• Katie Holland

Living with bipolar

Having a mental illness can be exhausting, isolating, make you high or low and sometimes even just numb. As someone who has bipolar I know all too well about these states of mind, feelings and emotions and even the physical behaviours that come with the condition. As I’m sure most have felt at some point in their journey, life can feel incredibly lonely. Lonely in the sense that you are different, no one will understand you or maybe even you telling yourself you are a burden to others. I know, I have felt like that a number of times and maybe will do at some point again in my life. So just imagine, a third party who is understanding, accepting, non-judgemental and helpful who can work with you and support you - that is how I would describe therapists. Viktor Frankl once said “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”, something which my therapist once quoted to me and now something that sums up my attitude to my mental health illness. To break it down into two themes, acceptance and challenge is what I took from hearing the words of the great Man’s Search for Meaning and for me these two words are huge parts of recovery and two parts of my journey in therapy. Enlisting the support of a therapist was a big step for someone who had a tendency to endure suffering on her own, but a step that has reaped so many rewards. Recovery is a hard and a long process that requires you to truly come to terms with you and your mental illness, and so having all the support you can get can only be a good thing. Therapy gives me a safe space. A space that is mine for me to talk about what is going on for me and work through some deep rooted issues with someone who I feel totally comfortable with and who knows everything about me and my history. To go back to my quote above, challenging myself to change myself is something I can do in therapy, whether that be challenging my thought processes or coming up with tools to manage self-destructive behaviours, every session I learn something new from someone I trust. I like to think that I have now got to a position where I am managing by using everything I’ve picked up along the way but that doesn’t mean I will stop seeing my therapist. Like I said, recovery is ongoing and having a helping hand on that journey is nothing but a good thing. Mental health illnesses vary from condition to condition and symptoms from person to person but one thing I believe to be a commonality is that therapy is an incredibly effective treatment for management of all diagnoses.



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