Being diagnosed with Bipolar aged 14 or something (it was all a huge, horrible blur) I had a pretty different teenage life than the average. With big decisions like, deciding whether or not to keep trying and trying with counselling or whether to try medication, or both!

It was a challenge that I never really thought I'd have to accept and live with for the rest of my life. After years of thinking everyone else dealt with life so easily and thinking I was obviously bad at 'life', I finally realised that actually I wasn't just a stroppy, hormonal teen, and somehow putting a name to it helped. 

Growing up with a mental health disorder I didn't know I had wasn't easy.
My biggest challenge was accepting that therapy and recovery aren't easy.
Therapy is not a quick fix or an immediate help, in fact I struggled a lot with not just talking about my mental health but taking advice for it. I felt that no one understood how it really was inside my head, and felt I was being patronised to do things 'normally', when she was only doing her job, and trying to help me.

It's hard being diagnosed with any condition, but I think it's very hard being diagnosed with a mental health condition. You can talk to someone else who has had broken their leg before and you'll have similar experiences of recovery. However talking to someone else with a mental health condition, isn't so similar. In fact, everyone, and every condition is different, and every ones journey through it towards acceptance is very different too.

As I mentioned before in a post I wrote last year (see here), my diagnosis wasn't simple either. My referral was actually lost and I felt that I had been lost too. But the reason for my referral wasn't very straightforward either, I was 14 and it involved a bottle of gin.

I had never looked at alcohol as an answer or a punishment. Growing up in a household where alcohol wasn't just something that's only drank on special occasions, it wasn't a big deal to me.
So what made me nearly overdose on alcohol? I have absolutely no idea.

All I remember is washing a glass out to remove the smell of the gin it had it in, and then putting it on the side. The next thing I know I'm waking up somewhere I'm not familiar with, surrounded my family in a bright room. It smells like a hospital... Oh, and I'm wearing a gown. Where has my bra gone? Why does my nose kill! - What's happened?

I was then told I was a 'very silly girl' by a doctor who said I was 'stupid' and very 'lucky', and nearly had a heart attack. What had I done?

My parents filled my in and it was the gin, I'd drank nearly a bottle of gin and I didn't remember a second of it. If it wasn't for my friend Paul who I was on the phone to at the time, it all could be a very different story.

While on the phone, Paul heard a bang and I wasn't responding. He called my cousin to see if she could get my parents to check on me because he was worried something had happened.
My parents came home to check on me and I was covered in my own vomit and unconscious.

After putting all the pieces together or a few days afterwards, I realised that after I washed that glass out, that I'd gone back to the bottle itself. Then I'd fallen and knocked myself out, falling on my nose (explains why it was so incredibly painful) onto my dolls house roof and knocks myself unconscious.

You could say I had a 'horrible hangover' for a fair few days to come, however it wasn't a hangover it was torture, and all my own fault. If this event hadn't happened, I wouldn't have been referred to a therapist and I wouldn't have been diagnosed, possibly until something else tragic happened.

Therapy wasn't for me, I gave it ago but it really wasn't the right thing for me at the time.
I still had therapy once a week alongside the medication that I decided to try to see if it could help me find the happy head space I craved.

But it isn't as easy as just taking medication. It's a long process of finding the right one, trying different combinations and finding the pairing for you, personally.

It actually took about 5 years of different medication combinations and a process of elimination to find a combination I'm happy with. After having side effects on Fluoxetine and Citalopram with anxiety, panic attacks and anger, I've finally found a good combo with Quetiapine and Sertraline.
I do have to see my doctor a couple of times a year to amend them if I have to depending on how I am mentally, and recently had to increase my anti-depressant medication to help with my down days and paranoia.

Therapy wise, I don't have any anymore. After several bad experiences, I self care.
That might sound stupid to a lot of you, but it works for me. I'm the only expert that knows me, and my head. I've had this for many, many years now and I know me.
I feel like once I had fully accepted my disorder and diagnosis, and could actually finally deal with the fast I had bipolar disorder and could say those words out loud, it became a lot easier.
That's not to say I don't support having therapy, but I personally feel like I've done my bit and learnt what I needed to know. But I'm not alone I have my family, Tom and my dog.

Blogging helps, a lot.
Spending time with and talking to people that I have so much in common with helps because it inspires me, and if I'm inspired I seem to be happy! I love writing, I love coming up with new plans, projects and ideas, I thrive of being inspired.

Sleep helps! I love to sleep.
But that's mainly because my medication does make me very, very drowsy - so I'm pretty good at sleep to be honest.

But what helps mostly is my relationship with my boyfriend, Tom. We've been together 5 years and we know each other so well I'm happy and content. Getting Arla, our pug last year and buying our first house together was a good decision too.
Now I have my own home, how I like it and a dog to look after and love helps me stay challenged but happy. I feel a lot more stable now I have things for myself, it seemed become an adult and dealing with adult things has helped me accept and move on to complete things without having to take my mental health situation into consideration and I can just live life, quite normally which is all I ever wanted.

I don't wear a big jumper that says 'I'm Bipolar', or bring it up in every conversation and make it a big deal and boulder in my life. I obviously struggle some days more than others, and I can deal with certain things easier than other things - but isn't that life?

All I ever wanted growing up was to be happy and normal - two things I didn't think I was, because of my huge mental health condition that I didn't even know I had.
Life isn't normal, and life isn't easy. You have a lot of obstacles to challenge and a lot of crazy big decisions to make along the way. But there is no reason that just because my brain is a little bit more crazy and different to the average human that I can't chase my dreams and succeed.

I thought that having Bipolar would set me back as an adult and I wouldn't be taken seriously.
But it's not like I have a huge arrow advertising it above my head. No one knows. They only know if I tell them, but do I have to do that with everyone I meet? No.
I don't let it become a factor unless it has to be.

My anxiety is the biggest issue for me and I'm still very much working on that one, because that does hold me back, but I try to challenge myself every now and again and test myself and my anxiety, because I feel it really helps with understanding triggers and situations better.
Sometimes, I surprise myself.

I just wanted to say one day, that I was happy.
Yes, I have a mental health disorder and take medication every single day for that, but I am happy.
I finally found my happy medium I'd been searching through my teens for, and it's mainly down to the fact I've found myself a lovely Victorian cottage to live in, a crazy amazing dog I dreamt of owning for years, and a pretty amazing ginger companion to grow old with.

Life is a challenge but it's only what you make it.
Don't hold yourself back, surprise yourself.

Thanks for reading,

If you want to ask me any questions or to contact me if you're going through a mental health diagnosis or maybe you just want to say 'HI!', drop me an email at - I'd love to chat!

Charlie xo

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  1. Amazing blog. Thank you for writing. Everyone has their own story and it's great to hear them. I think it helps 'us' to write them, but also to read them. To understand there are so many different stories and journeys out there.

    I wouldn't say I know what you have been through just because I've read this. But I will say I admire and respect you more.

    Thank you for writing something that has made me feel very moved.


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