"There’s a close link between physical and mental health and l now have the tools to manage both my conditions"

“My health problems began back in 1986 when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was in denial and rebelled against my doctor’s advice but became extremely unwell and realised I’d have to make positive changes.

I struggled with mood swings and couldn’t sustain a healthy routine.  I became psychotic in 1991 after a miscarriage and was detained in a psychiatric hospital for four months. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and was in a state of emotional turmoil, powerless to do anything to help myself.

I struggled to cope and had another seven admissions to psychiatric hospital over the next ten years.  My physical health deteriorated which led to kidney failure in 2004 and I was on dialysis for eighteen months. I was extremely lucky to receive a kidney pancreas transplant in December 2005 which had a very positive effect on my mental health.

A friend told me about Bipolar Scotland and we went along to the Lothian Bipolar Self help Group in Edinburgh. I found the peer support very helpful and we became group facilitators in 2010.

I took part in Bipolar Scotland’s Self Management Training Course in 2011 and found it extremely helpful.  The course materials were excellent and I enjoyed taking part in the discussions which helped me to make connections.

I felt more able to take control of my life and learned how to make informed decisions about medication and alternative treatments. I was able to reduce my medication and I believe that the course was actually the key I needed to kick start my journey onto the right path.

There’s a close link between physical and mental health and l now have the tools to manage both my conditions and the confidence to know when to ask for help.

It’s eleven years since my last manic episode and I have a lot to thank Bipolar Scotland for and feel grateful for  the opportunity I have as a volunteer to support them.”

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