Welcome to 2020 Here we go folks, 2020… a new year and a new decade! We’ve made it! Be proud of that, please! I wanted to do a roundup of 2019 but feared that would have turned into something similar to your Spotify round up: You have cried 9582 times You have hurt yourself 1638 times with made up scenarios in your head. You have had 15 hyper-manic episodes leaving a wonderful path of self-destruction behind you. You have thought about suicide 3 times. You have apologised EVERY DAMN DAY. Anyway, long story short – I wanted to write a message about beginnings, not endings. Looking ahead, whilst somewhat reflecting on 2019 and the biggest thing I took from it which was; you never know how unwell you really are until you feel well again. And right now, I’m well. So well that I realised I hadn’t felt like this at all in 2019. As for this year, and this decade, what are you wanting to achieve, to be and to feel within yourself? I’m not talking about goals as we know them, I’m talking about checking in with yourself. Okay, I’m rambling in a not-so-profound way. I’ll use myself as an example… I’m going to stop filtering myself and by that, I mean diluting my passion, curiosity, enthusiasm and love for anything and anyone. I spent so much of 2019 editing myself in case I came across as ‘too much’ and it crippled me. From agonising over text messages, to fearing that one thing I said in a meeting would make me look unprofessional. I completely lost myself at times because I was too busy trying to morph into what I thought someone wanted me to be. I mean, it’s hard enough being bipolar with the severe mood swings flying us into a number of different self-characters without us trying to hide some of those. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t with everyone, but the ratio did tip in favour of the morphing. My history (which one day I might be brave enough to share with you) and all of our history’s - be it trauma, genetics or/and our environments - mould us into someone we’re not. I’m very fortunate to have two people in my life who within a couple of years reminded me what I completely lost: Sara, who you probably know by now, my business partner and the Thelma to my Louise… This vivacious woman taught me what it was to love again and to let people in. There’s not a phone call between us where we don’t say ‘love you’ at the end. ‘Love you’ … that phrase can put the fear of God into people but why?! Who doesn’t want to hear ‘love you’ or affection along those lines? More and more do I say 'love you' to people now, in fact there’s hardly a phone call where I don’t… family, friends, colleagues… Because I could die the next day and I want to make sure the people around me knew I loved them. The other was Ari, my co-star in my film Treacle which we shot over in LA. Never have I clicked so hard with someone in the shortest amount of time and yet, I was my most lost when I met them. I vividly remember that after the shoot they took me to brunch. I took a sachet of tomato ketchup, emptied it on to my plate and then sucked the rest out with my mouth… all through this escapade they were watching me, and once I had finished whatever the hell it was I was doing, they looked at me and said; ‘you’re just unapologetically you, aren’t you? I love that and I love you’ … Ari brought me back to life and reminded me of who I actually am. I’ll be eternally grateful for that. Find those people in your lives or be those people for someone else because it’s 2020 and I sure as hell am… If I think you’re beautiful, I will tell you you’re beautiful. If that text made me laugh or smile, I will tell you it did. If you’ve achieved something, I will be your biggest fan. If I fancy you, I will tell you I fancy you. Why?! BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LIKE TO HEAR ANY OF THAT!? Society and technology have told is to filter ourselves (sometimes quite literally)… And I’m urging you to stop filtering yourself, because what's the worse that can happen in saying any of the above? A Robin Williams quote comes to mind: “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.” This was my 2019. And I want it to be my 2020, 2021, 2022 etc etc but without the worthlessness, instead because making someone else happy, makes me happy. I also once read that: ‘there is nothing more risky than pretending you don’t care’ Ooft… that hit me like a ton of bricks as I’m sure it has for a lot of you because as people living with bipolar, we do pretend, all of the time, to make others feel comfortable. I always pretend I don’t care when I really, really do. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, especially if you’re living with bipolar. I’m going to use my 2020 and hug harder, kiss longer, laugh louder, and text back as quick as I can because that’s actually who I am… An excitable puppy, who has no gauge on how long you’ve been away, but just so damn excited to see you again. And I’m no longer apologising for it. Please recognise that this is all in my humble opinion… I’m aware I’ve used broad strokes and that this isn’t necessarily applicable to all, but as you’ve read, I’m trying this new thing where I don’t filter myself… You’re all beautiful, I can sense it. When you reach out and share your stories with me it warms my heart. If you got out of bed this morning, then I’m applauding you. And I fancy you… You know who you are. Happy New Year you wonders! I can’t wait to share 2020 with you, let’s do this together... Let’s talk bipolar! Love you. April x You may also like to view this: Your donation will help provide a range of services offering the support people need, when they need it. 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