I live in the UK and have experience of episodes of severe mental illness and also the chronic residual features of mental distress which I manage on a day by day basis. I work within mental health so I see things from ‘both sides of the fence’.
I believe that some of us are predisposed to experience mental ill health through our genetics and that sometimes life experiences trigger off the illness we have a predisposition towards.
I have a family history of mental illness which I didn’t know about until a couple of years ago when I located my fathers family with whom I had no contact with since early childhood. An uncle with Bipolar Affective Disorder and and Aunt who took her own life so if there is a genetic link it is certainly there. My maternal grandmother tells me of a relative with ‘religious mania’ and one with ‘milk fever’ which I believe is postnatal psychosis in modern language.
In addition to the above I experienced trauma at a young age which although I have healed emotionally is the part of my life I seem to dwell on when I am experiencing an episode of depression.
I am a great believer in what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and also the fact we may have had no control over events which happened to us but we do have control over how we let it affect our future. My illness is very biological in nature however with episodes usually having no recognisable trigger.
It took a long time and a couple of thousand pounds worth of therapy for me to be able to say “I am not ashamed of my past” (the more I say it the better the cost per use is!) and I truly believe in that. If my experiences can help others then that’s great.
The only reason I blog anonymously is because of my professional boundaries for work, I want to validate everyone’s experiences of life as individual to them and not have them feel I am making comparisons but I am open about my experiences of mental illness and often also with trauma, with friends if they come up in conversation in person. I would also hate to have anyone use my personal experiences as a reflection of my professionalism as I am more than my diagnosis and experiences. One day maybe I will be more open but for now just call me SS!
Feel free to message me or comment on my blog. Keep fighting folks… Xx