In the beginning of 2013, I had a severe manic episode that landed me in the psychiatric hospital here in Edinburgh for three weeks. Mania is on the complete opposite side of the mood spectrum from depression and is characterised by a period of elevated mood, intense excitement, overactivity, and euphoria. In my case I also had psychosis, delirum, and sympoms of schizophrenia. This was an intensely traumatic time for both myself, my family and close friends, that completely flipped our lives upside down. With the help of medication, support from family and friends, prayer, and living a healthy lifestyle, I am now back to ‘normal’ (though still a bit of a goofball) and have been off medication for over six months. I praise God for this.
HOW I HOPE TO RAISE AWARENESS
I am currently training for the Edinburgh half marathon that takes place on the 25th of May and want to use this as a platform to raise awareness about mental health issues by telling my story.
I share my story not to flaunt my success or to pretend that I understand what it’s like to struggle with a long-term mental illness. I realise that my relatively quick recovery is not typical and most people have a more difficult experience.
My sincere hope is that by talking about my story with a broader audience, I might help reduce the mental illness stigma, common misconceptions about mental illness, and encourage more openness and dialogue. This is how we can better love and support each other.
MY FUNDRAISING GOAL
I recently visited the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for the first time since I was discharged last February. What a surreal experience! It was really great to chat with the staff and thank them for their work in helping me recover. I told them about what I'm doing now and asked how I can help - specifically if there are any supplies they are in need of. Turns out that they are in desperate need for more art supplies for their art classes and exercise mats for their relaxation classes. Please join me in reaching my goal of raising £1000 ($1675) to purchase these supplies - should be enough to last them a while! Thanks in advance for your help and support.
FUNDRAISING UPDATE AS OF 24th MAY:
I went back to visit the hospital again this week to update the nurses I talked to last month about my mental health project. They are encouraged and excited! In addition to art supplies and exercise mats, they are in need of ‘welcome packs’ for the patients when they first arrive at the hospital, containing some essentials (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, etc.).
These ‘welcome packs’ will now be added to the list of supplies I will be buying from the hospital and I will use any money raised from this day onward to purchase the packs, unless specified by the donor.
Over the next six weeks in the lead up to the race, I will be posting more details about my manic episode experience and encourage you to follow along. Feel free to share this with others!