what does that actually mean?
one starting point is http://www.allaboutbipolar.com/ but here I will blog my own experience as I work out what is, now and then. Another valuable link is http://www.stephenfry.com/ who, despite being young is a national if not international treasure. One of the things that the authors have in common is that they are both in touch with and honest about their feelings and thoughts and that they thus offer worthy examples to take inspiration from as I start documenting my personal journey. The clinical definition which I was given in 2002 can be found at http://www.cks.nhs.uk/bipolar_disorder/background_information.
I returned from the Czech Republic spring 2000 in a very poor state with no money and generally clueless, im a hell of a state. True friends in Prague got me to the airport and saw me off, the flight was the worst I experienced in the years of travelling to and from the UK so we arrived late at LHR where I was met one dark night by my daughter and a close friend from Prague who was living in the UK at the time. I stayed with my daughter’s boyfriend overnight, he then took me to some friends in Colwall, near Great Malvern. after a few days there I was clearly not a viable house guest. that I needed support that they could not provide and after some phone calls, very kindly my sister and her family agreed to letting me stay in their spare room in Stroud. With a secure address, I was able to get myself into the UK social security system. I went to register with a doctor who agreed immediately that I was not fit for work so he issued a sickness certificate adding that would never certify anyone as fit for work doing the job I had been in Prague. I did nothing for the rest of the year save being the washing monitor and whatever other domestic chores my sister felt she could trust me with The few weeks eventually stretched into the rest of the year during which I ried to buiksd a life in Stroud on the sick after living a full life for six years in the Czech Republic. I became involved with Thehttp://www.the-space.org/which brought me contact with some interesting people and something worthwhile to do with my time and was a crew I could join and give myself of belonging. All so good so far and I was at of the house getting a buzz from being around creative people such as musicians and artists. While in the office one day, I met a woman who was looking for someone to share her house in Thrupp (there’s a name to conjure with), a village 30 minutes level walk from Stroud. A
All seemed good to start with (doesn’t it always) but it quickly degenerated into a co-dependent relationship between two mentally interesting people. I could not cope at and before long made a serious suicide attempt which got me blue lit into GRH as call for help it worked and I, from the bed in A&E I refused absolutely to go back to Thrupp. So my mother took me in and I lived a pensioner’s life in Dursley until I found another house share back in Stroud. Determined to lift myself, I started trading as MacStroud, an independent consulting providing support for Apple computers. The area is full of creatives who use Macs for their work yet at the time, it was impossible to get support or advice locally. I had a plan and I was making money, people were paying me call out rates for doing something I enjoyed. Started to succeed again and with real money in my pocket, working in some choice homes in a beautiful part of the country and meeting some very interesting people I was on the up and up and up and the sun shone every day. in other words I was going hypomanic, displaying most of the classic symptoms, exacerbated and fuelled by locally grown high quality skunk. I had found some premises to use as a workshop, provided free in return for supporting the owners computers. High as the proverbial until I was arrested one night. Oops.
I was Sectioned under The Mental Health Act into Wotton Lawn hospital in Gloucester having been arrested in Stroud and held overnight in a police cell (I remember shouting loudly through the night in four languages and generally not being a model prisoner, before being taken in a locked van straight to the nearest hospital for acute psychiatric cases). I was formally Sectioned under The Mental Health Act into Wotton Lawn hospital in Gloucester where I stayed against my will for 6 months all I really remember is the monotony of the routine in that place although I did run away twice only to be recaptured by the police and returned to the hospital. the experience was not one to be repeated – the place was primarily one of medication and containment. I learnt much from my fellow patients, many of whom had survival skills honed by many hospitialisations, I was a newbie. I learnt that to get out I had to learn and play the game. I am sure that the consultant psychiatrist treated everything I said as grandiosity and therefore did not believe a word I said. Which was galling because I knew I was not deluded. Eventually I understood that to have any chance of discharge, I had to meet their definition of what was normal and that I no longer represented a danger to myself or others.
Homeless on discharge, I was taken to ‘supported lodgings’ a system in Gloucestershire whereby private landladies/lords provide housing for small groups of the mentally interesting who are unable to look after themselves in private housinga halfway house between hospital and the ‘normal’ world There from 2003 until the beginning of 2006 when I with the help of my daughter and the backing of a psychiatrist, was offered a sheltered flat in Frome, Somerset which is where I have been for the last four years. Spent the time just being and being depressed. Drinking more and more, solitaty in my pit to the point where I was referred into a 6 month rehab programme in Wells. Taxi every day, on leaving there followed the received wisdom and got myself to every AA and NA meeting I could. Feeling better and with support from the local jobcentre got myself na Hackney licence and worked for Celtic Horizons which I really enjoyed but not as strong as I thought, I burnt myself out autumn 2008 and slipped into a very depression. Tried self-medicating with booze for 2 months then taken into RUH for an emergency detox. Brutal but effective and I’m still sober and clean. Since then my psychiatrist has tried me on different ant-depressants until we found one that worked like magic at the beginning of this year, 2010. Not holding my breath though since I am feeling grounded and energized. Think the real breakthrough is coming with my acceptance of bipolar. For an alcoholic, the biggest hurdle to solid sobriety is denial of the problem hence the statement known outside the rooms even if nothing else, of “my name is David, I am an alcoholic” is the starting point of the 12 Steps. So “my name is is David, I am bipolar” is an entirely logical first step in self-awareness thus management of my condition. Not something that can be cured or magicked or drunk away but rather something to be lived with and by. The internet is a wonderful resource, I am finding much from fellow bipolars from all over the world, in the way that alcoholics and addicts find strength and support from each other.
and now at the start of 2010, the deep depression seems to be lifting as all sorts of things come together