Bipolar Disorder: A Day in the Life – Bipolar Disorder: In Our Own Words


ANNA ALEXANDER: Can you be brave? SUBJECT: Yeah. ANNA ALEXANDER: And courageous? SUBJECT: Uh-huh. ANNA ALEXANDER: Let’s count the stones again. Can you do it? SUBJECT: 1. ANNA ALEXANDER: Come and get in the car. Today, I feel really stable. I felt really anxious last night just because I’m doing this. From birth until about nine years old things, were really good. I did ballet, Brownies– did horseback riding. But then 11 years old, I had some– a difficult time. I have bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed when I was 11. It has ups and downs. And I have depression. I did struggle in high school, especially when I got into drinking and smoking and stuff. I had a hard time. I have a husband. And we’ve been married for almost 10 years. I have a daughter. She’s almost four. Right now, we’re on our way to her preschool. Let’s go. Ready? I drop Helen off at school. And then I go and work out. I lift weights. And I run. I do yoga. Exercise is really important. It’s one of the most important methods of treating my illness. I’ve completed four marathons, several half-marathons, plus 5Ks, 10Ks. I’ve done triathlons. I’m meeting with one of my good friends, Jen. She’s a fitness instructor. JEN: Hi! ANNA ALEXANDER: Thank you so much for coming. Yoga is just really grounding. JEN: People think it’s all these crazy poses. But really, what it is defined in the yoga texts is just controlling the mental chit-chat. ANNA ALEXANDER: I have all these fears. But then when you do yoga, it’s just, like, you see the bigger picture. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I don’t have to worry what people will say about me. It’s peaceful, just here and now. I feel awesome. I feel great. [MUSIC PLAYING] I love being with Helen. When I pick her up from school, I’m so happy to just spend time with her. I was a nanny for four and a half years. And then I quit to be a teacher. And then I was a teacher until I got pregnant. Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom is hard because I’m my own boss. But when I have a job, it’s almost like I’m much healthier when I have a job. Do you like to hang out with Mommy? SUBJECT: Yeah! ANNA ALEXANDER: I’ve always loved art. I’ve done lots of collages, photography. I do a lot of charcoal when I’m having real bad depression, just to get it out on paper. I’m growing a garden. And I have four different plots. And I have corn and cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, bell peppers. After I put her down for a nap, I do laundry, chores, read a book. And I cook. Taking time to nurture yourself is a good thing. Sleep’s really important for bipolar disorder. It’s number one. Then Helen will wake up at 5:30. Love you. And my husband will come home. And then we’ll spend some time together. ZACH ALEXANDER: When you’re with someone for a number of years– and I can usually tell when she’s up or down or off– if you can get a pretty consistent schedule, then it helps a lot with mental health. She’s exercising. That’s releasing dopamine. It’s activating those parts of her brain, which is helping keep her stable. ANNA ALEXANDER: You ready, Helen? ZACH ALEXANDER: I feel like we’re pretty blessed with how our life is. We have stable job. And we’ve got a house and healthy, beautiful child. ANNA ALEXANDER: People get confused. They don’t understand that you can just be normal. Yeah, I have a good life. Yeah, I like my life. “And we would be as happy and as friendly as can be. I’d show him all the places that are nicest in the house.”

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *