Thank you Reality Hide and Seek for bringing this to my attention. I had no idea about this project but it’s definitely something I want to be involved in, anything that helps to end stigma is a good thing in my eyes. You can find out more about it and how you can take part in Blog For Mental Health 2013 by heading over to A Canvas of the Minds. First the pledge:
I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
Now I have to give you a quick rundown of my mental health bio and what it means to me. So here we go (I’ll give you the short version):
Looking back my mum tells me she can see evidence of my mental illness even as a small child, at the time though it wasn’t noticed, it was childhood tantrums or growing up or hormones. I was too young for a diagnosis of mental illness anyway.
Then, and I’m not looking for sympathy here, just telling the facts, I went to high school where I was bullied, lost my Gran, changed high schools, changed again, lost my Dad and got bullied some more all over the course of a couple of years. That sort of kick started a downhill spiral; I didn’t want to be clever so I played the stupid one and never achieved my academic potential, I started self harming and became very depressed, as I got older I acted out, I was easy, I started smoking to be cool, and then I ran away from home at 17.
When I started work and had money coming in I started partying, and I was still pretty easy. I binge drank on the weekends and my romantic relationships were intense and messy; arguments, cheating, obsessive. I attempted suicide and landed in hospital several times. It wasn’t good. It was a really bad time and I feel a lot of shame looking back on it, and intense worry that it could so easily happen again.
At some point, I genuinely don’t remember when, I obviously went to see my GP and was referred to a psychiatrist who took a lot of notes and spoke to his superiors and decided to medicate me, since then (I’m guessing about 18 or 19) I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist fairly regularly.
In the UK I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and emotionally unstable personality disorder (borderline personality disorder or BPD). They also considered a diagnosis of schizophrenia which I avoided. I was medicated with anti depressants, beta blockers and, for a brief period, anti psychotics. I met with a different psychiatrist each time generally for around 5 minutes. I had Cognitive Behaviour Therapy privately.
In France I was diagnosed with bipolar and my medication now reflects that; I am on an anti depressant, 2 mood stablisers and an anti anxiety medication and see my psychiatrist every 3 months. He reads through 3 months of notes on my sleeping and emotions and what I have done each day and advises me on how best to move forward.
I am now pretty stable and volunteer at a kennels and cattery, as well as doing occasional web design and photography work. Throughout it all I have had a strong support system in place of friends and family who have helped me a huge amount and without them I most definitely wouldn’t be here today.
I hope that if you have any mental health issues, that if you are in the midst of it and feel that there is no way out, that you can read my story and see that there is. That things can change if only you find the right help and support. Sometimes you have to fight for that help, but once you have it your entire life can turn around.
It does get better.
I’m not going to tag people, but if you read this and want to take the pledge then please do, and let me know you’ve taken it!
I’m also sharing this post on #PoCoLo to spread the word as far as possible.