One day at a time
We are really grateful to Geraldine, a RWC learner and ‘Friend of the College’, who has kindly shared with us her story of living with Bipolar and some wonderful insights into what keeps her well.”
“Life before my mental health problems was wonderful; I was happily married, with 4 beautiful children and a demanding but enjoyable job, but things changed. I was bullied at work, so stressed that I had a suspected heart attack, elderly parents living in Ireland who needed support and a husband with a Cancer diagnosis. Within a short period of time, I changed jobs, moved house, lost my husband and both my parents. I then had a breakdown.
Anxiety and Depression took hold. I was unable to leave the house for months, not caring for myself or eating properly. I lost touch with friends and my family support network consisted of my only brother. The emotions I experienced led to thoughts of suicide. However, over the course of 10 years, I received support from my GP, the Boothroyd Centre in Dewsbury and my daughter who now works in Mental Health Services, all of whom have been enormously helpful. Although I discovered my diagnosis of Bipolar by chance (I happened to see it on some paperwork) I felt happy, knowing what was wrong. Personally, I found it reassuring that I felt like I did due to a chemical imbalance in my brain rather than being attributed to life events.
The Recovery & Wellbeing College has also been a huge help. I’d expressed an interest in A Plan for Living Well but it was a 10wk course and I was hesitant about booking on, but having spoken to Matt at the RWC (who could sell snow to the Eskimo’s!) I decided to give it a go and it changed my life! I learnt, from being with others who understand, that it’s okay to ask for help or to do nothing for a few days and to try not to worry about what might happen, because it likely never will.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that talking therapies work. While my own support network was initially small, I extended it by joining walking and sewing groups, book clubs and the Recovery College, all of which have helped me feel well. While my mental health means there are certain things I can’t do, I take it one day at a time. I’ve become more accepting and make the best of it. Life is good.”
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