Michelle from Manchester, England

October 9, 2008

I am 31 and am from near Manchester. I have recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, though now know I have been suffering from this for many years. I also have alcoholism, though this is characterised by blackout / out of control behaviour when I do drink, rather than dependency on alcohol. Following recent therapy, I am (on the surface) feeling hopeful that I can cope with my conditions and get my life back on track. In my heart though, I feel that the devil in me (tendency to go wild with devastating consequences for myself, the people who love me, and often others around me), will resurface at some point – as much as I want that not to be the case.

I have chosen not to take medication. My recovery plan involves knowing how to bring myself down (through relaxation) when I feel high (and making sure I religiously do this even though it’s the last thing I want to do when I am buzzing away!). Also, I have vowed to change my lifestyle so I never go out on ‘high risk’ occasions (e.g. with the girls). I am desperately trying to get pregnant (with my partner’s agreement)… in the hope that if I have a family, I will be forced to remain stable (behaviour and mood).

My Dad was my age (31) when he committed suicide (he was bipolar and alcoholic also) and was so irritable with us as children and very violent with my mum when he was drunk. I now understand so much his behaviour as I believe I am a female version of him. I find it very hard to cope with being someone whose behaviour I do not identify with when I feel ‘normal’.

On the positive side, I find that relaxation helps so much as it brings me down from my manic episodes naturally… rather than my previous (albeit unconscious) method of self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Therapy has also been really helpful for me.

I wish the people closest to me could understand a bit better. I haven’t told many people of my diagnosis, as I worry that they will just think it is an excuse for my sometimes erratic and unacceptable behaviour.


  1. Hi. My dad also had bipolar and died mysteriously back in 1994. I’m 20 and have been bipolar since I was 15.

    I know what you’re going through since I don’t take my medication either and to stablise is hard.

    Keep on plugging!


  2. Hi
    Just to let you know we are running a trial of psychoeducation vs. peer support for poeple with Bipolar Disorder and we will be starting our final group in Manchester in March 2010. If you would like to get in touch I can tell you more about the study and you can see if it something that you might find interesting. OUr groups will run for 21 weekly sessions on either Monday or Tuesday afternoons in Central Manchester.
    Best wishes

  3. after along period of stability using lithium and anti depressants i decided to stop both just before dec 09. Am interested to follow your progress. best of wishes Sam PS just finished trial as a service user today

  4. i have too been diagnosed with bipolar only 3 weeks ago for years since i was 16 was out of control in trouble debts drinking have casual relationships trusted all when on high sank low on the extreme i though i was pyscotic as i heard everyone else say it behind my back im 31 on depokote meds from a new consultant but am scared of telling people i have no friends at all and no body understands me. family dont talk to me my mum does only when she wants to grumble or tell me how shes doing noone is there for me…..

  5. just want to let you know before you get pregnant, that the child will genetically inherit her MENTAL genes, I found this out from my sons psychiatrist. Talk about a DEVASTATING blow!! Had I known I was bipolar type II, I never would have become a mother…….it is HELL watching your child go through the highs and lows of this devastating disease. my son is 7 now, he was diagnosed right after his 4th B day. he struggles everyday and has been hospitalized 4 times…………PLEASE do research about passing this disease onto your child(ren), don’t be selfish, you can always adopt, there are PLENTY of children ready for a good home.

    • Hi, Combat Barbie–Your situation must be extremely difficult. It’s difficult enough to live with bipolar, but to see your child suffer can really tear your heart out. It can also make for some difficult family dynamics. We wish you the best.

      As Dr. Fink explains in “Bipolar Disorder & Heredity – The Genetic Link: Part I,” “If one parent has bipolar disorder a child has about a 12-15% chance of developing the disorder. If both parents are diagnosed the risk climbs to about 25%.”

      Readers should also keep in mind that adoption isn’t necessarily risk-free; I know of several parents who are raising adopted children diagnosed as having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (Combat Barbie — I know that’s not your point for recommending adoption, but I think it’s important to keep in mind when planning a family… to help manage expectations.)

  6. lisa you did not put any contact details re your study, how did it go and will you be running groups in the future. sorr michelle this thread is supposed to be about you,good luck and remember calm meditation when feeling high and something gentle and invigorating like yoga or pilates if you are feeling lo.

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