Chris’s journey with mental illness started as a young teenager but he didn’t see a psychologist until his mid 30’s. He was diagnosed with bipolar 2 at the age of 41, after a long period of rapid cycling.
In 2001 he started to use antidepressants, but they did not make much difference at all. He also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, for which he uses medication when the symptoms get too severe.
He first tried to use ECT treatment in 2009 or 2010 but unfortunately it did not work and he had to get back onto medication for his severe depression. Chris had his biggest breakdown in 2015. His depression is not just feeling down, sad, unmotivated or isolating himself, it gets much more severe. He cannot actually physically get out of bed, he can’t shower, eat, drink or take care of himself.
Back in 2015 he was admitted to the Melbourne clinic to get some more ECT and a new medication regime. He stayed in hospital for 7 weeks and after returning home he had a relapse within a week. He returned to the Melbourne Clinic for another round of ECT and had yet another complete medication change. He went back home after 6 weeks and afterwards struggled either with low or extreme depression, but no mania or highs.
The breakthrough came in early 2018. Chris was put under the professional care at the Melbourne Clinic and he was given TMS. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation(TMS) is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective. This treatment in conjunction with a good medication regime changed Chris’s life.
Since he has been given TMS Chris feels balanced, in control of his emotions and happy. He talks about his bipolar 2 openly and also his treatments and he does give people who tried everything for depression hope. Chris met his wife in his early 20’s and he knew straight away that she will be the one who he is going to marry. They have been married for 30 years and he openly says, that on many occasions his wife saved his life.
They enjoy each other’s company so much they do everything together, be it working in their business, playing golf or going away. They are truly best friends and blessed with two wonderful children.
Chris believes, that even so you might be diagnosed with bipolar, it’s worth to keep trying – as even if you might not be able to beat bipolar you can make living with it manageable. Chris surely is proof of this.