Upon arriving in Ottawa, I connected with my political colleagues, made new friends and began to establish myself in a place I then called home. I loved Ottawa but suddenly things changed.
The story of ‘what happened to Andrea’ is long and personal but I have begun writing it in a book and sharing my story on my blog because it is so captivating and unreal. At times it is difficult to decipher what was ‘real’ and what was simply caused by my now diagnosed bipolar disorder. In Ottawa, things began to change and transform in such a way that I cannot even explain to this day. I plunged into a ‘psychosis’ and my reality became my own but still lapsed with this world. I saw things, heard things and the entire time believing that all that was happening around me was truly taking place. I started to have delusions and believe things that were not true and my mood was erratic ranging from hyper, talkative and extremely happy to pouring out with tears and fear. I willingly attended the psychiatric ward still not thinking anything was ‘wrong’, but my peaceful demeanour accepted my friends’ concern as genuine. I was admitted to the hospital and spent nearly one month, and as I complied with my medication regime I began to return to reality.
My story has heartbreak, fear, hope and even a point where I even gave up on life. I only truly had myself to rely on at that time in Ottawa, and with great survival skills and perseverance I crawled out of the gutter. To this day, I understand why a lot of people with a mental illness end up on the streets, and it can happen to anyone one of us.
I never felt completely ‘normal’ since that time. It was almost as if something had broken in me. I left to Korea for two years and returned to Canada, hopeful with two suitcases by my side. I left Canada angry and resentful, feeling everyone had turned their back on me. It was not until I decided to have a healthy lifestyle and seize responsibility for my health that I really began to feel at my best. In late 2007, I decided it was time to really live.
People are often shocked that I have a mental illness, like it is possible to pick us out in a crowd. I used to feel shameful and devastated, but with creating BIPOLAR BABE I have learned that there may be negative attitudes in the world, but the only one that I can control is my own. I share my personal story openly and freely to inspire the broken ones who feel there is nothing left for them after being hospitalized. I also want to share with the curious ones and create a world of acceptance and freedom where we can all just be ourselves.
In sharing my story I shed the stigma within myself and that will then translate into the rest of the world. I am blessed. I have my health, an excellent job, a funded education, amazing relationships with friends and family, a blossoming relationship and so much more…but after all of it I just have a story to tell. I am no different than anybody else for we all have a contribution. This is why I have created a BLOG , to keep the conversation going as I am interested in what you have to say and so is the rest of the world.
Much Love, Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe