When asked to write a blog by TTCWales about the stigma attached to mental health problems I leapt at the chance.

My reason? On numerous occasions I have wished that mine was a physical, rather than a mental health problem.

You may feel this is strange, but the chances are if you enjoy good mental health then your understanding and empathy for the difficulties encountered by a person with a physical health problem would be greater than it would for somebody suffering from a debilitating mental health problem.

5 months ago I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder Type 2 after 12 years of turmoil. The relief I felt was immense in the first instance, but then I quickly realised that this was only the first step.  

One thing I completely underestimated was the reaction of my family and friends and my own embarrassment to my newly found diagnosis.

You see, I was embarrassed because rarely had I experienced open discussions about mental health issues during my life. Nor was I subjected to any media coverage. Ok I knew about diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc but I cannot recollect seeing anything about mental health.

The ultimate conversation stopper. The awkward silence. The concentration on their faces trying to move from the topic. 

At first, I used to be so embarrassed at their response. Then angry inside. 

Then I realised, if I felt embarrassed how could I expect any different from someone else?

This is my reason why it's time to change. 

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