Megan’s Story

Feb 15, 2023 | Featured, Good Stories

 

Rock Bottom: pre NDIS

 

In January of 2021 I slipped into one of the worst psychotic episodes I had ever had. I spent over six weeks in the psychiatric unit of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. However, the episode itself lasted four months.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007 and what that looks like for me on a day to day basis is the experience of fluctuating states of depression, anxiety and paranoia for long periods of time with mania resulting in psychosis every one to two years.

That’s not to say that I don’t have my good days or periods where I am stable. During this time I was appointed a case manager, Carys, in community mental health. This lovely lady saw the severity of the episode and began working on an application for the NDIS. It took some months before I was approved. Shortly after I moved back to Brisbane in February of 2022, I was assigned the dynamic and passionate Recovery Coach, Lisa, from One Good* Day.

 

Hope: with Recovery Coach advocacy and support

 

We began working on my objectives. I started pottery classes with the talented Gail, and with Lisa’s referral met with an incredible psychologist, Kelly, which I still see regularly.

I was plagued with worries for the first few months and with Lisa’s support I was able to find solutions.

After a succession of triggering events once again I found myself in hospital due to psychosis. Amazingly, Lisa, Gail and Kelly were present before, during and after. They were there in an advisory capacity which meant the episode itself only lasted a month with their support.

 

Perseverance: relapse and recovery

 

It took a few months to recover and I built up my strength and began working part-time, whilst continuing seeing Kelly and going to pottery lessons. However, despite my best efforts I was plagued with continuing worry which manifested in my body as anxiety.

I was still getting things done but the fluttery sensation in my belly would rise and fall depending on my thoughts of paranoia. At its worst I felt paralysed and unable to get off the couch. Fears of losing my mind again loomed.

 

Acceptance: judgement free support

 

Lisa was available to speak with whenever my thoughts became too loud to focus on anything else.

Without shame, I felt free to discuss the details of my anxieties with her and based on her incredible insight and support was able to quieten down the voices.

At the peak of my anxiety in November Lisa gently suggested that I get out of the house more. I agreed and began walking along the river and compiled an empowering music soundtrack to listen to. Something inside me began to awake.

 

Integration: Recovery Coach and GP holistic support

 

I went to my GP and she prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication. Over the following months my energy levels increased. I left the house daily, whether walking or going into town to soak up alternative stimuli that altered my negative thinking.

I returned to a daily morning practice of journaling and meditation. I bought inspirational books and found techniques to address my bipolar. For so long I have completely identified with my illness to the point where other aspects of my personality were drowned out. This imbalance destroyed my self-esteem and rendered me unhopeful.

 

Rebirth: creativity and career

 

Now with a new sense of hope, other aspects of my being are coming to the fore. I am remembering all the times in my life when I was passionate and healthy.

I was a practicing artist for most of my life up until about five years ago. I have a new idea for a series and am set on resuming my studies to become an art therapist. But, slowly slowly goes. Another element of my illness is to think I am invincible and can take on the world. As previously mentioned mania can lead to psychosis and too much excitement can lead to mania. It’s a balancing act and I must listen for the early warning signs.

 

Pillars of Pride: togetherness

 

Having the NDIS with supportive individuals, such as Lisa from One Good* Day means I am not alone in my journey. If I miss some early warning signs they are there to remind me to stay on track on my healing journey.

Not only that, they have become my champions, witnessing my progress and helping me to stop and reflect and find pride in my accomplishments.

This is no mean feat. Having a mental illness is imbued unfortunately with shame. And this is sometimes what keeps us locked inside it. If pride is the opposite to shame it is these individuals working in the disability and therapeutic sectors that make it possible for people such as myself to find a voice, celebrate our wins and recover from a fractured sense of self to a feeling of wholeness.

 

Written by OG*D client, Megan.

 

Take your next step with One Good* Day

 

We understand that not every day is the same when you’re experiencing a mental health condition – some days are good, others aren’t. But you don’t have to go through it on your own. If, like Megan, you have NDIS funding for Recovery Coaching – or think you may be eligible for NDIS support – take the first step by reaching out to us.

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