a professional hermit rambles

Documents and punctuation

The documents that track the path of  my Bipolar Disorder are stuffed into drawers in my mind. They show how my life overflows with feelings, emotions and moods.

The pages are littered with exclamation marks, commas and semicolons but not that dreaded full stop. Not yet.

Bipolar Disorder – the butcher of mental health

At times Bipolar Disorder is talked about in the media in an almost flippant way usually with a celebrity name attached to it and it lends people a belief that it is a widespread illness. 

Only 1% – 2% of the population have Bipolar Disorder that will continue throughout their life.

Recent research suggest that 5% of the population could be on the Bipolar spectrum but this is not the same as receiving a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

We all have background mood changes. They undulate slowly and regularly and occasionally make an impact on our lives. When the down cycle hits the bottom there can be days when nothing seems to go right and at the top of the cycle we can have those wonderfully productive days where everything that needs to be done gets done. This is not Bipolar Disorder, this is human.

Those of us with Bipolar Disorder have an overlying set of mood swings that are not always synchronised with the background cycles but when they are things can go badly wrong. Depression can become deeper and less easier to bear and mania becomes sharper and more cutting. Our mood swings can leave us on the edge of despair  and/or throw us right into psychosis.

People with Bipolar Disorder are twenty times more like to commit suicide than the general population and WHO identifies it as one of the top causes of lost health in the 15 – 44 age group.

I have rarely become suicidal while depressed because I am cocooned in a layer of candy floss that melts and reforms letting in light and sweetening life one tiny gap at a time. I feel safe when I am depressed. 

Mania scares me because it is the element of Bipolar Disorder that can kill me when it chooses. It is not the glorious thing it is often thought to be, it is pure and unadulterated madness. At its most extreme it is a psychosis that deserves to be shot down as long as it doesn’t take us with it. At its least extreme it no less poisonous, the poison simply takes longer to work its devilry.

You don’t know me…

I often see people on social media say that they are the same person online as they are in real life but are they?

I have several social media accounts and I use each one differently so how do you know which is the real me and how much is the me that I want you to see?

On Instagram it’s huge amounts of photos that I share with Twitter and  Facebook. On Facebook I share news articles. Twitter is where I tend to talk into the void and I am a little shy of joining in conversations.

How many of you, even the people I’ve met in real life, know me?


Which one is me?


My hair, what’s that like? Colour of my eyes? What’s the contents of my wardrobe? My favourite colour? Ogden my gorgeous dog who died last year – where did he come from and what did he look like? Here’s a good one – what kind of accent do I have? Know any of the jobs I’ve done in the past?

There are people who know more about us than others but even then they don’t know the whole person. We give away ourselves piecemeal and save the best stuff for ourselves. We reveal what we think we can trust people with and some deserve that trust more than others.

We never show ourselves in our entirety to anyone else so how can we say we are the same on social media as we are in real life? I can’t.

On the desire to talk about chronic pain

After a fall six months ago I spent five hours in A&E. I was told that recovery would be months not weeks. I thought I was prepared for that then the pain and muscular problems kicked in. I couldn’t get into bed one night because of muscle spasms and there are days when getting out of bed is almost impossible. I have to bathe using a bath stool because my back muscles can’t take my weight. One day the pain can be minimal and within hours it can be barely bearable. 

I expected to have a period of acute pain but I am having to come to terms with the fact that I may never be free from chronic pain.

I want to talk about pain on social media but I don’t want to sound like I’m moaning. We’re encouraged to talk about mental health but not so much physical pain. Perhaps I’m considered to be falling into a pit of self-pity but I want to talk about it in the same way that I talk about mental health.

A recent two day trip to  London was fabulous but the mattress on the bed was too soft and I’m still feeling the pain a week later. I am wary about going away for even a few days at a time because of that experience but I am not one to give in or give up so I will find away around it.

A the risk of sounding surly I don’t want advice about handling the pain because, in the same way I’ve learned to managed my mental health, I have to learn how to manage pain. It’s not a matter of coping with it it’s a matter of managing the results of it.

I cannot think of a title for this blog post

Imagine that you’re talking to someone and they suddenly change the subject. Would you think they were not listening, self obsessed or rude?

At times my mind moves so fast it leaps ahead making connections that have me running off on a tangent. I am often told that I talk at cross purposes or that I inhabit a different place from other people because of the way I converse.

The root of the problem is Bipolar Disorder. People associate the illness with mood swings or irrational behaviour but never with language or the problems that misuse of words can cause.

I began spouting obscenities in my mid-teens and a psychiatrist told me that it coincided with the onset of Bipolar Disorder. As I have grown older and my illness has progressed the swearing has become more frequent and my speech is quite crude at times. Difficult though it is I can control my behaviour to a point and I am always responsible for it.

Bipolar Disorder is stealing my words. It’s living in a corner of my mind that I can’t access. It is taking the words one by one and hiding them from me. It has stolen my eloquence.

As both good and bad stress increase and decline so does my swearing and crudity. During these times the few words I can access means that I find myself not being able to talk to people because I can’t say what I need to say. My words never return completely.

For the time being I can express myself reasonably well and I will say this – Bipolar Disorder is an illness not a disease but it leaves me in a state of dis-ease.

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