Everything…as I count my blessings.

Today, I have been reflecting on everything that has happened to me in the past year or so, since I began to get better from an acute bipolar episode.

I have kept what has happened this year to myself because I felt I didn’t want to broadcast it to the world. However, these are the achievements that I am proud of.

Sometimes I sit and think (I always think too much) about the support I have had, things I have achieved and the amazing blessings that have been brought to my life. I must say that there are days, like yesterday, when I sat and cried and cried because I was so tired and felt in a ‘why me?’ mood. I try not to get like that because it doesn’t help matters but sometimes you just have to let it out.

So after I left hospital in June 2014 and then after day hospital til September 2014 (essentially, a group therapy ward where I met some lovely, inspirational people), I was very depressed and anxious at all the trauma I had been through. With the help of an incredibly supportive nurse and Dr, I managed to get back out into the world, began taking medication that stabilised my moods again and calmed my thoughts and gradually, gradually,  I came out of my shell again.

I had my sister and brother in laws wedding to look forward to, and thank g-d was able to be her maid of honour and walk down the aisle for her, dance with her and enjoy the day. Was such a lovely lovely day..Then, my Dad and I went to Rome on a birthday trip which was just the most wonderful, fun time and whilst I was there, for my birthday I asked people to donate to Jami (Jewish Association for Mental Illness). The total completely  blew me away- my friends and family were so so generous and we raised over £950! I truly was shocked and surprised by everyones kindness. (Thank you if you donated).

After eating huge amounts of pasta and pizza and ice cream in Rome (oh, the gelato), raising so much money for Jami- I felt so positive. I came home and went to Harry Potter studios with my best friends for my birthday, Harry Potter geek alert and made more memories. Then, in September, I began a new job at a school working as a teaching assistant….and started at a different school in February. Both have given me hugely varied experiences and I hope will assist me in my chosen career.

Essentially to cut a long story short, I have had ups and downs with my health since then. I have found that work is a challenge but also a pleasure. I have found that my anxiety flares up when I am super stressed or tired or have done too much. I have appreciated the kindness and beauty of my friends- who also donated to my Jami book sale, and give me constant support and love and understanding- even when mental health issues are hard to understand .

Sustaining work has been a major challenge because I suffer from panic attacks. But I have learnt from my family to be strong and push forward as best I can… although it can be hugely challenging.

I will always remember my incredible friends who came to visit and sent me cards and flowers and food and prayers from abroad too, as well as lighting candles for me. The chicken soup I received every Friday from the local rabbi, my mums cheesecake on shavuot. So much to be grateful for.

I havn’t spoken about this before because I didn’t want it to seem like I am blowing my own trumpet (oh, look what I have achieved etc). But I wanted to talk about the possibility of recovery and of hope despite darkness. It is so important to find the light.

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