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Monthly support group for young people with bipolar

We’re hosting a monthly support group in partnership with Bipolar UK, which takes place on the fourth Tuesday of every month (6.15pm – 7.45pm). The aim is to provide a safe and supportive space for anyone aged between 18-25 to come and talk about how their mood swings are impacting on their quality of life and to explore some simple self management techniques with other people with shared experiences.

“It’s important to understand that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is less common in younger people, so the group is open to anyone who is experiencing distressing changes that wants to seek support and information” said Peter Jackson, Bipolar UK’s group facilitator. “We also welcome young people who are caring for or in a relationship with someone affected.”

We asked a couple of young people who have used the service to talk about their experiences:

Eve’s Story

Tell us about yourself

I was officially diagnosed two years ago. At this time, I was experiencing a depressive episode but struggling to get help due to waiting lists for my support team. I was often advised to go to A&E departments when I couldn’t get an appointment but this seemed too serious and daunting, so I googled ‘support groups’. The Bipolar UK Support Group is invaluable as there I can talk to people who understand my condition.

How have you learnt to manage your bipolar?

I find my depressive episodes more difficult than my hypomanic ones. One of the first things I do is text my close friends and my parents to tell them that I’m feeling down, so that I’ll have lots of people to talk to both about my mood and as a distraction. I try to make lots of plans to get myself out of the house and make sure that I exercise and go shopping before I feel really low, so that my house is filled with healthy food and I have no excuse not to eat.

What advice would you give to other young people?

Talk to other people about it. Being open about my bipolar with family and friends helps me manage my condition. I was scared about telling my parents but they’re very understanding and it’s great to have people supporting me. Even if it’s not family, I think telling someone close to you is really important in the long run.

Georgia’s story

Tell us about yourself

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder type II. This episode lasted four years and during that time I struggled massively with drugs, alcohol and large amounts of debt. Getting the right help and medication was very difficult. Certain medications made me extremely high and therefore unable to see that I was very unwell. Other medications made me deeply depressed and not able to leave my bed. My illness put me in extremely dangerous situations and turned me into a person I no longer recognised. The right help and medication helped change all that.

How have you learnt to manage your bipolar?

I’ve stopped taking drugs, drinking alcohol and even stopped drinking caffeine. I avoid anything that may tamper with my mental health and I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I’m more in control of my mental wellbeing.

What advice would you give to other young people?

My advice to anyone thinking that they may have a mental illness is to seek help and don’t stop until you get it. It’s a tough road but taking control is key. Follow all the help you’re offered and don’t struggle alone. There’s amazing help out there, especially from Bipolar UK. Seek it, use it and take control.

 


If you are interested in the group and want to find out more then don’t hesitate to contact the group facilitator, Peter Jackson on pjackson@bipolaruk.org.uk or call 0333 3234459

If you think that a support group is not for you, you can find lots of other ways of obtaining support and information at bipolaruk.org

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