A post from our Community Correspondent Ann Marie Sharpe on her mental health journey
Trigger warning: this post includes mentions of self harm and suicidal feelings
The biggest journey in my life has been my mental health journey. I have travelled a huge distance, from a teenager who was constantly suicidal, to a grown woman with a bipolar diagnosis with a much more stable life.
The journey started as I turned into a teenager, and became extremely confused, lost and experiencing what I would later learn were periods of severe depression and mania. For the majority of my teenage years I was actively suicidal, and was in and out of hospital with various attempts. I was also self harming severely on a daily basis. I was let down by the professionals who should have helped me, being brushed off and receiving little help at all.
As I got into my early twenties, my struggles continued, although I had learnt by that point to control my self harm and suicidal tendencies to a point. I plodded on through every day, struggling on and managing the only ways I knew how.
When I was 26 and met my now husband, and moved to Scotland, I finally met professionals who would listen. I received my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and learnt to manage my symptoms the best way I could. I had a trial and error period of medication, to get the combination I am on now.
I am still struggling, and have extremely bad periods, and my treatment and medication is far from perfect, but I am here and I am standing proud. I am a fighter and a warrior. My journey will continue on, and gradual improvements will keep coming, of this I am certain. And I will never ever stop travelling, or be beaten by mental illness.