My name is Jayne, I’m 29, and I have a long history of mental health problems.
I was eight-years-old the first time I made myself sick. I carried on until I was 19. I was bulimic, and at the age of 18 I tried to kill myself because of it.
After that I had many highs and many crushing lows. At the age of 21, after suffering what they call a “mixed episode”, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Every day I take a tiny pink pill; a wonderful pink pill that helps stave off massive crazy highs and terrible, body-blowing lows.
That’s quite a bit to take in – even for me. I have to say I’ve written and re-written those few opening paragraphs dozens of times in my head. There’s a catch in my throat if I try to read them out loud. I hope I’ve got them right.
I believe in speaking out. My crazy head may impact me in many ways, but I am far more than just a list of mental health diagnoses. I’ve worked – relatively successfully – in the media and I’m currently studying a Masters course in international journalism at Cardiff University. I plan on being successful – despite and in spite of the barriers I face on a daily basis.
Most people would consider me a happy person. I generally have a positive, go-getting, adventure-seeking attitude to life. I don’t look like a mad person. Most of the time I don’t feel like a mad person. I’m just me.
I plan on being successful – despite and in spite of the barriers I face on a daily basis.
Sometimes that’s not too easy. But it’s made more bearable with the support of good doctors, good friends and my wonderful family.
I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t come across stigma – I have. I’d be lying if I said everyone understands – they don’t.
BUT, and it’s a big fat capital letter of a but, I’ve received a hell of a lot of love and support from an awful lot of people.
I feel blessed in having such good friends and family. From the people who made big gestures – driving half-way across the country to see me – to the friends and family who’ve been there with an all-important cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on when I’ve needed it. I’m grateful for all the wonderful people who accept me. For all the wonderful people who’ve shown they care.
It means a lot to be able to talk freely about what are often complex, difficult, private things. To know you can confide in people.
It makes me feel less alone, and that’s really vital in keeping my head above water when a rush of emotions take me.