wanted to write this blog when I realised that the guilt I was feeling was unfair; I work on the Peer Support Line, and I realised that if someone had shared that they were trying out a new diet and had fallen off the wagon while looking after or being worried about a loved one, or experiencing a bipolar episode themselves, I wouldn’t approach them with the same judgement I was pushing on myself. It’s important when you are a carer or looking after someone who isn’t well in any capacity, that you’re kind to yourself. It can be so rubbish to go online, speak to your friends or look in a magazine and see other people living lives that can seem entirely unattainable. It feels like no one else is going through the same thing as you, and that feeling can really compound how alone you feel. So, I wanted to write this blog to say; you’re not alone! Don’t feel guilty for what you’ve missed out on, or haven’t done, but instead feel proud for the amazing things you HAVE done. All those animal products I haven’t eaten are the things I’m trying to focus on. If you need support, or want to reach out and speak to other people in the same situation as yourself, use our services! Bipolar disorder can be isolating for so many different reasons, and it’s important that you know that as hard as the fight can be, it’s never one you have to go at alone. See you all next week! You may like to view this also: 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.