13 – Bipolar – thank you Mum and Dad

The running theme is that bipolar sucks. It seriously sucks. We are all battling like Mel Gibson in Braveheart with his painted face and bloody big shield to ward off the gremlin within us all. We are survivors.


After a couple of weeks of not blogging I’ve learned so much from the three wonderful guest bloggers who have been published on Talk and Cheese.

Thank you girls. Thank you for your candor and your strength.

Incredible to hear of just how different yet similar everyone’s experiences of living with the same illness can be.

IMG_9566The running theme is that bipolar sucks. It seriously sucks. We are all battling like Mel Gibson in Braveheart with his painted face and bloody big shield to ward off the gremlin within us all. We are survivors.

We truly are all beautifully unique and complex characters, but the honesty and bravery of these girls has shone through like Sirius on a clear night. Handsome Doc is into astronomy and assures me that Sirius is the brightest star. Who knew?

What also struck me is that we are all so fortunate to be able to articulate and share our deepest and darkest fears given that bipolar tries it’s hardest to cut us off from everyone and everything that is good for us. Bloody little gremlin.

Taking a back seat from blogging though, has resulted in my reflecting on just what exactly bipolar is to us all and how we all battle, or accept it in some cases, in our own different ways.

Despite having had some utterly horrendous episodes throughout my 43 years, including one particularly close call to end it all (https://talkandcheese.net/2018/02/19/surviving-suicide/#more-35) I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of a girl.

Sounds weird and almost doesn’t ring true, I know. But it is true.

That’s not to say that I’ve always had this outlook. Far from it.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the past couple of weeks, and have been questioning where on earth this glass half full of optimism has come from.

It’s come from my family.

Mum and Dad are, and I don’t say this lightly, the most inspirational and positive pair of pensioners I know. Not in the sense of dancing down the street, zimmer frames pushed to the side in place of some high heel kicks. That would just be weird on any level.

In fact they’ve both experienced total devastation at times, and yet have this remarkable ability to create joy again. To create, to feel, and to spread joy. To view that glass in an optimistic light again. To accept.

Sometimes it’s taken longer than other times, but that’s ok, isn’t it?

It’s ok to lick the agonizing deep wounds that life can inflict, and to take as long as you need to allow them to heal over.

I actually believe that to try to rush the process is a bit like sticking a plaster on a broken leg, when actually it needs a cast to truly help it to mend. That plaster will only serve to prolong the real healing process.

Time and patience are so bloody hard to fathom at times like these, but are crucial to long lasting health. Mental health in my case.

So yes, mum and dad’s influence has been key to my outlook in life. Thank you Mammy and Doddy. Thank you.

Oh my days though it’s taken years for it to have any real meaning.

Prior to my diagnosis and the subsequent combination of meds and treatment, that glass was so empty even the drips at the bottom had evaporated into thin air.

IMG_9567If anybody tried to fill that glass, it would smash into a million tiny little pieces and once again be empty. That glass was as dry as my hair when I forget to use conditioner.

I’m not for one moment suggesting that my way is the right way. It’s right for me, but not right for everybody.

As we mentioned earlier, we’re all beautifully unique and complex characters with our own way of surviving the hell that our mental illness may lob at us.

Years ago I would have put two fingers up to anyone who said they had a glass half full outlook yet professed to be living with bipolar. It would have made me angry.

Years though. Around 43 years. It’s taken me that long to find my way of fighting the deepest darkest lows imaginable.

I’ve come to accept that the lows will pass. The big difference is that now, I really do believe that.

It’s not a magic cure. It doesn’t take away from the agonising sadness and despair that comes with a depressive episode.

It doesn’t stop me from hiding out for days, hugging my knees for comfort whilst silently wailing.

Nor does it make me feel truly optimistic. Not at that time. Not right in the heat of the battle.

If it was as good as all that I’d bottle it and dish it out to every single battling soul.

So what does it actually do then?

It comforts me. It keeps poking me in the arm to remind me the pain will pass. Not unlike my little 5 year old MK when he’s pleading for a chocolate digestive before tea! That persistent, irritating prod. The most welcome irritation ever.

Even when I brush the prod away, it must somehow seep into my subconscious. I know it must or there would be ideations of suicide from those overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair that used to pop up all too often.

Is it a learned behaviour? Hard to say. Is it nature versus nurture? Is it years of intensive therapy? Who knows. For now though, it keeps me afloat.

Thank you irritating prod. You have saved and continue to save me.

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.

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