“I have Bipolar Affective Disorder Type 2 (BPAD2). I’m a writer and podcaster for Hope in Your Story, a faith based mental health platform for sharing mental health stories.
When I was young I knew I was different. I was picked on a lot and people found me pretty annoying. It wasn’t long before I was diagnosed with ADD and put on medication. I grew up taking meds, it was normal. It was no different than wearing my glasses, or taking my asthma puffer. When I was in my late teens though, things took a turn.
I started to become overwhelmed with intense depression, coupled with wild nights of spending all my money on myself and my friends going drinking and partying. Fortunately for me I react badly to drugs so I never went down that road; although my consumption of alchohol, coffee, and cigarettes was something to behold. It wasn’t long before I experienced my first anxiety attack. I thought I was dying. At the time I thought for sure it was some kind of seizure/heart attack. My muscles cramped and seized and the pain in my chest was blinding. This was my worst one to date, thankfully. I was given no real help at the hospital (this was back in 2003, hospitals nowadays are much better) and I was left to wonder what the heck happened to me.
It took another 6 years before I was formally diagnosed with type 2 bipolar. By then I’d heard of it and the diagnosis made sense. Shortly after I found out that I had a long family history of bipolar which cemented the diagnosis. My psychiatrist started me on an experimental medication that was proving to be effective in other sufferers. In the past I didn’t respond well or at all to mood stabilizers or antidepressants so it was worth a shot. The medication was meant for treating epilepsy, but strangely enough it immediately had a positive effect on me. My mood swings lessened and the intense anxiety I had gotten used to was now bearable, it’s been great! Coupled with quitting smoking, quitting coffee and lowering my alcohol intake I have never been happier. I’m now fit, healthy and I enjoy life with my wife and 3 kids. My advice to anyone who thinks they may have mental health issues is to go see a specialist, not just a GP. They’re a specialist for a reason and my life is better for it!”
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