I’ve seen this post on a few different blogs now (but firstly on Jenny In Neverland’s lovely blog) and I think it’s so important to get talking about our mental health and our different experiences! So I thought I would do my own post sharing a bit more about myself.
What is your mental health issue?
I have bipolar disorder and I’ve previously been diagnosed with depression, anorexia and OSFED at times when I’ve not quite met the criteria for anorexia.
Do you have medication and/or therapy?
I currently take medication but I’m not having any therapy. I’m actually doing really well and was recently discharged from the community mental health team.
What therapy/medication have you tried and have any worked for you?
Medication wise I have had a few different antidepressants; some of these were better than others although I never found any particularly helpful.
I’ve also taken a couple of antipsychotics which had unbearable side effects for me. I currently take an antiepileptic as a mood stabiliser which has worked wonders and also has no side effects for me at all.
In terms of therapy, I’ve had CBT more than once and hated it. It just doesn’t work for me. I also had counselling for a number of years. My most recent therapy was interpersonal therapy delivered by my eating disorder team. This was definitely the most helpful talking intervention I’ve had.
How long have you had problems for?
As long as I can remember. I recall having body image issues from around age 8/9, which developed into an eating disorder by around age 13. I’ve had difficulties with my mood since being a teenager, although more often with low mood than high, so I didn’t get diagnosed as having bipolar disorder for a long time.
Do your family/friends know?
I’m not actually sure who does and doesn’t, because it’s rare I explicitly talk to people about it. I am pretty vocal on social media though so I suspect lots of people know.
Does this affect your work and daily living?
At times over the last 14/15 years it has massively impacted my daily living. I’ve been behind on education several times due to being in hospital or in therapy and too unwell to participate, meaning I’ve had to take years out of studying and repeat exams.
Even during university following a manic episode I had to have some time off which definitely affected my performance – this was exacerbated even more by struggling with side effects from new medication.
However, currently I don’t feel as though my life is really affected at all, I honestly feel completely stable in my mental health at the moment. The only way in which I would say it impacts me is that I do have a constant underlying anxiety that at some point in the future, I will again be depressed or manic, and that my life will become disrupted by this. Its something I try not to worry too much about – I know it will happen again one day, so I just have to make the most of how I feel now. I do also feel frustrated sometimes at the prospect of having to take medication forever, but taking it is better than the alternative.
What makes you feel calm?
My boyfriend, my friends and my pets. Reading, colouring and holidays too!
What do you do in crisis?
That’s something I’m still working on I guess, although I did get very good at going to my GP if I felt I needed to. I had an amazing GP who left unfortunately, so I definitely don’t feel as supported there anymore. If I’m honest I don’t think I’m particularly good at managing in a crisis, although with time I’m sure that will improve.
What advice would you give to others suffering?
Don’t suffer in silence! Talk to people: your friends, family, GP, therapist – whoever you can. There’s so many support groups online too if you can’t face talking to somebody in person.
Don’t be ashamed. Everybody is fighting a different battle, and yours is just as valid.
Lastly, don’t give up. Never believe that things won’t get any better. They can and they do; it’s hard work but you have to keep going. Recovery is so worthwhile in the end.
What makes you smile?
People I love, sunshine, my pets, RuPauls Drag Race, cat videos, seeing people be kind to each other.
Describe your mental health issue in 3 words:
Tiring, scary, frustrating.
Feel free to do a post of your own! Let’s get sharing about mental health and the different ways it affects everyone.