Content warning: this piece contains reference to suicide

As someone diagnosed with bipolar in 2021, my journey has been a challenging one, marked by the highs and lows of navigating mental health challenges within both my personal and professional life. From the earliest days of my schooling, I grappled with undiagnosed depression, often finding myself misunderstood and struggling to cope with the overwhelming emotions that seemed to engulf me. 

First contact with mental health services 

In school, I was diagnosed with depression and thrust into anger management training - a journey that led me to mental health services for children. However, even with this diagnosis, my journey remained fraught with challenges.  

Throughout my teens, I battled with periods of mania, a state I couldn't comprehend at the time, leading to destructive behaviours, including heavy substance abuse and two suicide attempts. 

Getting a diagnosis 

Despite these struggles, I pushed on, seeking solace in antidepressants that unfortunately offered little relief. It wasn't until my early 30s, after another harrowing suicide attempt, that the severity of my condition was finally recognised. Nearly two decades after my initial struggles, I was diagnosed with bipolar and placed on a new regimen of medication. 

Getting support

Even then, finding the right balance was a journey fraught with setbacks. It wasn't until my company workplace intervened, recognising the extent of my suffering, that I was able to access the support I truly needed.  

With the assistance of a private psychiatrist, my medication was adjusted, leading to a newfound stability and clarity that had eluded me for so long. 

Reaching equilibrium 

Now, for the first time in my life, I've experienced months of equilibrium, able to discern between a bad day and the challenges posed by my condition. And alongside this newfound stability, I've embarked on a journey of sobriety, reclaiming control of my life and my wellbeing. 

Being open about bipolar 

Throughout this journey, one factor has remained constant: the unwavering support of loved ones and an inclusive workplace environment. Opening up about my diagnosis was daunting, but the response was overwhelmingly positive.  

The culture of empathy and understanding fostered by my employers has been instrumental in my ability to thrive professionally despite the obstacles I've faced.

My journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of vulnerability and openness in the workplace. By breaking the silence surrounding mental health, we not only prioritise our own wellbeing but also contribute to a culture of compassion and inclusivity that benefits everyone. 

5 ways to manage bipolar 

Here are five lessons I’ve learned along the way that have helped me manage my bipolar:  

  1. Embrace honesty with yourself and those closest to you. Sharing your struggles may seem like a cliché, but it lightens the burden that bipolar can impose. 
  2. Use mood tracking tools like Bipolar UK's free Mood Tracker app. Monitoring your mood not only promotes self-awareness but also highlights patterns in your wellness journey. 

  3. Cultivate a robust support network of colleagues, family, and understanding friends who share similar mental health experiences. Having reliable individuals to lean on can provide invaluable comfort and guidance. 
  4. Keep a detailed record of your medication journey. Treating bipolar is often a nuanced process that can span years. By meticulously tracking your medication and its effects, you empower both yourself and your healthcare provider to make informed decisions about your treatment plan. 

  5. Safeguard your financial wellbeing, especially during manic episodes, by entrusting your finances to a trusted relative or advisor. Having someone oversee your budgeting can prevent impulsive spending and encourage mindful financial management. 

Last updated: 23 May 2024