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Bipolar disorder: No two experiences are the same

IMG_618_20230329-230259_1 Holly, SANE Peer Ambassador

If you've seen people diagnosed with bipolar disorder on the news, or in a movie, you might have an idea of what bipolar disorder involves. But did you know that there are different types of bipolar disorder, and it affects people in different ways? 

This World Bipolar Day (March 30 2023), we’re focusing on the unique experiences of three people living with bipolar disorder – Matt, Holly and Alice. We talked to them about what they think is important for people to know about bipolar disorder. 

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‘You are not alone in this’: living with OCD during a pandemic

Bron on the beach with palm trees and the ocean behind her

For SANE Peer Ambassador Bron, the pandemic caused her contamination fears to increase significantly. Marking OCD Awareness Week, Bron shares some of her hard work to connect, get support and give herself a break during this challenging time.  

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Calling out diet culture: a process of unlearning

Jeanette smiles while standing outside, there is a tree with pink blossoms behind her in full bloom.

SANE Peer Ambassador Jeanette is marking this Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week by reflecting on diet culture and its huge impact. She discusses how unlearning it is hard, and shares her ongoing process that brings a sense of freedom.  

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'Nothing was ever your fault': living with PTSD and complex PTSD

Jess stands outside smiling with hands in pockets

Sophie and Jess, two SANE Peer Ambassadors, chat about living with PTSD and complex PTSD. They want everyone to know a meaningful life is possible, and they have hope and love for anyone going through post-traumatic symptoms. 

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Coping with a sudden Victorian lockdown


Feeling overwhelmed or upset by the news of a hard Victorian lockdown? We are too.

The snap three day lockdown we had in February was the first glimpse of our new valued freedom being interupted. The news today that we are going back into yet another hard lockdown at midnight may feel like deja vu and be hard to process.

For those of us living with complex mental health issues or with a history of trauma, the suddenness of this lockdown could be a trigger for mental health symptoms and high distress.

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Caring for yourself and others during COVID

Image of fence with signs saying 'don't give up', 'you are not alone' and 'you matter'

In SANE's COVID mental health series, SANE counsellor Tanya talks about the pandemic's impact on people living with complex mental health issues. She shares her tips on how to care for ourselves and others.

The COVID crisis is an unprecedented challenge for all of us. And if you're finding it confusing and worrying, you're not alone – it has caused increased stress, anxiety and fear for many.

For people already living with complex mental health issues, the impact of a pandemic like this can be significant.   

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The bushfire crisis - our Peer Ambassadors have their say


Over the past few months, many of us have been affected by the bushfires that are still burning across our country. Be it emergency workers and first responders who've battled the flames, those living in fire affected areas that may have experienced direct loss, or the people that are watching on and inhaling the smoke haze – we've all felt the distress of the bushfire crisis in some way.

Often if you're dealing with upsetting news, it can be helpful to speak to others who are going through the same thing. We reached out to our Peer Ambassadors to ask how the bushfire crisis has affected their mental health, and how they're coping. 

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How to talk to your GP about your mental health

GP waiting room

Often when we’re struggling to cope with our mental health, people tell us: “Go and have a chat with your GP”. But what if you don’t trust your GP, haven’t seen a GP in a long time, or aren’t sure what you would say?

When people give us this advice, they’re often on the right track. GPs are a good first step – they can help us explore any underlying physical issues, and suggest different options for supporting our mental health.

But it can be really nerve wracking to make that appointment.

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The effects of bushfires on those living with complex mental health issues


The constant smoke haze and news reports serve as a reminder of the bushfires that still burn across Australia. Exposure to details and graphic images relating to the fires can be extremely distressing and can have a negative affect on our mental health.

The effects of such devastating events can be even more profound for vulnerable people within our communities, such as those living with complex mental health issues. People living with a mental health issue may find their symptoms return or become more intense during this time. For example, someone living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might find that graphic images trigger flashbacks to their own trauma.

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The mental health impacts of Australia's bushfire crisis


For people with a history of trauma, the world can feel like an unsafe place. As bushfires burn across Australia, these feelings can intensify.

The mental health impacts of traumatic events like the bushfire crisis can be huge, and long lasting. For people on the front lines, fighting fires or fleeing their homes, the danger is real and visceral. But for those further removed geographically from the fires, breathing smokey air and reading harrowing media reports can also be extremely distressing and triggering.

Everyone in Australia needs mental health support during this difficult time, and we've already seen many heartwarming examples of people looking out for each other, in the spirit of mateship.

But we must also remember that the impacts of this crisis will ripple out far beyond this moment. We need robust mental health support to be available not just during an emergency, but also well into the future.

For people with a history of trauma or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this is particularly important. These people can be incredibly resilient in times of crisis, and often step in to help others in need. But after the worst is over, the delayed impact on them can be significant.

SANE is committed to supporting people navigate the lasting impacts of the bushfire crisis and other traumatic events. 

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