I am Shirley, a teacher, and the author of this blog. I have been diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy way back 2009 while my bipolar disorder diagnosis was in 2005. Through the years, I’ve had various ups and downs ranging from slight to severe. Also, I had significant personal and family-related conflicts that I needed to deal with, vis-a-vis my approach to the world around me. Thus, suicidal attempts on my part have been common: I endeavoured to commit suicide at least four times starting when I was in college (in the form of self-harm) until I started working.

My life had been a total mess for eleven years.

Fortunately, I was introduced to an online (rather, Facebook) support group through a television feature they had in 2014. I searched for the group page, sent them a message, and their main administrator came to tackle with me all my hurts and fears. It was not that easy because at that time, I was still feeling the intensity of how despondent I could react to certain given situations. I am just thankful enough, though, that along with the group administrators, fellow bipolar disorder sufferers also reached out to me and tried their best to assure me that I was not alone. Indeed I was not. So, in one way or another, I felt better despite intermittent bouts of depression, mania, and the epileptic fits that even affected my work processes (in truth, I was on and off work because I’d be possessed with that much paranoia and hysteria while dealing with my jobs).

Eventually I had more confidence to react to certain situations, and seek help as much as possible so that at least I could release pent-up stressors. I’ve also had the chance of shifting from a bevy of medications just so I could adapt and maintain my “sanity” through dosages that actually fit me. However, I cannot discount the fact that I would still be seized by occasional melancholic spells, a loneliness potent enough to rival that of being trapped in an island. The cycle would then continue.  But what keeps me going mostly relates to seeking the ultimate way of cleansing my soul from unnecessary sensations or desires. I still have this hope of survival. So I still strive to breathe and make personal mea culpas.

I acknowledge the fact that how I handled my life had not been impeccable enough to adjudge me “successful” in my aspirations to triumph over bipolar or epilepsy. However, in all these, the popular maxim rings true: We all strive until we succeed.