I am forty-nine and was diagnosed as most know with Bipolar disorder when I was thirty-nine. When I first was told by a lovely middle aged pshcologisits. I was surprised how she broke the news to me. I must have had about six or seven one hour sessions with her.

Before I get to the how you may wonder why I saw her in the first place? Well, back then I had a couple of beers, I am a non-drinker these days due to adverse effect with my mental illness and medications. I had a small amount of beer and woke up feeling like my nervous system was not right that simple; of course, there was a feeling of high elevation and pressed speech before this but I put that down to work pressure. However, I had no business or job to blame because of other unfortunate circumstances. So, I wondered what might be wrong with me and in Australia, the government will pay for ten visits a year to see a mental health professional.

Anyway, after a few visits, the psychologist came in with a piece of paper and said a few kind words and handed it over to me. It was a pamphlet about the mood disorder, Bipolar. I was dumbfounded, one because I had never heard of it and now having been told I had it. This was an earth shattering experience, I was expecting anxiety or stress maybe, not a serious mental illness. I was in a daze for a couple days. I had to go on lithium immediate and my local Doctor started me on a small dose and built up to therapeutic levels. Within a couple of weeks, I was feeling great and was amazed how well the medication worked for me.

I was not fully convinced I had it still, but the medication sure did wonders to calm my pressed speech and mood swings. My ex-wife at the time was amazed too, I calmed right down and started to sleep better and live life better. My sleep was still an issue but the Zyprexa at night fixed that pretty quick too. The night time tab was the smallest dose and also had a radical effect on my quality of life. I felt so good I decided to go and do a degree in theology, which I completed. My education continued up till recently when I completed my graduate Diploma in Pastoral Care.

Unfortunately, recently I felt so good I went off all medication, although typical behaviour for Bipolar disorder. Cut a long story short it was a tough six months off medications and I now I know for sure I have a serious mental illness. Thankfully, no hospitalisation or any harm done. Consequently, a big learning curve for me. I have a new psychiatrist now and decided to try out a new medication that does not cause weight gain like the old medications. Thankfully the no side effects so far and feel the best I have ever felt in my life. Moral of the story, if you need medication please take it and don’t self-medicate on alcohol or other stimulants. Please get help and follow the advice of your medical professionals, please do not fear mental health professionals, they are there to help you and they will if you give them a chance.

I know it’s tough Love Scott.

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