A Big Hello! Welcome To My Blog!

by Tina Gibbons

You probably won’t have come across me before, so allow me to tell you a little bit about myself and how it is that I happen to be here blogging about mental health.

About 14 years ago, I experienced a couple of quite severe “breakdowns” that led to a diagnosis of “potential” bipolar disorder.

After about three years on medication, I worked with a psychotherapist and gradually came off medication in a controlled and well-managed manner. I now manage my own mental health using a combination of natural approaches. Over the years, I’ve found many ways that help me to manage stress, moods, insomnia and general emotional wellbeing.

For many years though, I felt very alone on my journey. I had amazing support from friends and family, I was fortunate to find an excellent psychotherapist and I’ve come across many other wonderful therapists along the way - but I still felt alone as the person experiencing problems with my mental health, searching for inspiration, information and hope regarding natural approaches to mental health and emotional wellbeing.

At one stage of my journey, I also felt as though I had no choice but to give up on my aspirations and dreams. I believed that my mental health issues prevented me from achieving and living life to the full. Since then, I have gone on to travel extensively and become a professional scuba diver with hundreds of dives under my belt. I have launched and sold one successful business and just last night I was a finalist in the start-up category of the East of England Businesswoman Awards forThe Mind Sanctuary.

I have achieved and experienced so much that I didn’t even dare to dream possible at one stage of my life. Now I live in the countryside with my boyfriend and two gorgeous whippets. I could so easily have fallen down a gap in the system, lost myself in a maze of information or become stuck in a mindset that kept me a prisoner of my own mind. Somehow I didn’t. I don’t think I’m “cured” so to speak. I still have challenges with my mental health and emotional wellbeing that I need to be mindful of and manage on a daily basis. I don’t know if I have bipolar disorder or not - so long as I continue to manage my mental health I don’t believe that’s a question I need to explore.

I believe every person is individual and what helps one person, doesn’t necessarily help another. I believe that everyone needs to look after their mental health in the same way they look after their physical health. And I think both clinical and holistic approaches to mental health and emotional wellbeing are useful and have their place.

My favourite words at this precise moment are hope, empowerment, recovery, connection, community, creativity, nature and spirituality.

I’m compelled to share my experiences, ponderings and explorations, with the hope that someone somewhere will be inspired to embrace life and discover peace of mind. Or if not, they’ll at least feel less alone on their own personal pursuit to find whatever it is that helps them to live a mentally healthy life.

I was absolutely delighted and excited when Charlotte offered me the opportunity to blog here on the Uncovered website. I hope you enjoy and welcome your comments!

Comments

I liked your blog, I believe there are many ways to treat bipolar. Unfortuantely for some like myself the bipolar is so severe that medication is required to prevent loss of life as the depression or pychosis becomes unbearable. Though I do advocate Mindfulness and psychotherapy and self awareness. I love your favourite words, very positive and uplifting. !! Keep up the good work!!

Hi there - I'm glad you liked the blog and found my favourite words uplifting. I was wondering if you've found psychotherapy, mindfulness and self awareness useful for identifying when a depression is coming - or does it strike out of the blue?

I always have signals... it could be irritability, stress, insomnia... I usually try to make adjustments to what I'm doing in order to prevent things from getting worse... It is challenging to acknowledge the signals and take the required action sometimes though...

Thanks for commenting... :-)

You make no mention of psychosis affecting you and how you deal with it. My son has BPD and I would estimate he is around an 7 on a scale of 1-10 seriousness. Life has stalled for him at the moment he is 22, although looking far better than it did when first diagnosed at 17, when we very nearly lost him. He has always been willing to try therapy, medicine thankfully a combination of both has stabilised him. My great frustration is lack of opportunity for him, although very bright he cannot cope with "normal" working patterns. I feel there is a lot of lip service given to people with mental health issues but no real action to help them find real work and in so doing gain some self esteem and feely of worth. I will keep an eye on your blog to see how it compares to the many others out in the ether. I am really pleased that your story is on with hope, these are in thin supply when reading about people with BP

Hi there.. thank you so much for your comment

I experienced psychotic episodes, but I don't experience psychosis anymore and don't believe I will again either (at least I hope not)..  When I received psychotherapy I somehow gained great insights into my experiences of psychosis - and whilst they didn't make any sense to anyone at the time, actually, in hindsight I understand them.  After I came off medication I did "almost" experience psychosis again - but that time there was an element of me that was aware of what was going - and I spent time reassuring myself that everything was okay and looking after myself physically..  Its a long story, that's probably worthy of an entire post or even book!...

Since coming off medication I haven't wanted to work in a normal job. I've spent my life so far carving out a career and lifestyle that suits me. I don't think a regular 9-5 job suits me at all.. but I don't think that makes me ill.

I'm sorry you and your son are faced with so many challenges. I'm not sure where you are based - but here in Suffolk we have a wonderful social enterprise called Workwise who help people that have been off work due to mental health issues, get back into work. They offer a range of training in different subjects and full support back to work...  

Often these services do exist within our locality, but there isn't much awareness, even from the GPs or hospital...   have you tried approaching Mind for support? Or maybe there are other options local to you too...

I hope that helps in some way.... and that my blog posts deliver some inspiration and insights that help you and your family.

Take care

Tina

Founder: The Mind Sanctuary

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