Being honest about mental health...
Today I wanted to get honest about mental health. There are lots of articles and posts out there about being positive (I've probably written a couple...) but sometimes it's makes it sound so easy when really it's not. Today I wanted to get real about my experience with mental illness and how despite all the bad stuff there is some light. Hopefully you can relate.
1. I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder.
2. I have been on three different types of anti-depressants, beta blockers and diazepham.
3. I currently take anti-psychotic mood stabilisers and anti-depressants and probably will for the rest of my life.
4. I have contemplated suicide and made plans a number of times before my diagnosis.
5. I have had counselling and CBT, seen many psychiatrists, been to different hospitals and I've lost count of the amount of assessments I've had. I am currently in regular contact with my GP and awaiting more referrals.
6. At my worst I couldn't leave the house. I spent around a year of my life only able to go out with close family and even then it often led to panic attacks.
7. I don't have many friends, and have never had a long term relationship. I feel like I lost most of my twenties to my illness.
8. I strongly believe in getting a diagnosis and medication. It has enabled me to start living my life again. I am in my second year of university and have been at my current job for nearly two years all thanks to a diagnosis, the right meds, and being mostly stable for the longest time in my life.
I am slowly rebuilding my life. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I feel positive about reaching my goals. If you are not quite there yet, then believe me when I say it gets better. It's not easy but it is manageable and with hard work you can do anything you set your mind at. Believe in your own strength and ability.
(Art by Robin Eisenburg)