The Blog

Gratitude Journals

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So the concept of a gratitude journal initially made me cringe deep inside my soul but i decided to give it a shot after reading about the positive effects of writing a gratitude journal before sleep. First attempts sucked because i couldn’t be bothered to write anything up but i love doodling and once i started a visual gratitude journal i was officially converted! The idea is to list (it’s up to you how many)things your grateful for that day, I’ve approached it as a ‘things i enjoyed’ as well as grateful because that felt very ‘saying grace before eating’ for me and i felt more comfortable doing it that way. I allocate about 3 or 4 minutes to each day so that i don’t get too hung up on trying to make all my doodles super fancy. Continue reading Gratitude Journals

whats in a name?

Untitled design (4)Up until recently my Facebook blog was called ‘My Bonkers Bipolar Life’, here’s the reason behind the name change:

In mere weeks I will be discharged from the services here in Cambridge, usually this fills me with an inky dread and an irrational impulse to do something stupid so they’re forced to keep me, but I’m feeling surprisingly good. The service recently changed so that I can simply make a quick phone call should I need them and want to access my entourage again. This means no more crying to the GP begging for a referral and being offered a grubby card with the Samaritans phone number on it but a simple route back into services. The logic behind this change is that people will feel more comfortable being discharged earlier if they know they can easily come back if needed and that’s spot on for me. Continue reading whats in a name?

Day Hospital (or ‘is a cauliflower a vegetable?’)

downloadA Day Hospital is where you go when you’re struggling in the community but not quite unwell enough to be in Hospital. You go during the day and are encouraged to partake in groups which in my case ranged from patronising to mildly interesting. The idea is to keep you occupied and safe during the day time when you might otherwise be alone. Hospitals in every setting have the potential to cause more harm than good and like MRSA in a General Hospital I found depression was easily spread. Continue reading Day Hospital (or ‘is a cauliflower a vegetable?’)

Suicidal feelings & attempts

 20171124_093355Firstly I want to note that this may be distressing for some people to read so please bear this in mind. Secondly I want to make very clear that these are MY experiences and opinions. Finally I also understand that I have never experienced the impact suicide has on those left behind and that this post may cause offence or raise some difficult issues. If this is the case please feel free to message me personally or leave comments on this post.
Some facts: suicide attempts are very high amongst those with Bipolar, 15 – 20 x higher than the average population and around 20 – 50% of those with Bipolar will attempt suicide at some point in their lives (http://www.nhs.uk/Condit…/Bipolar-disorder/…/Prevention.aspx)

Continue reading Suicidal feelings & attempts

Friendships & Relationships

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I often get asked questions about relationships both as a friend and as a partner. The two themes seem to be 1) should I tell prospective partners about my disorder and if so when and 2) how can I help as a friend or partner of someone with Bipolar? Continue reading Friendships & Relationships

Medication side effects (or the time I lactated)

20170905_075912One of the main problems people have with taking psychiatric medications is the number of side effects. It’s generally understood (but rarely accepted) that there is no ‘magic bullet’ treatment for Bipolar so when trying out different medications you must ask yourself 1) is this side effect tolerable for me personally and 2) do the benefits of the medication outweigh the negative side effects? I have struggled with accepting the number of compromises required to stay well; when I was eighteen I didn’t envisage spending my twenties having early nights and focusing on sleep hygiene, and yet here I am with my lavender candle and box set of Nashville. I was never going to be a hard-core party animal, that’s just not me, but now I don’t have the option I desperately wish I could go out and get wasted in a faux leather mini skirt. These compromises are dictated by both Bipolar and medication, a lack of sleep will make me unwell but taking a sleeping tablet when I stumble in from a night out at 3am will also knock me out till 12 and make me nauseous. You can see the frustration, not only do you live a life guided by the Bipolar but you then also live a life guided by the medication to help the Bipolar, it feels like a lose lose situation.

Continue reading Medication side effects (or the time I lactated)

Hey there!

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Well firstly welcome!

I’m Hannah and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2012 during my final year at University; I spent around a year hearing things, seeing things and generally acting in strange and bizarre ways before I was eventually diagnosed at a day Hospital around a year later.

Bipolar disorder is a large part of my identity but it is not what defines me. I love painting and swimming and earl grey in copious quantities. I have a mild addiction to dried mango which requires constant monitoring and I love being outdoors but am not sporty. I am very loud and opinionated which I tend to blame on coming from a large family but is probably just my nature; These are the things that define me.

Part of my ‘recovery journey’ has been accepting my illness and its negative and positive consequences. I have taken control by being active in my recovery, this means I take my medication, exercise, rarely drink and am an expert on sleep hygiene (yeah that’s a thing). That said I have tried to find a balance between living a life that keeps me alive but also a life that is worth living.