Dealing with mental illness can be incredibly challenging. Dealing with mental illness at any age is hard; it can be lonely, isolating, difficult and upsetting.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back when I was 18, but that wasn’t when my troubles began. Let’s head back to 2007.
I was 14, a bright young student in secondary school, with a big future ahead. I was getting good grades, I enjoyed school, had lots of friends and a great relationship with my family. What changed? My mental health.
I found myself one night feeling incredibly low and down, however, I couldn’t pinpoint why; there was no reason for me to feel this way. It lasted around 2 weeks, and then my mood instantly shifted. I was elated. Sky high, the world was my oyster and I could do anything and everything! Then I came down, and after a brief period of what I can only describe as stability, the low mood began again. I had absolutely no clue as to what was going on with me. Back in 2007, I had no resources of mental health that I knew of, no celebrities were talking it, there were no mental health bloggers; I felt completely alone.
I spent the next 4 years on a rollercoaster of emotions, fighting the depression, and soaring through the highs. I spent years at war with my mind and my body, and I couldn’t see a way out.
When I hit 18, my moms stepped in. After realising my behaviour was more than just the average teen mood swings, she took me to a doctor, where after numerous tests and questions, I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I felt instant relief. Finally, a name to my issues! It was at that moment I finally accepted the help I so desperately needed.
It wasn’t till a few years had passed I became more comfortable sharing my mental health with the world. Celebrities were coming forward with their own stories, blogging about mental health became a thing, and charities grew and continue to help so many people in need.
I still have dark days though, I still have days where the world feels heavy on my shoulders, and I feel myself slipping back into the darkness. Thankfully, I don’t allow myself to fall back into old habits. A great tip is simply to talk to someone, get it off your chest! They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and I strongly agree.
My mom was my rock for so many years, and the amount of times I went to her in tears because I needed someone to talk to; I still do now!
It’s okay to talk, it doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed at anything, it means you are strong enough to allow other people to help you.
Looking back to how I was, I am so proud of how far I’ve come. I now have a very good support system including my parents and boyfriend, I’m now on a variety of medications that keep my mood stable and regularly go to therapy. It’s okay to talk about your problems! It’s okay if right now things are a little hard, just remember there is always someone there to help, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a partner, a loved one, a colleague, even a charity helpline, there is always someone there.
You deserve to be here, and you deserve the help. It’s okay not to be okay, you don’t have to suffer in silence anymore.