Bipolar disorder Pendulum: stories and information Bipolar UK services and activities The power of group Looking for help At the beginning of my journey I was diagnosed with Depression as I had never presented to the doctor in a High or Hypomanic state (I wasn’t able to recognise that was what I was experiencing). I quickly realised that I needed to understand what was happening to me and I didn’t have the money to have private therapy and the waiting list for counselling was 6 months. So, I found Depression Support group locally to me that was donation only to drop in. I remember sitting in group and listening to everyone sharing how their week/month had been, I could relate to their experiences of low mood, depression and suicidal thoughts. I sat waiting for someone to share their experience about feeling invincible and like they could run the world, needing no sleep and how they were going to start 50 businesses in the space of a few weeks. No one said anything like this… I shared my experience of low mood and quickly left feeling even more alone and on the outside than I did before I entered as now I felt like no one could understand me… Joining a support group Months later after receiving the correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder - see my previous blog post for more around how I was misdiagnosed and my journey to the correct diagnosis. I found Bipolar UK and attended one of their peer-led support groups in Brighton. I walked in feeling really nervous in case it was another case of me turning up to the wrong party with the wrong crowd and realising I was still walking this crazy path alone. I sat down and listened and introduced myself. The group began to share one by one, and I started to realise that this may be the right place for me after all. I shared my experience of a time that I was feeling invincible and on top of the world. I was on a long drive on busy main roads and I believed I was controlling the traffic. I believed that if I wasn’t on the road that day the traffic wouldn’t have been flowing seamlessly like it was, the only reason the roads were flowing so effortlessly was because of me and with me being present the flow, speed, traffic lights and pace of all of the traffic was a dream and therefore everyone was getting to where they needed to go effortlessly. I looked around and was met with a circle of nodding faces and some knowing but warm and validating smiles. I just couldn’t believe it, these amazing humans got me! Others went on to share their experiences which were equally creative and colourful, but real to them when they experienced them in the same way it was for me. I felt a huge weight lift from me, along with a lifting of shame, embarrassment, and fear of being judged. I realised I didn’t need to hold these thoughts and beliefs about myself, I wasn’t a bad person, I wasn’t a freak! Everything was ok, I was ok, I wasn’t alone!!!!! I feel tearful just writing that now! It was and is, so incredibly powerful and connecting each and every time I have the honour of sharing my story with others who have walked or who are walking similar journeys and also when others choose to share their experiences with me, thank you. In these times of lockdown the emphasis on these groups have shifted online. Via the eCommunity you can still find the same support advice and guidance you would have done face to face and best of all it's FREE. I found my tribe!