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.