It is tempting to be poetic in writing about my mental illness.

To romanticise the highs and lows. To glorify the good that has come with living with bipolar 1 disorder - and there has been good.

Among the pain and tears and destruction (mostly self destruction). I am more empathetic, I have had remarkable bouts of creativity and productivity. I have made everlasting, unbreakable friendships and gained an enormous amount of respect for mental health workers.

Counsellors, case managers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists. All who do what they do, for no other reason, than to take care of the sick (under extremely difficult conditions).

As I’ve lived on with this illness, what has become apparent, is the need for representation.

For people feeling hopeless, desperate and alone, like I have.

The books I read, the instagram accounts I follow, the podcasts I listen to, provide a sort of faraway community. Me, a silent, anonymous member. On the outer of that community.

Comparing notes and finding comfort in the words on the pages of memoirs from people like me. Living, battling, surviving, managing their mental illness.

Now, I feel it is the time for me to introduce myself to the community I’ve silently clung to.

To share my experiences, what I’ve learned and what I’m learning.

I’ve reasoned back and forward with myself over this being the right thing to do.

Am I sharing my story to appease my ego that has been bruised by failed attempts to function in society?

Am I attention seeking?

Am I afraid I’ll be forgotten as I retreat to heal?

Am I avoiding the rest I’ve been instructed to do?

I can’t work a full time job right now, and that is a hard pill to swallow, along with all of the other pills I swallow morning and night.

But I can write. I can share. I can hopefully contribute to the faraway community who helped and guided me.

And so, this is the beginning. A place I thought would be used to advertise yoga classes will now be something else.

A cathartic place for me to hopefully connect and provide some comfort.

Char xx

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