By Tom Gray
Key Themes: Mental Health, Bipolar, Psychosis, Depression
How can an average lad from Sheffield go from living a normal life to
attempting suicide twice and having 3 psychiatric hospital admissions?
My story delves into my life, in parts it is shocking, in others it is enlightening but what I try to do is give a true account of my life living with Psychosis, Depression and eventually Bi Polar.
I hope I can try to break down the barriers of mental health and go some
way in reducing stigma.
My mood went from being very low and suicidal to 10 weeks later I was as high as a kite. I think it was just sheer relief that I had got my life back after previously convincing myself it was over. It felt like I had taken Ecstasy but good clean stuff and it lasted about 3 weeks. My mood was just through the roof, I remember going to sleep happy and waking up happy too, it never went away. I was just full of life, my energy levels were very high and overall I just felt extremely happy. Its like when you have nightmare and you wake up and realise it wasn’t real, but this time the nightmare was in an extreme form and therefore the resultant relief was much grander. I also felt very spiritual around this point and felt like my recovery was also down to something else and that I needed to somehow acknowledge and thank it.
My job role had changed from being a PA for the managing director to now back to a more admin role. The job vacancy was called a Para planner. To be fair I wasn’t happy with the shift of roles but I was so happy and so determined to stay happy that I accepted it. I had just got to a point in my career where I was going out with the MD seeing clients and getting more involved with the actual financial planning side of things, then I got unwell and kind of got demoted. I totally understand why they did it, they felt the job role was too pressurised and maybe contributed to my downfall but my job was giving me the most joy in my life.
It was around this time that a few of my Dad’s friends from the pub took over a football club in Shirebrook which is near Mansfield. I’m not sure what the details were but I rang Rick the manager and said that I will be the Chairman. Typical me, I wanted to be at the top straight away without knowing anything about the club or anything about football. I was given the job as treasurer or something to that effect. Basically I pressed play on the iPod and the music came out on the PA system. I would also have a few other jobs but nothing sparkling, I think Rick had me counting shots on target and number of corners etc. But I enjoyed it as I had a purpose. One thing I did get from the club was seeing first hand how much passion there was from the community. There were many people involved and they would all love to show me there business cards even if it did say ‘chief pie taster’. The area was rather deprived and the football club acted as a linchpin to the community and local economy. It made me realise how much such clubs mean to people. For a lot of them it is their life.
So now I was doing a job that I wasn’t 100% happy with, whereas previously my job had become my life. Maybe in hindsight I was doing too much and possibly it did contribute to me becoming unwell but I personally don’t think it did. I thought if I work hard again at my new role then I will get my old job back! This unfortunately didn’t happen and I continued with the role of Para planner.
I continued with my exams and managed to pass one more exam towards my diploma after returning to work. Christmas 2010 was great as I was better so the whole family were extremely pleased with how things had panned out. I had a very low key new year, prior to Christmas I decided that I was going to have some time off from drinking as it was highlighted that my excessive drinking may have contributed to me becoming unwell, again this is a matter of opinion. So I started the New Year sober. I must admit I found it really difficult going out in social situations; I just wanted to have a drink like the rest of my friends and enjoy myself like them. I felt very out of the circle. After New Year I continued with my recovery and stayed sober, I was still just happy to be back to normal and didn’t need anything else in my life to make me feel better. I started smoking again once I was better, it was kind of prize for getting my life back together. Life was just very steady, I worked and went out with my pals, I thought this was it and that I wasn’t going to have anymore problems in life. I kept taking the tablets and things were good.