If you've ever submitted an enquiry or asked a question about a product the chances are you will have spoken to Jason. Jason has been with Barty just over a month and is such an asset to the team. He is always happy to help and provide support and a conversation with him is bound to brighten up your day. But there is more to Jason than meets the eye which is why he is todays Mental Health Profile.
Diagnosis (if any): About twenty years ago I was diagnosed with Rapid cycling Bipolar 2 Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD
Which fictional character do you relate to the most (get creative!)? Charlie Brown
How do you do self-care? I function best when I have structure and order in my daily life. I need to stick to a schedule to keep focused and grounded If I start to deviate from my schedule I suffer intense anxiety.
If I start to feel anxious or panicky it helps to do deep breathing exercises. I also find that if I partake in creative activities, and stimulate that part of my brain it can alleviate depression.
I find it extremely helpful to always try to be “present”. In other words; live in the moment. Don’t dwell in the past. The past is over and you cannot change it. Don’t worry about what may, or may not happen in the future. The future hasn’t arrived yet and you cannot predict it. You’re here right now, take enjoyment in what is around you now, and be grateful for what you have in the present.
Treatment undergone/undergoing (if any): I take several different medications, and I see a psychiatrist regularly. I’ve undergone E.M.D.R therapy (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) for my PTSD.
I have been hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic several times in the last 10 years; once following a suicide attempt, again after a psychotic break, another time because of a debilitating episode of major depression (which followed the back-to-back deaths first of my sister and then a month later, my mother). I had resisted hospitalisations many times previously in my life because I was afraid of not being able to leave when I wanted. Now I’m glad that I had the help that I needed and it’s actually comforting to know that you can get that more intensive type of treatment. I feel so much stronger and resilient because of those inpatient stays.
What barriers (if any) did you face when trying to get help? The biggest barrier initially was me. It takes some self-awareness to realise that things aren’t right, and that you don’t have to struggle on your own. Getting the correct diagnosis is important too.
Tell us about your mental health struggles? Being Bipolar is a blessing and a curse. You can experience heightened feelings of elation and joy that other people cannot imagine, but the depths can be utterly soul destroying. When you’re a really sensitive and emotional person it enables you to experience things more deeply and profoundly. However, these qualities also leave you more vulnerable to hurt and pain if you lose that self-awareness and get carried away.
Every day you question yourself about whether what you’re feeling is genuine, or if you’re in the beginning of either a manic or depressive state. (early days of an onset are not always recognisable)
What’s something you wish people knew about your struggles? If I appear distracted or agitated it’s never directed towards them. It’s just an outward manifestation of an inner turmoil.
Have you received any amusing or unhelpful comments about your mental health that you would like to share? Sometimes, when I’m speaking with someone who knows about my mental health issues, I’ll share that I’m depressed, and they respond: “Oh me too! They were out of my favourite muffins at the café this morning!” or if I tell them that I’m not feeling my best because I’m feeling anxious and stressed, they’ll say: “Oh I know.. the traffic was so heavy today. It totally stressed me out”
The worst though was when someone said to me whilst I was hospitalised: “I don’t want to come and visit you, because I think you’re just overreacting. Seriously,I think if you’re feeling depressed you just need to snap out of it, pull yourself together and get on with it. It’s psychosomatic; you’re making a fuss over nothing”
Anything else to add? Please don't hesitate to seek help if you're struggling, it's okay to not be okay. But make sure you ask for help and don't try to do it alone.
Thanks so much for sharing Jason and thanks so much for being a part of Team Barty!
Want some more support or interested in being apart of this series? Feel free to drop by, just say, ‘Hey Barty’ in strict confidence and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or, do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments below any time.