I think it goes without saying that when you have a major illness, things get more complicated. That’s true for any illness. Yet although my Nanna whom I love and am very close to has Diabetes, beyond the fact that she loves biscuits and can no longer have them, I have no idea how it affects her day to day.

So how do mood disorders complicate life?

Right now as I am writing this my pale face could have my cast in the next popular vampire drama, my fingers are trembling, my usually bouncy, curly hair is plastered to my face with sweat, and the scent of vomit lingers in the air. Pleasant, right?

Stomach bugs are nasty stuff.

And although throwing up every hour is nasty enough on its own, I now also have to worry about the fact that when I can’t keep down basic food or water, I can’t keep down medication either.

This also has further difficulties in that if this keeps up, I will get to experience oh-so-joyful withdrawal symptoms on top of this sickness. If the Lithium leaves my system completely, I will have to go through the process of building up my medication all over again.

Which is troublesome considering how stressful the past couple of weeks have been and will continue to be.

Why, you may ask?

Because I’ve returned to university after taking a semester off for my health. Yes, university (or college, depending on where you’re from) is a stressful time for all. But having Bipolar, or any mental illness, just makes it that much harder.

When I was at uni last year the stress had me cycling like Lance Armstrong on drugs. I was suicidal, psychotic, and everything in between. Returning to university is not about a few years of stress so that I can achieve the job of my dreams, it has come to be more like a life or death decision.

Perhaps I am being dramatic, but after coming so close to taking my life so many times, perhaps I have a right to be.

Bipolar can complicate some of the most simple of things.

Such as running into an old friend who asks what you have been up to for the last year. If you haven’t guessed by how openly I talk about Bipolar to the public of the internet, being open about all aspects of my life isn’t something that troubles me. But for so many others, running into an old friend isn’t necessarily the joyous event it should be.

I think it’s silly when people assume that an illness will only affect you in the mostobvious ways.


Throwback Thursdays: Trust Yourself

Before I begin, I should explain that what I now consider to be my first manic episode, I became highly paranoid and claimed that my male friends had sexually assaulted me. For years I was filled with guilt over this, it consumed me at times. In this excerpt I was stable, yet it shows the longer lasting effect that Bipolar can have on you, and what it’s like to not be able to trust your own mind.

Trigger warning: sexual assault

The school buzzed with the usual recess sounds. The shouting, the laughter, the milder chit-chatter. Crows cawed for the rubbish left lying around while teachers patrolled and made begrudging students collect it.

As I carried my painfully heavy bag away from English, I tried to avoid thinking about how much it hurt not to head towards H, the man I had been with for years before we separated a little over a week ago, but was instead grateful to the girls who took me in so that I didn’t have to sit alone.

They were pretty cool, but it made forgetting H difficult, as he and his other friends would come over and visit the girls often after playing basketball, and the girls would often go to play basketball with them.

It was so difficult whenever he came over to where I was sitting and ignored me. I was sure the tightness in my chest was because I loved him, right?

I missed playing Basketball each lunch as well. It was so good for me, but since the separation I can’t handle it.

(I intended to write a short paragraph here describing how at that moment I pictured us on the basketball court but I am having an unanticipated emotional reaction to this post and can’t describe even vaguely what I saw)

My throat tightens. I fidget. My skin crawls.

Why am I feeling anxious? What changed?


But he isn’t hurting me, it’s the same thing he always did in our relationship.

That he always did.

Should a girl really be afraid of her boyfriend touching her?

Should she have nightmares?

No, Joy. Don’t do this. He didn’t hurt me. I’m just doing it all over again.

My skin is crawling.

No, I’m making it up again. He didn’t hurt me. Don’t be that girl.

I feel sick.

I want to run.

But he didn’t do it. He loved me.

He touched me when I said no. He penetrated me when I said no.

He said sorry.

He did it again. And again.

I’m making it up, he didn’t do anything. He’s a good guy. He made me laugh, he helped me.

He humiliated me. He would walk behind me and pull up my shirt when others were around for fun. He would twist my arm into making me do stuff to him in places I didn’t want to. He would make me feel guilty, like I’m a bad person, if I said no.

But he didn’t do it. He didn’t do it. He can’t have done it. He didn’t hurt me. I’m just a bad person. I’m making it up again. He didn’t do it. He can’t have. I’m not going to hurt him like I hurt the others. He didn’t do it. I’m a liar. I’m a slut and a liar. He did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong. I’m imagining it again. It’s in my imagination.

Even if it does feel different this time.

This went on for another week or two before I acknowledged the truth.

Stability isn’t freedom

It’s not awful. It’s the thing we strive to be, the holy grail of Bipolar sufferers. It is a time when we return to our bodies, we are us again! Compared to the torture of depression and the uncontrollable mania, stability is a magical thing.

But when you compare it to the life of a healthy person, Bipolar stability is a time dictated by rules and driven by fear of the alternative.  Need me to explain?

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