"I've learnt to embrace it" - Keido's story
In this blog, Keido reflects on his journey with bipolar disorder, from experiencing a manic episode after his grandfather’s passing to being sectioned to being a successful musician and mental health campaigner. He expresses the importance of practicing acceptance and self-compassion.
I’m a half English, half Japanese rapper and songwriter, living with bipolar disorder. I was inspired by Rethink Mental Illness to share my lived experiences to try and give hope to anyone struggling or going through a similar situation, with the emphasis being that things can get better.
I struggled with depression and had a psychotic episode in my teens, but it wasn’t until I had my first manic episode around eight years ago that I was given a bipolar diagnosis. I had just graduated university. As I had been stable for a while, I came off the medication I was on at the time, but a week before my flight to Japan to see my grandfather, he passed away.
Looking back now, I personally think this could have been a trigger. I remember it was such a strange, surreal and scary feeling as I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t know why I was so hyper, up and down emotionally with grandiose thoughts. It was a critical situation, so I flew back to the UK with the aid of my older brother.
Living with bipolar disorder isn’t easy, but it’s a part of who I am.
For years, I lived in denial and hated how my medication made me feel numb, which started to affect my job working in a target-driven sales role. At the end of 2018, after secretly coming off my meds, I had the most destructive manic episode I’ve ever had which led to me being sectioned. It was a truly traumatic experience. Urgent treatment was needed, so my medication dosage was then upped massively.
With time, I started to calm down and come back down to reality. It was then that I decided I couldn’t put my loved ones through that ever again, and I finally accepted that I have a mental illness which I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.
Fast forward to now and thankfully I’ve been stable for over four years. I’m back working at the same company I had to leave temporarily, when I had my last manic episode, and they were really understanding and gave me a warm welcome back. I’m also using music as an outlet to raise awareness about mental health.
I didn’t know why I was so hyper, up and down emotionally with grandiose thoughts.
I’m proud to have worked with Bipolar UK on fundraising campaigns and as a panellist for the 2022 Virtual Conference. I’m forever grateful for their continuous support, especially when they endorsed my songs ‘Struggle’ and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ which focus on my experiences living with the condition.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride up until now and I know it won’t always be smooth sailing in the future, but I’m trying my best to be as strong as possible, so I’m able to deal with adversity which life inevitably brings. Living with bipolar disorder isn’t easy, but it’s a part of who I am and I’ve learned to embrace it.
It’s also made me more empathetic towards others going through their own mental health battles. So, if you’re struggling, know that things can get better and don’t give up hope. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it may seem at the moment.
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