Bipolar Disorder

“One of the things that baffles me … is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls.” Carrie Fisher

Did you know that bipolar is the fourth most-common mental health problem worldwide after depression, anxiety and schizophrenia? (x)

Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows.

Carrie Fisher had bipolar, she was diagnosed at 24 but she only accepted it when she was 28. She was an inspiring, outspoken mental health advocate. She spent half of her life to combat mental health stigma by being open about her struggles with bipolar and addiction. She had a guest column in the Guardian and she dedicated all her platform to mental health awareness and female empowerment. Read her books, check out some of her interviews and you can learn a lot about having bipolar and living with mental illness and addiction.

Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

Stephen Fry has been diagnosed with bipolar only when he was 37 and he was dismayed to discover the extent of prejudice surrounding mental health problems. “I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.” (x)

In the BBC2 documentary, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, he consults experts and fellow sufferers of bipolar disorder, including the comedian Tony Slattery and the Hollywood actors Richard Dreyfuss and Carrie Fisher. The illness, formerly known as manic depression, affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK. Although it can be managed successfully with drug and psychological therapies, 15 per cent of sufferers – about 2,000 people a year – kill themselves. Doctors estimate that one in 100 have bipolar disorder, but some researchers think the true figure could be far higher. Campaigners say only about half of sufferers are actually diagnosed and, on average, this can take eight years. (x)

Stephen Fry’s documentary on Bipolar disorder can be found here.

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May is mental health awareness month

May is mental health awareness month and I would like to take the opportunity to share stories, statistics, and just generally have some discussions on mental health, what it really means and how important it is. I believe the best way to start that, is me sharing my story and the reasons for this blog; Travel for mental health.

Mental health is a really significant segment of my life but this wasn’t always true. A couple of years ago I struggled with depression and I regularly had anxiety attacks. However, I was totally unaware of both. I categorised my anxiety attacks as a normal occurrence in everyone’s life who can’t do better. Like, myself. It’s my fault that I have them, and it’s my fault that I am in this situation. I am just a useless person who can’t do better and I just have to deal with that or get used to it and just move the fu*k on. I managed to hide both of these things from my closest friends, colleagues, family. I became really good at feeling horrible while being absolutely jolly when people were around. It was a rather difficult period of my life and the one thing that helped me the most, was travelling.

I had the most ridiculous, luckiest opportunity in my life and I got to travel to a country far away from Eastern Europe ( where I’m from) and I got to travel with an amazing bunch of collective weirdos from all around the world. We spent two weeks in complete bliss and ignorance, just enjoying life, talking about each other, our cultures and struggles. A group of girls from different countries, different backgrounds, different habits and completely different lives bounded together by their shared sci-fi interest, lived under the same roof for two weeks and changed each other’s life forever.

You might wanna ask me; “How did they do that?” and i can tell you, how. Just by listening to each other and excepting each other. An environment not all of us knew before. An environment where we became self-aware and a bit less apologetic about who we are. It gave me strength to come out as a bisexual, it gave me strength to stand up against my depression and it gave me strength to make life changing decisions. I’m not questioning that often who I am and how I should fit in to this life. I rather decided to create a life where I fit in and I am learning to embrace this new person, who is me. Who has actually always been me, just not on the surface. Surface me was ashamed and believed that there is something wrong with me and that I should change in order for the world to like me. Travelling helped me understand that this is not true. Travelling made me see the world, a different world with stunningly beautiful human beings all around and it gave me the strength to stand up. Travelling gave me hope.

Now, I am out of the closet, I am a human rights activist, I am a global feminist and I am living in another country. I am still the person who struggles with depression. I am still the person who rarely, but still can have anxiety attacks. I am still someone who is fighting every day. The difference is that I know more of who I am and what I am fighting for. I am aware of my own weaknesses, however I still don’t yet know my strength. I have still a lot to improve, but now I am on a journey. I am searching for the best way of living this life we have been given and I am aware of that and I am doing that happily. I am better.

Share more soon, be kind to yourself and others! A

Years and Years

Preview – Years and Years (my pic)

Finally, it’s been announced, the new drama from the Master himself, Russell T Davies is coming to your telly on 14 May!!!! I am so very excited about this, as I had the opportunity to watch already the first episode at the BFI Radio and Television Festival in April. My review of Years and Years is the following: It is bloody fantastic, you should all watch it!!

What is Years and Years? If you ask me, I would say that it’s a spiced up family drama, with some extraordinary elements of a political series, stirred with a dash of dystopian components. If you ask Russell T Davies, he says:
It’s a family saga, about an ordinary Manchester family. The story starts in 2019 and goes forward 15 years. So you see where we’re heading. History and society seems to be mad at the moment, it seems to be quite a fevered time. So it’s trying to capture that, it’s trying to guess where we’re going.”

Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook

And who is helping in telling the story of where we are headed? Emma Thompson. Dame Emma Thompson plays Vivienne Rook, an outspoken, controversial politician who may or may not been based on some real life public figures. Rory Kinnear, Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes, Ruth Madeley, Anne Reid, T’Nia Miller play the members of the Lyon family. It is a hugely talented cast, I love each and all of them. Amazing performances. The characters are all brilliant, you instantly care for them and connect with them.

The first episode is everything you would expect from Russell T Davies and a bit more. If you are familiar with his work, if you are a whovian, you will feel right away that this show is his creation. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s messy, it’s full of interesting personalities and it’s absolutely mesmerising. The writing is phenomenal and the music goes so smoothly and perfectly with each scene that it becomes one of the significant elements of telling the story.

Being at the preview screening at the BFI gave me the opportunity to meet some of the cast and have to tell you that they are just the loveliest people. I got to talk to them a little bit and they are all very excited about Years and Years and were happy to mingle with the fans. Lucky me, even managed to get the autograph of Russell T Davies and have a little discussion about the show. He is the sweetest gentlemen you can meet. He is chatty, genuinely excited and just very funny. He and the cast made this night very special and I am very grateful for this experience 🙂

I really loved this episode and the cast so if you can, please watch the first episode, support them and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

I am uploading a few videos to my Youtube channel, please check it out. You can hear what Russell T Davies had to say about the show, and there are some stories shared from the cast. Not everything is uploaded yet as I don’t want to spoil anything, so check it again after the first episode aired!

Share more soon, be kind to yourself and others! A