Our stories

Our Stories

Andrew’s story

Although my real name is not Andrew, I have chosen this alias to protect my real identity, as this story contains some very descriptive accounts of my experience with Bipolar disorder. This sickness has led me to some close encounters with suicide. I wish to protect my family and loved ones from the stigma that still remains even in these enlightened times. In this story, I have tried to capture...

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Anna’s story

Initially I was diagnosed wit Post Natal Depression 19 years ago, shortly after I had my first daughter. The diagnosis changed later to Clinical Depression and about 6 years ago my psychiatrist of 15 years diagnosed me with Bipolat 2. At first it was a shocked and I did not want to accept my diagnosis of bipolar. I just could not see how I possibly could have this condition. But I had to accept...

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Anne’s story

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. So when my brain fell into full...

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Beth’s story

I didn't have any history of mental ill health until 2010, when I had depression and was prescribed Prozac. A year later, a series of events led me to become manic and psychotic: my relationship ended, I moved house, I experienced bullying at work for four years, was promoted and I needed to have my nose reconstructed following a sporting injury. I became 'hyper' but initially neither me nor my...

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BlueSkyLady’s Story

I really had wanted to sit and to start to write my 'story' of mental illness earlier than this. I tried very hard to, but something stopped me each time from engaging in a first person narrative. I just couldn't do it. It was frustrating me- why now, why not! I've been sitting with this task for a while thinking that my struggle was with self honesty or resistance to a vulnerability that I...

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Caitlin’s Story

My name is Caitlin and I’m 34 years old. I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 19, but I’ve probably been struggling with anxiety for my whole life. I am writing this today after seeing others share their stories of recovery from mental illness and feeling inspired to do the same. At times, living with depression and anxiety feels overwhelming and life feels hopeless. I...

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Chris’s Story

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...

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Clare’s story

Clare’s story ended on the twenty seventh of October 2000 when she made a tragic decision to end her life. There had been other attempts but always there had been someone nearby to seek help. Medical help and intensive care had always brought her back to us. This time was to be different. On that day she was determined to be successful and escape the Bi-polar disorder that had made her life a...

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Ingrid’s story

Some people can’t conceive of what it is like to have the policies of politicians who have little concept of living with a disability continually threatening to erode your already meagre standard of living. Six years ago I fell into a clinical depression partly over this very issue. It was awful! I couldn't laugh, cry or SLEEP for 4 1/2 months!! Just prior to this time, I had been having a type...

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In praise of support groups

I have been officially bipolar for 18 years, long enough for it to become an adult and get a driver’s licence. And it has taken that me that long to become an adult too. I am 47. For most of the time since the diagnosis I thought if I took my medications daily, visited the psychiatrist regularly and did talk therapy I could look and be like everyone else. I thought if I worked on my health...

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Jason’s story

I’m Jason, I am 26 and I have bipolar type 2. I am NOT Bipolar, but I live with bipolar. It is a strange thing that seems to occur in our society ‘do you know that this person is bipolar?’ What?? They are the embodiment of a whole illness? Great news, at least we have now isolated it to one person, wait what? There’s another person that is also bipolar? NO! Just flat out no, we do not suddenly...

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Jerry’s story (interview)

What is your diagnosis? Bipolar Schizoaffective How old are you now and when did you get diagnosed? I am 57 now.  When I was 15 I had racing thoughts when I got stressed.  Deep depressions started when I was 19.  At age 27 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 6 months after a serious motorbike accident.  9 months after that I was diagnosed Bipolar Schizoaffective. How many episodes have you...

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John’s story

I am now in my 50’s and have bipolar disorder. I am fortunate that my depression periods are mild, although prolonged. But my highs are high! I now believe that my symptoms began in my mid 20’s and I have been undiagnosed most of my adult life. I abandoned university at 20 and traveled to South Africa where I worked for 18 months and I also journeyed up through Africa for a year. It’s still my...

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Journey in the Highlands – by John

It’s difficult to count now, but I suppose I’ve had around 20 intense high’s through my life. This is an account of a particular high, and looking back, I realise it caught me by surprise on New Years Day a few years back. Four years ago, in conjunction with my psychoanalyst, I worked for some 12 months on learning to recognise the early signs of onset of my bipolar symptoms. It’s usually...

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Joy’s story

For the first time since being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I am starting to feel some hope.  Hope that I may in fact be able to experience some joy in my future despite having one of the main disorders I never, ever wanted to have.  I honestly would have chosen all manner of disorders over this one.  I hate it.  I hate that it robs me of my right to be me.  I hate that it can cause me to...

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Kay’s story

Kay is proud of the framed certificates on her bedroom wall. They are her Diploma of Applied Science and Community Health, Graduate Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Nursing and Membership of the College of Nursing. The context in which these qualifications were achieved makes them remarkable. You see she suffered repeated bouts of severe depression with suicide attempts between the ages of 17...

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Michael’s story

My name is Mick and this is my short story of surviving with Manic Depression. This is an illness that I wouldn't wish on anyone, unless I was in a foul mood. Which unfortunately, is regularly, but at the same time spasmodic. It is not easy describing this sometimes-evil merry-go-round. Most people in their lives grow up, and mature as they get older, but I have found in my life I have gone...

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Nat’s story

In 1997 I was a happy person. I had recently moved to the city with my then-boyfriend, gotten a little distance from my family, and started attending university. I was feeling uplifted by the challenge. I was used to a roller-coaster of moods through my earlier teenage years, but I thought that turbulence was behind me. I had no idea anything was brewing in my brain. Unfortunately, by the end of...

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Paul’s ECT diary

18th February. Well, ok, no more real excuses left I suppose I had better write at least something or later rue that I did not. I have just had my first treatment of ECT - electro-shock therapy. I had it at around 7.30 and it is now 9. I am wearing purple underwear and multi-coloured socks that do not match and I am typing at my desk in a room at the Perth Clinic. I feel ok, no worse than usual...

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Paul Robertson’s story of mania

I have a huge swelling feeling growing in the back of my head, reaching forward in grasping fibrillated and soggy claws. I know this feeling, frenetic as it is, coiled and sprung and filled up with sand. It is MANIA jumpstarting my head and collapsing into itself like a singularity or a sandcastle or a limestone blow hole. I love it and cherish it at the same time as despising it and feeding it...

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Ryan’s Story

When the Black Dog’s psychiatrist walked into the room, I became worried that I was going to have to deliver her baby for her. Susan was as pregnant as I have ever seen anyone that wasn’t in a maternity ward. The doctor had lovely straight brown hair left out, slightly freckled skin and that unmistakable pregnant woman glow, along with a cute smile that made me feel very comfortable. If Susan...

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Samantha J’s Story

If there were a button you could push to be cured of Bipolar, I would push it with only a second’s hesitation. Not only is it difficult to live with it at times, it is invisible to the naked eye, there is no plaster cast to see, peak flow or blood sugar test to measure. It is that reason that I am writing this, to give a glimpse inside my head and life, to make mental illness visible. Although...

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Sean’s story (as told by his mother)

Sean was diagnosed at 27 with Bipolar 1 although he told me he had been depressed since he was 16.  Sean first experienced death at the young age of 8 when his baby brother died suddenly and this had a profound effect on him. Sean had a very addictive nature and started drinking at 16 or so.  He started taking drugs at 18-19 or thereabouts.  Once diagnosed and on medication he did not change his...

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Sylvia Zuzowska’s Story

I always wanted to have my own family. Instead I went mad when I immigrated to Australia. I arrived on the 10th of April 1983. I just don't know how it happened. I was examined in Israel by immigrations doctor, by my Mother's Psychiatrist and I passed my hardest test of sanity. So why something went wrong? Probably the flight I booked was on a wrong route or maybe I was kidnapped, the latest...

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Sue’s story

Sue was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 in 2004 and has been hospitalized 8 times with mania. In 2017 she had a turning point after she stayed in hospital for her bipolar condition. She had a great doctor who got a bit stern with her before she was released back home and told her she just simply can’t keep going the way she has in the past. It was crucial to her to manage her stress to avoid her manic...

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The Bipolar Toolbox – By Anna

Anyone who has bipolar, be it bipolar 1, 2 or 3 knows how unpredictable this condition is. You’re feeling like you’re doing really well and your emotional wellbeing is in check, when out of the blue you get hit. Be it by a bout of hypomania or a depression. You just don’t know what happened, everything went well and know you’re all over the place. Often there are early signs, but most of the...

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The holes in my pockets

In this piece, Camille reflects on some of the out there things she has bought while manic, as well as how damaging elevation can be to the finances. About twelve years ago, I was standing in a general store in Hay, in New South Wales’s Riverina region, cradling a plaster of Paris budgerigar, which was painted in a garish yellow and green. It reminded me of the dearly departed Ruffles, my old...

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Thirty Seven years

Hi. I am a 37 yr old woman who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since I was 16. I have had several hospitalisations but thankfully none in the last 9 years. Historically my main problem has been mania more than depression. Most of my hospitalisations have been for mania. In this story I will share with you some information about my illness as well as my life. I believe that the illness...

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