Mum shares how bipolar made her think she'd caused the pandemic
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Warning: distressing content
A brave mum has spoken in depth about what it’s like living with bipolar disorder, telling how the mental health condition left her convinced she'd single-handedly caused the coronavirus pandemic.
Natasha Rea, 33, from Manchester has struggled with bipolar since her teens and is speaking out after superstar Selena Gomez opened up on her experience of living with the illness.
Natasha wasn't formally diagnosed with the condition until 2013, despite taking an overdose almost 10 years prior.
Natasha says she experiences intense emotions, deep depressions, anxiety and unpredictable manic episodes, which can cause her to become fixated with certain things and have intrusive thoughts.
But the coronavirus pandemic almost tipped her over the edge and triggered her first episode of psychosis on 19 March 2020.
She explained: "The mania is more frightening than the low. I thought I'd caused covid and was responsible for the pandemic.
"I had been consumed and worried about the virus and the fact I couldn't go out to get my mum's shopping list.”
Natasha continued: "I danced to the same song for six hours on repeat while drinking Jack Daniels straight from the bottle.
"I kept hearing a voice saying 'you think you have time' and I spent eight hours in a deserted hospital pacing the corridors.
"I wondered why they were playing The Greatest Showman on repeat and why Graham on reception was cleaning his hands with pink Carex.”
She went on: "I still don't know if Graham was real or if they were playing The Greatest Showman.”
Of Selena’s new documentary, My Mind and Me, in which the star candidly talks about her own bipolar diagnosis, Natasha said: "I think it's really important Selena Gomez has come forward to speak about bipolar because she has such a young fan base.
"In the clip, Selena said 'me and my mind don't always get on' and that resonated so much with me.
"She hasn't just come out and said I have bipolar and sometimes I have really high and low moods - she's discussed the different things it can do to you.
"It has such a physical effect, there are days I can't move my legs and my anxiety affects my bowels.
"There are days I just can't move or get out of bed. It's so misunderstood people just don't understand the severity.”
Natasha concluded: "I struggle daily - I’d love to be really consistent every single day but you don’t always know how you’re going to wake up.
"There is still such a stigma - I wouldn't be able to ring in to work and say 'my head's not great today' but I could phone in to say 'I have a stomach bug'."
For help or support, visit bipolaruk