" From fear and denial to liberation and acceptance "
In January 1998, I was an agent in the West End of London. I suffered a massive nervous breakdown. I was admitted to psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was 25.
Throughout my illness, I have experienced many extreme symptoms including rapid cycling mood swings, hypomania, psychosis, extreme mania, life-threatening depression and PTSD.
This breakdown constituted the beginning of 16 years of intense confusion and polarized self perception eg. denial of the illness for one period of time only to oscillate back to being consumed by it once more.
I have had ten psychiatric admissions in 3 countries; England, Ireland and South Africa. I have been held under a section under the Mental Health Act, I have been held in solitary confinement, I have been restrained and forcibly sedated into unconsciousness. I have lost friends, jobs, relationships and homes due to my illness.
However, my life has changed dramatically now. I have freed myself from a self-enforced prison by speaking out about my illness, experiences, opinions and points of view on mental health and my life with a mental illness in general. This has opened new doors of opportunity for me and given me a purpose and strength which I thought I had lost and would never see again.
The talks and workshops I give as well as writing my blog expand my new point of view and sharing it with others inspires me every day.
My blog features a couple of posts which tell parts of my story.
The Joy of Coming Out explains how liberating it felt to " come out " publicly about my illness after 16 years of silence.
My Original “Coming Out” Facebook Post does exactly what it says on the tin.
Stigma Survival: A Cinderella Story is a longer post and describes some examples of the stigma that I faced over 16 years and how I feel this has chiselled me into a stronger person.
The other posts are thoughts on different aspects on the general theme - I hope you enjoy ....
"Nothing is achieved by suffering in silence. It took 16 years for me to learn that I have a voice. When I used it, I found it to be the most liberating and honest one I have ever heard."
For more on Bipolar:-
Bipolar UK is one of the many online resources for information and support on Bipolar.