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My story: Managing the ups and downs

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It's not only the mood swings, delusions and hallucinations that Sarah has had to fight in her 15 year battle with schizoaffective disorder, she's also had to tackle stigma, misunderstanding and negative reactions.

She discusses how she's learnt to live with the symptoms and the public perception.

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8

Managing a successful career and mental illness

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My most recent episode started in January this year, I almost didn't notice it at first. 

I started finding it harder to get out of bed, even after 14 hours' sleep, and felt anxious in social situations, meetings, anything that involved speaking up. It was the little things you're not quite conscious of.

Then, the little things started growing into more than little things.

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66

Standing on the outside looking in

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I've just received an email from a former colleague, telling me what she said in a referee statement. 

'I talked about the value you add to a team through creative thinking and said you are that rare person who combines exceptional creativity with solid administration skills. I told them they'd be very lucky to have you'

By the time I've finished reading, I'm sobbing.

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25

Can my symptoms erase my memories?

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I am the woman you want on your trivia team. I have an obsessive memory for facts. I thrive at work because I can draw on obscure documents I read four years ago.

I remember the birthdays and phone numbers of people I went to primary school with. I learn things quickly. I rarely get lost because I can look at a map and it imprints on my mind.

But about ten years ago I noticed something.

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13

My lightbulb moment

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When I was in high school I visited my brother at university. I remember reading a sign that said, 'Feeling homesick? Feeling lonely?' and listed support services.

In my naivety I asked, 'How can you feel alone when you are surrounded by people?' Little did I know, three years later I would find out.

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15

Outside the box of a diagnosis

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There was a girl. ​Her brain was set alight with the burn of silent agony but a smile was seared on her lips.

She was drowning, lost in a sea of confusion and distress. The waves of emotion washed her closer and closer to the shore of death, but she fought. Every day her mind and body grew weaker, her defences bruised and battered.

But she fought.

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4

This is what depression looks like

This is what depression looks like

Depression is not feeling down for an hour out of your day. It's not something to be glorified. It's not beautiful.

Depression is being on the brink of tears because you dropped your glass of water. It’s not having the urge to clean up the mess, rather you fall on the floor and cry.

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40

A letter to a depressed me

A letter to a depressed me

Dear Me, Myself, & I

I am writing this letter to myself, to me, to you, in the hopes that you will read it on the day when depression rears its ugly head. When depression strikes and covers you in a black fog your brain has a funny way of forgetting everything you know, so this letter is here to remind you of all the things that you may forget.

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4

My life with dissociative identity disorder

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For some people, being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a huge shock.

It's frightening to find out you have 'personalities' in your head and they've been there for years, or there are alters present and you haven't known about them.

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178

Depression: You can't fake it till you make it

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​Content warning: Self-harm and hospitalisation.

It's okay not to be okay . . . trust me, because I learnt this the hard way.

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