Please sign this petition to the NHS to speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives. As I write in my book, my Dad Mike was diagnosed 9 years after he got ill and just 4 years before me. I believe I was only diagnosed at 16 years old because my Dad received his diagnosis. Additionally, my Dad was pushed to the brink of suicidal ideation (thoughts and plans of suicide) but was able to control this once he saw a psychiatrist finally after nearly 10 years- so many can’t. My Dad was saved just in time. He often says the love for his family stopped him, but for some, they are even more ill and cannot focus on this.
A new campaign by the amazing Bipolar UK charity and the new government Bipolar Commission to tell the NHS:
Speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives · There’s an average delay of 9.5 years between people first contacting a health professional about symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar · 60% of people said this delay had a significant impact on their life · 84% of people said a diagnosis was ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’
A diagnosis makes it possible for someone to get effective treatment and support, and to live well with bipolar.
It’s estimated that at least 5% of people who take their own life have a diagnosis of bipolar. The shorter the delay in diagnosis, the sooner someone can empower themselves with effective self-management and foster a positive circle with fewer relapses in both the short and long-term.
In my own family, myself and other relatives here and abroad have been diagnosed with this condition. It is so important to get correct treatment.
I hope that by sharing my story (and my Dads too) that it helps you or someone you know going through mental illness. I hope that it shone a light on the dark, gritty parts of bipolar that many will never experience. And I hope that my book also shows the happy parts; recovery, that you can live and thrive again.
Bipolar is a complex and messy condition. It can ruin lives. There is no sugar coating. But you can be well too if you can find the right balance of medication and therapy…which is trial and error.
Thank you to every person who read it, reviewed it and got in touch to tell me their own journey.😍 Please continue to share and gift it to someone who needs it.
If you havnt read my story yet; the book is available in Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith; Blackwells and is available in the USA and Europe.
Thank you to all of you who have supported me – it means the world.
Sometimes, you receive amazing book reviews on the internet and don’t realise they are there!
Yesterday, I stumbled upon Deb Wilk’s blog Living Bipolar – Deb has lived with bipolar disorder for many years and very kindly reviewed my book last year. She lives in the USA and is a talented blogger, sharing about her life living with bipolar.
I don’t always know what to expect with reviews, but this was so positive so thank you Deb for reading, enjoying and recommending my book Bring me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety. Heres some quotes from the review:
“Every word, paragraph and chapter of Bring Me to Light was utterly mesmerizing. Eleanor Segall’s account of her battle with bipolar 1, panic attacks, and crippling social anxiety is so vibrant that the reader feels as though they are experiencing it right alongside her.
I would love to describe the book in detail, but I am not going to give anything away because this book is an absolute must-read. Anyone who is bipolar or loves someone who is, should read this story. It is a moving narrative that anyone, even those who do not suffer with mental illness, should read. …
She is now an extremely forceful voice in the mental health community, and this accolade is incredibly well deserved. Please read this book. You will find it well worthwhile and, I am certain, as enthralling as I did.” (Deb Wilk, living bipolar blog)
On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.
The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).
When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.
As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.
This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):
How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg
Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)
Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)
Self care ideas for positive change in 2021
How to cope with top 4 challenging life events
The Book of Hope launch– me
Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts
Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas
6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health
Moving to our First Home and mental health- me
How to reach for help and not be ashamed
Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing
We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me
Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?
The benefits of seeking mental health support and help
The link between debt and mental health
Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum
How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?
Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan
Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me
How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older
How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman
The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness
Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home
6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine
Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me
Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell
Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me
Why privacy is critical for our mental health
Goal setting for mental health
Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress
4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis
What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds
The Midnight Library book review- me
5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing
Steps to help aging and wellbeing
How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan
Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com
The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards
Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me
Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home
7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno
Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson
Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources
Building trust in a relationship
How sleep patterns affect your mental health
Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me
Dealing with imposter syndrome
Confidence on return to the office
lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks
Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness
Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie
Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport
How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley
Looking after mental health in a tense office environment
Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds
5 Self help books for 2022
Winter mental health and anxiety update- me
Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley
Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)
Helping elderly people to live independently
Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis
How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds
Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly
Festive season- me
Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me
The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley
Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me
Reflecting on a new year 2022- me
Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard
Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing
Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Mental health new year resolutions
Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me
Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds
Jami see mental health campaign blog
Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber
Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard
Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson
Fitness and mental health
Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder
Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)
Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022
Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me
Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Spiritual tips for helping mental health
Risk factors for post partum depression
Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.
Its Today- 1st March 2020 and Be Ur Own Light is 4 years old! (cue the streamers!)
I still remember starting this blog as an outlet for my fears, thoughts and emotions dealing with my bipolar and anxiety. The blog started as a way to tell my friends and family how I was feeling and has evolved into working with guest bloggers and now brands/ partners on sponsored wellness posts too! Writing the blog and sharing thoughts has been so therapeutic and it has taken me on a journey that I could not have imagined.
In November 2019, I published my first book ‘Bring me to Light‘ with Trigger Publishing which is the book of my life story with bipolar disorder, anxiety and my life in general (travelling, going to drama school, starting a career as a writer). The blog has also grown so much this year and is currently nominated in the Mental Health Blog Awards for Blogger of the Year, thank you to our nominee!
Additionally, Vuelio awarded us as a Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog for the second year running and interviewed me (Eleanor) about working as a blogger! Thanks also to Feedspot.com and My Therapy App for listing us in their mental health blog lists too for social anxiety and bipolar!
This year, I have written about World Bipolar Day for the Centre of Mental Health, about my search for EMDR therapy on the NHS, living with depression in winter, about writing my book and new life changes (getting married) and 2020 new year round up with hopes for the future. We also promoted mental health campaigns such as Shout UK text line (founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan), Christmas 4 CAMHS, Time to Talk Day and Mental Health Awareness Week. Additionally, I spoke in Essex with my Dad about our joint story with bipolar for the Jami Mental Health Awareness Shabbat and we also spoke at Limmud Conference in Birmingham!
This winter I did some interviews for the book which can be seen on the Book tab above and also received some lovely reviews. It was amazing to appear in Happiful Magazine’s bonus wellness Mag this January (edited by campaigner Natasha Devon) and to write for Glamour and Bipolar UK. I also enjoyed being interviewed for the Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle! Hopefully at some point I will do podcasts about it too and more interviews.
From March 2019-2020, the blog has attracted wonderful and talented guest bloggers wanting to spread their messages about mental health and wellness.
We have also worked with the following brands on sponsored and gifted posts and hope to work with many more this next year : YuLife, Nutra Tea, Essential Olie, Loveitcoverit on mental health apps, I-sopod floatation tanks, Core Wellness Maryland, Wellbeing Escapes Holidays.
My guest bloggers have written about their recovery and living with mental illnesses, as well as advice on how to improve your mental health. There a posts for whether you are going through a divorce, a bereavement, are stressed or have anxiety. We also had posts with people’s first hand experiences of mental illness including a brave post about being a sibling of someone with mental illness and one of living with an eating disorder. Furthermore, Be Ur Own Light has also covered World Mental Health Day and Time to Talk Day this year, featuring personal mental health stories as a way to raise awareness and fight misconceptions.
We have also covered new books coming out, a mental health fashion brand and a song about social anxiety, as well as posts about different therapies to help you.
Thank you to my amazing guest bloggers (non sponsored) March 2019-2020 for your fantastic content:
Ashley Smith- How Massage Therapy helps Anxiety Disorders
Emily Bartels- 5 tips for a mental health emergency plan
Dale Vernor- Understanding PTSD by Gender
Tan at Booknerd Tan- How audio books and walking has helped anxiety
Emma Sturgis- Loving yourself, tips for a body positive life
EM Training Solutions- How to maintain mental health at work
David Morin- On social anxiety and talking to others
Lyle Murphy- How equine therapy can help those with mental health issues
Charlie Waller Memorial Trust- Best of Musicals event
A Time to Change Hypnotherapy- Hypnotherapy for self esteem
Nu View Treatment Center- The connection between anxiety and substance abuse
Shout UK- Royal family launches mental health text line
Mental Health Foundation – Mental Health Awareness Week May 2019 Body Image
Emerson Blake- Coping with the stress of becoming a single parent
The Worsley Centre- A guide to therapies and finding the right one for you
Byron Donovan at Grey Matter – How I recovered from depression to form a fashion brand
Luci Larkin at Wooley and Co Law- How to reduce stress and maintain mental health during a divorce
Nat Juchems- How to keep your loved ones memory alive after bereavement
Emily Ilett- on her book ‘The Girl who Lost her Shadow’
Mark Simmonds- an interview about his book ‘Breakdown and Repair’ with Trigger Publishing
Curtis Dean- 5 facts about music for stress relief
Robert Tropp- How quitting illegal drugs helps anxiety in the long term
Aaron James- the difference between psychotherapy and counselling
Dr Justine Curry- 4 ways to help a friend with bipolar disorder
Christmas 4 CAMHS campaign for children in childrens mental health wards
Ani O- 4 ways to ease the fear of doctors appointments
Katherine Myers- Ways that spending time outdoors can improve your mental health
Anita- 5 ways to lift you out the slump of seasonal depression
Chloe Walker- taking care of your child’s mental health
CBT Toronto- how to deal with social anxiety and depression
Katy- a true story with anorexia and OCD
Vanessa Hill- Life changing habits to bring into the new year
Rachel Leycroft- Expressing social anxiety through songwriting
Shira- Living with a sibling with mental illness: the meaning of normal
Capillus- 10 signs you may have an anxiety disorder
Brooke Chaplan- When therapy isn’t enough
Jami Mental Health Awareness Shabbat 2020
Mike Segall- Time to Talk Day- 9 years undiagnosed, my story with bipolar disorder
Jasveer Atwal- Living with PCOS and managing mental health
Leigh Adley at Set Your Mind Free- How CBT helps children with anxiety
Lizzie Weakley- How to heal and move forward when you have an eating disorder
Sofie- Living with an eating disorder
Thank you so much to all of you and I am excited to see what 2020-21 brings for the blog!
Be Ur Own Light continues to be read globally and I love receiving your messages about the blogs and finding new writers too.
Heres to a 2020 of positive mental health, of fighting the stigma against mental illness and creating a positive and supportive community here.
Happy 4th birthday Be Ur Own Light! ❤ May this be an enlightening year of growth for us.
‘Like so many sharing their stories this World Bipolar Day, I have lived experience of bipolar disorder. I am now 30, but was just 16 when I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 (the most severe form of the mood disorder) as an inpatient at the Priory Hospital North London. It was hard to deal with this diagnosis at such a young age and I didn’t know then what my future would hold. I was hospitalised due to having three episodes of illness: mania and depression in one year, which led to psychosis, where my mind lost touch with reality.
Bipolar is a serious mental illness that causes a change in mood states to either big manic highs or devastating depressive lows, with a normal state of functioning between episodes. As someone living with this, I also have experienced psychosis during my mania which needs quick hospitalisation as my mind spirals wildly out of control. I have been hospitalised twice for my bipolar (in 2004 and 2014), both times due to an extreme episode of mania and psychosis.
As a teenager in hospital, I was depressed, anxious, fearful and vulnerable. I believed (falsely) that I had been sexually abused and my reality became based on this false belief (delusions). The doctors got me back to full health through a combination of starting on new medicine (mood stabilisers) and giving me anti-psychotic medication to bring me down from the mania. Over four months I also had one to one therapy, group therapy with the other teenagers in the adolescent unit and was supported by an incredible team of nurses and a psychiatrist who believed I could get well. I eventually went home once my mind was stable and started a long process of counselling and recovery.
I was able to go to university and get my degrees, travel, make friends, date and live my life. However, in 2013, after some life stressors, I began to experience a depression which featured suicidal thinking. It was very scary and we believe it is because my medicine Carbamazepine wasn’t working any more as I got older.
Depression of this kind is incredibly hard to deal with. I stayed in bed all day most days with breaks for meals. I had no energy, no hope, no reason to get up. I was unmotivated and couldn’t cope with life. I barely washed or spoke to friends. Luckily, due to my fears about the suicidal thoughts, I shared this with my family and medical team. I didn’t want to act on it, just escape from the pain my mind was in.
Unfortunately, a few months later, the depression turned into a period of mania, possibly caused by my mood stabiliser not working and taking anti-depressants. This is always a risk with bipolar, that medicine can send you high. I was agitated, speaking very fast, with racing thoughts, raised libido and was vulnerable as a result. The psychosis then started, with my mind starting to believe falsely that I was being held by a criminal gang orchestrated by my family. It was so scary. I was sectioned, treated with medication again and over several months engaged with therapy in hospital, while they tried to bring my mood and mind back to lucidity.’
Tomorrow, join in and learn what you can about bipolar disorder.
As many of you know, I have bipolar 1 disorder and when not on medication, have episodes of high mood- mania/ psychosis and low mood- severe depression. Thankfully I am in recovery but it affects so many people and is thought to run in families.