I am a parent who has a mental illness. I remember in the early days of my bipolar 1 mood disorder, two years after my first hospitalization being in a relationship with a woman who had two young children. Her custody case coincided with my second major manic episode and I still carry with me the fact that her relationship with someone who was mentally ill was used in court to help award full custody to the father. That was 1985.
Since then, and lots of lithium I have had a successful 20 year high school teaching career, have been married for 17 years and have two beautiful, creative, loving, high achieving daughters aged 16 and 11.
After 20 years of wellness I had another episode in 2005 and it was the nurturing, loving, healing capacity of family that again got me out the other side. (The first time it was mum!) I left teaching and after a year off work began a new career as a carer of adults with developmental disabilities, and recently this new one day a week job as a consumer rehabilitation worker. I also am a volunteer ambassador for the Black Dog Institute and in that capacity give talks about the Institute and my lived experience of mood disorder.
Approaching fifty, I see so much possibility vocationally, as a father and as a partner.
Consumer Rehabilitation Assistant
Fernhill Place Community Rehabilitation Service
Fairy Meadow, NSW, Australia
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