Ten Years Ago

Today is my 1oth anniversary of immigrating to Australia from Canada.

I know the feeling of being frozen by anxiety, tortured by depression and humiliated by psychosis.  Fortunately, change is a normal part of life.

Ten years ago, I was in a 3-year relationship with an Australian woman and it is safe to say that I wasn’t the best company in the world.  At that time, I did not think that I would ever be able to work again.  I dreaded the thought of being poor and all of its imagined consequences; and the future appeared daunting and hopeless from all angles.

In addition, I was ashamed of my uncharacteristic behaviour in Toronto in 1996 after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  And I was afraid that people would discover that I had a severe mental illness and learn about my past.  I was tormented and in a state of self-loathing related to the emotional suffering that had resulted to the people in my life as a consequence of my poor mental health. Moreover, I had lost my sense of identity, including that of being a social activist in Canada.

In short, a decade ago I thought that I would never enjoy life again.

But I was wrong.

Today, I am enjoying a more productive and satisfying life more than ever before.

I am qualified as a professional social worker; a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers; and employed full-time in community mental health by Woden Community Service in Canberra, helping other people with mental health problems to rebuild their lives.

A central part of the transformation is that I am no longer afraid of people finding out that I have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness.  In fact, I publicly share parts of my personal story to try to raise awareness of mental health recovery (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 14 September 2011).

Once again, I am a social activist. And as a result, I am developing a mental health community development initiative  Mentalympians.

However, I am no longer in a 3-year relationship with an Australia woman.  I am now in a 13-year relationship with the same person.

As addressed, change is a normal part of life.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ten Years Ago

  1. Great blog! Really heartening and inspiring. Thanks!

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