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Posts tagged ‘documentary’

Bipolar & Me: Part 1. Introduction

OK so this is not easy for me to do,  but I’ve been wanting to do it for a while. So I’m going to write a series of posts about mental health. My mental health. Specifically what mental health struggles I have.

First things first: surprise, surprise, I have bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

You may have seen Stephen Fry’s latest documentary on BBC “The Not-So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On”. I watched the first documentary 10 years ago, before my own diagnosis. I’m trying to hunt it down to watch it again to see if my perspective has changed since receiving the diagnosis. From what I can recall, it seemed the follow up documentary was more of a depressing watch, there didn’t seem to be much hope portrayed for any of the bipolar sufferers depicted, including Stephen Fry himself. While I have only been officially diagnosed myself since ~March last year, I thought I would try and offer my own personal perspective on the diagnosis process, the medication, and the resources I’ve found available to me through a series of posts.

I have to admit, I struggled watching the most recent documentary. I found that a lot of what was said resonated with me and I understand that it needed to show the truth of living with this disorder. However, I think it really could have benefitted from showing just one person coping, one person managing their condition to balance out the rest of the quite depressing situations. I am by no means in control of my illness as it stands, and I’m still trying to work out how to manage it with my CFS/ME. It is exhausting. But I have found a medication that works for me, which is phenomenally beneficial (I will go into this in a later post). I’m able to stay more balanced and when I do have episodes, my lows are less low, my highs less high. I am considerably safer than I used to be. I am also fortunate in that it doesn’t make me numb, it doesn’t make me a zombie. I am still working full-time in a fast, stressful industry that I love. I have blogged before how I am so lucky because my employer is so patient and flexible in how they let me work.

I wish others with ME, others with bipolar could be able to do this. Many with these conditions have to work part-time, if they can work at all. I reiterate: I am incredibly lucky, and it is something I’m going to have to keep fighting for every day of my life to keep doing. But I am doing it. And I think that someone newly diagnosed with this illness would benefit from knowing that it can be possible. Hence these posts on “Bipolar and me”.

See Part 2 for my thoughts on the illness itself, dispelling some common misconceptions and just trying to fill you in on what living with bipolar really means.

Science and Creativity


I have never really understood the idea that people are either creative or logical, artsy or sciencey.
I remember being told this and of course, yes, some people do follow this trend. However, during my time at university I have discovered that I am not alone in enjoying and taking part in both.
Take my a levels- I did biology chemistry maths and classical civilisations. It was a struggle having it at that as at school drama and music had been huge parts of my life and I have always loved the reading and writing of fiction (though I sadly do little of the latter anymore, can never seem to start them or get my ideas going).

I then watched a documentary yesterday from BBC, unsurprisingly from the Horizon team looking at the creativity mind or the neuroscience of insight. This is what inspired this post really, it was fascinating stuff but it did also fall into looking at the differences and not the similarities.

If you think about it, all scientists have to have that creative spark inside of them to think of the experiments and hypotheses that have led us to where we are now. And it’s beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, human biology has its share of ick factors and there’s some pretty grim stuff I get to learn about. But if you really think about it, the way the ideas flow into each other, the processes of the body (and yes even plants) is pretty astounding.
And it takes an incredibly creative mind to look at life and think…there’s more to this. And you know, then there’s the people that looked at fish and thought, you know what they need?

Before this becomes a ramble about the beauty of life, there’s also the fact that biology and science in general can lead to some pretty creative outlets. There’s science journalism, science photography, colour manipulation of scanning electron microscopy (SEM)…in fact I’m just going to show you some incredible examples of these SEM images. You’d be amazed at how pretty the common cold can look…


Look at how cool the common cold is! Then the other pic is pretty-in-purple chromosome.


And finally, who knew a tangled hair could look this pretty?!


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