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Archive for the ‘Bipolar & Work’ Category

 

I travelled up to the North East of England recently to see my wife’s parents. My wife (Laura) had travelled up a few days earlier, so I made the journey up in our car on my own. It reminded me when we were first dating & she was studying in Sunderland, whereas I was working in Liverpool. I’ve got fond memories of our long distance relationship. More so, considering most people seem to believe they don’t work.

I realised back then I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with any mental illness. So although I had suffered from, at least depression, I was blissfully unaware that was what it was. I never knew what I wanted to do, work-wise, back then, but I was confident I could turn my hand to most things. So I suppose my outlook was ‘the world is my oyster’ kind of thing. After just six months since I left Uni I had paid off my credit card debt on only £150 a week wage. I was confident I’d soon be in a job where I’d be earning at least the national average. At which point I would then start making repayments on my student loans. Meh, I never got there (there being the national average wage) in the end, but hey-ho that’s life.

It got me thinking of those ‘sliding doors’ moments in all our lives, where you think what if… My what if, is how would my life be different if I didn’t have a mental illness.

I know a lot of people say ‘I don’t believe in regrets. Everything in life has made me who I am today’. Which is fine, but come on, most of us have done something we regret & if we could change it we would. Personally I think it’s fine to have regrets, but the important thing is not to dwell & stew over them. It’s the past, you can’t change it so what’s the point.

What are your ‘What if’ moment?

 

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I’m 6ft tall & so on my postman round I regularly step over fences up to around 3ft. So it came as a great surprise, when I went arse over tit when encountering an obstacles of no more than 2ft!

Now to flesh out the image of my tumble somewhat, we’re still in the grips of a heatwave in Britain & so when clothes are, ummm, clinging to your skin from the heat, they restrict your movement. I was however, unaware I was in this state of restricted movement! There I was flicking through the mail to make sure I had the right letters for the right address. Next I’m sizing up the offending obstacle, which is the concrete footer of a fence. The fence had ironically been removed for repair & was now lying on the ground in the garden. So, back to sizing up the obstacle, like an Olympic Hurdler, up goes my lead right leg…Oh shit, restriction of shorts, cant’t. quite. make. it. over…only to hit the concrete footer. My momentum was having none of this stopping business & sent me flailing like a lobotomised Gibbon. My left foot lifted successfully over the obstacle, but my right was going no where, causing my left foot to slip on contact with the other side of the fence. The momentum, now in a stutter stall type affair, caused my 6ft, 85kg ish frame to go down under Newton’s damn Eureka moment.

You would think, at this point of impending collision with floor, I’d simply put out my arms & break my fall. You would be wrong! Instead I wind-milled comediacally, scattering the post I was carrying in both arms, landing on both my forearms. Landing ironically on the fence that was in need of repair, no doubt now in need of more repair. I stayed down for about 20 seconds to gather myself & make sure noting was broken. Women stop rolling your eyes at a man exaggerating any kind of self injury. I skinned my shin, a little blood even dripped onto my sock. I over extended my right knee cap, but being the hero that I obviously am I walked it off. My right forearm was grazed slightly, but now has a nice bruise showing.

Thankfully there was no canine waiting to chew my face off, as the pic above may have suggested. The pic just made me smile when I saw it.

Now to the point of this post. There isn’t one, except to make you smile. I hope I was successful.

It’s a true story though & I’m finally coming around to the conclusion that just maybe I’m a little clumsy. Nah, I’m an Olympic Hurdler!

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I came across this post on Weathering the Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder, written by Kait. I want to reblog it, as it’s a great piece that highlights everyday stigma around, not just bipolar, but mental illness in general.

To go to the original post click here. I couldn’t find a reblog button, so I’ve also pasted it below, but the post looks better on Kait’s blog so give it a look. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Mental Illness Affects People Individually

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

 Those who live with mental illness are not all the same. They are not to be lumped into one group or meant to be labeled. They all have characteristics and diagnoses that are alike, but they don’t exhibit the characteristics in the same ways as another person might. They are individuals that will display specific symptoms. Not all symptoms that are listed under a particular illness will even apply to every individual with that illness. Some may display more severe symptoms and conditions, whereas others may only display some or a less severe form of the illness. Due to each person displaying individualistic symptoms and characteristics, it makes diagnosing and finding a successful treatment plan extremely difficult.

 What comes to mind when you hear that someone has a mental illness? Is a little part of you afraid or cautious? Does part of you automatically assume they’re “crazy” and unstable? Or maybe you feel shocked because they don’t appear to fit society’s image of a person who lives with a mental illness. They look and act just like everyone else. Well, that’s because they are like everyone else. They are human who just happen to live with different obstacles than others may. Some people live with food allergies and can’t eat certain foods, while some are diabetic and have to closely monitor their blood sugar. Those who live with a mental illness aren’t much different when it comes to lifestyle changes. They may have to monitor their moods, eating habits, and even their stress levels so they don’t have a relapse (mood swing, addiction habits, etc).

These reactions to mental illness are most certainly common when a person isn’t familiar with mental health. This is why it is ultimately crucial to expand the education and awareness regarding mental illness and the truth of the person behind the illness.

 Due to the stigma, some who live with a mental illness often refuse to share, speak openly about their illness, or even seek treatment that could save their lives due to what others may think and feel about them (or out of denial too, but that is a little different). They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, and weaker than others for having to seek professional help.

 It is sad to think that so many will suffer each year out of fear of getting the appropriate help they need. We, as a society, need to work on making it okay and be supportive of those who may need mental health treatment. Denial of the existence of mental health, apathy, and lack of empathy will not make these illnesses disappear. It may only make matters worse.

 So, the next time you hear or say “He/she is bipolar,” know that it is incorrect. He or she lives with bipolar is the more proper way of putting it because if a person has diabetes or cancer, you wouldn’t say this person is diabetes or cancer. It is a condition that they happen to live with which involves treatment. Same rules apply for those who live with mental illness.

Mental illness is not as scary as it appears in the media. Just because a person who is said to have bipolar (or another mental illness) did a terrible thing that gets displayed nationally over the news doesn’t mean that everyone who lives with that illness will end up doing the same thing.

 People who live with mental illness are individuals and it affects each one of them in different ways. Have a heart, spread awareness, and help a loved one ❤

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Concorde & Me

Concorde & Me

 

Last weekend I went to stay at the in-laws on Saturday night with Laura. We went to a wedding anniversary & whilst there one of my friends asked me to do a post centred more on me. We’ll call here Concorde. Her cousin used to to call her that at Uni, & well, as she doesn’t like it, I thought I’d share it with you all 😉

She said she wants to know what’s going on with me & although the videos I post are fine, she wants to be able to see how I’m doing. I think that’s what she said…well we were at a party & it was loud…what with everyone playing bingo! What can I say that’s how they roll in Billingham, Teeside, UK. Keith Richards just wouldn’t keep up…

OK enough procrastinating & on to how I’ve been. My current work contract runs out on 28th July & I know that’s been playing on my mind the last couple of weeks. Even though I had some good feedback two or three weeks ago, until you get the green light & you get the new contract, there is always that little niggle in the back of your noggin reminding you not to count your chicks blah blah. Happily, just this morning I got confirmation from one of my managers that they have recommended me for another contract :). So that niggle in the noggin is down to a smaller niggle & will be blown away completely when my new contract arrives in the post.

The weather in Britain has been great these last three weeks. We’re in a heatwave! Something we rarely have on these shores, believe me. Now to be more accurate, the weather is great IF you don’t work outdoors in it. I love it on the days I’m off, but dear god, when I’m in work, come the end of the day, I feel like I will melt into a puddle of…well a puddle of me basically. I noticed in the first week it was affecting my mood. My body doesn’t cope with hot weather at the best of times, so when I’m out pounding the streets delivering mail (maybe I should stop pounding & just walk. Hmmmm I could be onto something there) my body just wants to shut down.

I’ve made a few changes in the way I work to help combat the heat. I’ve stopped cycling to & from work for now & I’m using my car instead. I’m drinking much more fluids on my round, a mix of water & Lucozade Sport. So I’m slowly but surely getting better handling this hot weather. By the time I’m on top of it, it will be winter & I won’t know what’s hit me. Then I’ll be whining about the cold & rain, trying to elicit even more sympathy out of you guys 🙂

Ummmm what else is going on with me…Oh I’m off to see my brothers in a couple of hours to talk more about the house & when we’ll be selling it. Hopefully that’ll go well & there’ll be no histrionics from P.

As for me & how I’m doing? Well right now I feel good. This pretty much sums up how I’ve been for the last 10 months, with a few blips here & there, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

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BBC Three are currently airing a mental health season & last night ‘Diaries Of A Broken Mind’ was on. It focuses on 25 people chronicling their lives via a handheld camera. It was very insightful, as it literally gives you an inside view of people lives with various mental health issues.

As many of you will know I have bipolar…umm for those that don’t…eyes up to the top of the page…hear that? Yep a few pennies dropped right there 😉 Sorry I went of on a tangent there. So I have bipolar, but what this season of mental health programmes is giving me, is a wealth of information & knowledge on other mental health disorders out there.

Have a look at the episode I watched last night. I noticed the uploader’s comment on YouTube mentioned he’d received copyright infringement due to the music content in the programme. So if you can’t access this by the time you try let me know & I’ll change the link.

Let me know what you think?

I appreciate it’s a long documentary, so if you don’t have the time just click to 12mins in & watch until 13:30. This was my favourite part of the docmentary. Partly because of the amazing piece of music in the background, but also because it encompasses really well the stigma we face around mental health in just 1min 30secs.

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Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. We’re in a heatwave at the moment in the UK & after working outside, between 10:00-15:00, all I’ve wanted to do when getting in is relax & try to stay cool.

The final episode of the Don’t Call Me Crazy series aired a week ago. See below a link for this most recent episode & the previous two.

In this episode it focuses on Beth & two new male patients.

As ever let me know what you think of this episode & the series as a whole?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ0nVKFOwHg – Episode 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDUwcSMmqDU – Episode 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Ry9fL71x0 – Episode 1

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It’s coming to the end of my temporary rolling contract & my mind keeps looping to ‘What if I lose my job?’. I’m fairly confident that it will be renewed, as we’re well into the summer holiday season & there is plenty of work right now.

That said, the worry is still lingering at the back of my mind, mainly because this job seems to work with my bipolar really well. As a postman, I get daily exercise, a mix of cycling & walking for four hours each day. I also get to work outdoors enjoying plenty of fresh air & interacting with the public. So if I do lose my job I think I’ll struggle to find one that helps with the bipolar side of things.

Soooo it came as a nice surprise yesterday, when the subject of my contract renewal came up at work. Now my manager isn’t one for words of encouragement, so when he said ‘Well you haven’t got any worse’, I thought, steady on boss let’s not go all out on the praise here :). To be fair he also said I’d gotten better & was performing my rounds quicker. I still didn’t get confirmation I’ll be getting a new three month contract, but the positive feedback was…well…positive 🙂

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