This is a little off track from the rest of my blog but many people think I am positive all the time and don’t have any down days when actually (like anyone else) I am not perfect and struggle with certain things too.
I am hoping this post will give hope and reassurance to some of you.
For all those that think I am always positive; I wanted to let everyone know that I suffer from Type II Bipolar disorder. Not many people know about it and I wanted to share because at least 4% of the population suffer with this, often behind closed doors
Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression but for many like me this doesn’t describe the condition at all because both the manic episodes (high energy, outbursts, irrational and extrovert behaviour) and/or the depression stages can be at lower levels and can come on slowly followed by periods of near normality. It’s not necessarily extreme mood swings and violent or delusional behaviour which can be more associated to type I bipolar sufferers.
Type II bipolar has affected nearly all of my relationships, including friends, girlfriends, marriages and my children. Mostly it’s under control and I have more “mania” than depression which enables great creativity, energy and enthusiasm. However it also comes with mood swings, irrational fears and phobias like being in places with lots of people, which makes airports, busy shopping centers and cinemas a nightmare for me.
On a professional level it has helped me in many ways and occasionally held me back, but mostly I have seen it as a blessing for propelling me forward as an entrepreneur when I needed a high level of blind confidence and enthusiasm to keep me going when others said I couldn’t. On the flip side my personal life and relationships have suffered terribly because of it.
Irrational behaviour that can sometimes seem fun and outgoing can quickly become tiring for those closest to you, especially at 4am in the middle of the week when I couldn’t sleep and I was dancing and singing along to MTV in the living room with a bottle of wine in my hand! Or when I was bored waiting for my wife in the dentist waiting room and I made 200+ paper airplanes from the leaflets in the rack and started throwing them around the room to entertain myself. And these are just some of the light hearted examples, other outbursts were more embarrassing or scary for those around me. The great thing for me now is that because I understand it I have become incredibly laid back and I now notice the aggression displayed by others which motivates me to keep my condition under control.
For years I didn’t know or understand my bipolar condition but now I do it makes it so much easier to control and use to my advantage. Many people don’t get diagnosed or seek advice because of the stigma that goes with mental health issues. Just understanding or getting diagnosed could help millions to deal with this. I don’t need medication, I can control it myself and with the help and support of those around me.
It was the film Silver Linings Playbook that first made me think about telling people and being more open about it. That film also opened my eyes to how people close to me were affected by my behaviour, it gave me the perspective of looking at my behaviour from the “outside” for the first time.
If you know someone you suspect of having Bipolar disorder or any form of depression, talk to them and urge them to get advice and information. Just knowing and understanding is a relief and a huge step in the right direction.
A lot of my “work” recently has been coaching and counselling people, and that has included assisting people achieve professional or business goals but also I have been helping people overcome personal problems, bereavement, depression and a host of other things that we can all struggle with. This has been immensely rewarding for me to share my own experiences and using it to help others.
From business advice to personal problems I see a lot of so called experts and professionals out there chucking out advice and thinking they have all the answers when they have never run a successful business or been through the personal problems or conditions they profess to know so much about. I have recently been asking myself and other: Would you take your dog to a dog trainer that has never owned a dog? Would you take your car to a mechanic who had never owned or even seen a car and the only things he knew about cars was what he had read in a book or looked at pictures on the internet? So why do we put ourselves or our careers in the hands of people who have not experienced or learned first hand what they teach? Yes, seek advice but don’t just take it from one person, talk to a few, get armed with your own research and truly understand your own specific needs so you can help yourself and others in the future.
I hope this post helps someone and if you are struggling with anything and need someone to talk to then please feel free to contact me via the form on the contact page. Any information you share with me or conversation we have will be in total confidence.