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Last week was World BiPolar Day in the UK. Bipolar is relatively common, affecting 1 in every 100 adults. The illness can impact anyone regardless of their gender or background. It can be defined as a mood disorder characterised by changes in an individuals mood from high to low. When experiencing a high form of mood (mania or hypomania), an individual with bipolar disorder may experience outbursts of energy and feel little to no desire to sleep.

Whereas within a low (depressive) phase or mood, those affected by bipolar disorder may have feelings of depression. This can cause them to feel hopeless; despairing and lethargic; full of self-blame and self-doubt which can make it difficult, or near impossible, to concentrate.

Demi Lovato is a girl after our own heart. Like Lily-Jo, she uses her platform as a singer-songwriter and actress, to advocate for mental health. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and became an advocate for mental health sufferers whilst receiving treatment in 2011. Demi has formed a partnership with leading mental health advocacy organisations within America to create the initiative ‘Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health’. This initiative provides support and encouragement to those across America to use their voice in support of mental health.  The online resource provides top tips and advice to support users to speak up both within and outside of America. This includes, recognising that talking about personal issues can be a challenge but vital, talking about your goals, being honest, sharing any concerns about your overall health and keeping an open mind (Be Vocal Speak Up, 2017).

So what are the signs and symptoms of BiPolar? How do you know if you may be suffering?

Symptoms of mania and hypomania (high mood) include:

  • increased energy, activity and restlessness

  • extreme irritability

  • racing thoughts and fast speech

  • little or no desire to sleep

  • unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities and powers

  • a lasting period of behaviour which is different from the usual

  • provocative, intrusive and aggressive behaviour

  • impulse purchases

Symptoms of depression and dysthymia (low mood) include:

  • lasting sadness, anxiety or empty mood

  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being slowed down

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

  • restlessness or irritability

  • sleeping too much, or being unable to sleep

  • change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain

  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

Top Tips for dealing with Bi Polar…

1. Be kind to yourself

2. Take each day one at a time

3. Celebrate the small wins and evaluate the losses

4. Make sure your support network is strong

5. Remember you are not defined by a label

More Help…

For support groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: https://www.bipolaruk.org/find-a-support-group

For support groups across Scotland: https://www.bipolarscotland.org.uk/local-groups

Thanks for reading; please share this blog with others and we’d love to hear your thoughts/personal stories of living with bipolar either as a suffer or a carer. Email us: admin@thelilyjoproject.com

I hope this blog raises awareness and brings some peace to those suffering on a day to day basis.

With Love,

Julie x

Blogger, The LJ Project

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