I remember the day that I was diagnosed with Bipolar. It was all a blur and extremely frightening however once I had recovered from my major episode and was discharged from hospital, I felt the need to find out and research more about this diagnosis and condition. I knew what I was up against and it now explained the reason for my mood swings. It wasn’t that I was simply a mess, or losing my mind or any of those negative things that are sometimes associated with mental health conditions. It was that I had a genuine, recognised condition and was now able to take steps to remedy it and find out more about Bipolar.
This spurred me on to find out why this had happened, wearing a mask for years and supressing all my intimate thoughts and feelings could explain the depression but what about the manic episode?
Now this was a completely different kettle of fish and I spent years researching and experiencing more episodes and hospitalization to finally find out what I believe to be true. Now this is only my belief as everyone is different and unique in their own way. To me it felt like I was being controlled by some unknown energy or force, making me do things that I could only watch from a distance which sounds bizarre I know. I have written a book about it as it’s mind blowing, however this is only my opinion and each circumstance is different.
This diagnosis was the catalyst for a mission to raise awareness and remove stigma from mental health illnesses. Being bipolar myself has gifted me with the lived experience and desire to help others in the same boat or similar. Helping others is intrinsic to me and always has been, never more so than now during this pandemic. My greatest dream is that by using my voice and my story, I am able to help give others the impetus and the courage to speak out about their own experiences without fear of persecution, judgement or abuse.
I have set up my own mental health awareness and education charity, Heads2Minds, where I tell the story of how my condition has affected family, relationships, work and other aspects of life through talks with schools, colleges, universities, employment forums, the Essex police and other various groups. Heads2Minds has had some amazing feedback and truly positive comments, which only fuels their goal of reaching out to and inspiring others.
Living with this condition has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective and has given me the drive and motivation to carry out the work that I do. However, I need to ensure I look after myself, too much pressure and stress could potentially trigger another episode. This happened last October, I was under a huge amount of pressure at work and in my home life, I recognised the warning signs and triggers too late and ended up having a massive psychotic episode which lasted all day and resulted in the crisis team being called out to my home. I avoided being sectioned thankfully as they gave me some strong medication to knock me out. I did feel like a zombie the next day but was relieved I didn’t go to hospital.
Looking after your mind-set and ensuring you take time to look after yourselves is so imperative with or without a diagnosis. Everybody has Mental Health as we experience emotions, feelings and behaviours and all have a mind, so I encourage you to really spend time relaxing and calming your mind.
Heads2minds passion is to be the rock that people can hold onto, knowing that we understand them, we support them, honour them and are always in their corner.