Since she was eight-years-old, Rebecca struggled with mental ill health - but it took over ten years until she finally found the answers she was searching for.
After struggling with her condition for over a decade, at 18 years old Rebecca was diagnosed with Bipolar I. Her diagnosis brought a sense of relief and understanding about the symptoms that she had spent a large part of her life struggling with.
“One of the worst aspects of my mental illness was when I didn’t understand my own symptoms, and that was tough for everyone concerned.”
“I felt a huge sense of relief in my diagnosis, it enabled me to access more information about what I was experiencing, as well as giving me a language to communicate with other people about what I was experiencing,” said Rebecca.
Rebecca’s diagnosis also allowed her to connect with people and share her experiences.
“The extent to which people have shown me love, support and care in my darkest times has been, and continues to be, truly touching,” said Rebecca.
Rebecca acknowledges that she is lucky to have the full support of her family, and access to the private mental health care system.
Unfortunately, not every Australian is so lucky, and Rebecca’s story is not the norm. Rebecca, now 26, has worked as an advocate for mental health consumers, and is currently writing a PhD on the role of consumer engagement in the youth mental health sector.
Having received great support and treatment, Rebecca has seen one of the pockets of great care available in Australia’s mental health care system, and wants that level of care to be made available to every Australian experiencing mental ill health.
“There’s so much that can be done, and needs to be done, within the current system. The current level of funding and attention from government hinders the system’s ability to cater for all Australians in need,” Rebecca said.
Despite the challenges she faces in living with bipolar, Rebecca is positive about her experiences, and lives a rewarding and contributing life.
“It's a challenge for me, and a big one. But as a result of it I've had experiences that have made me who I am.”
We thank Rebecca for sharing her story with us.
All stories are shared with direct permission, as part of Share Your Story month.
If you, or someone you know, requires assistance or needs to talk to someone, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.