In 2003, when I started this site, the stigma of being a manic depressive (soon to be changed to bipolar disorder) was so much that even though I was honest and open about the fact that I was diagnosed as bipolar, a lot of it was defiance.
My life wasn’t the best. Years of being told that things were black and white, that I was irreparably, irredeemably useless, that I’d passed on mental health defects to my children, and the increasing feeling that this was completely *wrong*. So, I founded bi-polarbears. Which wasn’t easy. It was my first site, and, at first, we ran it as a newsletter. Then, as people cycled out, we converted it to a blog.
The only constant is change
In the interveining years between then and now, we’ve rebooted several times. Staff have come and moved on, and we’ve currently got content offline to update, but in the 17 years in the world, bi-polarbears has had one goal – to stop stigma. To support living, surviving and thriving, and to reducing the stigma of all mental health issues. And, we are, in some ways, getting there.
March 2018 – the reboot that never was
aka, I miss you sis
When we were 15, I had a huge reboot planned. But the January before, my adopted sister, and the reason (one of them), I originally wrote “Pictures in the Dark”, she was diagnosed with cancer. Between that, and a mismatch of treatment on the NHS meant that I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
We lost her that December. It broke my heart.
So, we are relaunching, but, remembering my beloved adopted sister, who helped me grow to understand so much about my disorder.
Given everything going on in the world now – and how life is currently putting many people in positions where introversion is something that needs support to achieve – we thought nowcwas as good a time as any to relaunch. To keep pushing back, and down, stigma. Supporting inclusion. Learning to adapt and accept change in ways that cause less distress where we can. The only constant is change. And, maybe, us.
So. Thank you to those who came before, welcome to our new team member (for now – we are looking for more!), Quinn, and of course you, faithful reader.
It feels very apt, relaunching on our 17th birthday, and World Bipolar Awareness Day. I hope we can help you, whether you are surviving, thriving or living any form of life. Carer, patent, professional. Everyone deserves support. Because, though sometimes it seems like we should not, fighting, treading water, or pulling ourselves out of that hole… remaining alive is most important of all.
I dedicate this relaunch to my beloved, who encouraged me endlessly and still does, my family who love me no mwtter what the label, my friends for being there, my psych team for teaching, supporting and giving me reasons to reconsider leaving to join my sister, and most of all, to my dearest K. Because I really miss you, and, like me, we’d be talking more about normal stuff, and less about social dustancing and self-isolation, as for both of us, it is a descriptor, not instruction. And because, quite honestly, I miss you more, not less.D Kai Wilson-Viola
Questions, comments or requests? Please let me know. We’ll be releasing books soon, abd will be setting up a newsletter, book review program and more. For now though, stay safe, stay well, #stayinside.
World Bipolar Awareness Day 2020