I’m Sonjia and I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in 2016. Where do I start? I always knew I had ‘something’ from the way I felt inside and outwardly how I acted upon it and it affected my life.

My trigger was in February 2016 when, after winning a very traumatic court case against my former employer, after being bullied at work I crashed and burned and had a nervous breakdown. I was hospitalised and in a coma 2 days with a suspected brain haemorrhage, due to how I was presenting. It was extremely distressing for my family, but I just couldn’t cope, something just clicked and triggered inside me and my body and brain shut down. 

After this I was admitted to The Priory to undergo intense therapy. During my time in The Priory I learnt to engage with other people in there, share stories, take part in art therapy and undertake intensive CBT which has enabled me personally to monitor my behaviours and notice if I’m being triggered. 

In addition to my bipolar diagnosis I am also a recovering alcoholic – I used to use alcohol to mask the symptoms of my bipolar. From the extreme highs, where I thought I was invincible and overspent money, to crippling depression, where I couldn’t get out of bed for days. It’s fair to say I’ve known rock bottom. And my lowest low was losing my son due to my drinking.  

Over the last 4 years the journey to recovery hasn’t been easy. I’ve been back in The Priory twice for medication adjustments under the supervision of my Consultant. I’ve learned how to set up and use my own coping mechanisms. I’ve read some amazing books on alcoholism and bipolar from fellow sufferers which have really helped me – I highly recommended Gabrielle Bernstein’s books on 'Positive Thinking and Gratitude Teachings'. I still do CBT as well as meditation and I make sure I get enough sleep. My relationship with my family and my son is now back on track due to grit and hard work. 

I’ve also set my own business up called Beautiful Bipolar. It’s a clothing business with our own range of T-shirts and hoodies designed to raise awareness of bipolar disorder, depression and suicide. I feel so passionate about getting my personal message across about bipolar and my business is the perfect way to do that. We produce custom-made hoodies with positive statements and thought-provoking captions such as ‘storms don’t last forever’, ‘remember why you started’ and ‘love your mind’. 

Bipolar UK is a charity close to my heart as it helps me feel connected to fellow sufferers and keeps me informed about what is going on in our community. I have pledged to donate 10% of all sales in the first year directly to Bipolar UK, with a view to expanding this donation percentage as we grow. I’m proud to say I employ 3 staff currently who are all mental health warriors, as I like to call them. Each of them, like me, have been on their own personal journeys with mental health, bipolar and/or addiction.

I want to be able to give a stable and happy workplace to fellow sufferers, I'm proud to be able to employ this incredible team, invest in them and watch them grow. As we grow I would love to create more job opportunities. It would be lovely if you could give us a follow @bipolarbeautiful78 and @bi.pclothingclub I’m always available at either Instagram for a DM should any of you lovelies wish to reach out for a little chat. Please remember, as I am proof! – ‘storms don’t last forever!’ 

 

Love Sonjia x