2020 and Me
by Dan Taylor

 *This website may contain content that some viewers may find upsetting and/or offensive at times.


Welcome to TBE - The Bipolar Express.
TBE is a expressive arts project with an emphasis on bipolar awareness and mental health in general.

 

About:

Hi, My name is Dan. In 2020, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had been secretly living with it all my life, with experiences of it as far back as late childhood and early teens. I had secretly known I was living with it and had tried to hide it from everyone throughout my twenties, making excuses not to attend events and locking myself away during low periods. I realized the seriousness of it after a specific event and began the process of getting a diagnosis as I knew I had to stop denying it and had to manage it. I made it a project to push me to get a diagnosis and the management program that was crucial to me having a normal life. I now have a lifelong management program. My project  progressed to The Bipolar Express. The purpose is to express & entertain but also to demonstrate that bipolar can be funny, enlightening, sad and painful all at the same time. We are not medical experts, so please do not use this site as any form of advisory or guideance on manageing bipolar or any other form of mental health issue, but do enjoy our videos.

I run 5 profitable businesses, employing 12 people. Being high functioning bipolar can be challenging, people expect you to be, well 'a bit mental'. Hence the creation of this project. You can be bipolar and work, live your life and be successful.

 

My statement (expressed in my own way):

So, I have been diagnosed with bipolar.

I have secretly known that I have been living with bipolar disorder for many years now, so this is not news to me, but it is now more official. While we arenít at the end yet, this is a huge relief, and if I am being totally honest, while I always play these things down and make light of it, this process has had a major emotional impact on me. I am not someone who talks about personal issues in private let alone on social media and I was going to keep this to myself. However, if I am forced to live my life with this, I am going to, at the very least, try to utilize it for something more positive and show that it isnít as scary as it seems. Trying to hide something like this can be just as exhausting as living with it.

This is important, please remember, I have had this all my life, you just didnít know about it until now. I am still very much the same person you spoke to last week, last year or last decade. I remain a sarcastic, difficult, controversial little shit and always will be.

While I hide it extremely well, living with bipolar has affected every single day of my life in secret and impacts absolutely everything I have ever done and will ever do. I have never known an existence without it, but I know it has stolen much of my life.

I know some people get a bit freaked out about mental health and worry about doing or saying the wrong thing, and thatís okay, I understand that. But, like every day before this post, if you take the piss out of me, call me a twat, diss me or whatever, I promise I wonít suddenly jump under a bus because of it. And, if you do act a bit weird, please donít be offended if I tell you to stop being a prick. Itís actually refreshing to share this, but there is no need to treat me any differently because of it. Though donít feel the need to hold back on telling me what a stunningly attractive guy I am.

There is a lot of bullshit out there about bipolar and I will make it my mission to myth bust a lot of the certified bollocks. We can love, show emotion, care, be loyal, be dedicated and be passionate, because I do and feel all of those things everyday. I have met some awesome people on my journey who share this who I love and care about very much.

Thanks to those who have supported me and encouraged me through this process so far, who have let me talk openly and allowed me to share my feelings for the first time in my life, even though they know it has been excruciating for me at times, to admit my fears and sometimes cry in front of them. And, thanks to my girlfriend who has gone through quite a lot of stress and worry because of this, been strict with me but caring and understanding at the same time. She is now an expert on how to deal with me. I can assure you all, the straitjacket that she has ordered me is actually quite comfortable, so donít worry.

If you want to ask me questions about it, I am fine with that. I was embarrassed about my struggles with mental health and tried to hide it from everyone before because I didnít think it suited me, but I know opening up is important and basically I have got to accept this at some point, it is never going away now. Facing up to this has made me feel more manly and courageous then Iíve ever felt before. I became emotionless and cold because of it, isolated myself to protect myself and others and locked a lot of who I am away, many, many years ago.

I have got to come to terms with the fact that this will be with me for the rest of my life. Iíd hoped a decade ago that I would one day recover from it, but now, I know that isnít going to be possible. Coming to terms with that will take some time, but then, as Iíve said, Iíve never really known any other existence, this is all Iíll ever know. I donít know what itís like to not live with bipolar, so itís not like things have suddenly changed for me.

I am beginning to understand now that I have abandonment issues (a common trait of bipolar) which cause me distress and anxiety and make it difficult for me to form and retain relationships with people, and I have fairly extreme mood swings that are mostly inside my very messy brain but can make long term planning and commitment challenging for me. I get a bit snappy because of it but am very soft and placid in reality. I am aware that I can sometimes come across as blunt or emotionless or as though I donít care, which upsets me the most, but Iím working on it. Again, these are just traits of bipolar disorder and are only illusions. I am actually quite the opposite.

Iím probably not going to want to talk about it too much just now because Iím still a bit emotionally drained by it all but I will open up about it more very soon, because I am certainly not ashamed about this anymore. I was effectively born this way. Things have begun to make sense, even though it has shaken my identity up, altered all my memories and made me see myself slightly differently.

Iíve known something has been seriously wrong for such a long time, and I knew that I would finally have to drag my head out of the sand and accept and face up to it. I know this may sound a bit heavy, but by doing so this past year, I genuinely believe I have saved my life.

I strongly encourage anyone who has similar feelings or any form of mental health concerns to reach out and try and get support or better still, a diagnosis. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done, but this is changing my life and helping me, for the first time ever, to accept and embrace myself. I always secretly hated myself and my existence before this because I believed I was cold, or mad, or just incredibly selfish for feeling this way when I live quite a privileged life. Things make more sense now.

For those closest to meÖ If you google or read up on bipolar it can be a little alarming. People with bipolar are a high suicide risk by default. I am aware and conscious of this which is very healthy. Accepting this and being aware of it means I can try and manage it and identify it if/when I am at an extreme end of my mood. I have no desire to end my life. My mood is erratic and will change to extreme degrees sometimes 4 or 5 times in a day when in a cycle. Itís quite hard to keep up and can be very confusing, frightening and leave me very exhausted a lot, but it can be managed with a bit of practice.

I have no problem in telling you that the bipolar symptoms that I experience are: Extreme and erratic mood swings, abandonment issues, anxiety and some (mild) gender and identity confusion. Sounds scary doesnít it? It isnít, itís just a pain in the arse for me, thatís all. It doesnít have to affect anything else. I donít have some of the other symptoms which can be much worse and far more frightening, so I am quite lucky in that sense.

One final thing, bipolar is a natural mental disorder that affects many people and most certainly does not make the people who live with this Ďmentalí or Ďcrazyí in any way, however, in my own personal and isolated situation, I would still like to continue considering myself as a Ďmental caseí if thatís okay. ;-))

Thanks to everyone who never gave up on me 😊

 

 

 

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