The unseen battle

As a mother of two and a partner to someone who has battled the unseen storms of bipolar disorder, my journey has been one of extreme stress, discomfort, emotional instability, and a constant fight to save our marriage.

Dealing with the complexities of family life is an intricate dance at the best of times. When a partner suffers from an undiagnosed mental health condition like bipolar disorder, that dance becomes a high-wire act without a safety net.

As a mother of two and a partner to someone who has battled the unseen storms of bipolar disorder, my journey has been one of extreme stress, discomfort, emotional instability, and a constant fight to save our marriage. Yet, amidst these struggles, World Bipolar Day – celebrated annually on 30th March – reminds us of the potential for greatness despite the challenges of the diagnosis.

World Bipolar Day coincides with the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who is believed to have had bipolar disorder. This day serves as a powerful reminder that those living with bipolar disorder are capable of achieving incredible feats. It is a day to affirm that no one is alone in their struggle and to highlight the capacity of individuals with bipolar disorder to lead full and successful lives when receiving proper treatment.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterised by extreme mood swings, including periods of intense elation and devastating lows, accompanied by changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behaviour. These shifts can profoundly affect one’s daily life. However, it is crucial to recognise that, between these highs and lows, many people with bipolar disorder can lead lives that feel normal to them.

This year, World Bipolar Day focuses on showing the public that individuals with bipolar disorder are more than their diagnosis. It’s an opportunity to educate ourselves about the disorder and to strengthen our resolve to combat the stigma surrounding all mental health issues. Awareness and understanding are the first steps toward creating a more empathetic and supportive society.

The stigma and silence around mental health struggles are profound, often leaving families to navigate these challenges in isolation. Yet, the journey through the tempest of mental health can lead to a path of solidarity, support, and understanding. As someone who has walked this rugged path, I’ve found a renewed purpose in sharing my experiences and offering support to others facing similar battles.

To further this mission, the Be Positive Self Help Group holds meetings every second Friday of the month at the Russian Chapel in the President’s Sant’ Anton Palace in Attard. These gatherings are a testament to the power of community and the importance of sharing stories and strategies for coping with bipolar disorder.

For anyone looking to connect, offer support, or seek understanding, I encourage you to reach out to us through Facebook at ‘Be Positive – Bipolar Self Help Malta’, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at www.bipolarmalta.org. Together, we can offer a helping hand, whether for ourselves or our loved ones, navigating the complex journey of mental health.

On World Bipolar Day, let us commit to learning more, offering support, and breaking down the barriers of stigma. It’s a day to remember that with the right treatment and support, living a fulfilling life is not just possible—it’s a reality for many. Let us embrace every moment of truth, accept it, and share it, ensuring that hope is never lost and that the battle against mental health challenges is one we can face together.

Photo: Photo: Rémy Cortin / Sciences et Avenir

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