Bipolar – healing hands from afar

They’ve felt pain and heartache as they’ve witnessed the blackest of times in my life, and they’ve seen the equally alarming euphoria where at times they’ve found it hard to recognise me.

holding handsThank you friends. You heal my soul when it hurts and you squeeze my hand when I’m high. You ‘get me’.

Thank you Twitter. You surprised me but you were there for me.

Exactly a week ago two of my oldest and dearest friends travelled over 400 miles to come and see me.

Thank you girls, I know the sacrifices you had to make to come here, you’re awesome.

I’ve known these girls forever. One since nursery school and we’re now 44, and the other I’ve known for 20 years.

MK was staying with his Daddy over the weekend and Handsome Doc and I were hosting a housewarming party to which the ‘besties’ (plus around 60 others)! were coming.

Meeting my friends at the airport was just fabulous. We were all so excited that our voices were as shrill as a dog whistle, only not so silent, sadly for everyone else.

When we got home, a couple of other friends with whom we’re very close were there. Now this couple are beyond cool. The husband had very kindly offered to DJ for us so had come over to set up his decks. Above and beyond friendship.

Whilst the boys set up the decks, me and the girls had a ball. Good old fashioned girl time.

me in dress

There was a bit of ‘trying on outfits’ action as one of the girls in particular is a goddess amongst style icons so we persuaded her to be our stylist for the party!

OK so I’m going off on one a bit here, but seriously. This girl buys vintage clothes that look like a sack of potatoes on the hanger.

She has a vision of what she’ll do with them, takes them to her tailor who alters them from their original size 18 to a teeny little garment that fits her teeny little frame, puts on the right jewellery and shoes, and lo and behold the sackcloth has turned into a one off designer piece. It’s astonishing!

When we went out recently she was wearing what looked like a dress, but had actually started life as an outsize coat which she’d had altered, and wears back to front!

Back to my friends who had flown down for the weekend though.

I met them all those years ago independently of each other, but what warms my heart is that they have now all become friends in their own right. I love that.

Incidentally, both have suffered at times with depression, yet both are remarkably strong and determined not to let it define them. Go girls, you’re inspirational.

And for the record, I don’t just hang out with girls who have mental health issues! It’s just co-incidence, although it does highlight just how many of us are battling against some form of mental illness.

So Friday night came and went (with a bang). We were still putting the world to rights in the early hours of the morning, but these were precious times not to be missed for the sake of a sensible early night.

Saturday was all about the big bash. champagne-glasses.jpg

People started arriving at 8pm and the last of our guests left at 6am. Now I know it’s probably not for me to say, but I think it went well.

Saying goodbye to my two dear friends on Sunday was horrible, but they’re never far away in spirit, as I’ll explain in a moment.

I was so happy throughout the weekend. Not hypomanic but definitely teetering dangerously close. I think I was ok though.

Handsome Doc was keeping an eye on me too. Thank you Handsome Doc, you are my hero.

The depressive low came in the early stages of the week, just as I had dreaded.

That’s ok though, I was ready for it and chose not to fight the gremlin as I so often do. Instead I allowed him to try to reap havoc then jog on when he didn’t get a reaction.

It was still awful. Tears, loneliness, deep sadness, utter exhaustion and total lack of communication were all present and correct as usual, but it came and went just as it always does.

What really hit home for me this evening though was just how truly blessed I am to have such a supportive network to turn to.

Firstly there are my close friends who are so much in tune with me.

Where would I be without them?

Over the years we’ve partied, grieved, laughed and cried together.

We’ve talked, as we did on Friday, for hours on end.

We’ve held hands through the dark times, and felt joy and happiness as we’ve grown, changed and at times achieved over the decades.

friendship phraseOne of the girls called me a couple of hours ago. She called to ask if I was feeling better yet.

I was confused and told her she was a genuine nutter, even more so than me, and that I’d never been poorly!

She simply said, “I know you. Are you feeling better?”

She’d suspected my mood would take a dip after the euphoria of the weekend. She also knows me well enough to know that I will never reach out in the middle of it, but will tell her about it afterwards.

I do this knowing that she is still standing alongside me metaphorically.

My other friend who’d come down for the weekend knows too. She phone-stalks me when I go quiet and don’t answer messages or calls.

They know. They just know.

They were in my life long before I was diagnosed with bipolar, so long before I’d had any treatment or meds.

They’ve felt pain and heartache as they’ve witnessed the blackest of times in my life, and they’ve seen the equally alarming euphoria where at times they’ve found it hard to recognise me.

These girls are precious and I know I’m blessed.

However, I also felt support through social media!

Me! Yes me! The dinosaur who has the phone to the helpdesk for this website on speed dial, has eventually joined Twitter.

This bold step happened a week ago, and during my yukky low this week, I was amazed at the impact a social media platform had on giving me strength.

There was no way I could bring myself to talk to friends or family at that time, but I spoke openly and safely on Twitter and received so much encouragement and support in return.

Thank you Tweethearts, you were there when I needed you, and I know will extend your hearts to all who reach out.

Keep well. x

Author: talkandcheese

I'm 44 and have just retired from having been a TV presenter for over 20 years to become a full time mummy and housewife. I live with my boyfriend and 5 year old son. Together we all live with my bipolar 2. I was only diagnosed 9 years ago and it had been an utterly chaotic ride prior to treatment and meds. Every day could be like chalk and cheese. Life is so much less frightening now, but I still get hypomanic episodes and depressive lows. The time feels right for me to share some of my story now, in which there were some devastating lows and some equally as frightening and exhausting highs. The process is helping me to heal, and I hope with all my heart may offer someone somewhere some level of comfort and support that they are not alone.

4 thoughts on “Bipolar – healing hands from afar”

  1. What beautiful friends you have there, Ali – they truly know you and support you! Oh, how I wish you didn’t have to suffer the way you did after the big weekend. I’m so glad they touched base with you after the party, knowing you’d most likely have a low time. Their love for you 💕💕💕is precious.

    And you *know* I’m thrilled to bits you joined the “Twitterverse” – I think you’ve only been on it 3 months and you’re already a tweeting pro! I love Twitter; it’s hard to do in moderation sometimes, but I’m working on that! 😛

  2. It was a Fabulous Party and Friday night was soooo special. I will always remember it. Four wee Scottish lassies together having a laugh! Perfect.
    Thank you Precious Girl! 👭💋

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