Introduction to Natalie Cawthorne, Author of 'Work and Bipolar or Depression'
I’m Natalie Cawthorne, and I’m so happy to join the Work and Bipolar or Depression blog at HealthyPlace. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), inattentive type, and got used to assuming that any mental health issues I faced must be related to that; and with bipolar and ADHD sharing so many overlapping traits, I think it was even easier to miss that I actually have bipolar disorder type II as well -- I was diagnosed earlier this year. Both ADHD and bipolar have affected the way I work.
Natalie’s Cawthorne and Bipolar Disorder
In early 2016, around the time I was starting the second year of my Ph.D., I began to notice an ongoing pattern of drastically fluctuating moods, energy levels, and cognitive ability that never let up and seemed to overpower my ADHD medication. I would go through long periods where I was constantly tired and unmotivated without explanation, and then, out of nowhere, I’d burst with creative and mental energy. I felt trapped in extreme versions of myself on endless rotation. I searched for answers and solutions everywhere – diet, exercise, sleep schedule, hormones/menstrual cycle – but kept coming up short, and, eventually, just put it down to the chronic stress of my Ph.D., all the long work hours, and no time off. Still, the idea of being unable to rely on my own mind and having no clue how I would wake up feeling each day or why left me in constant dread. I felt like I’d lost all sense of “normal” or balance, and my work, self-esteem, and wellbeing suffered for it.
Soon after I finished my Ph.D. in January 2019, I had a hypomanic episode followed by a depressive episode. Without my doctorate hogging all of my time and focus, it was apparent just how drastic and abrupt these mood changes were. Depression prompted me to reach out to my psychiatrist, and we spent a long time going over my symptoms from the last few years. When he diagnosed me with bipolar type II, I was shocked for about two seconds before entirely flooded with relief that I had some answers.
'Work and Bipolar or Depression' and Natalie Cawthorne
Because of my ADHD, I’ve always been interested in mental health, and I enjoy applying my skills as a researcher to continue educating myself, especially about mental illnesses that personally affect me. I’m still learning to navigate living with bipolar – I think that’s probably a lifetime commitment – but at least now I’ve got direction. There is solace in shared experiences and communities like HealthyPlace have always kept me informed, helped me assess/understand my symptoms, and made me feel less alone. I’m so excited to jump in, and I hope that through this blog and our shared experiences, we can learn to navigate work and bipolar together.
Learn more about Natalie, her diagnoses and her desire to write on work and bipolar disorder:
Cawthorne, N. (2019, August 26). Introduction to Natalie Cawthorne, Author of 'Work and Bipolar or Depression', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2019/8/introduction-natalie-cawthorne-author-work-bipolar-depression