When I left hospital in 2014, after being sectioned and treated for a severe manic episode that featured psychosis, I knew I had to start talking about my mental health. I wanted the stigma that surrounds mental illness and particularly bipolar disorder and other such illness, to lessen (and eventually fall). I wanted to raise my voice and share what had happened to me, with the hope of helping others.

Publishing my story

So, when I was ready, in 2017, I contacted Trigger Publishing, an independent mental health publisher (part of the Shaw Mind Foundation) about writing a book of my life story for a book series they run. They loved the idea and so I began to write. It wasn’t easy at times, it was painful recalling what I had been through, but this week my book ‘Bring me to Light: Embracing Bipolar and Social Anxiety’ is being published. 

I am now 31, but was just 16 when I was diagnosed with bipolar 1  as an inpatient at the Priory Hospital North London. It was hard to deal with this diagnosis at such a young age and I didn’t know then what my future would hold. Bipolar is a serious mental illness that causes a change in mood states to either manic highs or depressive lows, with a state of functioning between episodes. As someone living with this, I also have experienced psychosis which needs quick hospitalisation as my mind spirals wildly out of control. I have been hospitalised twice for my bipolar, both times due to an extreme episode of mania and psychosis.

I was able to go to university and get my degrees, travel, make friends, date and live my life. In 2013, after some life stressors, I began to experience a depression which featured suicidal thinking. It was very scary . Depression of this kind is so hard to deal with. Luckily, due to my fears about the suicidal thoughts, I shared this with my family and medical team. I didn’t want to act on it, just escape from the pain my mind was in.

Antidepressants a trigger?

Sadly, the depression turned into a period of mania, possibly caused by taking anti depressants. This is always a risk with bipolar. I was agitated, speaking very fast, with racing thoughts. The psychosis then started, with my mind believing falsely that I was being held by a criminal gang. It was so frightening. I was treated with medication again and over several months engaged with therapy in hospital. My life line was starting on the medicine Lithium, which has stabilised my moods for the past 5 years and enabled me to live life again. 

I would like my book to help people out there maybe other scared 16 year olds or parents who have just received a diagnosis. To anyone out there in hospital with bipolar or who is struggling. To know that you can recover and find wellness again, with support. You can live a positive life and you don’t have to live in fear of constant episodes. I have brought my bipolar to light and I hope it helps many others with theirs.

Bring me to Light is published by Trigger Publishing and available on Amazon and at other book stores.