Yesterday, on 5th November, my book Bring me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety (with Trigger Publishing) turned one!
Today, I got this lovely review from a Twitter follower Robin so I thought I would share it here:
‘It is an amazing book, really enjoyed reading it. An honest and open account of life with bipolar, your strength of character shone through. Thank you for being so open and writing it. – Robin Josephs
I wrote my book to help others and dispell the stigma about severe mental illness. Everyone is human and everyone has mental health. Whether you have never suffered or whether you have depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD, BPD or EUPD, self harm, addictions, PTSD etc- I would love everyone to be more open if they feel able.
I hope my book explains what being in hospital can be like but that you can recover.
You can get your copy on Amazon and in all good book shops now 🙂
Happy bookversary to me! Thank you to YOU for supporting my blog, reading this and helping get my book deal. To everyone who has bought a copy and to my fab editors Stephanie and Katie.
(image: Mental Health Blog Awards)
Voting is now open (first round) for the Mental Health Blog Awards 2020 and we have been nominated in the Blogger of the Year Category.
We would love you to vote for us, to recognise all of our hard work- including that of our guest bloggers, in battling mental health stigma.
I started the blog 4 years ago and it is an honour to be nominated.
You can vote for us- listed as Eleanor at Be Your Own Light here and please also vote for others in other categories if you are aware of their work! There are some incredible people nominated.
From Mike Douglas, founder of the awards:
“I am delighted to welcome you to the Mental Health Blog Awards.
I look forward to continuing to celebrate the amazing work, effort, energy, emotion and so much more you all put into raising awareness, supporting, signposting, explaining and comforting in 2020.”
(image: Mental Health Blog Awards)
First round voting closes on 1st May and you can vote here: https://s.surveyplanet.com/bG5vzH_q
With love and thanks,
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.
Love and Light always,
It has been a while since I have written a personal blog as there has been so much going on here that I was just focusing on getting through it all. Robs dad had surgery to remove a second brain tumour and is thankfully recovering well, the surgeon amazingly got all the cancer. Success.
Alongside this, I have been in therapy since November with a wonderful therapist and we are doing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy). This therapy helps to process trauma that can get ‘stuck’ in the brain if not processed. That trauma can stem from childhood upwards- I was an anxious child from an early age even though I had a good childhood! I have also been through a lot due to my bipolar episodes and hospitalisations. So, I am working with my therapist to process memories and we are doing it slowly.
My therapist will either ‘tap’ on the side of my legs while I recall the memory to help process it or my eyes will follow a light or her finger as we process. Understandably, there has to be a lot of trust in this type of relationship as well as me being protected and not triggered by the therapy. For this, we have developed a ‘safe place’ memory that I go to when we bring up anything too distressing. We have just started to go deeper with this and I will update you with our progress. I am far less anxious than I was and it has been really helpful to build a positive, working relationship with my therapist.
The reason I started therapy was because I was having intense panic attacks and finding it difficult to manage my life due to it. I hope that by working on these triggers that I can react differently and live a healthier and better life. Stay tuned!
A month or so ago, I also went to see my psychiatrist for the first time in 2 years, mainly as I had worries about my weight and physical health. My medications means I have put on a substantial amount of weight and this is worrying me health wise more than anything. I have been advised to diet and exercise and maybe work with a nutritionist. So, this will also be a new journey and I will try my best with this, not easy as the meds may stop me losing weight due to slowing metabolism or encouraging cravings. We considered reducing my Quetaipine, a mood stabiliser and anti psychotic to help but because I have been more mentally stable, I have decided to keep it at the same dose for now.
Rob and I have also started to look at new homes, which has been good. There is a lot happening right now and important that I rest, look after myself and keep calm.
Life with bipolar disorder can be uncertain. I have some fears about the future, which I will talk about in another more detailed post. My medicines thankfully keep me mentally well, but coming off them for future life changes eg pregnancy could be a big risk for me and one I am not sure I should take due to being bipolar 1 (risk of mania and psychosis). This is not currently imminent, but is still a future fear, especially as I love children. A decision for a later date.
Overall though I am hopeful and excited about life and will keep you all updated with my therapy and health journey and news.
Thanks for reading and following Be Ur Own Light as we come up to our 4th anniversary,
(image: Time to Change)
*Trigger warning: discusses thoughts of suicide and mania, please read with care *
This blog has been courageously written by my Dad, Mike, about his journey with bipolar disorder and the hurdles he faced in getting a diagnosis. For those of you who have read my book, you’ll know some of this. This is the first blog that Mike has written for us and I want to share it on today, Time to Talk Day by the charity Time to Change. So here is Mike’s story….
My experience of Bipolar 1 Disorder was that I was undiagnosed for 9 years. I was never sent to a psychiatrist and was put on the wrong medication (I hadn’t heard of mood stabilisers and seemingly neither had my doctor).
So- What is Bipolar Disorder? (formerly known as Manic Depression)
To me, Bipolar symbolises the two extreme poles of mood- mania and depression. The North Pole is Mania. Mania is wonderful for me- you think you can be anyone, you think you can do anything, achieve anything, You are flying. You think ‘why can’t everyone be like this and experience everything?’. You are much more uninhibited. You may shop more, you spend more money, You think you can FLY!
But you can’t fly and you fall, you fall off a cliff into varying degrees of deep, dark depression, which can last for months.
Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood, mania. The elevated mood is significant, known as mania or hypomania depending on its severity and whether symptoms of psychosis are present. Psychosis means when your mind lose touch with reality, with delusions or hallucinations.
During mania, someone feels abnormally, happy, energetic, irritable and not requiring sleep they often appear to be bouncing off the walls, starting new projects, trying to achieve too much. In some cases, addictions during mania may also present.
During depression, someone with bipolar disorder may be crying, experiencing negative thoughts and giving poor eye contact. You will notice this if you ever have a conversation with someone who is depressed. They may also be suicidal or talk about self harm.
My first manic episode occurred in 1991 and I went to the doctor and was prescribed Valium (an anti anxiety calming medication), which was handed out like sweets in those days.
The Valium didn’t do me any harm but they certainly didn’t do me any good. In the next 9 years, I had three manic episodes followed by three increasingly devastating depressive and suicidal episodes, the last of which lasted 5 months.
In my first manic episode I was going out a lot late at night to clubs and bars and spending too much money. My second and third manic episodes were much more controlled as I recognized what was going on but I was still much more outgoing than usual and spending too much money.
My depressive episodes were serious and eventually suicidal and lasted 3, 4 and 5 months respectively. I often stood on the edge of a London Tube platform thinking about ending it all. I would drive down the motorway at speed not turning the corners until the last possible moment. I would stand in the bathroom with hands full of tablets thinking about overdosing and ending my life. Mostly, I was at home in bed doing nothing but sleeping , eating and surviving.
The person you would meet today is not the person you would have come across at that time.
Looking back there was no real connection made between these episodes and I wonder 1. Why I was never hospitalised and 2. Why I wasn’t diagnosed more quickly.
First of all, 30 years ago far less was known about Bipolar Disorder so the doctors weren’t quick to diagnose it. Secondly, it was only after 9 years that my GP reviewed my file and noticed that I had never been referred to a psychiatrist.
This was the breakthrough that changed and saved my life.
I went to The Priory hospital to see a psychiatrist, describing my episodes. Within 45 minutes I had a diagnosis,
”You have a mental illness. It has a name, It is Bipolar 1 Affective Disorder. You have it for life and it is treatable with the drug Lithium.”
Lithium balances out the chemical imbalance so you end up between the poles and mood is then stabilised. I am pleased to say that in the past 20 years, the medication has worked for me and has stabilised my bipolar disorder, so I no longer get episodes of mania or depression.
I am also pleased to say that as quite an emotional person I still experience the normal feelings and emotions that come with everyday life.
Starting on Lithium is not easy as you have to be weaned onto it. There are side effects, the most common being weight gain and you have to have regular blood tests to make sure the level of Lithium in your bloodstream is correct (non toxic) and it is not affecting your kidneys.
I do wish that I had been diagnosed earlier and not had to suffer manic and depressive episodes as I did.
These are the 4 takeaways I would like you to have from reading this, this Time to Talk Day:
1. With mental health it’s good to talk about it , It’s good to fight stigma and it’s good for your own healing.
My journey started in 1991 and I would hear things like ”you’ve got a weakness. Why don’t you pull yourself together?”, which were unhelpful
2. Think about how you can help people in your community by recognizing the signs that someone has depression or mania.
3. Live a positive life- I am an example of a bipolar sufferer who can maintain a positive life. Bipolar is an illness that needs treating. It is treated with medication but it can take time for the medication to be right as each person has individual brain chemistry.
4. Listen to those who are struggling. Most of us listen to reply. If you watch two people deep in a conversation or you are in one yourself your focus will be very much on the other person and you will be listening at 90%.
But if you are listening to understand and you are feeling and sharing their emotions then you are truly listening at 100%. Check out the Samaritans help line too.
(image: Mike Segall)
Mike Segall is a professional speaker and mental health advocate, sharing his lived experience with bipolar disorder to groups in the UK. He is also the father of the founder of this blog, Eleanor.
I’m in a time in my life right now where I am finding things hard, which includes public speaking about my book. I have come to the conclusion that however painful that is, I can still do my freelance writing and social media work and I can still communicate with my book and blog readers. So all is not lost.
Public speaking induces fear in me, so I am going to start by making some videos when I feel able and sharing online. I also hope to be supporting my Dad at a talk he is giving on our story with bipolar this weekend, more on that after the event.
I am going through a period of depression at the moment (probably part of my bipolar, the winter and long nights/dark days and a reaction to life circumstances). As I am medicated, its not terrible, but I do experience heightened anxiety. I also freeze in fear and going out can sometimes be a challenge. The book was a blessing but I didn’t realise how exposed I would feel sharing it with the world.
This will get easier and I know how lucky I am to have a warm home, food on the table, a husband and family who love me and some very good friends. My sister has been my personal cheerleader too and we are helpful to each other too- she is wonderful.
I am now 9 weeks into therapy and I feel like its going to take a while to deal with all the trauma I have been through. Last week, I made a timeline of events for my therapist and we ranked traumas in order of how painful they are. Eventually, in the new year, we will start to process them in a safe space. EMDR (rapid eye processing) works in this way and will hopefully clear the blockages, fear and pain away so I can thrive again.
I am learning to be kinder to myself. To take time for me. To take breaks. To try not to feel guilty or selfish for working part time from home- I am learning that depression and anxiety are difficult but I am incredibly grateful for my blessings.
There are good things. My book being featured in Happiful Magazine this week and looking forward to Chanukah, Robs birthday and the Christmas break with family/friends. I also continue to be paid to write from home and am working on future plans. However, I am slowing down in order to recover from a very busy year!
How are you feeling this Winter? What helps you?
Formerly called manic depression, bipolar disorder is a condition involving chronic changes in mood. It oscillates between a manic high, a depressive low, and a normal functioning state. People with this condition often find themselves at the mercy of extreme changes in mood.
However, it is worth noting that this condition is far from untreatable. In fact, with the help of a good clinical psychologist, medication, and a healthy lifestyle, a person with bipolar disorder can lead a happy, productive life.
If you know someone living with bipolar disorder, it helps to be mindful of offering them your care, understanding and support. Here are four things you can do.
Knowing the Facts
Learning about bipolar disorder is the first step in helping a friend with the condition. This is the best way to understand what they are going through.
Like other mental health concerns, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding bipolar disorder. Differentiating the truth from the false assumptions can add to your knowledge and understanding and, ultimately, help you in providing the right kind of support that your friend needs.
Here are some of the common myths about bipolar disorder that have been debunked by experts:
Myth #1: Bipolar disorder is a grave mental illness
In the past couple of decades, experts have established that there are mild forms of bipolar disorder which are, in fact, much more common than severe conditions.
The two main types of this disorder are bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I is characterized by severe episodes of depression and mania while bipolar II entails severe depression but milder manic attacks.
Beyond these two, a bigger group of people experience other forms of mania that occur in shorter periods.
Myth #2: Mood swings automatically mean a person is bipolar
Experiencing extreme mood swings is believed to be one of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder.
This is completely false. Mood swings can be caused by several different circumstances, such as a woman’s menstrual cycle, use of drugs and other substances, and even the weather. In some cases, hormonal imbalances, neurological issues, and autoimmune diseases also wreak havoc on a person’s mood.
What sets bipolar disorder apart from these reasons for moodiness is the significant change in a person’s attitude, behaviour, and personality over several days at a time.
Myth #3: Bipolar disorder is difficult to cure
It may seem so, but not really. In fact, there are many different kinds of treatments that are effective for individuals with bipolar disorder, including antidepressants, mood-stabilizing drugs, and psychotherapy.
Showing Compassion, Not Pity
Compassion is crucial for your friend’s recovery. However, many people find it hard to differentiate compassion from pity.
Avoid showing your friend that you feel sorry for then. Instead, recognise the challenge of living and let them know that you are always there for them no matter what.
Not Telling Your Friend What to Feel or How to React
Saying “cheer up” to a person with depression, or “calm down” when manic highs occur, are not the correct approaches to communicating with loved ones with bipolar disorder. In fact, telling them what to do may only cause them to feel antagonized.
Instead, ask them what you can do to help, or offer to do things that can help them feel calmer or happier. When they are no longer feeling distressed, talk about potential strategies that you can try together to help them get better next time.
Lending Your Ears
Listening to a friend in need can do wonders for people living with bipolar disorder. Lending your ears means you should listen sympathetically.
Let your friend know that they do not have to put on a brave face in front of you and that you are ready to listen whenever they need you. You should also take their words seriously, especially if they speak about self-harm or suicide.
Being There for a Friend in Need
Admitting that you need another person’s help or support is not always easy for everyone. It may be especially difficult for people who are being treated for psychological conditions. If someone close to you is living with or has a history of bipolar disorder, make sure to let them know that you are always ready to be there for them.
Justine Corry is a clinical psychologist and enjoys helping people get to the heart of what is not working in their lives. Along with Dr. Gemma Gladstone, she is co-director of the Good Mood Clinic in Sydney and has 10 years of experience within private practice.
This week is publication week for my book ‘Bring me to Light’!
I can’t quite believe that it hits the shelves tomorrow! I started writing the manuscript in early 2018 and now here we are! I am lucky to have had my book reviewed by two great bloggers this week.
The first is by Rachael Stray, a UK based blogger. Rachael received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and she said:
” Eleanor is extremely honest as she tells her very personal story of being diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and her journey from adolescence to adulthood. In this book we are taken through Eleanor’s struggles with her mental health and what a profound impact it has had on her life.
She really opens up about her struggles with her mental health and the inner turmoil she was facing. Eleanor clearly has a great support network of family and friends who have been such a support for her which she acknowledges.
I found her honest account of struggling with medication, institutionalisation following hospital stays and feeling lost in her own life extremely difficult to read but so educational and inspirational.
Eleanor hasn’t let her mental health stop her from being successful, finding a career she loves, she’s got such a strong faith, a great network of family and friends and now a loving husband.A lot of what she talks about within this book really deeply personally resonated with me.” (Rachael Stray https://rachaelstray.com/bring-me-to-light-review-ad/)
Thank you Rachael for your kind review. The second was by Nyxie who is based in Northern Ireland and is also a book blogger (at Nyxie’s nook). She also received a free copy in exchange for an honest review:
“Eleanor began blogging while in outpatient treatment as both an outlet for her thoughts and to provide education to others. Like many of those with mental and physical illness, Eleanor’s writing became like therapy. When the words are placed on page or screen, they’re less likely to be bouncing off the walls of our brains. It’s a perfect example of how art, of any kind, can release built-up tension.
She has also successfully worked with mental health organisations such as Time to Change, Mind and SANE, and has even written for publications such as The Telegraph, Glamour and Happiful Magazine.
“Bring Me To Light” is a wonderful and brutally honest account of living with Bipolar Disorder. For anyone who lives with any illness, chronic or mental, should read this book. Like me, you’ll find yourself identifying with parts of Eleanor’s past.
I found it quite difficult to read some chapters as I empathised quite a bit with her emotions and thought patterns. With that being said I do love a book that makes me feel strong emotions, as many memoirs usually do.” (Nyxie at Nyxies Nook: https://www.nyxiesnook.com/bring-me-to-light/)
Thank you both for your kind reviews.
Want to order a copy of my book? Click here for Amazon (but also in other book shops):
(image: Trigger Publishing)
This blog has been a long time coming. I have been so busy promoting my book on social media and in the press that I havn’t actually sat here and told you WHY I decided to write this book. So, here goes.
Firstly, can I just express so much gratitude to this here WordPress blog because without it, I would not have got commissioned at Metro.co.uk (thank you Yvette) or for other places online. This blog gave me the confidence to write and to expand my writing’s reach and for that I will be forever grateful.
In 2013/ early 2014, I sat on the couch, crying and living with a suicidal depression. My bipolar was unstable and all over the place- I felt so low and like there was no way out. However, as I sat and cried- a friend of mine’s face peered up from the newspaper. He was looking for the man that saved him from suicide and was launching a campaign called Find Mike to find him. That man was Jonny Benjamin (who now has an MBE). I had known Jonny for many years as a teenager through friends, but he became my inspiration and my hope that I too could do good things despite having mental illness. He very kindly has provided an endorsement too for my book- thank you Jonny!
With the help of my psychiatrist, I recovered temporarily from the depression but then spun very fast into mania and psychosis (possible due to a large dose of anti depressant). I was sectioned and in hospital for 4 months as an inpatient and a further 4 as an outpatient.
Throughout this time, I could not think about writing because my mind wasn’t stable enough. But as I pieced my life back together, started taking a new mood stabiliser to help control the bipolar episodes and started to recover slowly, I found the power of blogging about my social anxiety due to trauma of the bipolar, to be so helpful. I found that others would share their stories and would reach out to me about their mental health too.
Although life is not perfect and I am still living with an anxiety disorder, I have found a way to write and speak about mental illness. I was diagnosed with bipolar at 16 and there was a lot of shame for me about it back then in 2004. These days, I tell my story for other scared 16 year olds newly diagnosed but also to break down barriers and stigma against mental illness. To explain you can have bipolar or be sectioned or have psychosis but you can recover and you don’t need to spend life in hospital forever. To explain that while this cruel illness runs in families, that with the right healthcare, staying more stable is possible.
I started writing my book with Trigger Publishing because they believed in my story when I sent them my proposal. They are part of the mental health charity the Shaw Mind Foundation and royalties go towards the charity as well as some to me.
I hope that when you read my story, you won’t see it as a despairing ramble- but rather a story of hope, of life, of light triumphing over the darkness- but the darkness making the good times shine brighter. I also bring my bipolar to light, I share it with the world- as scary as this is, so that others can also tell theirs.
I wrote this book too provide a place to talk, start conversation and help heal myself through writing it but sharing that feeling of hope with others too. The book cannot change things that are so needed like urgent mental health funding of the NHS so we have parity of esteem. Yet, i hope it is a starting point about how important mental health treatment is for people to move forward in their lives.
Bring me to Light is out on 5th November 2019 in the UK and is available worldwide. It will be out in the USA in 2020. It can be purchased on Amazon, in book shops and at triggerpublishing.com
I will be sharing press articles and more about the book as it happens, but I hope this blog explains why I wrote my book. Thank you all for your ongoing love and see some of you at the book launch!
Today I am writing because I have had enough with the NHS mental health services. Firstly, I was told that in my area of London, the NHS- national health service doesn’t fund EMDR (rapid eye movement processing therapy- for trauma and PTSD). Why, I have no idea as it is desperately needed. However, I was referred to IAPT wellbeing service (still under NHS), who do have EMDR therapists. Some telephone questionnaires later and I have found that I have been discharged from IAPT – to another team that doesn’t provide the therapy I so dearly need.
I have had years of therapy- CBT x3 and psychodynamic- most had to be privately funded due to the waiting lists in NHS. I need vital treatment for the trauma I faced of becoming so unwell,being in hospital and all I faced during mania and psychosis. My trauma comes out in anxiety and panic attacks which disrupt my daily living. EMDR helps process trauma and I am hoping it will help me to live fully again.
Due to this, the only option with therapy may be to go privately- which is expensive and not ideal for me- I can’t afford it alone. However, I have found an accredited therapist online so this will have to be the route I go down I think. I will speak to the psychiatrist in the other team but don’t hold out any hope as they don’t fund EMDR and there is a 2 year psychology waiting list. Yup, you heard that correctly, 2 years.
I am not doing so well- I have been feeling lower in the mornings and more anxious since having to leave my job. This was another blow today.
I am trying to keep myself positive and focused and going. But some days, I just feel like hiding away.
Some positives- I am grateful for:
- My new bright pink cardigan is making me smile
- Our wedding photos and video come back today
- Finding a therapist
- Bipolar UK sharing about my book
- Love and support from others
- Job interviews and book promotion
When people say fund our NHS mental health services, they mean it. People like me are denied access to vital support and put on waiting lists or fobbed off. Its not OK.