I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I in January 2006 at the age of 31, after multiple attempts on my life.
|I had lived with mental illness since my mid-teens, but in the same way as so many, spent my life too scared to talk to those around me, feeling misunderstood by the medical profession and feeling like an abysmal failure.
Through 3 aborted attempts at a degree, increasing debts, self-harm, broken friendships and the intense swings between mania and depression, my life was destroyed to the point that I could take no more.A decade later, I have forged a successful career within Human Resources, completed 10 marathons and, of most pride to me, been able to work closely with Mind, the mental health charity, as an ambassador and fundraiser.
It has not been without challenges and obstacles, but speaking openly about my illness has given me the tools to deal with such difficulties. I have learned not to fight my illness but to embrace it and accept that it has given me the opportunity to change other lives. Although I have appeared in various media and advertising campaigns, I derive greater satisfaction from the awareness work I have been able to do in schools, workplaces and small groups.
Every day is an opportunity to give something back to others living through the same difficulties that nearly deprived me of my own life.
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