Brave tale of bipolar disorder

RAHLA Xenopoulos, author of the book A Memoir of Love and Madness: Living with Bipolar Disorder is living proof that one can have a healthy lifestyle with the disease.

RAHLA Xenopoulos, author of the book A Memoir of Love and Madness: Living with Bipolar Disorder is living proof that one can have a healthy lifestyle with the disease.

In her book the 40-year-old mother of triplets aged four, provides a personal and brave account of what it's like to live with a disease that is hardly understood and incurable.

After 17 years of visiting doctors since she was seven, Xenopoulos was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992.

She says one in a hundred people worldwide are affected by bipolar disorder, which causes severe mood swings.

Xenopoulos says through her journey she has found that many of the diagnoses, such as compulsive shopping, sex addiction and slimming disorders might in fact originate from bipolar disorder.

"Until I was correctly diagnosed I was a serial psychiatric patient. Depression is not the only danger; with mania there's an unbounded consumption of people, of things, of life - just not sleep or food," she says.

"This book is as much a testament to the practitioners who have the responsibility to diagnose and medicate this kind of disorder, as it is to finally be accepting of myself. "Self love is the biggest schlep, the hardest part of all.

"I think that as a society we're somewhat embarrassed and awkward around mental illness."

l Next week Xenopoulos shares with us some facts about bipolar disorder and how to cope with it.

X