IF YOU ARE IN AUSTRALIA AND NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE NOW,
RING ONE OF THESE NUMBERS:
KIDS HELPLINE: 1800 55 1800
LIFELINE: 13 11 14
SUICIDE CALL-BACK SERVICE: 1300 659 467
EMERGENCY SERVICES: 000
Mental illness is shit. The stats say that 1 in 5 suffers from a mental illness. I bet you know at least 5 people. Probably even 20. Every one of us cares for someone with a mental illness, whether you (or they) know it or not. Every single one of us suffers as a result of that mental illness.
Mental illness is strong within my family of origin. One brother had Bipolar. One brother had Schizophrenia. My mother...well, who knows what the fuck her problem is. Two nieces have Bipolar. I have Bipolar 2. I say my brothers "had" these illnesses because they both committed suicide. Yeh, our genes are fucked up.
I've had some kind of crazy for as long as I can remember, but puberty triggered something in me that was diagnosed 30 years later as bipolar 2. In addition I have lived with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideation, PTSD and severe Post-Natal Depression after my daughter was born. It was so bad that I thought about putting her outside on a freezing night or smothering her. I was convinced she hated me and that I couldn't mother her. No one picked up on this. I came out of it after about 6 months. How she survived my madness I don't know.
If you or someone you love needs help, here are some places to start. If anyone has details about international organisations, please email me and I will include them. These sites are situated in Australia, but the information they provide is relevant worldwide.
Black Dog Institute: From their website: "The Black Dog Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder."
Beyond Blue Great information source about a range of mental health issues, with a focus on forms of depression. Fact sheets avalable. Links to major national helplines.
Lifeline: Provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Wikipedia has DSM Criteria for every mental illness you can think of.
Crazy Meds was a particular favourite when I had to research what meds were available for my brand of crazy. I like it because it lists every possible psych med and gives you the real side effects, from people who have taken the medications. IT IS NOT RUN BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. The information is provided by the people who actually know whether they have worked or not, and whether having a menstrual period that lasts for 7 months is a possible side effect not listed in the official drug company spiel. (Me, Neurontin. It isnt listed by the drug company. Yes it's a rare side effect.)There is a forum to discuss experiences with the meds. It helped me figure out what to try next, and to eventually find the medication that saved my life.