My personal story battling my brain began when I was a teenager.

I was always an anxious kid, but things really got worse as I got into high school. My anxiety got so bad that I developed a social eating disorder and had to attend strict therapy during Year 12, which was a huge setback for my grades at the time. Despite this, I still did well at school and got into Journalism school, which was my dream.

My super-serious mental experiences began in 2019 when I suffered a psychotic episode and was hospitalised for two weeks. I found myself in a locked psychiatric ward which for a first timer was nothing short of terrifying.

Some time after, I successfully recovered, then quickly relapsed around November 2020, and was then hospitalised involuntarily for almost three weeks. I thought my life was over.

My turning point was when I hit complete rock bottom. I was at a point where I felt extremely suffocated by my brain and didn’t feel that there was a way out. Then, when my long-term partner left me, I was forced to re-evaluate my life completely and try to work towards better days. It was a long and extremely difficult road.

Despite so many setbacks, I was lucky to have great professional support, and after being officially diagnosed with bipolar and schizoaffective disorders, I now have a much better understanding of what I am going through.

I have had three years of relapse prevention training and have a much clearer idea of what to do and when. I feel I have much better control over my life and my emotions than ever, so I have certainly come a long, long way.

Mental awareness is so, so important. Understanding your own body and your mind is crucial. It might be an arduous journey, but it’s completely worth it. If you can understand why your body and mind do these things, it’ll help you plan toward the future. It’ll also help you get professional support when you need it.

And, if things aren’t feeling right, try as hard as you can to speak up about it and get help. You will greatly benefit. There are so many people out there who you can lean on and that will help you to get better. Remember that you are not in this alone and never, ever will be. There is light at the end of the tunnel, just remember that.