My journey to managing bipolar: Liz’s story

24 October 2017
By Liz Rotherham

So here I was, being bullied at work, in a controlling relationship, binge drinking like it was going out of fashion, dabbling in drugs and feeling totally crap about myself. I was due to go on a dream holiday to Antigua and all I wanted to do was cry and not leave my bed. I went to the Doctors and he prescribed me Prozac which helped to get me better over the next couple of months.

The following year I was feeling back to my normal self. I split up with my boyfriend, got promoted at work and had the nose job I had always wanted. I started to feel super elated and have spiritual encounters. I was going up to people randomly and connecting with them on a spiritual basis. The trouble is the more and more I did this the more manic I was becoming. I was having irrational thoughts and couldn’t comprehend what was going on.

Luckily for me, my boss noticed my change in behaviour and called my parents who took me straight to the doctors. At this point I was frantically jumping around as people weren’t listening to me and I wanted to change the world. I was taken to a hospital and put in front of a panel of five doctors who questioned me on whether I heard voices.

I started to feel super elated… I was having irrational thoughts and couldn’t comprehend what was going on.

This is when I was diagnosed with Bipolar and sectioned under the Mental Health Act. I spent a month in hospital getting better which at the time was the best place for me, I used to chat to the staff and other patients as if I was on holiday. It was surreal. Every night I had to queue for my medication and was checked that I had taken it, I had a few side effects but these were soon rectified. The staff were amazing and really helped me get through a difficult time in my life.

After the month I then went to live with my parents to recover further. Due to the high dosage of medication it took me from a state of euphoria into a massive depression. I didn’t leave my bed for 2 weeks and lay in bed staring at a tree. I lost weight and it felt like a black cloak had been pulled over my head. My mum came and sat on my bed every night and encouraged me to get better, she was amazing and helped with my journey of getting back to normal. It took me 8 months to get back to reality and functioning normally again.

I have had subsequent episodes over the years which have mainly resulted in high psychotic episodes and I have been back in hospital numerous times. I have been on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy courses and had counselling sessions which have helped.

It felt like a black cloak had been pulled over my head. My mum…was amazing and helped with my journey of getting back to normal.

My experience with Bipolar is a combination of a very frightening and exciting experience depending on what episodes I have. When I am in a state of euphoria I feel like I could conqueror the world and nothing can stop me, this is however very dangerous as you have grandiose ideas. And I have had extreme cases of paranoia and hallucinations which have resulted in huge panic attacks.

I have to manage my Bipolar on a daily basis with medication, and also I regularly visit a spiritual teacher who helps me with relaxing my mind and meditation. I don’t drink, take my correct medication and I complete regular exercise, which is great as it relaxes my mind. I currently work as a Personal Assistant and have to ensure that I am not stressed or have a heavy workload as this could potentially bring on another episode. Nowadays, I still have high periods, however I have learnt to manage them more effectively and I have an amazing partner who understands my condition extremely well. 

My sister and I have set up a website to help others share their story as I think it is very important to do this – the more people who share will help to reduce the stigma attached to mental health. 

Cover image: Jakob Owens for Unsplash

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