This hasn’t been the easiest post for me to write. I started writing this in October last year, hoping to have it written and published for World Mental Health day. This is a post to explain the mental health struggles I’ve had over the past few years.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder in 2013. This was after many years of being misdiagnosed and treated for plain depression. Whilst my overall mood was improved, I still didn’t feel like I was quite right. I wasn’t getting as depressed as often, but my mood was quite unstable. I would often experience violent mood swings, and would go on shopping sprees and rack up thousands of dollars on credit cards. Something was up, and it took the right psychiatrist to see it in me.
Although I am getting better, and currently on medication, it is something that I need to live with now. The mood stabilisation medication I am on is actually an epilepsy treatment, that happens to be quite good at calming the synapses in the brain that affect mood. However it, as well as the anti-depressant I’m taking, have some side effects that are less than desirable. The most common of which is weight gain. Growing up, especially into my adolescence, I have always been large and very self conscious about it. I was always the kid at the swimming pool who swam with a shirt on (which, thinking back, drew more attention to myself than I wanted it to). This unfortunate side-effect has only compounded the depression side of my illness, as lots of it is based on my self-confidence and outward appearance. Often-times, in public, I will feel like everyones eyes are focused on me. I sometimes get panic-attacks in public, especially in more crowded areas. Shopping centres often frustrate me, as do car parks. These two specific instances are where I’m most likely to have a panic attack.
I have my good days though, and they’re getting more and more frequent. In the past, I’ve had days where I’ve felt unstoppable. Where everything seemed to be going my way. Its on these days that I’ve done myself some serious damage to my credit score. I would impulse buy things from books and clothes, through to iPads, phones and computers. I remember once leaving my two-day-old iPhone 3Gs on a train, and the next day just going and getting another one on a new contract, but this time I got a larger capacity phone on a higher plan, just for the hell of it. I always had a ‘lets let future Jason deal with this’ approach when it came to that sort of thing; and when I fell in love and started a family, I suddenly became ‘future Jason’ and had to deal with all the shit that I’d done in the past.
So I’m on the medication for the bipolar, and as for the credit problems, I declared myself bankrupt last year. My past dalliances and financial over spending had caught up with me, and the constant harassment from debt collectors drove me further into depression; so I bit the bullet and went with bankruptcy. Since doing that, the calls have stopped, and my stress levels has dropped considerably.
So thats my story. I hope that reading this inspires someone out there to get the help if they need it. There are plenty of services available, like LifeLine, Beyond Blue, or even your local GP/Doctor. If you feel like something isn’t right, get help. It won’t make you any less of a person, and you’ll feel much, much better for having done so.
Remember, be kind