About bipolar Your stories The journey to diagnosis Having bipolar shapes my songwriting Pre-order Light Tide’s new single “Burn It down” – all pre-release sales* will be donated to Bipolar UK I finally have my bipolar under control – until the day I don’t. It’s kind of inevitable. Having bipolar is about constantly managing the condition, because there is no magic cure. It’s a part of me. I just have to spend my time making sure it doesn’t take over or run away from me. I’ve been there before - plenty of times - and it’s a place I don’t want to go back to. Even the bits that don’t seem so bad from the outside can be devastating. The fast-talking, super charming, highly productive version of me still isn’t me, really. But that’s a difficult thing to pinpoint when you’re managing bipolar. Who am I? Which me is this? Is it the real me? You’re constantly having to second guess yourself, your moods and your actions to make sure that they’ve not got a bipolar undertone. The kind of times when you ask yourself “Yes, I seem to be happy right now. Is that the mania creeping in?” or “Wow, I got a lot done today. Am I just productive, or is this only heading one way?”. On top of that is the medication. “Is this me, or is this the medication talking?” “Would I have reacted this way if I wasn’t taking my pills?” Diagnosis is incredibly important Getting the right diagnosis as soon as possible means you can start managing it in the right way. Sounds simple doesn’t it?! Well, it seems not. The Bipolar Commission recently found that on average, there’s a delay of 9.5 years between someone first contacting a health professional about symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar. There’s a lot of havoc (chaos, mayhem, destruction!) undiagnosed bipolar can do in 9 and a half years… A proper diagnosis is the only way to get effective treatment and support and learn the self-management techniques you need to live well with bipolar. Like many others with the condition, I was initially misdiagnosed with depression, and I was given antidepressants to deal with it. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to wait 9 and a half years, I only had to wait one year to get a correct diagnosis of bipolar. Unfortunately, that’s because the wrong medication sent me into huge mania and depression episodes that nearly killed me. Chaos, mayhem, and a lot of destruction radiated out of me indiscriminately like a huge swarm of bees lobbing grenades in every direction. Coming to terms with the past It’s hard to look back at those times and be forced to face what I did. Was it me or was it the bipolar? I’ve come to realise that it was me, a version of me that I have to take responsibility for, and make peace with. No matter how much I want to try, I can’t change the past. The only thing I can do is be responsible for the future version of me, and that includes managing my condition with medication, a fantastic support system and complete honesty – with myself and with the world. I talk about it, I write about it, and I bring my whole self in all its glory and all its gory to everything I do. I firmly believe that mental health should not be a shameful secret, and that conditions like bipolar should be talked about – should be sung about. These are themes and feelings that are actually just as universal as love and heartbreak. Bipolar shapes my songwriting So that’s what the new single is about. A reflection of times past when my first reaction was to “Burn it Down” when I came close to the edge - and the horror and euphoria of plunging over it. On the surface it’s a song about relationships, which bipolar can put under severe strain - but it’s not about just one event or time or one type of relationship. It’s also a conversation between different versions of myself, coming to terms with each other. There’s conflict there, but also comfort, picking apart those different feelings and different identities. Present me – still trying to figure out who I am when I’m not high or low – still has questions for past me: “The hardest thing is calling it off/ I ask you now was this ever love?” The second verse has one of the most powerful lines: “This legacy you leave to me - only scars covered over. That’s what I’d prefer…” Bipolar UK’s Mood Scale In the early days after my diagnosis, while I was still getting to grips with the condition, Bipolar UK’s Mood Scale was a revelation to me. Finally, it seemed like someone was expressing the vast range of feelings and moods that made up who I was. It was a game changer. I used it with those close to me to describe how I was at any given time. And it’s because of that huge leap forward in articulating who I was at a time I didn’t have words for it that I wanted to use this song and these words to help raise funds for Bipolar UK. But it’s not just the funds, if anyone out there is struggling with their diagnosis of bipolar, I hope the new song speaks to them as much as it does for me. Pre-Order the song on iTunes by searching for “Light Tide Burn It Down” and see if it speaks to your bipolar moods while helping raise funds for Bipolar UK*. *Pre-release sales made between Saturday 15 November and Friday 3 December 2021. Please support us and sign our petition asking for faster bipolar diagnosis today. For support check out the Could it be Bipolar? resources relating to symptoms and getting a diagnosis of bipolar.