Parvati*'s Story

“I was diagnosed with bipolar after I was admitted to hospital for a manic episode. I had been experiencing periods of low moods so I was given antidepressants by my GP. Unfortunately whilst I was taking these medications, my moods started to become more elevated eventually progressing into a full-blown manic episode with psychosis. I wasn’t warned about the possibility of mania being triggered by antidepressants so I wasn’t able to recognise the signs early on. Despite presenting to both the GP and A&E with manic symptoms, I was turned away twice because there weren’t enough beds at the hospital and I “wasn’t a danger to myself or others”.

After a couple days, I was detained because I did not get better. I remember feeling really confused at the time about why none of the medications were working while I was in hospital. As soon as I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder two months in and prescribed mood stabilisers, it all made so much sense. I began to feel more in control again and relieved to find out that my symptoms could be explained.

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It has been less than a year since I was diagnosed so it has been difficult adjusting to life with bipolar disorder. I am still working on acceptance and trying to move on from the shame of experiencing a manic episode.

Initially, I felt quite tired on my medications and took two months off to rest and get used to my new baseline of energy. I’m finally getting to the point where I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and beginning to build a consistent routine. I didn’t think I would be able to get to this point six months ago but I am starting to see that bipolar doesn’t have to be a limiting illness. Sometimes I still experience low moods and feel quite overwhelmed but I am lucky to have a lot of support from my university advisors and community mental health team. I have also met many people who have bipolar through support groups and it is reassuring to hear their stories and experiences. I am looking forward to getting psychological support to identify my triggers and behaviours leading into episodes but I have been on the referral list for months.”

*Parvati is a pseudonym


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