My Story

Since 2001 I have struggled with my mental health. It started with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety. When I was 19 my mental state spiralled out of control I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Until mid 2013 I tried to manage my illness with various medications and regular counselling.

During those years I felt truly lost and trapped at the same time. I never felt that I was able to experience an emotion that was my own, I felt that I had lost the ability to connect with the girl that I once was. Over time I felt completely numb and that I had lost control of the emotions that I had even if they were not my own.

My family and close friends were my constant support, and as much I felt like I was drowning they motivated me to keep trying. I feel beyond blessed that I have had them in my life. I know that I would not be here if it were not for them.

For the longest time I felt that I could accept just existing and not feeling. I felt that if I could just be with my family I would be okay. Then one morning in April 2013 I reached my breaking point. I felt that my mental health was sinking in quick sand and that I had completely lost control.  I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for dragging my family through my illness for 11 years.

Somehow the terrifying thought of mentally sinking into that ‘quick sand’ gave me a moment of clarity.  All I knew was that I loved my family. I gave my self two choices, to give up completely or to make a change.

My love for them gave me the courage to get out of bed and to finally try something that I had been avoiding.

The next day I checked myself into to hospital to reevaluate my situation.

I spent the next five weeks in a mood disorder clinic. It was by far the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life.

With the help of the doctors and therapists and with an updated diagnosis of anxiety I was able to come off all of my medication.

I was so nervous to leave hospital, but when my dad picked me up the look on his face was the most beautiful combination of pride and relief. I knew that all that I wanted was to be back with my family and to continue to improve at home.

I finally felt ready and able to take ownership of my mental health.

For the first time since I was sixteen, I felt connected to myself and I have a new found awareness and acceptance of my feelings. I felt so lucky and excited to just feel and to be present in a real moment.

My mental health as with most people will always be an ongoing project. But I feel proud and privileged to still be on this journey. I know now that it is normal to have both good and bad days. And because of where I have been I truly appreciate them both.

I am maintaining my new life with diet, exercise, yoga, time in nature and counselling when I need it.

I truly feel and most importantly believe that I have come out the other-side of my illness a stronger person. I’m not sad or angry and I do not resent the last 11 years. I have instead chosen to view it as challenging and learning experience.  I honestly couldn’t be more grateful to be where I am now. With that strength I know that I can continue to maintain this new life.

My goal for the future is to help and inspire others who are struggling in anyway. Or even someone who is just having a bad day.

I truly hope my blog can offer a positive option to help you get to your mental happy place.

 

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6 responses to “My Story

  1. Oh Catherine, you bought a tear to my eye reading this.
    I know your Mum is sooo proud of you and you should be very proud of yourself. 11 years you have struggled and here you are with such insite that many people don’t reach in 30 years or more. I’m very please to hear about your wonderful recovery, and I know recovery is a daily routine, your routine of yoga etc sounds great. I wish you every success with your regime and continued good mental health and recovery. I love your blog. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about. The shame is with people who are ignorant (scared) about mental illness. The more people talk about it, the more it will be normalised and accepted. Your blog is another credit to you as you want to share your experience and help other people. It will also educated some of those ignorant people out there, which is a great thing. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
    Best wishes
    Tracey. X

    • Hi Tracy, Thanks so much for your message and your words of support. I feel really lucky to be in a place where I am able to work on something like this. For the longest time I have really felt so passionately that I wanted to do something to help people who were struggling with their illness. But I didn’t feel mentally ready to put myself out there. I had quite a lot of time to just observe and think how in the future I might be able to help In some way.
      Mental illness in many ways is something very hard to prevent. But I do feel strongly that the way that it is addressed can be either really helpful or harmful. The issue of the mental stigma is something that I have felt for many years and it breaks my heart to know that their are so many people who are still feeling judged and insecure because of the way that they are treated. I know from my personal experience there have been times where I felt really hurt by the way people acted around me or because of things they said. I ultimately just found it so much easier to withdraw and isolate myself.
      I have also found from talking to people with similar issues that they also find isolating themselves to be the more appealing option.
      My goal in creating this blog is to somehow change that. My sensitivity will always lean towards the people struggling with their illness but I feel that I can not make a difference unless I address the community as a whole.
      I feel that the stigma has really grown into massive misunderstanding. My hope is to create awareness and ultimately build on that understanding I would love for their to be acceptance, but I know it is almost impossible to accept something without understanding it first.

      I have a lots of goals for this blog and I know that i have a lot of work to do, which I am excited about. But for now I really just hope to inspire or help someone in a small way to just improve their day.

      Thanks again 🙂 x

  2. Wow cat ur website is awesome!!!! I have looked at it quite a bit I just want to say I am so proud of u and miss u so much!!!! Both u and ur mom are such inspirational people and I really hope you can come visit soon 😘😘😘😘😘😘

    • Thank you so, so much beautiful girl xxx I truly, truly appreciate your lovely words, support and encouragement, it really, really means the world to me x Kiara, you have always been such an inspiration to me, your grace and determination through all of your own challenges has always inspired me. I truly feel incredibly grateful to know you.
      No matter how far away, watching and hearing how you continue to succeed in every way and everything that you do, knowing how hard you work and how incredibly dedicated you are, and always with the most beautiful smile and positive attitude. I feel incredibly lucky to know you and so proud to say that you truly are and have always been such a source of inspiration to me x
      Thank you so much, sending you all of my love and so hoping I get to see you in February xxxx

  3. Hi There..
    This is Nate otherwise known as @bloodsweatbeerz on Instagram. I just wanted to say that I’m super proud of you I am inspired by the journey you’ve been on and what you’ve been able to overcome. Although I have not suffered from any type of mental health, a few very close friends and relatives of mine have and so I’ve seen first hand what a struggle it can me.

    I’m also very impressed with the courage you must have to share your story. Many people that I know suffering from mental health don’t share how they feel so openly and freely. It’s very refreshing for me to see that.

    I’m constantly on the search for things that inspire and I strive to inspire others. You certainly fall into that category! Thank you for what you do!

    I’m reminded by one of my favorite quotes by Teddy Roosevelt:

    THE CREDIT BELONGS TO THE MAN WHO IS ACTUALLY IN THE ARENA, WHOSE FACE IS MARRED BY DUST AND SWEAT AND BLOOD: WHO STRIVES VALIANTLY: WHO COMES SHORT AGAIN AND AGAIN, WHO AT THE BEST KNOWS IN THE END THAT TRIUMPH OF HIGH ACHIEVEMENT: AND WHO AT THE WORST, IF HE FAILS, AT LEAST FAILS WHILE DARING GREATLY SO THAT HIS PLACE SHALL NEVER BE WITH THOSE COLD AND TIMID SOULS WHO NEITHER KNOWS VICTORY NOR DEFEAT. -THEODORE ROOSEVELT

    If ever in Bend, Oregon you have a friend and fellow mountain junky here.

    Cheers,
    Nate

    • Hi Nate, oh gosh, wow! Thank you so, so much for your incredibly kind, supportive and encouraging comment. It truly, truly means so much to me, gosh, I’m speechless, I just really appreciate it and it’s just so very reassuring to hear that my writing in some way might be helpful to somebody or anybody effected in any way by mental illness.
      Thank you very, very much again, I truly appreciate it and I honestly find your encouragement incredibly inspiring.
      I also absolutely love and so appreciated the quote you included.
      Your Instagram account and incredible photos has definitely made Oregon a goal of mine.

      Thank You Nate

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