Hi! I am Liz and I am 49 years old. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder in 2003 - something that was a huge shock to myself and my family.
Life was never to be the same again, so when I do my talks it is great to explain in depth just exactly what I went through.
I have suffered mainly from manic psychotic episodes that on average have occurred once a year since my diagnosis. Each episode has seemed to be more bizarre than the last, from believing I was Jesus's sister with all my disciples ready to change the world, to telling my brother in law I could stop a train and that I would show him!
It all sounds funny but there were also some very frightening experiences, like when I thought evil spirits were trying to get me. I was terrified, and so were the people around me as they felt helpless.
17 years on, I have a loving and caring partner with a good understanding of my mental state, and a family who have open minds and learn each day to understand more and more. I share my story to give people a greater understanding of mental disorders with the hope that through my talks I will encourage others to be brave and speak out.
So perhaps next time when you hear someone has jumped in front of a train and killed themselves, please don't just think it's because they are selfish or even because they are depressed. They maybe having a psychotic episode like mine and have no rational mind. They could be running very scared from evil spirits or think they can stop the train with the touch of their hand....
Hi, I'm Kate and I am 44 years old. I live in Chelmsford and I am married to a very supportive husband and we have two very lively young girls.
I am Liz's younger sister and I am continually trying to learn about Liz's condition and raise awareness about the effects it has on family and friends, and hopefully give them the best support possible. I also mentor young adults to help, guide and support them through their Mental Health difficulties.
Liz was diagnosed the year I was getting married, which as many of you know is extremely busy with planning and preparations for the big day. At the early start of the year things became very apparent Liz was struggling and the only way I can describe it is that she seemed broken, which, from someone who normally is a very fun-loving, positive person, was most out of character.
Growing up Liz had her ups and downs with life, but she's always had a different way of processing information than most. We all just said, "oh, that's just Lizzy." On reflection I believe if Liz had been born in 2017 things might have been diagnosed earlier.
This just shows just how far we have come with mental health so I am expecting more positive things in the years to come.