Bipolar – you can keep your hat on

My bipolar hat is constantly on. It’s more of a balaclava than a hat really – it’s not terribly fetching, it’s claustrophobic and annoying to wear, but happily, can be worn under other hats if that’s the kind of look you’re after.

Is it nerves? Guilt? Fear of failure?

Probably a mixture of them all, I guess.

It’s been more than three months since I last posted a blog. Three months!

And what d’you know… I don’t know where to start!

47 minutes. That’s how long it’s taken me to write this opening gambit. All 58 words of it.MY FEET

It’s more than a word a minute though. Could be worse. Couldn’t it?

Mental note to self. Touch-typing is possibly not a job in which I would excel.

It’s not the speed at which I can type that’s holding me up though. It’s my confidence. Or rather, my lack of it.

I’ve always laid my soul bare in my blogs. Spoken from the heart. Told it as it is, and at times, (at the risk of sounding as though I’m my own biggest fan – I’m so not), been quite brave in sharing my innermost thoughts. In sharing the real me.

Tonight though, it’s a challenge.

Have I forgotten how to express myself? How to tap into my mind and discover what’s in it? In fact… is there anything in it?

I guess I have two choices. Put it in the ‘too difficult’ pile, or grab the challenge with both hands and get on with it.

It’s got to be the latter, surely?

Here’s the thing.

I’ve now reached the ripe old age of 44. At times I wonder how on earth I got here, given the presence of the gremlin.

But boom. Here I am.

I’m a mummy. A girlfriend. An author. A survivor.IMG_3084(1)

And yes, I live with bipolar, and am wobblier than a weeble at times, but as the kids TV show used to say, “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”.

And it’s true. I’m still standing.

Just recently, I’ve spent a bit of time reflecting. Not in a melancholy way. Just in a… well… reflective way.

Life has taken me on an unexpected course.

For 23 years I was a tv presenter. I was clear about my role. I was comfortable that I was on the right path. Professional path, that is. Emotionally, until my eventual diagnosis, my path would have confused the best satnav on the market.

But then, all change.

I met Handsome Doc, and together we made the decision that I would retire, and become more of a hands on mummy to the bold MK.

I was 100% comfortable with this decision. I’d lost my passion for presenting.

But then, all change again.

I began to miss working.

Little MK was shining like the little star he is, and skipping through life with a permanent beam on his gorgeous little face.

He was secure. His captivating character was developing all the time. He was flourishing, and I had no concerns about rejoining the world of both work and mummy-hood.

And now? Well it’s obvious, isn’t it?

I’m PA to a cosmetic surgeon in Harley Street in London.

The natural transition, don’t you think?

I joke, but it sort of just happened.

Handsome Doc was anaesthetising for said surgeon, who happened to mention he was looking for a new PA.

Clever Handsome Doc had the unexpected, yet inspired notion, that this might be just the job for me.

And, as is usually the case, he was right.

I’m three months into it, and loving every minute.

Writing though, has had to take a back seat.

My boss is one of the most sought after surgeons on Harley Street. Combine that with the fact that the handover from the previous PA was so sketchy that Edgar Degas might have felt inclined to frame it.

The upshot was that I was thrown in at the deep end and had to learn to swim fast.

It’s very full on. I work from home a couple of days a week, and am in Harley Street for the other three.

I get up before MK to start going through the emails that have come in from prospective patients overseas, and in a different time zone.

I work into the evenings, and more often than not, for chunks of the weekend.

This is not a ‘woe is me’ tale though. Far from it. I’m in my element.

Once again, I feel as though I’m on the right path.

IMG_3085It’s not that work defines me. I guess, like us all though, I wear different hats at different times.

I feel best in my mummy hat when I know I’ll be changing into my arguably more chic Harley Street hat the following day. Or my girlfriend hat. Or my daughter hat.

Quite the millinophilia, aren’t I!

However much I change my hat though, there remains a constant.

I have bipolar. And sadly, that isn’t going to change any time fast.

My bipolar hat is constantly on. It’s more of a balaclava than a hat really – it’s not terribly fetching, it’s claustrophobic and annoying to wear, but happily, can be worn under other hats if that’s the kind of look you’re after.

It’s not the look I’m after. But I’ve nailed it.

So, how is all this change affecting my mental health?

It’s a good question. But, after having had my period of reflection, I can confidently say I’m well. For now.

At times I find it difficult to gauge where I am on my mood spectrum. Right now though, today, I’m at the right end of the spectrum.

I’ve come to the realisation that, on balance, I need to be busy to keep the gremlin at bay.

He seems to thrive in an environment of quiet. The stiller I am, the more active he is. He loves an empty stage. He literally leaps towards the spotlight and dances his dark dance until his audience are utterly sick of him.IMG_3088

I’m his audience. And oh my days does he know how to overstay his welcome.

He must have been off school the day they taught the lesson that ‘less is more’.

He’ll be raging these days though, because the stage is full! It’s packed with performers who under no circumstances will shuffle stage-left to make room for him.

Yes! Gotcha, gremlin!

But I guess we’re all different.

We all need to find our own way of keeping the gremlin at bay.

For some, seeking out stillness and calm is exactly what’s needed. Taking time out of the world. Slowing down. Observing from the sidelines until you feel ready to depress the pause button.

For others though, it’s quite different.

As I now know, the pause button is one to be wary of for me.

That said, having suffered a complete breakdown some years ago, I had no option but the press the pause button. I was utterly overwhelmed. Exhausted. Confused. I was lost.

Maybe all these options are there for a reason. They give us the choice to pick the right one at any given time. The one our souls are craving in that moment.

Whatever the case though, we are all deserving of taking centre stage in our own way. Of doing whatever it takes to keep the gremlin at bay.

However many hats it takes, here’s to the one we choose being just that little bit more fabulous and flamboyant than the balaclava. It, deserves no glory.

Be well. xx

 

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.

One thought on “Bipolar – you can keep your hat on”

  1. Fantastic post! It’s wonderful you’re writing and we’re the lucky ones for it.
    I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the new job!
    (Forgive me for being a wee bit smug, but I *knew* you would find it good for keeping ye olde gremlins at bay. I knew you’d excel at it.)

    And look here, Ms. Writer, you came up with utterly extraordinary “I wish had written that!”
    lines as you always do in your blog and book – I shall cite some of my favorites:

    Hilarious & brilliant:

    “Combine that with the fact that the handover from the previous PA was so sketchy that Edgar Degas might have felt inclined to frame it.”

    So true, so true, and so damn witty, too is this one:

    “My bipolar hat is constantly on. It’s more of a balaclava than a hat really – it’s not terribly fetching, it’s claustrophobic and annoying to wear, but happily, can be worn under other hats if that’s the kind of look you’re after.”

    And the profound “Amen!” lines:

    “We all need to find our own way of keeping the gremlin at bay.” &

    “However many hats it takes, here’s to the one we choose being just that little bit more fabulous and flamboyant than the balaclava. It deserves no glory.”

    Looking forward to your next post, my lovely!
    Proud of you.

    Dy

    p.s. This post’s title inspired me to watch this video. Ah, I remember going to the movie theater in the 80s (I think it was the 80s!) to see “91/2 Weeks.” This clip has only had over 10 million views, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s