So the topic of mental health gets a page all of its own because for the last 10 years it has played centre stage in my life. Since I am now 36 that is almost a third of my life that I have been living with, and at times severely impacted by metal illness.
The journey from health to mental hell was a very scary and traumatising experiencing when I first became unwell at the age of 27. For me anxiety and issues with bulimia were the first to surface. At that time I hid my pain out of fear and buried a lot of what was happening in my inner world. I used distraction to cope and avoid until eventually I burned out and I came crashing down. What followed was a very long depression and the start of many years of bouncing between depression and anxiety without much resolution.
Then after many a year of working on myself and many admissions, therapies & medication trials I found something that worked. It was a long road for me and an even longer one for me to trust the services around me. Finally I worked with my doctor who suggested a diagnosis of bipolar based on my history and my constant oscillating between high and low moods. The instability was after all these years a strong indicator. Even though I was the creative type my level of inconsistency was disabling. Something had to change. I agreed to try the ” gold standard ” in treatment for bipolar treatment medication, lithium. Within three months I was stable! Thankfully outside of life’s regular ups & downs I have be stable since and free of hospital admissions.
While accepting a label at first was hard for me the positive kickback was that I found freedom also. The medication brought balance and the education around the illness gave me insight into symptoms. Nowadays living with bipolar is part of my life and just another page in my story. I do what I need to do to maintain my recovery and this empowers me to feel in control. Recovery finally happened for me and for anyone reading this page who identifies with a struggle with their mental health know it can happen for you too. The help is there. Begin with your GP or trusted healthcare professional.
P.S. This is a song I wrote dedicated to the people who lose their lives to suicide.