Hello and welcome to my blog... I am a 30-something-year-old female living in the UK, alongside a rare mood disorder called cyclothymia. It is a type of bipolar disorder through which I experience mood swings with symptoms of both depression and hypomania.
I was diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder in 2019 by two different psychiatrists. I have since been trying to piece together the impact that it has had on my whole adult life. If you are interested you can find out more about How I Got My Diagnosis.
What it is like to discover you have a mental illness...
It has been difficult to get my head around the fact that I have been able to live with a mental illness for so many years in complete ignorance. I have always known that something wasn't quite right. Work, relationships, life... shouldn't feel so difficult, so challenging, so painful, or so lonely. But I always just thought that I wasn't doing something right.
When I first received my diagnosis I was very confused and resistant, but as time passed I discovered that knowledge is power. I set out to educate myself. I wanted to know everything there was to know about my disorder; clinical descriptions, symptoms, case studies, treatment options, where cyclothymia fits into the history of mental illness... but most of all I wanted to know that I wasn't alone. I sought out real-life stories on Youtube, social media, forums, and blogs to find out how this disorder has affected other people, and how they have coped.
Why I created this blog...
It was essentially my desire to know more about other people who suffer from cyclothymia that lead me to create this blog.
At first, I was terrified. I was paranoid about anyone finding out that I was mentally ill. I desperately wanted to write about it and share my story, but I didn't want anyone to know it was me. So I tried to make the blog as anonymous as possible. I even created an anonymous email account for the blog. I realised after a while though, that if I wanted people to read my blog I was going to have to come out of the closet.
So tentatively I started to peek out and let people know I'm here. It has been scary and I have been faced with many doubts, but now I feel almost totally confident in talking about cyclothymia and mental illness or mental health with anyone who reaches out. I don't go out of my way to shout my illness from the rooftops, but I have been surprised by how many other people I know, and even strangers, have opened up to me to talk about their own struggles, just because I have been open about mine.
It has made me realise that if we want to help spread awareness and reduce stigma, we have to talk about ourselves. My own courage has given other people the confidence to reach out and talk about their own problems, and that alone makes me feel good about my blog.
Thank you for reading...
I hope that you continue to enjoy reading the blog, and I hope that my quirky illustrations help to provide some comic relief for some of the heavy topics I write about.
I try to get the balance right with a sprinkling of humour. It can be so difficult to write about such a serious topic as mental illness without scaring people away with all of the doom and gloom. It's not all doom and gloom though. I am just another human being stumbling through life, and hopefully, anybody can relate to that.
If you would like to follow my blog, then drop me a line to tell me, and I will pop you on my mailing list to receive updates of new posts and news - firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to support my work...
Aside from subscribing to my list so that I can keep in touch with you... if you would like to support my work further, and help me to grow my audience, there are plenty of very easy ways that you get involved:
- FOLLOW me on social media, because others are more likely to show interest in accounts that are more populated. Higher numbers of followers on social media accounts help to validate them to new potential followers.
- ENGAGE with my content. Don't be shy. When you take the time to like and comment on all of my posts you help to tell the dreaded algorithms that my content is popular. This tells Facebook and Instagram to put my posts in front of more eyes. Didn't you know that Facebook & Instagram only show your posts to a small percentage of your followers? Cheek isn't it!
- SHARE content if you have enjoyed it. There are share buttons at the bottom of my posts on the blog, and it is easy to share posts from my Facebook page to your own feed or relevant groups that you are a member of. I am new to Twitter, but retweeting is easy. Reposting my illustrations on Instagram is another way you can help to spread the word, just don't forget to link back to my profile.
- TALK about me. Word of mouth is still as powerful as ever, so if you know of anyone who is struggling with their mental health, or who works as a professional in the field, tell them about my blog.
If you would like to find out more about cyclothymic disorder, why not read my blog post What Is Cyclothymia? I talk about the similarities and differences between "cyclothymia" and the more commonly known "bipolar disorder".
Thank you so much for stopping by.