We are Bipolar Club. Meet the crew.
There’s more to me than bipolar disorder. I’m a wife, a stepmother, a dog mom, and a cat person. I love to write, read, and learn new things. I’m also a gamer – right now, I’m part of an epic Dungeons and Dragons campaign which is being run by my loving and ever-patient husband, Slye. After those things – and only after them – I have bipolar disorder. At 24, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and Borderline Personality Disorder. That was 20 years ago, and the journey continues. I still battle. Some days I feel like I am falling off a cliff. Still, I win because I’m still standing. Life can be worth living.
Clem I find it painful to talk about myself. I’m just beginning to accept who I am. Somehow letting go of expectations, washing away all that caked on dirt…just…hurts. I know one day this will pass. Let me explain: I have bipolar disorder. I am bipolar. I am…bipolar disorder? This illness has become so ingrained in my identity. I first got ill at 14 back in 1999, and I can’t quite separate myself from being bipolar. It’s been over half my life now. I have a degree in classical voice performance, I’m a poet, a pianist, a composer, an artist…but first I am a person with bipolar disorder. I wanted to be the other things first. I wanted to be…I didn’t want to be this way. But that’s part of this project: to be bipolar and to be proud. To tell the world that I’m enough, that I’m fabulous, that I’m not afraid, that I can do anything, and that I don’t have to hide. Welcome to our club. It’s about all of us, and we’re ready to show you who we are. I will soon talk about myself, my whole self, without pain. I will talk about myself with pride.
After decades of ignoring his illness which began in childhood, Jon was diagnosed with a mood disorder aged 36. Since then, Jon has worked hard to find more effective ways to manage his condition via a combination of medication, counselling and healthy living. Jon acknowledges that he failed to seek help sooner (with near fatal consequence) because of fears about what a diagnosis might do to his career – having seen others dismissed when they were clearly exhibiting mental health issues. Jon is passionate about working for fellow humans with mental health concerns.
I’m a writer, photographer, and artist. Since well before my bipolar I disorder diagnosis at fifteen, I’ve channeled my experiences into art. After the manic episode that initiated me into the bipolar club, I spent high school in a depression haze. I eventually achieved stability which lasted through college. My senior year, I stopped taking my meds because “I didn’t need them anymore.” In 2014, this decision propelled me into a manic episode that reached psychotic levels. Nurses were fairies. Cops were fairies. I was a fairy. Everything was fairies. Oh, and I was also Queen Elizabeth the First. Since that episode, I have worked to maintain stability. In 2015, I started writing a memoir about my 2014 experiences called Episode: A Bipolar Journey, which I completed in January 2021. Ever since coming “out of the cabinet” on social media while manic in 2014, I’ve seen no point in trying to get back in. I am passionate about promoting healthy dialogue around bipolar disorder and mental health issues in general. I believe open communication and complete transparency are the only way we’ll break stigma down. I hope to reassure other bipolar bears that they have no reason to be ashamed and that they are capable of managing this disorder.