Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

What is Bipolar Disorder?

As with all diagnoses, bipolar disorder can mean different things for different people. Bipolar sufferers experience bouts of mania (when they feel on top of the world) and bouts of depression (when they feel that can no longer cope). But this can differ from person to person.

Sometimes bipolar is accompanied by psychosis (but not always!). This can manifest itself in a number of ways - paranoia, delusional thinking, and visual or auditory hallucinations. Therefore, in all likelihood it the psychosis sufferer whom is more afraid of their experience than anyone else should be.

Bipolar disorder and many other mental disorders are more common than you might think. If you have more than eight friends, I can garauntee you know at least two people with mental illnesses.

It's always important to remember that people are more than their mental illness - a person's disorder is not their personality. And; as people are all different, so differs the way in which bipolar manifest itself - some people experience more bouts of mania; whereas, others experience more bouts of manic depression.

If you suspect you have bipolar disorder, consult a doctor right away! As with all disorders, it can be difficult to manage. But, it can be managed!

What is Mental Illness?


  1. with this blog you have hit the nail on the head,
    and i love the comment you make that the illness is not the person,
    to many people tend to think that and worry what someone is like before they get to know THEM for them not there flaws,

    as erin o connor once told me for 'All Walks beyond the catwalk'
    'through our differences is what brings us all together'

  2. It took quite a while before I seeked professional help: well, I first went to my GP in Jan '05 with paranoiac beliefs that my savings book was being hidden by a relative, and also that, a few weeks prior, a relative of mine had died, and two years previously, both my mother and maternal grandmother had died within six weeks of each other, and I was sent away with a box of lustral, and instructed to take that and to return if MH problems reoccurred.

    Unfortunately, they did, a year later, but by this time, my father and I resided over-the-border in Dartford (previously Bexley), and this GP flatly refused a referral to the KMPT, and said ''well, we all feel like that from time-to-time'', so, I just believed that, perhaps we do, as, well, let's say was un-knowledgeable of MH, until it really hit me [2008]. So, there was little I could do, aside from endure this daft GP, yet, if I were 7 miles up the road, I will have received more support from Oxleas, as said Bexley GP agreed I may have to 'have a holiday' at Sidcup; but, no, not the Kent GP. Even after informing the Kent GP that I attempted to hang myself in the May of 2006 and jump over this bridge here: http://tinyurl.com/cxuvcdl

    The fact that my paternal grandmother had been s135ed, didn't help either; I thought "god, do they just lock these characters up still" "no, no, I shan't admit that I am a loony. I'll keep plodding-along as an uncertified fruit-cake" (they don't call it 'certified' anymore, but, y'know!) until my demise.

    In 2007, more and more problems occurred - by this time I was living with a friend in Greenwich, on the basis, that if problems occurred, that, at least in London, they'd do something about it, and seeing as Greenwich has more domestic and social problems, there's probably safer than Bexley. But, yet again, I did not access hospitalisation, seeing as I didn't know what they do with those [of us] with MH problems.

    Throughout 2008, particularly the summer, my actions and lifestyle was getting more and more absurd and ridiculous, so much so, that I was living on a side-street of Gravesend in a camper-van (with permanent air-conditioning as I'd smashed the roof of trying to get it under PC World's barrier in Orpington. I bodged it with No More Nails and a sheet of aluminum (you can laugh at that; I think it's amusing!) (Similar to this: http://tinyurl.com/d7fs7ju). Other examples: I was very confused and had a friend's water-cut off by Thames Water as I told them I lived at that address, and I didn't; going out to the Wimpy every day; driving around Eltham High Street with my sidekick BluePeter shouting various obscenities; getting a cat; getting rid of a cat; taking three baths a day... The list really was endless.

    I visited a friend in Scotland and was extremely close to seeking assistance from NHS GGC, but did not; however, the following week, whilst attempting to drive into roundabouts in Welling, I then decided to take myself to Sidcup's Woodlands (homeless; GP was in Greenwich; but was on friend's sofa in Sidcup) I was turned-away from there; the following day, which I remember was 22 October, I then took myself to Oxleas House (Greenwich), and explained that I wished to be ''placed onto a mental-health programme" and that I was homeless, and had been sleeping at various friends' around the country, and stinking out libraries (I spent all day doing nothing at this various friends' house) and I ''let my feet breathe'' once, in Woolwich library - having worn the same pair for THREE WEEKS, and everyone left! I explained that my GP was still in Greenwich, and staying with a friend in Greenwich, so Greenwich's responsibility. Yes, I know the previous day, I was in Sidcup, but I had to give Greenwich address / GP to get let in. In the finish, they just used my old Greenwich address I moved to at the beginning of 2007. That was my entrance into the MH services.

  3. (2)

    Back to the Bi-Polar: after three weeks on Shrewsbury Ward, where most of the day's activities included jigsaw puzzles, watching telly, art therapy (drawing shapes!), and, after a week or so, being allowed out to the Co-Op opposite, and then to a friend who lived in a flat bang opposite the hospital, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar: Mixed Affective Disorder, and that explained-away the fact that I was, at one minute, on-top of the world, and every day was a holiday, and the next, laying on these various friends' sofas doing nothing and being very depressed, not eating nor washing.

    I was told by a nurse there, that with the severity of my condition, it would be unlikely I'd ever work again (I've had the odd-job when the DWP have had a purge on getting people back into work, but basically I've not worked; my last job ended Jan 2011) and told me I am eligible for Assisted Accommodation, which would get me on my feet, and then I'd be able to spring-off independently.

    It was agreed they'd compile reports to get me on benefits, and that I would be discharged to my aunt's until Jan 2009, where we'd meet at the Ferryview Centre, for this flat.

    However, I was most bemused when I discovered that my aunt had cancelled the flat (I signed something, but didn't know what I was signing), and so was then lumbered in a remote Kent village for a year... However, more recently, said aunt had realised in hindsight, I should have had the flat Greenwich were going to arrange for me.

    More recent reports, have suggested that I do not have Bi-P, which I shall cover in the 'What's My Diagnosis' post.