It was a couple of years ago that I first started to experience depression. For the first six months, I didn’t really talk to anyone about it. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems or add to their load.
But over time, I started having extremely bad anxiety and was becoming more depressed. School was using the little effort I had left. I gave up all my after-school clubs, all sporting events. I wouldn't eat at school or at home.
After a few months, I reached out to my friends about what was happening. But sadly, at that time they just came out with remarks about how I was being ungrateful and it was all for attention.
I felt extremely judged. Their comments made me feel worse.
When I figured out something was wrong it was too late. It consumed me. I was so close to going through with it until someone rang and snapped me out of the way I was feeling. At the time I thought I had no one, no family or friends. I felt like I couldn’t speak to anyone about my mental health.
I had already lost a close friend to suicide. I’d heard about the high suicide rates amongst men which made me think “why is there no help for men to talk about their mental health” - because at the time I didn’t know how or where to get help from.
Many people believe having bipolar means simply dealing with alternating very high and very low moods, but there is so much more to it. During a manic phase, the person can experience delusional hallucinations, which can be terrifying. During a depressive phase, the person may become very forgetful or indecisive. It isn’t as simple as “today I’m happy, tomorrow I’m sad”. It can be life-threatening. So please, the next time you crack a “bipolar joke” – bear this in mind.