Over the last few weeks I have been talking a lot about my ALL diagnoses and let me tell you something I have been thinking and dealing a lot with said diagnose as well. However as well as ALL I have also another diagnoses, one that I have hidden for years as I have been somewhat ashamed of it. You see as well as having ALL I am also bipolar. So what exactly does that mean? Well luckily at the moment it does not mean an awful lot for finally after a number of years, tears and therapists I have managed to gain almost full control of this illness. There is a part of me that is terrified that this status quo does not remain the same, but I am crossing everything that I can (and let me tell you that is not a comfortable nor a pretty look on me) and praying that I don’t have to find the strength to fight this battle on two fronts.
Why have I decided to come clean now and admit that I have a mental illness? Well I guess it is partly due to the fact that when you are faced with such a life changing situation as this the things that you thought were important change. But there is also the fact that I know so many other people that are struggling with mental health issues and are unable to get the support that I do, just because I have cancer, which is an illness that has thank god lost its taboo status.
So what does it mean to be bipolar? Well according to the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists Bipolar disorder is;
“The illness that used to be called ‘manic depression’. As the older name suggests, someone with bipolar disorder will have severe mood swings. These usually last several weeks or months and are far beyond what most of us experience. They are:
Low or ‘depressive’ – feelings of intense depression and despair
High or ‘manic’ – feelings of extreme happiness and elation
Mixed – for example, depressed mood with the restlessness and overactivity of a manic episode”.
While this may be a good clinical description it does not show in any way the total destructive nature that this illness can have on not just the sufferer but also their friends and family. I always think that the downs, the depression, is the worst part of the illness for me but I know that the ups can be devastating for those who are unlucky enough to find themselves in my path. I have done many a thing I am not proud of when I have been “high” but looking back in hindsight these actions have shaped me into the person I have become today and in all honesty I don’t think that is such a bad thing. Sure if I had the chance to go back and changes some of the things I have done, especially those things that hurt people close to me, I would think about taking it but these mistakes are also what shaped the person I am today and all in all I don’t think that is a bad thing.
In many ways I am lucky that I have had this illness for so long. I have a good grasp on what can and can’t make my mood change and while I would have thought a cancer diagnoses would have sent me into a total downward spiral that does not seem the case. Maybe, maybe (if I look at this in a positive light and uncross my eyes) I can stand strong and believe that since I managed to fight and “win?” against one serious illness then a little bout of leukaemia will be no stumbling block for me.