ABOUT NICOLA DEBBIE-ANN
Nicola Debbie-Ann went from working on circuits at MCI, Verizon, and Level 3 as an Implementation Project Manager to running a successful event planning and stationery designing business which included a clientele of NFL players and other industry professionals. Suffering from Hypomanic Depressive Bipolar, a disease that is said to stem from the lack of early childhood diagnosis of ADHD, Nicola decided to create a platform which helps her share her creativity and motivate other females, BCG Magazine & Go Ahead Girl. BCG is a network of ideas that are resourceful, inspirational, advice-driven and thoughtfully created that informs and celebrates women. Moreover, Go Ahead Girl is a movement used to inspire girl bosses to go get it. If you feel like doing it, 'go-ahead girl.' If it is your dream, go after it. Using the hashtag #goaheadgirl to help push this movement and calling on Girl Bosses every and anywhere to join her in encouraging others.
Nicola, who calls herself Creatively Bipolar also designs websites, creates illustrations, photo staging, and styling. Nicola has worked with brands like West Elm, Project Runway, Lifetime Network, A+E and has built solid relationships with other notable brands and public relations firms. She is building a creative empire from the ground up and leading females all over the nation to live creatively.
THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATIVITY!
Well, here's my story. It is pretty detailed, interesting and somewhat extraordinary. You should grab a cup of coffee or a sweet cocktail. I opt for the cocktail!
I am living with HypoManic-Depressive-Bipolar. In short, I call it #CreativelyBipolar©. I also suffer from Late Luteal Phase Dysphoria and Dissociative Amnesia. In 2013, with the guidance of my healthcare team, I decided to have a hysterectomy to stop my period, remove my cervix and uterus all with the expectation that it would cure me of the suffering I experience. Unfortunately, this was such a challenging and sad decision since my husband has no kids of his own. The theory was that hormones ran my emotions and that my hormones would be regulated if I did the procedure.
Unfortunately, it has not. The struggle is real and an endless cycle.
While I go through my stages of ups and downs, my up moments guide me through my successes and my ability to communicate to others. Throughout this journey, I have learned that I am not alone. Finding support is challenging. When you share with people that you are depressed or have a mental illness, the standard advice is to go to church and pray. Sometimes even stop being so emotional, or stop holding on to things. Some may even tell you that there are people worse off than you.
Understandably, not everyone knows what to say.
Here's what I can say:
The truth is, no one is worse off than me. Everyone has their limit; everyone takes pain differently. There is no comparison to the way a person may feel when they are hurting. If you have said that to a friend that is depressed or suffering from a mental illness, please stop. In my down moments, there are many times I wish I had a physical disease instead because then I would be able to communicate better. Maybe I would be a better candidate for a more proper prescription of medicine to help ease the pain or even work to cure that disease. When there is a physical illness, people are more understanding. They do not imagine that you are making excuses or being dramatic. Seeing you in pain makes it more believable.
Unfortunately, my illness is not visible in the same way.
You cannot see it through a lens. Medication cannot heal it.
Today, I clear the air and say, it is painful and illness, I do have.
Writing this testimony does not mean I have had a sad life because I have not. My life is blessed. However, my illness has made my life difficult. As a teen, I had the most amazing son. In my twenties, I married the most amazing man, and I have surrounded myself with some excellent friends. Some that even work at BCG; friends that make time to check on me almost every day; friends that are supportive even when I am in a manic episode; friends that do not take it personally if they do not hear from me or if I cannot answer their call.
I acknowledge that I am blessed, and while having a lot more than others, who are "normal" or even sick, I still suffer so much every day. I never know what the next day will be. This illness has been the case since I was six years old.
It affects my world in countless ways.
I cannot plan ahead; I cannot do things like go on vacation with friends, I cannot even drive on my own anymore. My health care occupies lots of my time. Weekly, I have to go for doctors' visits. From youth, I was in and out of hospitals constantly. I did not understand what was happening to me. Having my son allowed me to begin my research all on my own. That motherly love can create miracles. Along with my illness, I am very organized and do well with a regimen.
A typical week for me can look like this:
- On a Monday I may spend the whole day crying, and on a Tuesday I may spend the entire day shopping;
- Wednesday, I may apply for tons of credit cards and return things that I spent the whole day shopping for on Tuesday.
- On a Thursday, I may overpay my bills; on a Friday I may forget to pay my bills.
- By Saturday, I may forget to finalize my To-Do list. Moreover, on a Sunday, I may suffer emotionally the worst.
Monday it starts all over again, this time, I may be angry at the world, or it may be my most productive day of the week. While it is never this specific, the point is every day is like a new day. Every day I have to start again yet pick up the pieces from where I left off.
To people I know, I am smart, borderline genius
(Actually, that is true, I have had the test). I can draw, build websites, dance, take a computer apart and rebuild it. I have 20/20 vision. However, I have to wear glasses with a unique lens because my eyes can not keep up with the information my brain takes in. My IQ is 160, about the same as Einstein (no seriously). All at the same time, I cannot sleep unless I take a sleep aid. Without it, I will stay awake for days just creating things.
What needs to be understood is,
I cannot help it. As a child, I was called hyper, destructive, unmanageable, overly creative, a cry baby, over dramatic, smart, talkative, and energetic. This illness sometimes affects my memory. However, I have managed to survive because my will is powerful and I have a massive support system that includes my wonderful husband and son.
Why am I sharing this story?
I want to give people out there hope. Not only hope to people suffering from bipolar or depression but even the "normal" person that works a full-time job. The person that wants to be an entrepreneur or is one, the person that has goals and dreams they are trying to pursue, the person that has a family and trying to maintain their responsibilities.
I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW IF I CAN DO IT SO CAN YOU!
Will I survive this illness, I am not sure, but, I have made it this far. One thing I know I am no longer afraid to share my story. I want to take you all on this journey a Trip of growing my brand while struggling to survive my illness.
Behind the scenes,
#BCG runs with an exceptional team of qualified and super dedicated editors, actors and production staff. It will continue to grow because it is therapeutic. Having #BCG platform helps me to be creative and inspires me to motivate. #BCG will continue to evolve with the times. Categories may change, because of life changes and because being #CreativelyBipolar© never stops flowing. I began #BCG with no money in mind; it was more for a place to consistently create, add inspiration and motivate others. It is evolving to more than I can ever imagine.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness,
It does not mean that you are going to hurt anyone or even want to. To the "average" person, it may seem like we are extraordinary; that we are, we are different, unique, and a lot more hyper or sad than others. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. All my happy, beautiful friends and lovely family would vouch that I am living better than expected. I am a good person, a good person who has made decisions at times that may not have been great, a person that would not make individual decisions if I was "normal."
I have finally accepted the fact that I am who I am.
In case you are wondering who that is, I am a hardworking, beautiful, kind, lively, lovable girl with a lot of passion and a will to serve. I am #CreativelyBipolar©!