I was 23 when things started getting very weird. I had had a happy childhood, did well at school and uni. I had a graduate job abroad when I started having strange thoughts and bizarre delusions. I couldn’t sleep and had endless energy. I never felt like eating, my weight had dropped to 6 stone. I was very confused.

I remember looking at my face in a shop window and thinking to myself, I couldn't possibly go home like this! My family would be so upset and worried!  I saw a plane fly over and I wished I could be on it. One weekend everything went big time crazy.  I remember me and my friends ran on to a bus full of pilots and cabin crew and my late Grandma's voice came through loud and clear, telling me I must go back to UK and back home. So I did.  When I got home to my family two days after this epiphany, my Mum screamed as I was so thin, she made me a meal. I took a bite and accused her of trying to poison me.  I was taken to the doctors, who sent me to the hospital.

I had no idea it was a mental health unit, in my confused state I thought it was a posh allergy clinic or something. Until, that is, I tried to leave....

During my hospital stay I was put on medication.  For the past 21 years I've been on a mixture of Lithium and various antipsychotics as well as Carbamazepine and various sleeping tablets/ Benzos.  I take my meds without fail. I don’t touch alcohol or narcotics.  Good mental health is very valuable to me and I protect it every day. I make sure I eat every day and sleep as much as possible.  Sometimes this means cancelling social engagements if I haven't had enough sleep. My friends understand. Unfortunately all of this doesn't safeguard me from episodes, but I’m sure I would have had a lot more if I hadn't of stuck to these self- imposed rules. . I’ve been sectioned many times for mania and psychotic features, and have spent an awful lot of time in mental health units.  But I try my hardest to stay out of hospital.

When I met Frank last year, I gave him a letter about my bipolar and couldn't believe it when he mentioned me and talked on stage about my struggles with bipolar, I had written about in my letter. I was amazed!  I love his #knockoutstigma campaign and I hope this very brief outline of my story might help someone.

Anon April 2019