I hardly know where to begin, but if we were talking face to face, you would see the fire and determination in my eyes when I tell you that I am a passionate advocate and mentor for mental health.
I share my journey with mental illness to help not only people struggling with mental issues but also to bring better understanding to families, friends and the wider community to help stop the deadly STIGMA surrounding mental health.
On three occasions between 1993 and 2009, I was admitted to a hospital psychiatric ward with an episode of mental illness, each incident being triggered by unresolved, long-term emotional stress and with a diagnosis of Brief Reactive Psychosis. Interestingly, I cope well with other types of stress, thrive on working to deadlines and in recent years, have navigated huge personal and geographic change without a scar!
In recovery, I managed the chemical imbalances of my brain with a combination of prescribed medication, holistic strategies, and energy work, finding great benefit from Reiki and flower essences, which I later went on to study, in order to help others.
Speaking out about my journey hasn’t been an easy or instant process, I moved back and forth for over a year in dread of visibility but, my passion and commitment to help was stronger than the fear. I am driven to expose the elephant in the room and get people of all ages talking about their mental and emotional issues. We need to role model, especially for children, that it’s OK to talk about how we are feeling and to place equal value on our mental and physical health.
I am currently writing my biography, the process of which is a stirring experience, bringing deep emotions up for scrutiny, often resulting in laughter and tears – sometimes both at the same time. Thankfully, writing is helping me to heal on many levels, my book is emerging in its own way, with spasmodic creative surges and pauses of days, weeks or even months in between.
Revisiting the past has fueled the purpose and direction for my life and business and re-opened the door to a vision I hold, of building a centre for families and friends of patients with mental illness.
When asked recently, what was the most important factor in my recovery?” My answer is “without a doubt, the consistent, non-judgmental support of family and friends that got me through.”
Love and friendship is absolutely the BEE’s knees.