Hi, my name’s Jonny and this is my mental health selfie for Mind.
I want to talk to you a little bit about dual diagnosis of bipolar and alcoholism.
So, I should start with a dramatic experience which happened about four years ago, the culmination of a bipolar episode.
I became obsessed and scared and I didn’t sleep and I thought that I was being followed by the Secret Police. I ended up driving in my mum’s car around a race track. I was followed by the police and quite rightly arrested and sectioned. And it was a very traumatic experience particularly in the hospital afterwards.
It was a very difficult experience getting myself back on my feet and some of that has been mentioned in a previous Blog that I’ve done for Mind.
I was sectioned aged 17 and 19 as well and I think for the same condition and similar experiences. I think that from aged 19 to 36 when I got into recovery from alcoholism I basically medicated my bipolar with alcohol and one thing fuelled the other.
The thinking of the alcoholic and the thinking of someone that suffers from bipolar and the drinking itself all joined together to make a big mess.
Life was difficult for me and, of course, very much so for those around me. I learned to forgive myself for that and anybody that suffers from addiction or mental health should learn to do so because they are illnesses.
My daily experience is that even when I’m well I am too much in the fast lane or not in any lane. I’m either smoking 40 a day or none at all. I’m either sending a million emails or none. I can’t stop doing, planning, scheming or working but I do find that I have a slight tendency to, sort of, reach a crescendo and then crash.
It’s like a daily mini version of the dramatic episodes which ended in hospitalisation and weeks recuperating in bed.
When I’m heading towards a relapse from my bipolar I do everything I can to slow myself down and I try not to do things.
I try to just look after myself and be kind to myself and I think that’s what anyone that suffers from it should do.
And don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to tell your employer you need a day off just like if you had a broken leg.
I am really privileged to be in a good recovery from alcoholism and from bipolar.
And music and medication and my children and therapy and anything that’s available to me help and helping other people helps and Mind and the things that they do help.
So, my suggestion to anybody that’s suffering from these conditions is understand them, accept them and you can get over them.
And help beat the stigma by talking about it. And of course I would suggest if anybody feels capable and willing then do your own selfie and join the Mind YouTube channel.
Thank you very much.
You can read Jonny's previous blogs here.
He has also written for the Huffington Post.
Find out how to submit your own #mentalhealthselfie here.
Watch more vlogs from people with experience of mental health problems at our Youtube channel.
For more information on living with bipolar, see our information.
You can also read about the mental health effects of recreational drugs and alcohol here.