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Write an article I've been in advertising for 30-something years. Coincidentally, I've also suffered from bipolar for 30-something years. So I know what it's like to be driven by anxieties so strong I sacrificed weekend after weekend to needless work. 

I know what it's like to be so sleep deprived my keyboard began to resemble a pillow. And I know what it's like to perform brilliantly in a meeting one minute only to find myself crying in a toilet cubicle the next. I say this not to play poor me but to prove that it is possible to have a reasonably successful career, relatively normal home life and debilitating mental illness all rolled into one.

I've been married for 34 years to a beautiful woman who is either an angel or simply too lazy to look elsewhere. I have two wonderful daughters who have endured my ups and downs with good grace and savage humour and, until recently, one of the greatest mental health tools known to man, a dog named Benny. I'm also fortunate enough to live in a lovely house in a leafy Sydney suburb and am gainfully self-employed. Life has been good. It's also been a hell of a struggle.

When I was in my late twenties, I saw a psychiatrist thanks to the encouragement of an empathetic aunt. I was so disillusioned with the experience I decided to do something only an egotistical young man could do. I would keep my problems to myself and deal with them as I saw fit. It was the most stupid decision of my life. 25 years later, I did something incredibly smart, I saw another psychiatrist. He was brilliant and I gradually started to get my life back in some order.

So if you only take one thing from this article, make it this: If you don't feel well, do something. Don't be stupid like me and waste 25 years of your life, do something. If for example, you're not well, share your news with someone you trust but let them know you are doing so out of respect not the fact that you are looking for sympathy.

Or if you suspect an associate or friend of yours might not be doing all that well, go ahead and ask them, gently. If they're well they'll still think you're a champion for caring enough to ask and if they're ill, they might just love you forever. If you're interested in any further homespun mental health advice you can find bucket loads of the stuff at: https://club20.com.au/

David (2).jpg 
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/im-david-mentally-ill-david-westgate

 

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Daisy
What an inspiring story, and so well put. I think we are all afraid to ask for help or to even offer our help for fear of how it is taken, but as David says if it is done in the correct way it can only be a good thing! Thank you for sharing this story.
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whyohwhyonearth
Spot on Daisy! David's story reminds everyone that we live in 2017 and despite all the stories of 'doom and gloom' around the world, we actually only have to look at those closest to us for meaningful, non-judgmental, compassionate support. Speaking from experience, keeping it in and trying to self talk your issues away, only prolongs the suffering and exacerbates the pain of the ultimate breakdown! My thanks to David for sharing his experiences and highlighting the need to take action sooner, rather than later!
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