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Living With Bipolar

My experiences with bipolar disorder and other stigmas around mental health.
I am a Canadian blogger who writes about my experiences with bipolar disorder II, depression, suicidality. and domestic violence.

Stigmatized by Family

This subject is very important to me on many levels. I feel for the other people who live with or handle emotional and mental torture from loved ones in their life. I am saddened by my own experiences. While I was younger and lived in an abusive family home and in abusive relationships, I was constantly controlled by their rules and outlook on how I should act socially. Not only in the mental health aspect, but in sexuality as well.

I have finally been in a position to officially come out as bisexual recently. My father had always said he would disown his children if we "became" gay. When I was in grade 6, we were watching the news and a report came on about LBGTQ right activists. My father started saying that "all gay people should dig their own hole and shoot themselves into it". I obviously started defending human rights and saying love shouldn't be limited because there have been homosexual acts in the animal kingdom. You can only imagine his response.

I knew I was bi-sexual in grade 4 where my friend had our first "exploration/understanding of the female body" experience. Even from then I knew I liked the idea of being naked and having a relationship with women. Until this year, I have always had to deny and keep my sexuality secret from my family. As shitty as my father was, I was still afraid of him disowning me. Sadly my aunt agreed that he would have been successful, too.

With the fear of being disowned gone, I came out to specific family members. This news travelled back to my Nanny (grandmother on dads side) and she freaked out. I haven't talked to her yet because she doesn't have my new phone number but I am afraid to call her. When she found out my aunt defended me and also came out as bisexual. I do not have any idea how that went down but I assure you it must have been a blood bath.

On the topic of mental health, my father was so incredibly opposed to me attending therapy and taking medications. He never understood the illness that was developing in front of him and that he thought ignoring it completely would make it go away. Even until the day he died he never understood any mental health illness.

I feel so sorry that so many people have made a choice to live a lie in fear of another persons judgement. It sounds so silly when I type it out because the answer is so painfully obvious: kick them out of your life. Life is the longest thing we will ever do so why not make it a happy and honest one? If you are being stigmatized by family members or loved ones I hope you, reader, realize how important your mental health is over their reaction and judgment. You are more important than that.

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Copyright

© Jenna White

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Self Care with Bipolar

Self Care with Bipolar

Taking care of yourself enriches your life and attracts better, more stable people. 

These past few months have been a struggle for me. In August the mysterious pain in my hip developed and it clearly is here to stay. The first hospital trip didn't give me any reasons on to what happened or even a direction to look in. I was prescribed a steroid (prednisone) for the month of October and other than the terrible side effects, the pain was lessened.  On halloween, I got in a car accident which triggered the pain to return. I went to see a doctor and he prescribed me a very potent anti- inflammatory that has helped with the pain quite a bit.

I have lived with bipolar disorder since I was 13 years old and I was just beginning to understand the illness. Now I have to learn how to handle my physical pain as well. I have been able to be in contact with my professors which has helped with understanding my situation but I still need to learn how to live with this. The only other example I know is my father, who lived with chronic pain for 25 years before he passed away. He never took care of himself nor was he energetic enough to make a difference. I certainly do not want to live that way.

While in school, self care has been addressed a lot because of the profession we are pursuing. It will be almost impossible to reach out and help a youth without first addressing your flaws to learn and overcome them. Currently I am working on a project that goes into detail of my childhood and how I was raised, it has been interesting. During these homework sessions, I become overwhelmed with how much shit I've gone through and the things I will never get to say, especially to my dad, because the opportunity is gone. This has been especially difficult.

Some self care methods I have are:

  • Taking a bath/shower with music playing
  • Reading a book/listening to an audio book
  • Cloud watching
  • Taking a walk/exercising 
  • Playing a video game
  • Writing down how you feel
  • Meditate and breathing exercises 
  • REPEAT


The last one is key. Self care is not a one time fix all. That would be like going to a dentist and walking out saying "I'll never have to brush my teeth again!" I know how hard it is to think of yourself first because of low self esteem but putting yourself on the back burner is not healthy for you or your relationships. Remember, all you have is yourself- so take care of you.

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Copyright

© Jenna White

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Frozen in Fear

P.T.S.D is like facing the evil eyes of the past and being frozen in place, all over again. 

I have experienced a lot of trauma in my short years of being alive: parental, sexual, physical and emotional abuse, drug addictions, depression and suicidality.  There is one more thing that has shaped me in the wrong way: violation. 

The other day while I was putting clothes away in my bedroom, I thought I heard a noise out of my window and I froze. I was like a deer in the headlights, caught in my tracks of yesteryears fear. I escaped my bedroom quickly and went into the windowless bathroom and focused on my breathing. Just like that, I was thrown into a pit of dark memories I wish I forgot. 

I ended up putting all the blinds down and made my house impenetrable to onlookers. I put all of my chaotic emotions into a poem to express how I felt and what happened (brandnewbipolar.com/poetry/violated). I hadn't thought about those fear stricken moments for years. It caught me entirely off guard. 


I was able to use breathing exercises and self care tools to get through the flashback but it is on my mind constantly. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the next few days due to another traumatic event that occurred a few years ago today.  I'm alone in the house with the animals until I pick C up from work; I hope the animals are enough to keep me sane.

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© Jenna White

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Rapid Cycling

"How do you know if you're out of control?" Sadly, you hardly notice at all. 

In my years of living with bipolar, I have only been able to notice and anticipate my cycles this year. I had finally stopped using hard drugs or ones that were not prescribed to me for self-care. I should have realised that even taking medications that aren't given to me by a doctor is really unhealthy because it can affect the chemicals in the body and cause adverse effects. In the time that I began my real journey of recovery and self-awareness I have been able to spot the elevated or dropping moods by monitoring through writing. I'm not even that good at it, but it is a good start.   

I can't wait until I have a family doctor so I can talk to them about the fact I think I go through rapid cycles. The criteria of rapid cycling is if a person had 4 or more manic or depressive phases within one year. I can 100% guarantee I have experienced that in this year. Going through my old blogs I can pinpoint the weeks of these cycles, so it will be easier for my physician to document. Maybe this will result in a medication change but I can't do that myself, I refuse to unless I can't handle the side effects.

The best that I can do right now is keep doing what I'm doing. Writing, talking and taking care of my physical health. If I don't then my school and my mental health will suffer, not to mention possibly failures of relationships. I don't want to go through any of that again so all I can do is follow through. 

Here are some more links to help better understand the facts behind rapid cycling :
Rapid Cycling within Bipolar Disorder II
Rapid Cycling and Mixed "Waves" 
​Frequently Asked Questions about Rapid Cycling

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Super User
If the readers of these posts thinks or knows they are bi polar please try to include your family as much as possible. I am the... Read More
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:15
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