I developed symptoms of bipolar disorder from age 26 onwards, but this was not diagnosed correctly until I was 43 years old. The last few years before my diagnosis were very difficult for me and my family as I suffered from repeated episodes of psychosis and extended period of mania with very little sleep, rest or food.
It is now over three years since my bipolar diagnosis and I have learnt a lot during this time about managing my condition and coping with it in my everyday life. I would say that the main areas that have helped me to adjust and to reclaim my life are:
When I was diagnosed I was living with my husband and out two boys, who were then aged 15 and 12. I think it would have been very helpful for them to have had support and to gain an understanding of the condition and it’s ongoing management. Bipolar disorder is difficult to live with for everyone in the family, and as a family we did not receive this kind of support.
For me, the most important thing in my ongoing recovery has been overcoming the acute sense of uselessness and helplessness that I felt at the start. I can look positively towards the future knowing that I have the tools and the support to deal with the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ along the way.