Living with Bipolar Disorder

I really didn’t think I would be nervous
why are you nervous? well I don’t know I don’t know have you
ever opened up about being bipolar I’m always kind of weary to tell people
about it which i think is why I’m nervous isn’t it funny seeing yourself yeah it
is funny have you always had the courage listen in front of the camera and tell
everybody about your diagnosis no no this is like pretty groundbreaking what
do you want to say to everybody who knows you and now knows you’re also
bipolar hey guys funny you finding out this way but it’s
still me the same person before this video welcome to SBS K we believe that
everybody has a story that’s worthy of being heard when we listen to one
another the world becomes a closer place and we all benefit together so without
hesitation let’s meet today’s friend do you want people asking questions
about your disorder yeah as long as it’s like in a respectful nice way I think
asking questions and like talking about it is the best way when someone when I
do tell someone and they do ask me questions about it as long as it’s like
obviously they’re not like a rude question I think that’s like the best
way to have that first conversation what’s it like to be bipolar not easy I
have bipolar type 2 which means that you have hypomania and then depressive
episodes it’s a feeling of like being elevated in moods like very elevated
moods I compare it to like drinking three Red Bulls and like being in like a
really nice meadow on a nice day it’s how you feel for like for me it’s about
a week most of the time but then after that you would fall into it oppressive
episode which is like three weeks it could be months it just kind of depends
where you seek treatment how would you describe the lowest of the low we didn’t dark it’s like it physically
hurts almost it’s such a weird I compared it
to like you know how scientifically like when you get your heart broken and it
like physically hurts and there’s like not like a real like logical reason
behind it like why you feel like the physical pain attached to the emotional
pain that’s how a lot of mental illnesses and like when you’re at the
lowest of the low it feels like my whole body and like my brain it’s just kind of
like full of static almost but it’s like everything is heavy and just like kind
of achy and like you’re just kind of like buzzing a little bit on the inside
you don’t sleep very much you’re very talkative I used to clean a lot now
you’re more social than usual it’s associated sometimes people will spend
like a lot of money you’ll go out more stuff like that
and then a press episode it’s just like you just stay in bed a lot of the time
what does your tattoo mean oh this one yeah I actually got it um last year
after I’d kind of like worked through things it’s just like kind of like
growth and like there’s like a little face hitting in there I don’t know if
you can see that and it’s just kind of like regrowth kind of and like kind of
like rediscovering things and like coming up out of where nothing
was when you share with someone that you’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder
how do you hope they respond I think just like how my friend Kat responded
she was just kinda like well what does that like for you like she just really
wanted to know more about it but from my perspective and she didn’t really have
like a stigma or a dramatic reaction to it she was like what is that like for
you and I was like it’s kind of hard sometimes she’s like I bet what was it
like when you were first diagnosed it was scary it was really scary and I
think it might have been scarier because I did I did see my mom struggle with it
for like a long time so I kind of always knew it was like a risk thing and I
would definitely say was one my biggest fears at the time so it was really
terrifying for me if you had to introduce your sister to the world what
would you say she is an angel child she is the perfect teenager like she is so
good and she’s my best friend we are so similar even laugh the same
and talk the same yeah what was it like seeing your moms battle with bipolar
disorder and then being diagnosed yourself see in the beginning I think it
made it scarier just because like I had seen it and it is hard to see especially
because my mom was diagnosed later so I think it was it’s it’s been a little
harder for her so it is hard to see like someone you care about like go through
things like that when she was first diagnosed she told me she was bipolar
and when she did I just kind of was like okay well then let’s let’s let’s move on
I think you were the person I was most afraid to tell really yeah at least at
first I don’t want you to be worried about me I was like afraid that wasn’t
really worried about you honestly that’s good why weren’t you worried about her
um I kind of just knew that she we had she had the friends and she had me and
my mom to kind of turn to to get the right support and right comfort that she
would need to treat what you know what was your sisters reaction so
important to you I didn’t want her to be worried and I also didn’t want her
to feel pressured to take care of me because I think in a lot of aspects I
have I don’t want to say taken care of her and my mom but I’ve been like kind
of the the like let’s okay we need to do this and kind of do this and I didn’t
want her to feel like now she would have to take care of me like and kind of
watch out for my mom a little bit I just wanted her to not feel any stress and
like still be able to like feel like she if she wanted to go to school somewhere
else she wouldn’t have to stay here for me or anything like that like I would be
okay I don’t want her to think she would have to like take care of me how did you
feel when you open up to your sister and she was so accepting it was the best
feeling ever the fact that you just like we’re so unfazed right cuz everyone else
it was like this whole like soap opera kind of thing like it was it was so
ridiculous but she was just like okay and she was like okay like are you
hungry yeah yeah yeah yeah do you ever feel like you were hiding how sick you
were before you seek treatment oh yeah I mean like just like getting up and I
would just I used to say like fake it till you make it which is horrible
advice for a situation like that do not fake it till you make it it’s not good
it looks like get up and put makeup on and I’m like okay this is it let’s go
smile on let’s not does that make things worse because then it’s like you don’t
want people to see it but then people don’t see it so then it makes it harder
for them to believe that like when you do the diagnosis and you’re like no I
have this and like oh no you’re fine all the time like you’re always happy and
you always look so nice and it’s how long did you have symptoms of being
bipolar that went untreated probably I would say about two years probably how
did that impact your relationships it definitely was hard it was not easy I’m
really grateful to the friends I had during that time and towards the end
when I actually did like go get diagnosed and stuff like that it was I
was in more of like a depressive phase so you do drop a lot of friends but they
were never like gone I just wasn’t hanging out with them
and like talking to them as much so I’m really lucky that my friends did hang
out and stick around for when I was better my name is Haley I have my
Masters in Social Work and I am working to be a therapist so it’s a little bit
fitting having a friend with a disorder like any disorder in the experience too
because I have depression and anxiety so I’m able to come at it from a very
supportive standpoint when you are having difficulties because of your
diagnosis what can somebody do to support you Haley is great at this she
just comes over me just like lay in bed and watch movies and just eat food what
about somebody who doesn’t have that type of comfort level with you that um I
think because sometimes if I am going through something it can seem flakey
almost if I’m like I know I had this planned but I just like can’t do this
today and it’s just like being more understanding like obviously the person
is gonna be like letdown that I can’t do something but like sometimes you just
need a day you just need a day off do you feel bad when you break those planes
yeah of course like I never want to be the person who’s like we’ve been really
looking forward to like going to this thing I’m really sorry
like of course I feel bad like I don’t want to do it it’s just like sometimes
you just physically can’t do it do you want people to know when you do
cancel planes then if I could go I would go like 100% it’s not because I don’t
want to hang out with you I don’t ever use it like as an excuse to not go to
places most of the time if it’s someone that like if it’s with somebody that I
haven’t told I’m just like I don’t feel good like it like that’s kind of the
baseline of it but if I couldn’t go I would go it’s not that I don’t want to
hang out with you it’s just it like sometimes you just literally can’t go so
when you say it could be two weeks of this extreme high there might be a
misconception that that sounds great can the highs be problem problematic –
yes but when I first got diagnosed I actually told Haley a lot about this
that I was afraid of losing that feeling of like being not happy and not
productive and stuff like that but overall it’s not worth it about a month
after you are diagnosed you were sending me little updates about like how you
were during the day as I was talking about how even little
things are so huge when you’re dealing with mental illness so she texted me
hello some good things from this week I’ve showered every day I brush my teeth
twice a day I went to two doctor’s appointments and got medication today I
started the medication I made half a scarf so far and I feel good what are
some changes you’ve seen since you’ve been on medication well it’s kind of
weird because before I didn’t really have like a baseline for like normal and
when I first got diagnosed a lot of the questions they asked you are based
around like well what do you think is like you’re normal and I was like I
don’t have a normal that’s what like that’s the point like there is no normal
for me even those little things such as like showering even just getting out of
bed is such a huge feat that people who don’t experience mental illness don’t
realize and so it’s so huge like I love that you are recognizing that those
little things are so huge and she was being so adamant about and courageous
about just like doing the little things and taking pride in those and like
giving herself credit for those things when you first started medication did
you have any stigma attached to it or were you able to accept it right away I
actually did have a little bit of stigma with it until I read I was reading about
it online and basically how I think about it is like a person with diabetes
needs something because their body doesn’t produce what they need and it’s
the same thing my brain it doesn’t produce the chemicals that it’s supposed
to – like regulate things the way it should so it’s just like it’s kind of
the same thing so now it doesn’t bother me at all duralee there’s going to be
somebody who sees this video who has their own mental health battles but
hasn’t yet seek treatment what would you say to that person it’s easier to go and
get the help that you need and just to deal with it in that sense that is to
continue to fight it by yourself it makes it so much easier and I always I
always say like if I do this now than three months from now I’m gonna be like
a little bit better like that’s like my thing so it may seem harder at first to
like go get the help you need but in the long run it’s it’s totally worth it to
start I also think that medication and therapy are equally as important to each
other in when you do get diagnosed and you do get
help is there a singular moment where her friendship and support meant more to
you than any other moment throughout your journey does now count for you to
come with me in to be here when she said she was being interviewed
I was like no way that’s not right off like there’s no way that’s real I think
now’s like like the peak you know we’ve been working to get to this point like
this is this is the Mount Everest point we’re talking about it that’s great
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