The Creep That Is Bipolar Disorder.


Living with Bipolar Disorder has probably been the biggest challenge of my life. Whilst other things have come along that are not particularly pleasant, they have, given time, disappeared. Bad relationships come to an end, blistered hearts find new templates, money troubles eventually smooth over. Bipolar Disorder, on the other hand, never leaves.


With age, I find it creeps about more, is less direct, less savage as it skirts around the edges of my life. When it first stepped back, I naively thought that a form of acquiescence had taken place, the optimistic belief my will alone had bound the mercurial one to the back seat. I was wrong. It steals about not because some sort of yielding has occurred, a quiet pacification, or it has been persuaded to be mild-mannered and congenial but more, and this is only my belief, it knows my brain. The hidden landscape of spaghetti junction like a well-worn page to my Bipolar. 


They say we have to ‘roll with the punches’ – many of us do, but it can be difficult to roll, walk, jump, plan a day, turn in some writing, go out for dinner when you feel constantly under siege. I find the quietly “hide in plain sight” – the “I am pretending not be anything to worry about” masquerade – sometimes harder than the full-on aggressive stance from when I was younger. It’s hard living with an illness where a cat-burglar is always trying to slither through a window and in one bold elegant move, ransack your mind.


Once it has wormed its way in, the thing that has changed is there is less hypomania or mania, less chaos, turmoil, discord. Now instead,  depression, psychosis and incredible anxiety. Psychosis is a frightening word. It’s the sort of word that makes one shut the door and draw their curtains. People suffering feel scared and those not suffering feel scared and there is almost an impasse of sorts. It’s honestly far more frightening than non-sufferers believe, just not for them.

If your days are filled with depression, it can feel like there are fat pigeon grey clouds above your head, clouds that seem to bulge and jerk at their seams, corners stitched together, giving the appearance of a weight bearing down, squeezing your world beneath. It can feel like an enormous cobweb spinning and hooking itself around the corners of your mind and each time you pull or tug, you become more ensnared in a labyrinth of gossamer threads.

The only thing I do know, as this post comes to an end,  is that between the dark moods, beyond depression and psychosis and anxiety, there are streaks of something else, sunshine perhaps, a snap of magic in the air, the confetti of spring, a new born calf, the simple perfection  of a flower. Maybe I just have to wait, store my hope in a butterfly wings, watch a windmill spin.

I will meet you beneath a bright blue sky. Bring cake.


Love Hetti

© Copyright Henrietta M Ross





10 thoughts on “The Creep That Is Bipolar Disorder.

  1. Dearest Hetti,
    You, my friend, are amazing in so many ways. I wish there wasn’t so much ocean between us. I would love to sit and chat and of course, eat cake!
    I see myself in your words..
    My depression is intertwined with my unruly mast cells that control my every move. Did you read my post about my ICU itis? I now understand psychosis intimately.
    Wearing the mask of “okayness” is exhausting. A similar thief awaits a momentary lapse in my hypervigalence. Even the anticipation may set off the physical cascade of symptoms requiring an ambulance.
    I hear you..
    I support you in spirit..
    I get it and I care..
    Keep writing..

    Liked by 1 person

      • It was the psychosis that was so frightening. I didn’t tell a soul until several weeks later. I always thought I had a good understanding having worked in psychiatric nursing for 20yrs…in some ways I guess I did from life experience.
        This however, was far beyond what I had ever imagined. I’m hoping to go back to the unit and do a debriefing and inservice to help the nurses understand what’s really going on behind the wide eyed, terrified eyes of their patients and what could help them recover with less distress.
        These mental health topics are so important and need to be discussed, releasing us from the stigma that some people can’t get beyond. I admire your honesty and want you to know how important your story is for so many❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand not talking about it. It’s a strange one. I think even in my twenties, when I struggled with so much mania and depression, having little control over both, seeing my life go down the pan, I still thought psychosis was something other people had. Felt very removed from my experience which even though uncontrollable, still made some sense. It’s an eye opener and it’s terrifying, I agree. In a weird way, it’s tough me to respect my mind even more. I hope you get the chance to debrief the unit, real lived experience, although distressing, is so important. Huge, gentle hugs x


  2. Hetti, I hope those “fat pigeon grey clouds” (I really like that description.) grow farther apart and let in more sunshine. This is a good reminder that a mental illness is not a static thing, any more than any other life process.

    Liked by 1 person

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