BIPOLAR Mental Health Awareness


Deja vu by the late great Teena Marie



written by Brittany Day

944623_247066802112877_244103937_nI was twelve years old when they finally figured it out. I had been dragged through various placements in the Foster Care System from the time I was five, and through various assessments and psychoanalysis throughout my life, I had already been diagnosed with ADHD, Insomnia, OCD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and who knows what else. But they missed one…a really big one that would affect my life more than all the others combined…I have Bipolar Disorder.

It all started when I was at my fourth official foster home and seventh placement. I would wake up completely crazy with delirious happiness and by the end of the day, I was sobbing my eyes out like the world was ending. Not just once or twice, but several times a week. As time progressed and I was put on medication, the highs and lows came further apart, but they were always there, making me feel out of control and completely helpless.

When I was thirteen, I got into a fight with my fifth foster parent. I decided I couldn’t live this way anymore. The feeling that I was worthless and that nobody wanted me anyways was overwhelming. I began to sink lower and lower. I not only contemplated, but planned to commit suicide. I would have died that night if I hadn’t been caught and an intervention staged. I won’t even say that’s the lowest I’ve been, because suicidal thoughts still came after that day when I hit the low points in my Bipolar cycle, and when I was about 19, I began to have panic attacks on top of the feelings of utter hopelessness and worthlessness.

Brittany Day The Neighborhood

As I grew older and life’s circumstances changed, so did my Bipolar. It’s still there, but now I have learned to recognize it, and I know what I need to do to get through it. I can always tell when I’m going into a Manic phase in the cycle because colors seem brighter, sunrises are more brilliant, I can literally go days on about two hours of sleep a night, and my mind races so much that I am incapable of doing quiet tasks like reading or sitting still to admire the petals on a flower. I have to be moving and accomplishing things. These are the times when I really get a lot done. I have learned to make my Bipolar work for me by accomplishing three times as much as the average human in the space of about 3 days on about 6 hours of sleep…total.

Immediately after or before my Manic phase, I come face to face with Depression. It feels like I’m in a fog. I can almost feel the cloud covering my mind, and I can feel when it lifts. The simplest tasks, like making tea, feel completely overwhelming. My whole body feels like lead and it takes all my energy to get off the couch and feed myself and my family. I feel completely exhausted and begin to question why I even bother. Projects that I’ve been looking forward to, like scrapbooking or reading a book, feel like major tasks that I just don’t want to do anymore. I look heavier in the mirror and I see no beauty in anything. Life is gray. I have learned to cope by talking myself through it. I tell myself it will only be a couple of days and then I will be OK. I purpose to put before myself pictures of my family so I know that there are people who love me….their pictures hang on the wall at all times for just that reason. I obligate myself to them so I don’t do anything stupid. I pamper myself by always keeping chocolate on hand for these times. I give myself a break.

I’ve seen claims that mental disorders aren’t real…that they can be fixed with diet or exercise or by changing life circumstances. But I am living proof that they are real and not something you can just get rid of by taking a magical pill. You can’t run or hide from Bipolar. It’s not something you can get away from. It’s real, and you simply have to learn to live in the balance. The best way I can think of to describe Bipolar is with a short analogy I wrote while in a Depressed state a few years ago.



click image to enlarge

The most valuable advice I can offer when struggling with Bipolar Disorder is to learn to ride the waves. Tell your loved ones when you are coming into a high or low so that they can be prepared to take on extra responsibilities or talk you down from buying the entirety of Hobby Lobby (I buy a lot of stuff when I’m in a Manic Phase). Lean on the people who are there for you and learn to ride those waves.  


We hope you are enjoying the presentations and gaining an understanding of mental illness.  – Kendall F. Person

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10 Comments on “BIPOLAR Mental Health Awareness

  1. Pingback: 2016 TNMHW DAY 4: BIPOLAR — The Neighborhood | The Poor American

  2. Pingback: 2016 TNMHW DAY 4: BIPOLAR — The Neighborhood | ronaldwederfoort

  3. Thank you Brittany for such a good explanation of what bipolar is like for you. You have learned to cope so well and your advice is very helpful for someone like myself, who doesn’t have bipolar but wants to understand it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is something that more people need to understand, because sometimes my Bipolar makes me act too hyper or too sad, and my relationships with others might suffer because of it. But if they know that I have Bipolar, maybe they can think to themselves, “Oh. Well maybe she’s in a low and I should ask her about this function I want to invite her to in a few days when the whole world doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming”. I think it’s awesome that you are striving to understand it better. Very admirable.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Someone I knew a long time ago had bipolar but meds just didn’t help him. I was delighted to read your very positive account and how well you’ve got to grips with it, Brittany.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 2016 TNMHW DAY 4: BIPOLAR – Br Andrew's Muses

  5. Thank you. My father died of bipolar disorder, and my daughter was diagnosed two years ago, at 9. It’s been a rough ride already, but I am grateful that public awareness of the disease has removed some of the stigma and made it easier for those with the illness to know they are not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely. I am worried about whether or not my own daughter will have it. My mom did, and my daughter is one, so there’s no way to tell yet, but I hope she doesn’t, because it’s rough. But at least if she does I can help her through it. The best advice I can give you for your daughter is to help her learn to recognize when she is coming into a Manic phase, and when she is coming into a Depressed phase. I previously had a counselor, and then my mom, who helped me learn that, and it is the single most important thing that has helped me to be successful with this disease. If I wasn’t able to recognize the different symptoms of the phases, I feel like my marriage and parenting abilities would suffer. When you recognize that your daughter is in a high (or low) ask her how she’s feeling. Jittery is how I usually feel. Help her to find words to describe the feelings of euphoria and compulsion. This will help her to recognize the symptoms when they come back. Eventually, she will be able to tell you when she feels too hyper or too sad, and it will help both of you to be ready when it comes. Everyone has different symptoms.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! It’s kind of frustrating to me when people try to sell some product, like a diet book or something, that’s supposed to get rid of mental illnesses. That’s just not the way it works.

      Liked by 1 person

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