Bipolar disorder Pendulum: stories and information Bipolar UK services and activities re-introducing James Wade Since James became a patron of Bipolar UK, he’s been busy spreading the word about our work. We caught up with James to learn a little bit more about him. “My name is James Wade and I throw darts for a living. Most people might think they know me by what they see on the television but that’s just a mask I wear to hide the person I really am. My experience with bipolar has been very up and down, like I’m on the fastest rollercoaster but there’s no getting off! Finally I get my ticket off the ride but my mind is so foggy I don’t know where I am. Lived experience My lows of depression can last for days, even weeks, and there’s nothing anyone can do or say to make me feel better. It’s just a rush of emotions and build-up of negativity, then finally it explodes and I find myself feeling alone, scared and not wanting to talk to people. Now I’m on the right path. Actually, I was never on the wrong path, I just had a bit of a detour! I take different types of medication which I used to think didn’t work. I even refused to take them! But I now realise they do work. I go to therapy regularly and I find it’s good to talk about everything and not bottle it up waiting for the next relapse. I’m now very open about my condition and happy to talk about it to others. My job has a very macho, sporting environment. When I was first hospitalised I came out to find some people acting very differently towards me. Some people didn’t know what to say and I felt like they all thought I was ‘mad’! It took years for me to find out what made me so ‘different’. I feel honoured to have been asked to become a patron of Bipolar UK. I believe that with help and support, people with bipolar can achieve whatever they want to and leads a full, active life. To keep myself in the right frame of mind I work on cars, which are my passion. I can feel my happiest at the garage; there is no one there to judge me but myself. To keep myself well I make sure I take my tablets and when people offer me help I take it. I have learnt not to be embarrassed and talk about problems. I share my feelings and don’t hide away from the pain. I tell everyone exactly what I’m going through and explain it to people that don’t understand. The next chapter for me is that I have finally found someone who gives me half an hour to calm down and holds me when I feel sad. My fiancé Samantha and I are getting married this year. She has been there through the toughest times and I do feel that it’s just hard on the people closest to you as it is for me. Please don’t think it’s all doom and gloom to be diagnosed with bipolar – it’s not. I’m now mentally in the best place I have ever been. Everything around me is right and my family, my home and my darts seem to be going in the right direction – hitting the board!