A diagnosis is a terrifying, yet relieving, confirmation. Confirmation that life shouldn’t be this hard. Many wait years until they are categorised by mental health professionals. And for many people, such as myself, a diagnosis can be a gateway to another difficult and long path.
I come from an Indian background and have lived in the UK for over 30 years. In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe depression but had had many episodes from 1989 up until then. In 2008, I was then diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and have had several relapses since that time. As a result, I am now better informed about my mental illness and know how to seek out and get immediate help and support.
Many people know me as the person who laughs, smiles and jokes. But not many people know me as the person with a mental health condition. The reason for that is that there is no way of telling if somebody has a mental health condition.
I first met Ron 10 years ago, when we were both hospitalized on a psychiatric ward. It was my first hospitalization for depression, whereas he had schizophrenia and had been hospitalized multiple times before. We connected instantly, despite the strong disapproval of the hospital staff, and formed an intense bond that would last for years.