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The process of restoring some lucidity or normality was one that lasted longer than I ever thought it would. I expected everything to go back to normal as soon as I left hospital. Finally choosing to properly engage with the help I was being offered was a real turning point. I slowly realised I wasn’t being judged by these people and that they could only help as much as I could help them to. Having a say in the treatments available to me and options for different medication was not the image I had been sold by my time in hospital.

I was soon diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, which, in one way, was a relief to me and those around me. Learning to manage the symptoms at their worst or to spot the triggers and avoid them altogether has made life much more bearable. Through a mixture of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) I have a much better understanding of the way my brain works.

The whole thing has had a severe effect on my life, my aspirations and those around me. I'd refrain from saying it has defined me but it has shaped a lot of who I am today, maybe who I’ve always been, and in many ways for the better. 

The EYE Project is a research project supported by:

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Swandean, Arundel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3EP