August 12, 2013

Last week I watched ‘Rachel Bruno: My Dad and Me’. The programme really hit a note with me, as it showed both sides and more information about bipolar disorder, how those diagnosed live with it, or should I say learn to live with it and how difficult it is for those around them.

Rachel Bruno talked to doctors, psychiatrists and local charities about the condition and the symptoms of bipolar. By doing this she started to understand why her Dad behaves like he does, both in the past and now. One psychiatrist, Dr Mark Slater showed an outline of the brain and how it works when someone is experiencing a mental illness.

“Mood changes your thinking and thinking changes your mood”

I found some of Dr Mark Slater’s comments particularly interesting, “Mood changes your thinking and thinking changes your mood”, and “nothing predicts the future like the past”. When I applied this to myself, I thought back to those dark days I had and still have and how I was thinking, how it led to me feeling tired, withdrawn and sad.

As a writer I often pick up on quotes and use them in my recovery, to remind me that yes I am ill, I am learning to manage this illness and using the support and information that is out there to do so, it is a long road, but I see it as a journey.

I urge you to watch this programme and hopefully like me, it will help you find a link to your family, if you can, ask them to watch it. It will also help you to understand your illness and that it can be managed and you can live a good life.

Becoming a Time to Change Champion

We must continue to “talk” and raise awareness around mental illness. I became aware of Time to Change after reading an article in the Sunday Mirror about Frank Bruno and his illness. It was great to find some support out there. After checking out the website I saw that you can become a Time to Change Champion, help spread the word and campaign against stigma. I thought this would help me in my recovery and also enable me to give something back, so I joined immediately.

This took me to the Time to Change 'Speaking Out' training, which I attended on the 2nd July this year. It was so uplifting, an opportunity to talk to others that are suffering too and that want to make a difference.

Meeting other Champions

A few weeks after that I attended a Time to Change Networking event, where I met more people, other Champions and contacts. We all had that common ground, it felt good.

On the 20th July 2013, I used my experience and knowledge as a trainer to support in the delivery of this training. As I really believed in it, this gave me the opportunity to see it from the other side, and it was just as uplifting if not more so.

My next steps campaigning locally

I am going to go on from here and support my local Mind to deliver the Speak Out training to encourage more people to talk about mental illness. I am also involved in the organisation of the Time to Change Village event when it visits my local area in Newcastle on the 5th October.

A quote to end with for you:

Anybody who is living a rollercoaster life is living

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What are Time to Change Champions?

Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems (including carers) who campaign to end mental health discrimination in their communities.

Sign up to become a Time to Change Champion and raise awareness by speaking out about your experiences at events and anti-stigma projects.



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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.