My name is Joanne and I have Bipolar Affective Disorder. I was 18 and in college in Maynooth when in the first week of college I was not acting myself. I was not able to sleep at all for a whole week and I was staying in digs in Maynooth. My best friend who was staying with me noticed that I was not able to keep my concentration and that I was withdrawn and not the usual happy chirpy person that she knew. The second week back in college my grandmother died and I got a call to my digs (I did not have a mobile phone back then it was 1998!) and I was distraught – everything was changing. I had to start a new college in a new town, and then another change, my beloved grandmother had died. I went home straight away on the train and went to the removal and funeral.
The next week I went back to college and I broke down completely and had to defer my course and visit my G.P. After a few weeks where my symptoms were not improving, my doctor reluctantly sent me to hospital. There I had physical therapy and counselling as well as medication. I felt much better having got a diagnosis and could research and talk to people online and in person with the exact same illness as I had.
I am now in my final year in my two year course and am much more positive. I only listen to positive music, read positive stories and watch positive films. I use affirmations that I have found in books and on line over the years. I use them when I am feeling down to get me back on the positive track. Being positive requires energy and effort but it is so worth it in the long run – things seem to go my way when I am positive, when I am not they don’t!!
I cannot overemphasise the need to exercise though – it is a must when you have a mental illness. It helps to change a mood, even a simple walk around the block can make you solve a problem that was bothering you and you feel so much better. I also find visualisations helpful and counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
I have experienced people slagging off people with mental illness, which really annoys me. I feel that if these people were to be more educated in how tough is to suffer with a mental illness they would not be as quick to judge. The best you can do if you hear anyone speaking derogatorily about mental illness is to not take it personally and aspire to be the best you can and get the most out of life no matter what.
Here is a great quote from Mark Twain I like: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great”
If you need support please checkout the following links;
Or you can call the following;