I remembered the afternoon of my MRI, the way I'd seen my brain that day for what it is—an organ. A lump of tissue and cells and nerves, no less than heart or lungs or kidney, generating perception as much as the heart pumps blood or the lungs extract oxygen. How we know and feel and understand the world is made possible merely by the pulse of elctrochemical activity. If a heart could fail in its pumping, a lung in its breathing, then why not a brain in its thinking, rendering the world forever askew, like a television with bad reception? And couldn't a brain fail as arbitrarily as any of these other parts, without regard to how fortunate your life might have been, without regard to the blessing and cosseting that, everyone was so eager to remind you, disentitled you from unhappiness?
Caroline Kettlewell, Skin Game
   

GLIMPSES 1 Real life experiences of Mental Illness

 glimpses

(C) Artist Paul D Robertson        www.pauldrobertson.com

A compilation of uncensored real life

experiences with Mental Illness

 

Compiled and edited by Nicci Wall

Last Update 17-4-13


 

I continue to put together the manuscript of personal experiences with mental illness for free distribution to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness AND it would be great to include your story.

 

The manuscript is called Glimpses and an updated version is distributed electronically quarterly (if new stories have been received). Several Universities use this manuscript as a course resource, it is posted on websites nationally and internationally.

 

Glimpses already contains several stories on Bipolar, Schizophrenia and Anorexia, but I will continue adding stories on these illnesses.

Nicci Wall

 


Foreword

This series of works about mental illnesses are an illuminating insight into the life of those with a mental illness. The personal experiences depicted within are an excellent example of the reasons why we should publish them. Stories of hallucinations, standing on top of cars wondering what it is all about, are the deep seated feelings that have to be expressed publicly by those with a mental illness because if they are not people don’t know what it is like.

 

Mental illness is no different from any other illness. It has symptoms and it can be treated and managed. The difference is the mind is altered, changed to not think within the normal paradigms that exist in our society. Strange behaviour it treated as strange rather than as an illness. Many people in our society suffer or are affected by mental illness. More than people realise. Unless people tell their story, the truth of the suffering and experiences will never be known. We cannot let the story be told by those who haven’t had the experience. We cannot let it be left to those in the media or government. They have to come from the people who know like the ones who have told their stories here.

 

Assoc. Prof. Neil Cole

Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre

 

Bipolar Survivor

Playwright

 


 

 

Download the full Glimpses PDF

(Left-click above to view, right-click and choose 'Save As' to save)

 

 

Introduction

 

Since I was diagnosed as having Bipolar Affective Disorder in November 2001 I have had the good fortune to meet and work with a multitude of people who have a mental illness. These people are far from the stereotypical mentally ill portrayed by the media and sensationalised in film. These people work, own businesses, run companies, are highly trained and/or qualified, exceptional artists, volunteers; they raise families, socialise and all the other things so called ‘normal’ people do. For that is what we are, ‘normal’ people, with a treatable, but not curable illness; similar to other illnesses caused by a chemical imbalance such as Diabetes, Hypertension and Hyper/Hypo-Thyroidism.

 

It was through my desire to reduce the fear and sense of isolation associated with diagnosis for sufferers and their loved ones, as well as increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness, that the goal of producing an uncensored and accurate glimpse into the lives of those with a mental illness was put into action.

 

All who have contributed to this book did so in hope that their story will help others with a mental illness, their families and friends, by benefiting from the ‘real life experiences’, encouraging better communication and acceptance of mental illness within their immediate circle; most of all recognising that they are not alone in this endless struggle.

 

Some contributions were written in the midst of an ‘episode’ where the writers perception is askew and their ability to articulate their thoughts are diminished, disjointed and inconsistent; therefore their stories may seem hard to understand or follow due to the irregular thought patterns. Where this occurs, I ask that you do not try to understand at the time of reading but take on board that what is being shared, accurately reflects what the person is experiencing at that point in time.

 

There are far more people with a diagnosed mental illness than is acknowledged in society and I would not be exaggerating if I said every third person I speak with has a relative or friend with a mental illness. With many of us choosing to ‘come out’, society will learn of the many positive contributions we make to society and this will inturn reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

 

There are some wonderful books available to increase understanding of the manifestations of these illnesses. These are of particular importance to families and friends of those with a mental illness. Knowing the danger signs as they begin to appear can be the difference between a full-blown episode and a little bump on the charts. But more importantly, they assist our ability to recognise the signs leading up to a suicide attempt.

 

If you know where to look, support networks are available to assist or refer you to other appropriate organisations/groups and many have recommended reading lists. For your benefit the larger organisations are listed at the back of the book, so that you do not encounter the circular attempts to find assistance as I, and many others have encountered when first diagnosed.

 

If you would like to tell your story to help increase awareness send it to   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , the more people we can touch with our stories, the better.

 

I wish you well on your path to insight, education and recovery.

 

Nicci Wall

 

GLIMPSES © 2007 For permission to use the content of this manuscript please contact Nicci Wall at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Also edited by Nicci Wall

Minds Unleashed

 

(Left-click above to view, right-click and choose 'Save As' to save)

 

Invitation

I am inviting you to submit your Consumer or Carer story on your personal experiences with: - Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Any other MI I have overlooked. I would especially like some stories from people in their late teens and early 20's.

The average length of stories so far are 6 to 15 pages. However I do have those that are 3 pages and one that is 32 pages long.

People have told of the lead up to diagnosis, dealing with MH Services, medication issues, identifying triggers, working towards recovery and coping strategies. What and how much you want to share is up to you. Use your whole name, first name or a pseudonym, the choice is yours; but please know that your story, however you present it, could make a difference in how the world sees us. See below for my contact details.

Email your story to:-

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fax:  03 5222 6847

 

 

 

GLIMPSES Copyright 2007 
For permission to use the content of this manuscript please contact Nicci Wall at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax +61 3 5222 6847

 

   

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