Having been a classical musician and music teacher...
Before my diagnosis, I was living a normal life (if there is such a thing). The stresses of my job, personal life and financial issues all got too much for me. It became like a domino effect and I had a breakdown. I was hospitalised for six months for my first episode and for two months for a relapse a year later.
I have now been living with a diagnosed mental health condition for 15 years and I have not been hospitalised for 13 years. I like to say that I am living with a mental health condition because it is not something that I will totally recover from.
A medical professional once described my condition like type 1 diabetes, I need to take medication daily for the rest of my life.
During my time in the hospital, I was visited by many of my friends. I take great pride in the fact that I have maintained these friendships to the present day. I want to reduce the stigma of isolation which comes with having a mental health diagnosis. I have received very good care from mental health professionals and a therapist. Therapy was a huge part of re-building my confidence and self- belief.
I challenge these by the way I live my everyday life. I present myself well both visually and verbally. I take people on face value as I would like to be taken myself.
I love to sing and dance as this gives me the confidence to express who I am. I have great friends and strong family relationships, which give me the security and confidence for me to be myself. I am on a path of self-improvement and self-care to live my life to the fullest.