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The SANE Blog

Dov's story - World Bipolar Day 2024

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Dov was 19 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but that hasn't stopped him from living a successful and accomplished life.  

"Stigma surrounding mental health is widespread; it doesn't discriminate, and it has affected me as a doctor. It affects everyone in society. If I can help even just one person out there by sharing my story, then my suffering won't have been in vain.

So, my first encounters with mental health issues were actually when I was in year 12. I started to have more energy; I needed less sleep, sometimes only 2 or 3 hours a night. I was more confident than usual, careless with spending, and more aggressive and irritable. It wasn't until after I finished year 12 when I crashed into a low. I was at school at the time, which is supposed to be such a high, but I felt really sad. I suddenly didn't want to socialize at all, and I was crying every day. But it wasn't until a couple of years later when I had another hypomanic episode that the doctors put the pieces together, and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 19.

In between episodes, I work full-time, and I'm quite high functioning. Following episodes, I do face a lot of stigma. Not everyone is understanding of what I've gone through. When we're high or manic, we're not ourselves; the things that we say and do are not consistent or congruent with our personalities. And even if on the outside I look the same and I can groom myself and go out the same way, things might be very difficult from the inside, and it's not easy to resume former roles and obtain appropriate leave. Ironically, I've often been the wellness lead of Hospital networks, and I've advocated for doctors in distress publicly. But despite that, when I've been in trouble, I can't seem to get the support, and I can't seem to advocate for myself. That's something that's been an ongoing struggle since I first became a mental health advocate in 2015 and is something that I still fight for today."

To listen to Dov's story, click the video link below. 

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