Thank you to Community Correspondent Ann Marie D’Arcy Sharpe for this encouraging and inspiring interview!
1. How are you?
Living with bipolar disorder, there are always ups and downs and life is never easy, but I’m the most stable I’ve been for a long time and I’m happy.
2. How have you changed in the last decade? What have you learned?
I’ve learnt so much in the last decade. I’ve been diagnosed finally and learnt what has been causing all my symptoms for so long. I’ve been given the treatment I needed and so am now so much more stable and able to actually live my life. I have learnt who my real friends are and gained new ones. I’ve learnt how strong and capable I am, and that despite bipolar disorder, dreams really can come true.
3. What have been your highlights and lowlights?
I’ll focus on highlights, because that’s so much more positive and I prefer to put the focus on the good things. I got married in the last decade and have now been married to my husband for 5 years. I got three dogs who are my world, along with small animals who are adorable. I got my dream job writing and working from home and have had some truly amazing holidays and new experiences.
4. Who have you connected with this decade? Who have you forgiven?
Since getting my diagnosis, I have forgiven myself for my past behaviour; I acted very out of character when I was younger, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t control it. Now I know that was bipolar disorder, so with that understanding, I’ve released the guilt I held. I connected with my now husband and his mother who is now my wonderful mother-in-law.
5. What have you decided to stop doing?
I’ve decided to cut down on bad habits; eliminating them is putting too much pressure on yourself I feel but doing your best to place bad habits with good ones is a productive step forward.
6. What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for so many things truly: my friends, my family, my husband, my animals, my job, my little home, my diagnosis, the ability to have a happy life which I never thought I would have.
7. What have you come to terms with in the last decade?
Since getting my diagnosis I have had to come to terms with the fact that mental illness will be a part of my life, for my whole life. That’s a tough thing to adjust to, but I do feel that I have come to terms with it.
8. What have you done that makes you happy?
I’ve met amazing people, built my own little home, worked hard on my goals and achieved a great deal of them, built up my fitness, raised money for charity, seen more of the world and so much more.
9. What are your plans for the next decade?
My plans are to continue staying as stable as I can, to continue making the absolute most of out of my life, working hard and being the best version of myself that I can be.
And the big one…
10. Are you still alive?
I am, and there were many times when I wasn’t sure I would be, as I’m sure is the case for many others. We are warriors and we should all be immensely proud of ourselves. I’m so glad that I’m alive today because I have the sort of happiness I never thought I could possibly have. So, if you’re out there and you are struggling, please know that things really can get better, even if that feels impossible right now. Don’t give up on life or on yourself; you never know what joy could await you.
Why not a look at our short film and let us know your answers?