Emerging from the shadows of mental illness
I have lived with depression most of my life, and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1998. My life has been punctuated with a deep sense of loss, abuse and misfortune. I would hide behind alcohol and drugs when things got out of hand.
Realising I needed professional help, I spoke to my Occupational Therapist who recommended Holyoake.
It has been an amazing learning experience. My attitude has changed from rejection to acceptance. I discovered that I can control my habits rather than being controlled by them. I honestly believed I was my own worst enemy for most of my life. I realised that I was turning to alcohol and drugs to escape, not to cope with or face my problems.
My Counsellor helped me realise that the shame and guilt I felt for events in my life were just holding me back. Opening up about everything made this less overwhelming. I started to feel more in control and more aware of my destructive behaviour.
I now see my recovery as an ongoing process, with a combination of the right medications and counselling. I see each day as a new beginning, a challenge for me to face my demons and emotions. Most importantly, to care for and be kind to myself.
I am sharing my story because it might help others. If you have mental health and substance abuse issues, I suggest you be true to yourself, open up about it, recognise there is a problem, and seek help. It could be the beginning of a new life.