This is what it’s like to be a man who lives with bipolar disorder and OCD

Bipolar Disorder with severe anxiety issues and OCD ‘tendancies’.

That was the official diagnosis and all I got from the NHS. Flashback a few weeks before my diagnosis and I was losing sleep, having panic attacks, and generally falling apart. Every night felt like my brain was shouting and screaming at me, almost like it was barking orders.

I would be doing all of these different tasks and activities only to notice a few minutes in that I’ve completely forgotten what I’m doing. Every thought that I had was only there for a second and completely forgotten then after.

The scattering of my thoughts deteriorated into dark intrusive dangerous thoughts. It was too much and that was when I finally got myself to a professional.

Sleeping pills, that was the surefire answer I got. I was told to take one, wait an hour and if I wasn’t asleep take one more and only that because of their strength. That night I worked myself into a full fit of anger that I wasn’t asleep yet.

So I had all of the sleeping pills, I think 12 in total.

From here I have no memory of the night but I was found a few hours later with my friend on the phone claiming he’s going to call an ambulance, sat on the floor on a row of DVD’s with nothing but my boxers, a tie and my mattress on my head.

My mum heard the noise and found me. This poor little 5″2 woman, put everything back and carried me to bed and sat with me while I proceeded to sleep for a whole day and night.

From there I was bounced between doctors and psychiatrists while they made that clear diagnosis, adding that I was deemed “too unstable for medication”. I can’t get any medication that would be any help to me, and the NHS could only offer group counselling which I denied.

I gave up on the NHS after this, I didn’t feel like I could get any kind of help that I needed.

A few years have passed since then, without medication and a couple of runs through the uni counselling service. I can say my quality of life has improved, but it feels like a constant day to day battle to keep things in check. Most days feel like a constant strain, after a day of having to be out and socialising I have to take a day or so to be alone and recharge.

I have my times in feeling in those states of mania which I use to funnel into my game development project since these are the main times I feel like I have the energy and drive to just do things.

I have my times where I completely crash and I’m constantly exhausted yet I can’t get any sleep.

It’s hard to articulate but I feel like I’ve had to develop my own structure of how I live my life and go about tasks to get through each day. When the intrusive thoughts are too overwhelming, I have different playlists of podcasts and Let’s Plays that I put on to try and sleep to.

That way I can focus on just some people talking as opposed to falling off the deep end.

It’s a burden I bear and will bear forever.

I struggle every day with some days easier than others but I have my outlets and personal systems in place that I developed myself. I had to find a way to live with it and I think I get by.

Words by Tristan Challis

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