What having bipolar means for me Bipolar UK supporter Rose shares a snapshot of her experience of managing bipolar and anxiety The other day I was sitting in my room feeling contemplative and I found one of my journal notebooks from 2011. I've been journaling on and off since I was young and have documented a lot of my life, as it's so therapeutic. In 2004 I was diagnosed with bipolar at the age of just 16. I'm now 28 and have spent the past 12 years managing my illness through medication, therapy and a good support network. When I wrote about my experience of bipolar in my diary in 2011, I was suffering from bad depression and anxiety. I had to quit my job in teaching in the April due to stress and depression and was waiting to begin my Masters degree at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in the September. I eventually went on to complete my Masters, but ended up suicidally depressed afterwards. I loved my degree even with my health challenges. Thankfully I managed to get well again after several years of depression. When I wrote this, I was on mood-stabilising medication to even out my moods. My doctors were begging me to try lithium to improve my moods but I refused, being frightened as I was concerned about the side effects of trying another medication. After my hospitalisation for a manic episode in 2014, I decided to try lithium as it had worked for my dad. My bipolar is far more under control and stable these days. I want to share this message with you, as a fellow person affected by bipolar. It shows what having this illness is like and I hope will raise awareness or give others comfort that they're not alone. My 2011 diary entry: "If I was to describe how having bipolar disorder makes you feel; it's like having two yous. I mainly suffer from depression and so one me hides from the world, feels frightened and anxious, down, can't do anything – go to work, see friends, walk down a road. The other half of me is my bubbly, happy self; seeing friends and loving theatre, music, nature, travelling and life. I am – believe it or not – a people person, but then irrationality takes over me and I don't know who I am. I become a scared child who hides in her bed for comfort. I become someone I don't know. And I don't want this anymore. I don't want to be so frightened. I want to live. Part of this is not bipolar – it's separate anxiety that bubbles up when I am under stress in my life. I feel a sickening feeling of fear in my stomach gurgling away, palms sweat and my mind replays the 'fearful' scene over and over. I isolate myself because I become scared of people's judgement of me. It's irrational but the physical symptoms of fear feel very bad. I know I can get better and rid myself of the symptoms. I know I can move forward and follow methods that will get rid of it. I just have to use all the advice I know and all the common sense I can to push forward. To keep challenging myself because I can do it and I am going to get better." Rose blogs at www.beurownlight.com. 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.