Bipolar – wreckless bipolar

I got tired of feeling physically unwell every day due to my excesses. I got tired of chasing happiness, when quite clearly I was like a thoroughbred galloping full pelt down the wrong racetrack, so was never in any danger of sprinting over the happiness finishing line.

Ok. Deep breathe. This is the first time I’ve shared any of this except with my very closest circle of friends.

This blogging thing niggles at me to cleanse my conscience of guilt and shame. Damn blogging!

IMG_9035Mainly though, it holds my hand and leads me down the path of opening up in the hope that I can offer even the teeniest level of comfort to fellow brave souls. So here goes.

I used to drink a lot before I begun taking meds. I’m afraid to say this continued during the spells I was on anti-depressants in my late teens and twenties. And early thirties. Not clever. All of this was before I had been diagnosed and treated for bipolar. I didn’t get the right diagnosis until the ripe old age of 35.

My desire for drink even led me to sneak out of the mental health hospital in which I was an inpatient to go to the pub for a drink. Utterly wreckless and out of control.

I was being treated for depression and anxiety, which we now know wasn’t the whole story. Nonetheless, I’m fairly certain the pub wasn’t on the list of group therapies in the hospital.

There came a point when I had to accept I had a problem with drink.

Years ago I opened up to one of the many therapists from whom I’ve received treatment about my drinking, fully expecting him to say it was all ok and that I didn’t have a problem. Not surprisingly, what he actually did was advise me to get myself down to the local AA group.

I went to a couple of meetings but just ended up feeling really sorry for everyone else in the group. They had a real problem, unlike me who just liked the odd binge drinking session. Yeah right.

It’s fair to say that my grasp of reality was as off course as my 5 year old is when he drives his electric car down the lane.

I was heading for one almighty crash.

I drunk to forget. To lose my inhibitions. To be funny and outrageous.

I’m sure the effects of alcohol were heightened due to the fact I was mixing them with my meds, but I didn’t care. The self destruct button was well and truly switched on, and remained lit up for many years to come.

I had no self worth whatsoever, and as a result, my judgment was severely lacking.

Inappropriate relationships featured heavily.

There is nothing about this period in my life about which I feel proud. I was bloody stupid and irresponsible.

Oh and while the honesty button is fully depressed, I may as well add that I also did speed and ecstacy. Latterly I did coke.

To ask what I was thinking is a very simple question for me to answer. I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything, but mainly, I didn’t care about me. What did I matter?

I always cared deeply for my friends and family, but never came close to affording myself even the teeniest part of that care.

I barely drink at all now and I don’t do drugs.

I’m generally the dedicated driver on a night out which I actually enjoy.

I do confess to drinking at least one 1.75 litre bottle of Coke Zero every day, but although that’s clearly an unhealthy addiction, it’s ok for now. I allow myself that vice. For now.

It was a wild and utterly hedonistic time. It was also the unhappiest and loneliest time in my entire life to date. I couldn’t see that at the time, but it’s true. I was miserable, scared and lost.

In the end my treatment for both alcohol and drugs came from within. That doesn’t make me any kind of a hero, but put simply, I got tired of it all.

IMG_9591I got tired of feeling physically unwell every day due to my excesses. I got tired of chasing happiness, when quite clearly I was like a thoroughbred galloping full pelt down the wrong racetrack, so was never in any danger of sprinting over the happiness finishing line.

I just got tired.

There was still the physical craving for drink and to a lesser extent coke, and that was hard to overcome. Really hard. I’m pretty certain I kept elderflower cordial producers in business though. Every cloud!

I got through it. I’ve often wondered how I got through it, but I did.

I guess for everyone who has abused drink or drugs there’s a different story to tell. Everyone’s perception of what constitutes addiction is different. My story is just my own, and may differ hugely from that of others, but isn’t that the very nature of mental illness and addiction?

And now? Well, my self esteem is miles better. It’s been a slow and painful process, involving hours of therapy, self reflection, honesty and of course meds. But I’m getting there.

Like everyone, I will always battle with certain insecurities. I still harbor an unhealthy attitude to food, and have OCD tendencies. But that’s ok. One step at a time.

I know I’ll never be perfect, whatever perfect is, but that’s ok too. And in fact, I don’t aspire to be perfect. I’m me.

I still make poor decisions at times, but nothing of any great consequence. Missing 3 pilates classes in a 2 week period isn’t going to harm me or anyone else.

By and large I’m comfortable with my decision-making process now. I’m close to being comfortable in my own skin. I feel stronger than ever before.

Most importantly though, I feel safe.

Of course I still experience fairly regular and debilitating episodes of depression and to a lesser degree, hypomania, but that’s ok.

I live with bipolar, and unlike the drink and drugs problem, this bipolar thing is unlikely to jog on any time soon. Or any time at all.

IMG_9590I’m on the right track though. At times I’ve questioned how on earth I’ve made it to the age of 43. But I have. I’m here. There have been some close calls, but I’m alive and I’m relatively well.

I accept that I have an addictive personality, but that’s ok too. I have insight. I’m aware.

I have a responsibility to my little 5 year old MK. I want to be the best mummy I can be to him. Plus I want to be the best girlfriend I can to Handsome Doc.

None of that is the suffocating pressure that it would once have been though. Instead, these are the very things to give me a reason to get up in the morning. To breathe. To function. To look forward rather than to stagnate in what at times has felt like a stinking, bleak and desolate marshland, almost too soggy to walk through.

These experiences, however irresponsible and dumb they may have been, have brought me to where I am today. And I’m ok with that.

There will always be hurdles, temptations and moments of vulnerability, but sitting here tonight, tapping away on my laptop, I know it will all be ok. With continued support and self-awareness, it will all be ok. In time

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.

6 thoughts on “Bipolar – wreckless bipolar”

  1. Through blogging about our trials, tribulations, and flaws I think there’s profound healing.

    I continue to be SO proud of you for opening up about your struggles about “taboo” things such as drinking & drugs.

    While it’s extremely common for anyone with bipolar to have been through similar battles, that doesn’t make it any easier to write about it, especially when it’s not unusual for you to get recognized on the street for your work accomplishments or as M.K.’s mum. Yet you did write about the messy past and choices you made before you had the clarity of a diagnosis. To write about all this is true bravery. I believe with all my heart that being honest about your past with your followers is good for the soul—both yours & theirs! 🌈

  2. Thank You for sharing your story, you have learned so much and taken wonderful leaps foreward, it’s very inspiring! I do about 2Litres of Pepsi Max a day, agreed, it’s not ideal but it beats the other vices hands down!

  3. Thank you for your comment Casey, and for your honesty. I’m glad my blog resonated. 🙂 No problem at all about the article – I thought I was way too late, but that I’d drop you a line just in case! Keep well. x

  4. Thank you for your story. I use to self-medicate moods with drugs. I drank but never much, I was more of a drug girl. Meth. I think it’s more common than people think, the link between bipolar disorder & drug addiction. Also, I got your e-mail & I appreciate you replying but the article was already published! Or I would have interviewed you too! 🙂

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