I’m thrilled, privileged and overwhelmed to announce that I’m the new ambassador for Bipolar UK.
From the age of 15 I knew that I was feeling and thinking differently from others. After years of misdiagnosis and being prescribed the wrong medication, it wasn’t until March 2018 at the age of 27 I was diagnosed as being bipolar and so almost overnight, a huge weight was lifted and loaded. I spent the following year educating myself as did the loved ones around me. Bipolar UK played a huge part in that, albeit unbeknown to them. They kept me company during the long, lonely nights. Then, in March 2019 a year to the day that I was diagnosed, I publicly came out about my bipolar with a letter to my younger self, published in Happiful Magazine. Thereafter, I quickly realised that I was not alone with my feelings and my thoughts. The outpouring of support and the people sharing their stories were both overwhelming and humbling. It was then that I knew that if I only had the ability to help one person, that would be one less person who wouldn’t feel alone and that in turn, would help me to get out of bed in the morning.
I won’t lie to you, the first time Bipolar UK reached out to me I wasn’t ready to be any more public than I was already about my bipolar. I soon remembered that 15-y-o April, a scared teenager, unsure which of her feelings or thoughts were real, in a continuous battle between the rational and irrational parts of her brain… constantly being told that ‘everyone has a bad day’. If only that “April” had had a support network and been aware of organisations such as Bipolar UK at that time, and had someone like the ambassador I hope to become for you then maybe there will be a lot less scared, lonely people out there feeling that their differences makes them wrong somehow.
I’ll leave you with two final snippets, the first of which is what I’ll always remind those with this superpower… It’s crippling, it’s exhausting and it can be embarrassing but it is not a failure in our strength and character as humans.
And finally, when I was diagnosed and I told my Dad, the first thing he said, before anything else was ‘I always knew there was a spark of genius in you’…
So, my promise to you and those I meet along the way on our journey of living with bipolar is to constantly remind you of your strength and genius. I don’t have it anywhere near figured out yet but through the highs, lows and whatever that in-between bit is, we can learn together. Let’s talk Bipolar!Bipolar UK and Acting On A Dream’s Facebook pages. I want this opportunity and this platform to be a safe space, I genuinely want to hear from you, yes YOU… I want us to weather this storm together, no matter how rough it gets. Each week we’ll focus on a different topic, this will be a time to share your worries and fears… I can’t promise I’ll have all the answers, but I can sure as hell promise you, I’ll be here to listen. This will also be a time to embrace hope, love and (although tricky to grasp on some days) positivity.
Catch up on the live streams here.
Bipolar UK: Why I’m Attempting to Tackle this Lockdown Alone – “What’s the point in doing therapy if I’m not going to put the tools to practice?” view
Happiful Magazine: Finding Freedom in a Lockdown – “Your behaviour is only ‘odd’ when the wrong people are around you. Read that again.” view
Happiful Magazine: Bipolar in a Time of Self-Isolation – “We’re currently living in scary, uncertain and unprecedented times where our mental health is being tested. It may trigger even the most level-headed to question the anomalies within their own minds which they would otherwise not care to question or have the time to do so.” view
Happiful Magazine: Modern Love – “For the first time ever, I had something I could put in front of my loved ones and say, “This is it! This is what it does to me. This is what you don’t see when the door closes behind me.” And this was the gem that would truly get through to people.”: view
Happiful Magazine: Alternative Love Letter: “I don’t believe in ‘when you know, you know’ or ‘if it’s right, it should be easy’… Nah, I’m calling bullshit. I dare you to say that to a person living with bipolar, dare ya. No wonder when it comes to the matters of the heart even the most stable of humans will wobble.”: view
Happiful Magazine: April Kelley on Bipolar and Bisexuality: “You know the biggest shocker? Telling people you’re bipolar will be more difficult than telling them you’re bisexual. You’ll try to make a joke of it – the crowd pleaser is usually: “It’s a strong brand at least, you know, ‘bi/bi’.”: view
Bipolar UK: Coming of Age “I sit here proud of what I’ve managed to achieve by the age of 30 but, with all those wonderful achievements I have been lucky to fulfil over the years, my greatest achievement has been making it to this day, to 30.” – view
Bipolar UK: The Tightrope of Mania – What Goes Up Must Come Down – “The only way I can describe it in retrospect is it’s like driving with your “check engine” light on, ignoring it and driving faster.” view
Bipolar UK: Welcome to 202o – “Tomorrow is not guaranteed, especially if you’re living with bipolar. I’m going to use my 2020 and hug harder, kiss longer, laugh louder, and text back as quick as I can because that’s actually who I am… An excitable puppy, who has no gauge on how long you’ve been away, but just so damn excited to see you again. And I’m no longer apologising for it.” view
Bipolar UK: You’re Not Alone – “I’m thrilled to be joining the Bipolar UK family.”: view
Bipolar UK: In The Mist Of Time – “If you got out of bed today, this is a huge achievement. Do. Not. Belittle. It.” : view
Bipolar UK: The Mighty Bi Bis – “I’d like to preface this article with the fact that I am not a mental health care professional, nor am I a sexuality specialist; I am simply someone who is bisexual, has bipolar disorder and is keen to understand more”: view
Bipolar UK: Your Mental Health Lies To You – “I’m sure many of you who are reading this are familiar with the ritual of either sitting on the edge of your bed or sofa staring blankly into nothingness for gawd knows how long for no reason whatsoever. It’s not until maybe the next day when it dawns on you that your brain simply pushed you into a kind of paralysis. Yep, I like to call this the “Kill Bill” syndrome. I hit this head space and all I can do is channel my inner Uma Thurman and just go ‘wiggle your big toe’! I’m hoping that at least one of the following lessons will be the wiggle you need to get up off the bed or sofa…”: view
Mind Health Solutions: My Story – April Kelley – “Wiggle your big toe! We’re currently living through scary, uncertain times… Waves of explosive emotions which will stop you in your tracks and numb you. When I’m paralysed by the whizzing thoughts in my head I take a deep breath and in true Ume Thurman in Kill Bill style I tell myself to wiggle my big toe. By doing so reminds me I’m still here and still in control.” view