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The SANE Blog

Overcoming self-stigma

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My journey has seen me go from serving in the Australian Army to being self-employed. My life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with mental illness in 2008, following a sexual assault. I have lived with the impacts of bipolar affective disorder, complex PTSD, and psychosis for over 20 years. 

I had a lot of internal shame. I always wanted to be well, even on the bad days, and asked for professional support every day. Medication and spending time in hospital has set me up for a bright future. 

I have been at my best health for close to five years. In 2019, I decided to change my home life to help make the most of my life. I ended a relationship so I could concentrate on me. Trauma therapy helped me deal with a range of impacts from trauma. I used to hide a lot from people in my life. I was high functioning. Now I manage my symptoms openly. 

Missy is proud to have overcome self-stigma and has built up a network to support her. She advocates it’s OK to have complex mental ill-health. 

I openly admit my mental health stopped my friendships. I had periods of not being financially independent too. My mother has always been incredibly supportive. I own my own property and work overtime to transform it into a calm home. Now I am taking on a kitchen renovation! I love knowing I can be my best self - a secure home helps. 

I am bold about showing my passion for style and fashion – my image and look is not in line with what many people in the community consider the “look” of someone with complex mental health. Some people stereotype any ill-health with unclean, unkept appearances. To be the opposite of that and look and feel fabulous is an important part of my journey. 

Everyone has a different ideal life. From battling mental health challenges to conquering health and body issues, I am proof with the right professional support you have the power to create the life of your dreams. 

Missy has observed many people living with mental ill health experience loneliness because of their condition. 

I have been lonely. My home life needed changing. With professional support, and help from my mother, I started regular psychology and counselling - which I still do regularly. I was on mental health plans, got disability support to help me get well. I hope my story helps someone else ask for the help they need. 

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