There are three key things Loren wants you to know about her mental health journey, and how she experiences bipolar disorder.

I live mostly with mania

Whilst I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I mostly live with manic episodes and not depression. I have had a couple of what I deem ‘depressive blips,’ where I could see what was coming and seek help, to basically nip it in the bud with a medication review and sometimes talking therapy. Mania, on the other hand, I don’t spot coming until it’s too late, and it can take months for me to recover.

I have had long periods of stability between episodes

The longest period was 7 years between 2012’s first psychotic manic episode resulting in a diagnosis, and 2019’s manic episode where I needed five months off work to recover. Between these episodes there were fluctuations in mood, but within what I deem a normal range, and not extreme or severe enough to disrupt my normal life and work routines.

I do not consider myself as ‘brave’ for sharing my story

I have luckily never encountered direct stigma about my mental health or diagnosis, and consider it to be part of my story – so why wouldn’t I share? Whenever I share personal stories about my mental health - be that on social media or in presentations at work, I always get people opening up to me about their own struggles. I continue to share because I want others to feel it’s okay to speak out about their own journey. So while I don’t feel like I’m brave for sharing my story, that doesn’t mean it’s not brave for others, when speaking out may be a big thing for them.