Landisa: I grew up with bipolar in a Joburg township. Here's what I did at my darkest.

Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg. (Photo by: Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg. (Photo by: Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

My ups and downs are like two solid, weighty balls of iron, one black and one white, on either side of a pendulum. Even at the darkest and nastiest of my downs, I am aware that there are many people who are much worse off than me even at the peak of their up moments, writes Nic Mpofu.


I am probably bipolar. We are all probably bipolar. No-one is or will always be in the same mood through-out his or her life, so it must be a normal thing to be somewhat bipolar at one point or another, if not through one's life. However, our bipolar levels and extents differ according to our individual circumstances. I haven't always been aware of it but I have ups and downs. I vacillate between serenity and sadness. 

When I am down, I am extremely tired. I have very little energy. I eat very little. I have no interest in most of my interests. I read very little. I turn my mobile phone to silent, I don't even check my messages. I sleep a lot. When I am not asleep and having weird dreams, I am lying awake, turning and tossing. My mind is on over-drive, with thoughts as deep as the bottom of the ocean or as high travelling out of space. I am in the aviation industry and I am fascinated by space, the further away from Earth the better, during my down moments. I do think of death. 

This is not to say that I get suicidal, in fact, it is quite the opposite. As I always say, Oprah says that you must know you are getting old once you start quoting yourself, that it is not death that scares me, it is the process of dying. My downs are not of long duration nor do they occur frequently.

During my ups, I am jovial and full of energy. I am usually up early in the mornings and start working on my laptop whilst still in bed. I am full of ideas and I usually type most of them up. I connect with my spirit, my love of humankind and my passion about achieving success. I enjoy the simplest things in life. I count my blessings and privileges. I read a lot. I watch my favourite TV programmes, no prize for guessing that that includes aircraft investigation documentaries. I go out and spend time with friends and family. I travel. I play sports. I am full of hope and I am very optimistic about the future.

The most important part about my ups and downs, the one thing that connects them, is my love for life. My ups and downs are like two solid, weighty balls of iron, one black and one white, on either side of a pendulum. Even at the darkest and nastiest of my downs, I am aware that there are many people who are much worse off than me even at the peak of their up moments. 

I have a job yet there are so many who are jobless. I see so many who have to walk or catch public transport whilst I drive around in the comfort of my luxurious vehicle. The same during the moments of my ups. I am aware that there are people who are more privileged than me. My motto is that I should do the most with what I have been given. I am not religious, but I am spiritual in that I believe that our lives have a purpose - all of us. Whether I am experiencing a down or an up, I hang on to life. I believe in life. I give to life. Life gives back to me. I am full of life.

- Nic is a businessman, and lives in Johannesburg. A pseudonym was used to protect his identiy. 

Do you have a story to share? Send it to landisa@news24.com and include your contact details and a photo. Visit Landisa for more stories. 

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