In My Shoes: Living with bipolar disorder

Sunday, November 15, 2015

in my shoes, depression, bipolar disorder, bipolar, life, anxiety, life lessons, living with bipolar disorder, bits + pieces, journal, mental health, mental illness

After years of telling myself to shut up because i'm too afraid of being judged and of what people might say, I am learning to get my voice back. I want to tell you my story, what it's like to be in my shoes and to tell you that despite how difficult it might be there IS hope. And somehow hoping that I can help and inspire you. Perhaps I have more to share than darkness and I could spread some beauty into the world too...

To know everything legit about bipolar disorder, visit Buzzfeed's article:


Growing up, I've always felt insecure and my heart was tooooo big that I feel to much. Or you could say i'm too sensitive. Throughout adolescence, I felt I've been extremely moody. I'd go from depressive state for weeks and one day I'd wake up feeling positive and ecstatic. I didn't know it had a name, not until I was 18. 
I don't know where or how it started. As far as I remember I've had a roller coaster ride during my high school days but mostly it was tearful, I've been bullied not just by peers but also by teachers, it was too much than I can handle. College came and it became worse; pressure from studies, death visited our family often, friends, bullies, and of course heartbreaks. I starved myself and I hated myself to be like that. I self injured to the point that I find it comforting. I become suicidal, I've tried killing myself many times. I just felt like I don't have the willpower to live anymore. I just couldn't handle life. And that's just the depressive side... There were also days that I when I wake up I suddenly feel extremely ecstatic and positive, productive and full of ideas. Thoughts are racing into my head that sometimes I can't keep up which I end up being irritable, mad, say inappropriate things and making bad decisions. Then depression hits again... It's confusing, really, moving back and forth with this mixed episodes. Sometimes I just can't describe it, its excruciating , tiring and unbearable. I've been through worst...

That world around you, all dark and hollow, without meaning or context, without hope, as dry as a desert. It holds you around its frosty hands, feeling thin, painful. Noise was dull, food was tasteless, days were long and nights, sleepless; home was horror and tomorrow seems unlikely.The first time, the sombre time, when you try to kill yourself, imagining how your funeral will be like, fantasizing about it in tremendous detail.  (YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO DIE. YOU JUST WANT TO GET AWAY. AND YOU’RE NOT THE LAST ONE.) 

Having an aunt as psychiatrist, at first I was resistant because I felt shy and ashamed. Eventually I gave in to meds and therapy which I believe one of the best decisions I've ever made. And of course, my support system aka family was beyond amazing. 
I can't say that i'm 100% A-okay. I'm still not out of the woods yet but i'm getting there. ButnI am so much better than yesterday...

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here." 


1. Therapy and Medicine

From manic to depression or even mixed episodes, I was an ultimate mess. It was too much to handle. Resistant as I was at first but I finally gave in thinking that there's no harm in trying. I've been taking meds for 4 years now and it really helped me stabilize my mood. Of course there are days when I forget to take it and there were weeks that I tried not taking it at all because I didn't want to be dependent on medications but I think for now i'm not yet ready to loosen it up, maybe someday when i'm a lot better. The downside is it makes me numb sometimes, I can't feel anything like everything's just cool even in devastating situations. When my cousin and grandpa died last April, I took a break from taking my meds for a week just to cry it all out. Medications are also quite expensive, i'm just so lucky that my parents can give all the possible support I can get. Alas, talking also helps. I've been through sessions of therapy and it helped!
All i'm saying is if it works out for you, continue taking it. Like I said there's no harm in trying.

2. Support System

I'm beyond lucky that I have a great support system. I'm thankful to have my parents that supports me not just financially but also emotionally. Having a family and friends that loves me and understands me even though sometimes i'm too hard to understand and to deal with had a great impact in making me a better person. Telling me to not let my illness define me and giving me constant advice, they're like my sidekicks in fighting my monsters. Of course I lost a lot of friends who easily gave up on me, at the end you'll really know who your true friends are. I'm deeply grateful to have all of them!
Lastly, Ali is a gift from the heavens. I couldn't imagine myself standing right now if it weren't for him, he's a life changer and I couldn't thank God enough for this wonderful man. I'm so blessed and lucky to have him in my life.

3. Environment & Lifestyle change

Healthy and positive environment attracts positive energy. It's true! When you're surrounded by pessimists and negative people, it may affect you big time and may drag you down. Letting go of toxic people was a great help. Avoiding such people doesn't mean that i'm (or you) a bad person, its just about choosing happiness over toxicity. At the end, if i'm not gonna do it, i'll be the one who will suffer. I've come to realise that shifting from Nursing to Education was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Nursing was too stressful for me, the environment (batch mates, clinical instructors, school) was too mean for me and it drags me down. When I transferred school and shifted to Education, I became happy and content. I finally found the kind of field i'm passionate about.
It was a great challenge changing my lifestyle though sometimes i'm still guilty of breaking them. It's hard but no pain no gain. Here are some of the changes I've undergone:
  • Getting enough sleep is important. Sleeping 8-9 hours helped me stabilize my mood and boosts up my hormones.
  • Avoid chocolates, sodas and other junk. I'm still having troubles with this but i'm trying. I'm trying little by little. Also, eat vegies and other bipolar friendly food, there tons of choices in google if you're interested.
  • Exercise can help too! It alleviates depression and balance your mood. It also increases attention and decision making. But now that i'm working it's hard to exercise everyday, I barely have time but i'm doing the best that I can to find time.

4. Hobbies 

Something to do really did help for it kept my mind busy and diverts my mood into something productive. That huge factor I guess is blogging. Blogging is one of the main reason that keeps me sane and somewhat passionate. I remember when I was starting out, I was blogging to vent out my feelings and frustration but as time goes by I've learned to be positive because of it. Aside from blogging, I'm gardening every now and then cos I find it really therapeutic. Books also helped me a lot in my journey on becoming the better me. 
It's really important that you find the things that you'd love to do, it's a great help. Whether it's baking or gardening, cleaning your house or painting, whatever you're interest is just do it. Cry and then stand up, stop sulking under your blanket and just do it. It can help you in divert all those negative vibes into something good, positive and productive, thus it'll make you more passionate and inspired to do more productive things.

5. Paris & Dashy

Paris and Dashy are my babies, they're my dogs. I know I know... I know what you're thinking. Yes, i'm aware that dogs are not allowed in Islam, but you see I've had them even before I reverted. I can't simply give them away, they're family. More than that, they helped my battle with bipolar. They comfort and make me smile whenever i'm blue. I owe it to them, they made me better as a person.

6. Becoming a Hijabi

Lastly, I've realised that reverting to Islam made a huge difference in my life. I tell you, I may not be the most knowledgeable or devoted Muslim but Islam especially wearing the hijab really made a difference in my life. Wearing hijab and becoming modest made me become cautious in my action in the public and towards other people, it teaches me to act proper and that includes to be aware of me being impulsive, to think before I speak. I can stay i'm still a bit lost spiritually but i'm learning, i'm getting there step-by-step. It really changed my life. It made me stronger. Inshaallah, i'll be better than I was yesterday. 


I guess having Bipolar is a constant battle, it's always there and will always be there hiding in the closet inside me. But like I said, there IS hope. The fact that i'm still alive and writing this down proves it. I'm not out of the woods yet but i'm getting there. Of course, there are still those days when getting up from bed is really hard and being impulsive and hyper is hard to stop, but I let it in and then I get up again... Thinking and assuring myself that I am better than I was 3 to 4 years ago.

So if you're on the same shoes as mine, please don't take your life away, you are not alone. Help yourself, it may not be easy and it may take a bit long but do it still, for yourself, and believe me it's all worth it, after all life is still beautiful...

"And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. 
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." 

You Might Also Like


  1. J, you don't have any idea how shocked i was while reading this. it literally made me sob. You are always a darling. I've never hinted anything like this with you. I guess you've been coping pretty darn good!

    But I am also happy that you have a lot of good people around you as your support system. You are loved dearly by Allah SWT. Moreover, the fact that you have acknowledge the help of the hijab really moves me.

    I love you for the sake of Allah SWT. May He continue to shower blessings upon you. Im just here if you need me.

    Kai /

    1. I guess I've learned to deal with it quietly, I was ashamed of having it, Kai. Yes it was a hard battle.
      I love you too, Kai! Thank you for being an inspiration

  2. WOW! You my sister are an inspirational person!! May Allah (swt) give you more strength and courage, and answer all of your prayers, Ameen.
    Ramsha | Rose

  3. Wow, this is something hard to admit but you did! <3 Don't worry, not everyone's quick to judge. At least not me. :)

  4. Joyce, it's so courageous of you to write this. It must be hard talking about this in your blog. I'm proud of you. Don't let your inner demons get you down. You are not your illness. This post makes me realize that it's okay to seek help. I've been having anxieties sometimes that I avoid things that I should do. Hope I'll find my own courage soon.

    The Wallflower Secrets

    1. Thank you so so much, Ali. It was hard and it took me awhile to finish this post, but I did. I do hope you will find your voice soon. Yes it's okay to seek help as long as you think it can really help you. <3

  5. This was such an interesting/great read. Thanks for sharing your story and being so honest with it. I've always been interested in mental health (I struggled with depression/anxiety a few years ago) but I don't think I've ever read anything from the point of someone who actually has struggled with Bipolar.

    I'm really glad to hear your medicine, religion and family/friends etc.. helped you get through it and that you're leading a happier life because of it. Well done for seeking help (something I always struggled with).

    Christina Marie -

    1. Hi! Thank you so so much. How are you now? I hope you're doing okay? I hope you'll also find the courage to seek help too :)
      All the best.

  6. Just know that whatever happens, you can always PM me on facebook, on twitter, or even on my email, ate Joyce. Just know that I'm always here for you. <3 I love that you were so open about this battle you're slowly conquering. I'm here for you. I know you're slowly getting there. Just know that everything you do is really appreciated - I love your blog, I love how you wrote this, I love how you're such an inspiring being! :) And oh, I'd always loved the poem Desiderata. I memorized it by heart when I was in high school, but I'm sort of forgetting now. Still, whenever life takes its toll on me, I re-read this poem and it never fails to make me feel light. :)

    Mimi | Chasing Bleu

    1. Salamat kaayo, mi! Thank you so so much. I will keep in touch. Thank you for being there :)

  7. Cheers to people like us who are "different!" hehehe
    Beautiful piece you have here, Joyce!
    Just always stay on the bright side!
    Remember: with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world!

  8. Salam Ate Joyce. Reading this actually made me tear up. I know exactly how this feels. Opening up to people would be something I'd never have the courage to do but, you did and I think that's something that would inspire other people to open up too.

    Just a reminder that Allah gives you what you can handle, nothing more nothing less. The struggles you go through were given to you to make you stronger or to make you learn from them. I hope you're doing better now. May Allah grant you peace and tranquility.

    1. Walaikum Assalam, Fatimah. Thank you so so much. I am still working on it. Hopefully, I will be out soon.

  9. This is really inspiring, Joyce. I, myself, is also dealing with self issues, and reading how you made it through (and considering that I'm nowhere near your experiences) made me feel like there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I'm glad you're coping up and doing okay. If you need anyone to talk to, I'd definitely just be here! :D


  10. Thanks for sharing your story, girl! I have suffered from the same issue, but it wasn't too bad and I'm glad that phase has been over for a long time now. I love these lines from Desiderata.
    Practicing my religion more has definitely put my heart into peace. I try to cover my head and keep a scarf on head as much as I can (in Pakistani style, the duppatta). May Allah (swt) bless you with His love and mercy <3

    Noor | Noor's Place

    1. Thanks, Noor! Glad to know that. It's really hard being a full time hijabi

  11. You're so brave for sharing your story, Joyce. I've experienced several years of depression in the past and it's sad when our society isn't ready to understand what these mental conditions entail. I'm glad you're family is supportive and I'm happy that you weren't scared to try out therapy. :) I wish you the happiest life you can ever live!

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

    1. I agree. The society especially here in the Philippines are not yet that open in terms of mental illness which is sad.
      Thank you so so much, i'm very thankful for my parents :)

  12. Hi J! I am not Islam but we share a lot of things in common. I am also a blogger, not a good writer but I write. I am also a teacher. I came from SPED, Gensan 1999. I am fron Gensan. Let's talk. I'm just within the city. After reading this, you surprised me and I want to get to know you better. Email me. I will be waiting.

    1. Hello. I'd love to pero shy ako. hihi. Mahiya ako huhu

  13. and I have a dog too. Smile is a doberman. How I wish, I could meet you someday.. Coffee shops are just around the corner.. Meet me! I'm a girl by the way! ;)

  14. Glad you getting through it♥