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Dear Bipolar... Tuesday March 17, 2015

Recently I read letters to people who were writing to their illness or their loved one's illness. I decided to write to mine.

Dear bipolar,

I do not feel like saying dear to you or being at all kind or friendly to you. Why should I when you have robbed me of the best years of my life? What did I ever do to you? Do I sound angry and bitter, well I was for many years.

You do not have a good media image, your PR could definitely do with lots of help and accurate information. You mightn't know this, but having a mental illness 40 years was seen as something shameful. My mother would whisper about me to friends and family. Telling people you had bipolar could mean being dismissed from some jobs or prevented from starting others. Now things have changed but it isn't easy.

I have so many questions. Why oh why did you pick the age of 16 just as I was in my second to last year at high school to really introduce yourself to me. I was on the brink of a promising academic career and just starting to mature into a young woman. Instead, most of my academic dreams were taken away and I spent the next 6 years spiralling from mania to depression causing chaos in my life and shattering any plans I had of a peaceful life.

I know I am lucky, because everyone tells me, that I didn't have some terminal or chronic disease. I know this, but that doesn't mean that you have not had a negative effect on my life.

I will admit from you I learned compassion, patience and never to judge people by what they look like or how they behave. I also learned to be humble, grateful and appreciate even the very small changes in life.

Okay, maybe I am responsible for some of my bad decisions and that I shouldn't be so hard and always eager to blame you for everything that has gone wrong in my life.

I think I will always wonder what if you had never come into my life, what if, I had been able to pursue my dreams, what if I did not have to worry every day about what mood I am in and how it will effect everyone and everything.

I know we can never be friends but I am tired of battling you, blaming you for everthing that has gone wrong in my life and being angry so maybe we can have a truce.

I know I am who I am today because of you and for that I thank you.

I am curious to see what role you will play in the senior years of my life. I feel I deserve a break and a peaceful time - do you agree?

Look forward to your reply,


This was just a writing exercise, but I was surprised what emotions came out.

Will you to write to your illness an what will you say?

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 6:31am

A brilliant idea, Leah. I am going to try it. You wrote so eloquently and said it as it is. Well done and thanks.. S

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 7:07am

Thank you- but as I said it wasn't my idea. I am pleased you will try it too. Cheers Leah

Hopeful One Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 7:20am

Hi Leah-so touching.It seems that after a difficult journey you are coming to terms with who you are. I wondered if you might benefit from a tonglen meditation.I am not sure of the origin of the word tonglen but I suspect it is from one of the Buddhist traditions.First of course one needs to be learn to meditate but assuming this is the case then in the meditation you sit yourself in one chair and state your case as you have done in the blog.You then swap chairs placing the chair facing you and try and answer the questions you posed .Sounds silly and all that but you will be surprised at the result as a reconciliation slowly emerges at the deepest levels of your consciousness.

Julia Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:10am

"..what if I did not have to worry every day about what mood I am in and how it will affect everyone and everything." This is what I deal with on a daily basis too. Thank you Leah for writing so eloquently and putting into words something which affects me daily (not bi polar but mood swings which are dictated by quality of sleep). Each day my first thought what effect will my mood today have on everything. I've been like this for years too and yet have not accepted it as permanent and something that's not going to change! I guess if I look back as you have done I can view it (not sure what name to give mine!) as my life in one sense

Rupert Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:21am

Hi Leah interesting and helpful blog. I dont think I am bipolar but it is only now in my middle age that I have begun to put my life into the context of my depression and started to "forgive myself" for some of the decisions I have or have not taken in my life as a result. It does seem to create a certain truce or peace with oneself. Rupert

Mary Blackhurst Hill Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:30am

Incredibly powerful, Leah. You've made me think. (Always a painful but yet helpful exercise!)

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:33am

Bipolar disorder is a chronic disease and for many people it can be terminal, so the people who tell you it's not are ill informed.
The letter is a good idea tho.

Pip Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 9:24am

I love this idea, Leah, and I identify with so much of what you said, especially about lost chances, and yet knowing that you are who you are because of it. Here is what I got:

Dear Bipolar,

I dreamed I was walking along the beach, and in the sky flashed scenes from my life. I think I heard someone whisper your name, and I looked back. I saw my footprints at the beginning of my journey, but then they disappeared. I remembered that I flew at those times, and looked down on the beach and the clear sparkling sea from above and I knew the whole, the truth. The coral – it was so beautiful.

But then, every now and again there is a heavy deep mark in the sand, and I remember what it was like to crawl forward on grazed knees and elbows in shame and fear, longing for death, the taste of salt and grit in my mouth. Those giant marks are your footprints, obliterating all, heedless of my life, bearing no witness, except for me.

I don't want to walk with you any more.

I don't want to walk with you.

I don't want to walk.

Let me fly again.

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:09am

Hopeful one- that tanglen meditation sounds interesting- I was actually was thinking of a reply from bipolar as a blog! your suggestion sounds challenging. Thanks.

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:14am

Thanks for your lovely writing- it was very moving. Thanks for sharing your exoeriences.

Julia Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:15am

Do you suffer from Bi polar Anonymous? I think you might from what you say. I do hope you are feeling OK today and most of the time? I wish you good health anyway.

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:16am

That must be so hard for you and I can relate to lack of sleep and moods. Thanks for your feedback, All the best

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:18am

Thanks Mary. I am told I over think everything.

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:21am

Thanks for your feedback. I am glad you have found some peace.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 12:21pm

That's pretty amazing Pip. Hope it gives you help and release. Beautifully written K x

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 1:12pm

Great idea Leah. I'm afraid that my letter wouldn't know when to stop...and in itself that makes me realise what a valuable project it may be for me. Maybe it's time I made a start, thank you, love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 3:57pm

This is an absolutely brilliant idea. I keep a sort of scrapbook journal with things about my life and I'm definitely going to give this idea a try. There are several Moodscope blogs printed out and pasted in - this will be one of them, to remind me to actually write the letter.

I though Pip's walk along the beach was a nice take on that concept. I can identify with it. Depression riding on my shoulder like a demon, maybe weighs me down at times.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 6:04pm

brave lady Leah! My bipolar hit in my twenties when I was studying in
a spiritual school delving into the mysteries of being. In some ways my early highs were like revelations until fear kicked in and it felt bad. The staff were very helpful and got me some meds. at one stage when I couldn't sleep. So I very much feel that my illness has been special as well as causing terrible suffering when I am depressed, and also hurting
my family and friends when my high-ness upsets their lives. I wasn't diagnosed until my late fifties, presently on mood stabilizers which work well! Hang on in there Leah, better days will come!

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:42pm

Dear Room ATG
thanks for your reply. My letter could have gone on for much longer too!! I wish you well if you decide to start. Leah

Leah Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 8:44pm

Thanks anon. I like the idea of printing out moodscope blogs for inspiration later. Take care

Anonymous Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 9:03pm

Yes, Julia I do have Bipolar Disorder for 27 years now, which makes it chronic, and my sister died of it. Thanks for your kind wishes.

Laura Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 12:15pm

What a great idea! I find writing to be very therapeutic, although I haven't been up to doing any in the last couple months. I've been suffering from depression for over 30 years now and have finally realized that I need to stop fighting it and accept that it's a part of my life. Fighting saps me of my energy and makes me angry and miserable. I am definitely going to write to my disease. Thanks for sharing!

Julia Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 1:14pm

Oh how very sad. You must worry even more than normal bi polar sufferers always thinking that what happened to your sister might happen to you. It sounds as if you have not got over her death or ever will. But it's not a given that families inherit terminal diseases or rather will each die of them. Circumstances vary so much. But I do feel for you.

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