On average it takes 9.5 years to receive a diagnosis. Bipolar ambassador Nicky Chinn talks about the importance of therapy after receiving a diagnosis of bipolar in his latest blog.

Bipolar is a crowded dance floor, with four mood states all vying to be lord of the dance. I am in the middle, being pulled first one way and then the other. That’s what bipolar does.

If I am to survive this mental and emotional tug of war, there is something I must do that I have been avoiding for too long. I must work out where this  turmoil is coming from  It is time to bite the bullet and confront my past.  The only way. Therapy. But there is one small drawback. I am frightened of what I might find. That was the risk I was prepared to take.

I had not been ready for the truth

Arrogant, and naïve, I thought I could go into therapy on my terms. By manipulation and avoidance, I might escape the traumas of the past . Take short cuts. Predictably, I threw caution to the wind. I jumped straight in, ignoring the warning signs that told of an emotional precipice up ahead. Unprepared and unprotected, I peered over the edge, and I didn’t like the view. A non-existent self-esteem and the past I did not want to face. I fell and paid the price for my curiosity. I came crashing down to earth. I lay there in a heap, emotionally naked for everyone to see. I had not been ready for the truth.

Humiliated, angry, grieving for a life that had lost its way, a way that it had never found in the first place. Impetuously, carelessly,  I went searching for more truth, blindly stumbling into a lifetime of denial. I had deluded myself that the love and nurture that any child is entitled to expect, had been shown to me.

denial is purely a diversion

Looking back, I couldn’t find  any trace.  My world was about to disintegrate. I felt a piercing pain throughout my entire body as if a dagger had been driven through me.  A sadness such as I had never felt came flooding over me. My heart was  broken.  Ultimately, denial is purely a diversion. It doesn’t work. It never has and it never will.

A broken heart needs mending. First, I had to locate the bleed, then dress the wound   I did so with great care and attention,  love and empathy.  With the passage of time, I rediscovered the sense of self that I had lost, and found a inner me. 

I built a shelter  from the ground up, with robust foundations, brick by brick, with sweat and tears, and love.  It would be a new home for me and my rekindled emotions. I had finally found a way to heal and had learnt to be my own best friend.

Like everybody does , my life began with a blank canvas. It was what I did with it that would reflect my life story. I coloured it in different shades of joy, and pain, and sadness. Different shades of  courage, strength, and vulnerability  Through the  pain and sadness my strength and courage never wavered. My vulnerabilities bore no shame.

I have learnt to accept the many vagaries of bipolar

I have been through some very bruising and challenging times, but conversely many joyous ones with much to celebrate. I have managed to navigate the choppy waters of bipolar successfully . I have written songs that the world sings along to.  It has been a thrill and a privilege to make so many people smile.

Over time I have learnt to accept the many vagaries of bipolar, and the level of uncertainty that goes with them. There are a so many peaks and valleys, unexpected twists and turns.  

On my long and varied  journey, I have met a great many people. I am aware that some of them think that it is a  miracle I have survived. It is no miracle. It has been bloody hard work and an overwhelming desire to be alive.