‘I am more than my mental illness’

2019-06-04 06:00

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness. “The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience. This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

“Bipolar is a disorder I was afraid of. It was something I was ashamed of, but I have learned that this is not my fault.”

These are the words of Carol Phillips (37), a woman who has been living with bipolar disorder for the past five years.

“After I was officially diagnosed, I became very depressed. I realised I had been suffering with this disorder for many years – way longer before it was officially diagnosed,” says Phillips.

After therapy and several stints in hospital, she says she only recently came to terms with the fact that she will live with the disorder for the rest of her life.

“I was always afraid people would stigmatise me and look at me as if I was ‘mad’. I have met many people suffering from this and other mental illnesses who took years to seek help because they did not want to be labelled and called names. This makes it so much worse, because it can be managed,” she says.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, which impacts their daily functioning including work, home and relationships.

Phillips says that she knew something was wrong when she was having a “euphoric experience” while out with friends one evening. “We were having supper at a friends house where I tried a new pasta they had made. I felt amazing as I ate it. So good that I jumped off my seat and spun around the room. It was euphoric. As I sat down, it felt as though a darkness came over me. And I snapped. I grabbed the bowl and threw it off the table. My friends were all shocked and no one could explain it. No one said a word,” she says.

“That evening I started screaming and then slipped into a deep depression that lasted four days. It took me a while to see it, but I knew I needed help.”

At the age of 31, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Phillips says she still has dark days, but with help and support, she is managing it, while living life to the fullest.

She adds that many people still look down on her when they find out she has a mental illness.

“The stigma of mental illness is what makes living with one tough. Having a mental illness does not make me less of a person. I am more than my mental illness,” she says.

Bipolar Awareness Day is observed annually on 26 May.

In light of this, SADAG launched the #LetsTalkBipolar campaign to debunk the myths around Bipolar Disorder, encourage people to seek help and join free support groups in their area.

They have also launched an online bipolar survey to gather more data and better understand the challenges and treatments that people living with the disorder experience.

This research will help SADAG create better support programmes, information and advocate for better patient treatment in South Africa.

To access the survey go to www.sadag.org or follow the social media platforms. The final research report will be published at the end of June.

V If you are worried about a friend, family member or loved one who may be struggling to cope and in need of support, call a counsellor at SADAG on their various toll-free helplines for free telephone counselling, information and referrals. The contact numbers are 0800 456 789 or 0800 21 22 23.

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