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Living with Bipolar Disorder

Living with Bipolar Disorder

It has been a year and one month since I had intended to share this on my blog. And two years and one month since I was hospitalised as a result of a psychotic manic episode.

This was a reflection piece that I shared on the first anniversary after my manic episode. These photos were taken a year after I was hospitalised.

One year living with Bipolar Disorder:

This was me on February 13th 2021. A year since my manic episode.

On February 13th 2020 I was hospitalised after having a psychotic break and was in the midst of a manic episode. It was as scary as it sounds, but it was also beautiful and magical in a way only I will ever truly understand.

It caused a lot of pain for the people closest to me. And a lot of trauma for me. It’s not something I can fully put into words yet. It has taken me a year to be able to write this, share this and be not only brave but coherent in my words about that experience. Which is where I am now.

I’ve done so much healing, learning and re-learning over the last eighteen months. I have been so brave it actually makes me a quite emotional. I have confronted myself, faced my fears, and experienced so much of the world. I have put boundaries in place in relationships in ways I didn’t have the courage to do “before”. I have been unapologetic about finding myself and being true to myself. That has meant sitting with the trauma and trudging through it to get to the other side.

I’m still in the trenches and not “on the other side” by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve come so far. It’s been a year since one of the worst periods of my life. But I’m here.

And I have so many stories to tell, so much to say and so much still to learn. But for now I am so immensely proud of myself, who I’ve been and who I am becoming.

I am kind and I am passionate. I’m brilliant and imaginative, intuitive and deeply emotional. I have Bipolar Disorder and that’s a part of me too. It doesn’t make me broken or bad, it just makes me different. And I’m happy with that. 

Amy, on the night of February 13th 2021, in the moonlight.

Two years later:

Perhaps it is a shame that I have not shared my experiences living with Bipolar fully until now. But in some way the benefit of time and healing has given me great insight into the true intensities of my experience with this disorder.

I am still proud of how far I have come. And two years later, I feel a much stronger sense of empathy for the 2020 version of myself who struggled so deeply and acutely with this diagnosis.

I’m also proud of the 2021 me, who, against all odds, graduated her undergraduate degree cum laude, at UCT. Quite frankly, the 2020 version of me would never have believed that finishing her degree would have been possible when her life fell apart that February, let alone cum laude.

And now as I look to the future, I am gently reminded that as each year passes and I continue to evolve, I owe all that I am and all that I’m becoming to the younger versions of me, who kept fighting for me, who kept dreaming.

Everything I do and everything I am is because of them.

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7 comments

  1. You are absolutely brilliant, Amy. I love you so much and am so incredibly proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. I feel your journey . Me , has been diagnosed with biopolar when i was 53 , and now 1,5 year later , everything that happened before falls into place .I understand it feels scary and wonderfull in full manic modus because to us it is beautiful, we can heal the world at that time . I really am scared to fall in another manic period now my depression after 15 months feels concoured. Not for me but mostly for the ones close to me . Keep your head up and live your life with your intuition. All the love .

  3. Well done young lady! Keep on going on!! You are very special and exceptionally brave. Good luck and never give up!! Lots of love and hugs baby girl!! Its a struggle to understand and to accept. After 20 years and still trying to figure it out.

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