My Story: Rosie

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 16 when my stepdad left. He had raised me as a baby, so it was tough when he and the rest of his family left. They did briefly keep in contact, but it was never the same.

Life was hard, moving to a council house and having no money, but my mother, brother and I somehow made it through.

The first time I self-harmed myself when I was about 18 and again at 19 or 20 years old. I was on the highest dose of antidepressants, but they weren't doing anything and over the years hadn't improved much.

Christmas of 2016, when I turned 22, was awful as my step-family cut me out of their life forever. My pet had recently passed away, and my boyfriend and I were struggling in our relationship. That was when I started to change.

I became obsessed with the craziest and stupidest of things for days at a time. Then I would become so depressed and have feelings of suicidal. My boyfriend broke up with me because he couldn't handle it anymore, and that's when I finally lost it.

I had the worst mental breakdown I have ever had. I lost control, broke objects in my home, was screaming the place down, was hearing voices that were telling me to kill myself, I wasn't any good, no one loves me or likes me, and no one would care if I died.

My mom had to come and collect me, and I had to live with her for a couple of weeks. I was a zombie. I didn't move or didn't speak. It was as if there was nothing there at all. It was like I lost my soul.

My mom took me to the doctors numerous times and told them that I wasn't safe to be alone and I was suicidal. The doctors didn't take this seriously and said I probably wouldn't see anyone for at least three months. My mom was furious!

I was such a high risk of killing myself. It took three doctor appointments, two referrals, and a complaint to get seen by a psychiatrist who didn't believe anything I told them. I thought I had bipolar after doing research. I knew this was more than just depression.

He told me to fill in a mood diary for three months, and then another psychiatrist would review it. I did what he told me to do, and the chart continuously went from hypomanic to severe depression.

After the three months, I saw this fantastic psychiatrist who listened to everything I said, listened to my story, looked at my mood diary chart and finally I got the diagnosis of bipolar II. I was absolutely over the moon! Finally, I had an answer.

Who has been there for you? How?

My boyfriend and my mom. If it wasn't for her, I don't think I would have gotten the right diagnosis.

If it wasn't for my boyfriend, I don't think I would be here today. Yes, he was the main reason for my horrendous breakdown, but he also saved my life. I was planning on killing myself one night, but he surprised me by being at my house and surprised me with tea and cookies. I burst out crying and felt guilty, and told him my plan.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have had to slowly reduce my antidepressants slowly as I was on a high dose while gradually increasing my new tablets Lamotrigine. Its been about two months and I'm finally off my antidepressants and on the max dose of Lamotrigine.

Shortly after my mental breakdown, my boyfriend and I got back together, and he has been my rock. He takes care of me by helping me with housework and being there for me when I'm depressed. He's given me the idea to write a "success diary" so I can write down all the positive things I've achieved every day, as I struggle to achieve anything most days.

He wrote me a weekly chart. For example, when to have breakfast, dinner, lunch, and times to take my medications, and so on. This helps me eat properly and reminds me to take my medications.

I still struggle on a daily basis with housework because the motivation is never there. My mom does visit me once a week and helps me get back on track, but it is something I need to improve on.

Once a month I attend a bipolar support group created by Bipolar UK which is terrific. I don't feel so alone and there are people to talk to who are in the same situation as me.

Finally I got the diagnosis of bipolar II. I was absolutely over the moon! Finally, I had an answer.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud that I got through probably the worst time ever of my life. From December 2016 to perhaps about July 2017 has been the hardest time ever and even though it was awful, and I didn't think I was going to make it, I have.

Life is still tough, and I still get depressed and hypomanic a lot, but at least I have that diagnosis, and I'm more aware of my feelings.

I'm proud that even after all this I'm still working full time. Working is probably the hardest thing I do daily as there are many times I just feel depressed and don't want to get out of bed but I do.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud that I got through probably the worst time ever of my life. From December 2016 to perhaps about July 2017 has been the hardest time ever and even though it was awful, and I didn't think I was going to make it, I have.

Life is still tough, and I still get depressed and hypomanic a lot, but at least I have that diagnosis, and I'm more aware of my feelings.

I'm proud that even after all this I'm still working full time. Working is probably the hardest thing I do daily as there are many times I just feel depressed and don't want to get out of bed but I do.

Life is still tough.

Life is still tough.

Who has been there for you? How?

As hard as it may be, it does get better. It takes a lot of strength, but it always gets better. Even if its a day or a few hours, it does get better.

I think everyone with bipolar should research and learn all about the condition and perhaps go to a support group nearby as that is a great way to get support. I also follow a support group on facebook where people can share their stories and even ask questions.

Remember that you are not alone. It may feel like it, but there are so many people with bipolar and you are not the only one.

Finally, even though some people may not have family or friends to get support from... if you can then that's a massive life saver. Everyone needs someone to support them and help them through the highs and the lows.

Remember that you are not alone. It may feel like it, but there are so many people with bipolar and you are not the only one.

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