Making Sense of Madness? What it's like living with a mental illness

Posted on April 30, 2014

Mental illness happens to people who are living ordinary, good lives, just like my family and me when I first became ill at the age of 16.

Without warning, I woke up one day with a firm belief that there were a group of people living in my head. They were keen to boss me around. They were loud.

Depression is like a barren well, deep and dark, and I was alone right at the bottom of it and there was no light at the top of the well. The days went by in a blur. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I couldn’t even read a magazine or watch TV. My brain was like a stopped clock.

At an individual level, it can take months or even years to learn to live well with any kind of illness. This is particularly true for mental illness because it affects many of the functions of brain/mind that we often take for granted: thinking and reasoning and mood, sleep, appetite, pleasure and pain and belief and behaviour. In partnership with my psychologist, Winsome, and my GP, Jenny, I learned to accept that I’d continue to lurch from crisis to crisis unless I (a) understood the illness wasn’t going to go away of its own accord and (b) began to take primary responsibility for its management. This meant taking medication every day as prescribed, having a crisis plan, seeking help early, and slowly, slowly putting my adult life back together.

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Source material from Herald Sun

Mental Health News