Conditions of the mind can be incredibly hard to describe. How do you actually define anxiety when we live in a world of individuals who will experience the same things differently? This can make it very hard for other people to understand as well, for if something can't be described how can someone know what it is? In my opinion, this is one of the greatest problems those experiencing mental health problems face. The day after my manic episode was one of the hardest days I've had since my current condition began.
Three years ago last month, my mind lost touch with reality in a very rapid turn of events that culminated in an acute manic episode of bipolar affective disorder. Having been diagnosed with bipolar in 2004, I had not experienced any mania or hypomania (a lesser manic state) in ten years, although I had fallen into a suicidal depression just six months earlier.
I'm a 39 year old father of two, music producer and I’ve worked in many areas of the entertainment industry for the last 20 years. Although I’ve only just properly understood what mental health is, I've experienced anxiety and depression my entire life it seems, which has been further complicated by the suspected Asperger’s (high functioning autism) and ADHD that I'm halfway through diagnosis for. I’ve lived a very confused existence, not truly knowing who I am and being very insecure about why I feel and act the way I do.
It was 2006 and over the previous three years I had spent more time in hospital than out of hospital. I’d been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had become quite recluse. This point in time was, looking back, perhaps the low point of my life, I had almost given up on friendship altogether. I’d hardly seen my friends since becoming unwell.
I have a personality disorder. I have had it my entire life, but I was only diagnosed two years ago. Since then, and especially in the past six months, I have noticed a difference in how other people react if I choose to disclose that I happen to have a personality disorder and it has cost me to the point that I now feel at a detriment if I access support even if I really need it.