WORLD BIPOLAR DAY
For the past five years, Kaitlyn’s life has been a rollercoaster of change and emotional turmoil. However, despite battling Bipolar Disorder, depression, alcoholism and an addiction to prescription drugs, she still counts herself as lucky.
“My journey has been turbulent, but it’s also been one of personal growth and achievement,” says the 25-year-old. “I have met and worked with some amazing people and without their support I wouldn’t be here today.”
Kaitlyn was just 20 when she found herself sitting in a psychologist’s room: she was depressed and her reckless behaviour was becoming increasingly out of control. Trying to cope with a difficult period in her life, she was also drinking heavily.
Within a year, she was admitted to rehabilitation for alcohol addiction. Over the next three years, she would be admitted a further three times. And alcohol wasn’t her only problem: she was abusing medications, committing self-harm and had even attempted suicide.
With seemingly no future in sight, Kaitlyn was referred to Mentis Assist. Life suddenly took a positive turn.
“My outreach worker was amazing. She worked with me on strategies to manage my anxiety and depression and find better ways to deal with life and relationships. She found me accommodation and supported me in returning to study” (Kaitlyn is completing a Diploma in counselling).
What seemed a setback six months ago, when Kaitlyn was admitted to hospital, turned out to be a blessing: she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and finally prescribed medication to balance her moods.
“My life has changed dramatically. I am now more present, feel happier and better able to cope. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm have gone,” she says.
Kaitlyn now sees a future for herself: “Without the support of so many I wouldn’t be here today. I am so grateful and hope to one day give back to the community by working in the mental health field.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
The symptoms of Bipolar disorder include experiencing extreme highs and lows. Highs may be characterised by feeling over-excited with a sense of heightened self-importance.
Lows include feelings of depression as well as difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
Some people experience one more than the other, others jump between highs and lows more rapidly.
Mentis Assist has a range of community programs and one-on-one support workers who can help you understand and live with Bipolar. Contact us to find out how you can get help.