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Real-life stories from people affected by complex mental illness.

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I am a psychology student, so I was well aware of mental illness and bipolar before I was diagnosed.

I don’t actually like the term ‘carer’ when it comes to mental illness. I prefer the word supporter.

I thought what I was going through went on in everyone’s life; that everyone felt this kind of day-to-day sadness.
'I’ve always had a strong sense of identity and am quite strong willed.'


I didn’t want to feel like I was different. It took a long time to come around to the idea that what I was feeling wasn’t normal.

'People with OCD know that what we’re doing is irrational — that’s why we hide it.'


'The intrusive thoughts that define OCD are constant. They don’t take a break when you’re at work, or on holidays.'
'It’s a scary illness, but it doesn’t mean the people who have it are scary. We’re human, just like everyone else.'
'I’m a living example that with help and support you can come out the other side.'
‘Life isn’t a flat, smooth road, but you can welcome adversity, and be grateful.’

‘I see my experience with depression and anxiety as a lesson learned. I want to use it to help others that are struggling.’

'People say cancer takes over your body to kill you. I believe mental illness takes over your mind to kill you.'
'When I was younger, I didn’t have words to describe the depression and anxiety. I didn’t know how I was feeling. I just knew that I was.'
'I don’t think people understand how debilitating a mental illness can be – it takes over your whole life.'


'Mental illness symptoms are not always visible like a broken arm or physical ailment. You can’t see someone’s internal struggles.'


'A lot of people think carers are saints, not humans. But they are real people who do suffer from isolation, stress and burnout.'

'I look forward to a day when people with mental illness will be accepted for who they are and won’t be judged.'


'As my younger self, I never thought I’d find someone to accept me as I am, warts and all.'


‘I’ve had depression,’ I said. ‘This is what happened to me.’

Colleagues approached me and said ‘yes, I've been there.’

‘Hopefully getting out there and saying I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar – but getting on with my life –  will help others.’
‘Schizophrenia is a horrible housemate. You have to learn to understand its moods and the way they affect you . . .'
‘I would like to speak in public more often. I want to help people, because if I can change my life around, anybody can.’
'If you’re caring for someone and feeling isolated, you’ve got to reach out. You are not alone, there are so many of us out there.'
‘Young carers often slip under the radar. Responsibilities at home can affect them, yet this isn't recognised.’
‘I realised Depression was a disease, that it wasn’t just a question of pulling yourself together.’
‘I am a lot more content with the way things are than ever before. I was always frustrated. Now I meditate. It keeps me calm.’
‘My anxiety would get out of control, I wouldn't know how to deal with it, as a result I would fall into these dark places.’
‘Self-advocacy is about learning to stand up for yourself . . . It's building your confidence and self-esteem.’
'I love all animals, I particularly love dogs. Whenever I am with Kelsey and out walking, I focus on her rather than myself.'
‘I know my warning signs. I know the difference between what is anxiety for a reason and irrational anxiety for no reason.’
‘When I looked at the hardships my mental illness caused me, only 20% were caused by symptoms . . .'
'The best thing about Shane is his sense of humour,' says Kate. 'We laugh at the most ridiculous things, even his illness.'
‘I was in solitary confinement. They used to keep the lights on during the day and night. I never saw the sunlight.’
‘When you have Depression it can affect you like having a bad flu. Your muscles and joints ache, you're in a lot of pain.'
'Like everyone, it's important for me to find a life/work balance, because I have bipolar I try not to overload myself.'
‘We don’t put enough resources into non-medical aspects of treating mental illness. There's much more we could be doing.’
‘I think I suffered from anxiety all my life. For as long as I can remember I've experienced severe heart palpitations.’
‘Once I got out of that place, there was no way I'd ever touch drugs again. I didn’t want to destroy my whole life.'
'I was sick of being unfit. I decided to have a go, if it didn’t work, worst case was being back on the couch.'

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