Support keeps me from becoming unwell again

July 2020

Woman with bipolar disorder talks about her illness and West Sussex Mind's essential support.

The support I receive since I first came to West Sussex Mind in late 2019 is invaluable and keeps me from becoming ill again. I have bipolar disorder which makes people swing from depressive symptoms to manic episodes.

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, I currently have regular phone calls in place of my face-to-face meetings with Tim Smith, one of the recovery workers at the Littlehampton support hub in Maltravers Drive.

West Sussex Mind is my security blanket. I ask Tim if he thinks I am becoming ill again and it is very reassuring, knowing he is keeping an eye on how I am.

For myself, like many people, it is especially important now, during lockdown, that Mind is available to talk to as someone impartial, rather than family or friends. Otherwise, because I don’t want to be a burden, I would bottle it all up.

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was married in 1994. The illness made me lose all my inhibitions and lose touch with reality.

I find that changes in life situations can trigger an episode for me and I am worried at the moment because my daughter is expecting a baby. I manage my depressive swings but I am often sectioned and hospitalised for the manic episodes. Having bipolar disorder means I can become a danger to myself because of the hallucinations.

I know that it is dreadful for the family and friends around me while I am having a manic episode but for me – I am having a great time! I will think I have built a time machine and that time travel is possible.

I have been well for about seven years now and Mind’s support is essential. Once the lockdown measures have eased, I am looking forward to returning to the Littlehampton hub and to going to the art group there which I have also found very supportive. Thank you, West Sussex Mind!

EH, Littlehampton