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Bipolar Disorder

Yasmin's Story

I’ve lived with bipolar disorder since school, following periods of bullying and racial abuse. After an incident at school, my headmaster called home and I was quickly referred to a child psychiatrist - then admitted into a youth facility, where I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A woman proposes to another woman, Yasmin got engaged quickly when in a manic phase of her bipolar

My symptoms

For most of my adult life there have been cycles of feeling low and then very high and overactive. I’m also prone to irrational or reckless behaviour. When manically high I once got engaged to someone within days. 

I can also become exhausted or completely distracted during these times. Once I leaned over a stove and set fire to my clothes, luckily my dad was there to pull me away.

My lowest moment

In 2013, while in a manic episode, I spent a fortune on designer bags and clothes, running up debts on my credit card. I was given an ultimatum: agree to be admitted to hospital or be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. 

I wasn’t a risk to others but my manic spending and giving large amounts of cash to the homeless and people I felt sorry for was unsustainable, and I was at great risk of being exploited. 

I was devastated. I’d done nothing wrong but was being forced into hospital - taken by ambulance away from my family and friends. 

Later, on a date I will never forget - September 15th 2014 - I decided to end my life. Thankfully I came round a few days later, but I felt so guilty when I saw my family.

Family holding hands, Yasmin is supported by her family

My way forward

I’m now in a place where I’m successfully managing my illness with the support of my family and friends. This, combined with the use of mood stabilising drugs, allows me to maintain a good level of mental wellbeing.

Why I’m sharing my story

My condition doesn’t make me a risk to others, but my behaviour during a manic high can be very confusing. Education is vital if we’re to understand more about mental illness. It’s OK if someone doesn’t understand immediately, but it’s also important not to remain ignorant.