Bi-Polar Intro.

When first learning about Bipolar, normally there is a string of “symptoms” for the Depressive Downs and one for the Manic Ups. There are on-line questionnaires you can perform a self-assessment on. However, it is my belief that unless you do have bipolar, these questions appear rather bizarre, almost “what on earth??”

Even if this list is understood (in the literal sense), it provides no explanation of what these phrases really are like. If we talk about, lets say, racing thoughts; what does that feel like? What do you do when having these thoughts? How does it manifest to other people? Can it be controlled (as is)? Does it feel good (at that moment)? How does it affect your behaviour? Does it upset or stimulate those around you?

These “symptoms” encompass a range of emotions, actions, non-actions, negative and positive interactions with people (both in your circle, and out). They can be harmful to one’s self and to others – sometimes (not all the time). The severity of these states of mind covers a huge range. For example, on a scale bar of anger emotions, the most extreme actions that can occur are: Actual suicide (anger manifests towards one’s self) and Murder (against another). These are the most drastic actions that we must guard against as much as possible). For myself, luckily I have never actually tried to murder anyone, but I have had multiple suicide attempts (surviving against the odds medically).

I am going to post a few images of the “dry – text book” explanations, and a couple listing famous people who have / had Bipolar.

Here is the standard blurb about Bipolar
The blue shading is “normal” mood swings: the graph is bipolar. Personally, I have been through all stages including the mixed state (which the worst)
Typical theoretical list of (some) symptoms
Symptoms List
This is interesting – I certainly never knew that Lithium was used in Roman times!
Mortality Rates: Suicide is the biggest cause of death in Bipol
Famous people with Bipolar

More modern celebrities include: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mariah Carey, Jeanne Claude Van Damme, Kanye West, Kurt Cobain, Russell Brand, Sinead O’Connor, Amy Winehouse, Mel Gibson, Stephen Fry, Demi Lovato, Vivien Leigh (Gone with the Wind), Carrie Fisher (original star Wars), Frank Sinatra, Jim Carey and Britney Spears.

This is more important than maybe thought. It can send one deeper into depression and maybe the straw that broke the camel’s back.


Yesterday I (re) watched one of my all time favourite films – What’s eating Gilbert Grape?. It is an old film (I think around 1993, and I was so impressed by the acting that I wrote down the names of the actors and actress so that I wouldn’t forget them.

The names were Leonardo Di Caprio (maybe 15 at the time of the film) , Johnny Depp (25 maybe?) and Juliette Lewis (19/20?).

If you have never seen it I recommend it: it is an old fashioned tale of life in a small town in a family with an intellectually challenged boy, his brother who is “man of the house”, an obese mother and a “new age” girl travelling with her grandmother. It is very hard to explain – it is not action / adventure / romance / comedy – it contains elements of all of these (as does our lives). My dad loved it.

Anyway, the reason for mentioning this is because of Juliette Lewis – it reminded me of a quote of hers that sums up my constant battle requiring never-ending, exhausting stamina and steely determination; every day and night.

And I have managed so far, against all odds – even when I was thought to be “surely” dead, I came back. The power of unconditional love (in this case for my girls) must be the strongest force that has, does and will survive. It transcends beyond the conscious mind and is deeply rooted in the subconscious. It is this loving that I believe spurred me on to refuse death to invade me; and to survive; and to return to be there – loving again.


I feel very strongly about our mental health and the everlasting stigma about it, and all the assumptions that are made on our behalf – mostly with very little / no knowledge of the facts and hardly ever any real interaction whereby there is a concerted effort to understand “how it feels”!! Not just “the text book says”….or “the doctor says” or … “I also get depressed but I don’t…” or “I’ve never been depressed, so….”

And I am very much to account for this lack of transparency as well. I have kept my issues hidden, not admitted in any kind of form to having a mental ailment, played it down, pretended I was fine, etc. Most other people with mental issues probably recognise this behaviour all too well.

I am STILL (at the age of 53) pretending to be “normal” (whatever that is). I don’t talk about it, never mind write about it. And have this discussion honestly and openly. Even when I am so embarrassed by past behaviours. I have been spurred on by my brave, courageous daughters who have managed to “take back power”. Not an easy task.

I have managed to move on quite a lot, in spite of the lack of talking and support. But it would have been quicker and more meaningful if I had been able, not just to talk about it, but to connect with others who had the same type of experience. (I have recently decided that support groups are amazing entities. I wish there were some close by)

So, I am so pleased that my daughters are strong enough to deal with things now, and that they can then have a full and emotionally healthy life.

I am not sure if many know this, but I have Bipolar Disorder – only diagnosed 8 years ago, but had it from the age of about 16. I have experienced both out of this world dangerous manias and the deepest depths of the black holes (which we now have a photo of, ha ha), and self-harmed and had a number of suicide attempts. I have been hospitalised a couple of times and spent time in clinics. Recently I have had to apply to the benefits system here in the UK (as I am unable to work since my death experience in China), and there was an extensive form to be filled in for both physical and mental abilities. There is lots of talk of rejections and referrals to medical teams for assessment, but I simply was told that I had been deemed as “not fit for work”. So I need to figure this one out. Am I disabled? I don’t know. After working my whole life (lecturer) and bringing up two children,; I am now classed as unfit for work. Hmm….. this is going to take me time to digest.

(Update: just received another letter, I am still “disabled” and “unfit for work”)

I hope that I am still fit to be a mother….. (what a ghastly thought).