In November 2014, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after years of struggling to understand why I behaved and thought in certain ways. I was working at the time, but the company wasn’t supportive and I ended up having to leave due to the discrimination I experienced. It was difficult – losing your job and the people you thought were your friends in one foul swoop. But I took this as the perfect opportunity for a fresh start and two weeks later, I was sat on my English course.
Bipolar is a mood disorder so you might sink in to depression and feel very low, or rise in to a high, invincible state called mania. You need people around you who will understand that you’re going to fluctuate. It can be hard to live with, especially when you have an exam or a paper to write, but I feel like being at university has counteracted those feelings because I have something to work for. It’s enabled me to channel my emotions into a worthwhile cause and has ignited my love for learning.
It’s not all terrible - it can be really great when you’re ‘up there’, you can be so creative. I write poetry and some of my best poems were written when I’ve been high as a kite in a state of mania. I often feel that to write good poetry or to write anything well, you need to be able to experience a spectrum of emotions. It just so happens I’m a bit more rapid than most people.
My ambition is to pursue a career in teaching – I want to pass on my passion for learning and education. As much as having bipolar can be a burden, it can sometimes be a gift. I’m not trying to glamourise it; I think it’s just about living with the hand you’ve been dealt and living for the good moments.