Collette recently shared her story on our Make A Ripple story-sharing portal.
This series of blog posts are part of the See Change Make a Ripple campaign, an initiative to help end the stigma of mental health problems by sharing experiences and building public understanding.
If you’d like to tell your story, you can visit the Make a Ripple stories portal. If you’d like to write a longer piece like the one below, you can contact a member of the See Change campaign team at email@example.com or on 01 8601620.
My name is Collette. I’m 30. I’m from Mayo, and I live with bipolar depression.
I struggled with depression and anxiety from the age of 15, but I was 18 before I was diagnosed.
I remember feeling then that my dreams were all over. But out of this dark time grew the thought that one day I would help others…
In 2010, I grouped together with a small bunch of local people to set up a small mental health charity in Mayo. We now fund yoga, pottery, aromatherapy, gym membership and a tutor for a self expression/art group in a local mental health day centre. And the feedback from service users is very positive.
In order to stay well, I find that following a healthy diet, walking, getting plenty of sleep and talking to supportive loved ones helps me.
I have experienced stigma. And although people who know me have said hurtful or negative things to me in the past, I don’t feel any disgrace.
There is no shame in having struggled.
Mental health problems can affect any one of us at any time during our lives. But, you are not your mental health problem. You are your gifts, your talents and your dreams.
There is hope, there is recovery.
There is hope, there is help; if you need to speak with someone, click through for a list of organisations that can help.
See Change understands that there is a complex multiplicity of perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change, funders, or partner organisations.