I have had a bipolar diagnosis since my late 20s although, as is typical it seems, I had been treated for depression for years but nothing seemed to help. After my marriage broke up, I had the most serious depression of my life and spent four and a half months in a psychiatric hospital.
Over the years, I struggled to cope. I wasn’t able to work but tried to volunteer at my daughter’s school, and at a local club which supports people with mental health problems. I took meds, co-operated with doctors and lived almost every day in uncertainty and fear-of myself and my seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, of my imagined unfitness to parent my daughter and fighting constant feelings of failure and despair. I attempted suicide and that frightened me as it was an impulsive act. My life, moods and thoughts felt totally out of control.
Others did not see this. I was expert at hiding what I was feeling.
I carried on existing for years. One time of year that I found particularly difficult was New Year when everyone was talking about hopes, dreams and goals. I had made a conscious effort to bury hope-it just hurt too much to think about it.
I started reading the stuff about Recovery which was starting to appear.
I was given the opportunity by the Scottish Recovery Network to attend a WRAP course and in 2 days, my life changed direction.
I sat with the others as we discussed hope. That blew me away-I had put hope neatly away as I found it too painful to contemplate. The Advanced Level Facilitator, Rona McBrierty, shared some of her story and I felt a glimmer of something that I barely recognized; hope. When I had gone through the two day course, I traveled home in a daze. I COULD do things to help myself. I COULD get my life back-maybe not as it had been, but as something new.
I began to make changes in my life and to consult and improve my WRAP plan which I shared enthusiastically with anyone who would listen.
The following year, I completed my Facilitator training and I have been facilitating workshops since. It has been hard in places and certainly not plain sailing, but I am now back in employment working for a charity which consults and supports mental health service users and their carers. I share WRAP with many people and I will always credit it with being the catalyst for me to get my life on a more positive track. I feel happy and useful and I look forward to what comes next.