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Mental health disorder – a personal story (video transcript)

5-minute read

Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you, your loved ones or when preparing questions for your doctor or a specialist.


The patient, a father of two grown children, suffered a manic episode in 2000 at a time when he was a 'workaholic' and life seemed out of control. He went into hospital voluntarily and used creativity (for example computer art and music) to help his recovery.

Watch the related video interview >

Please note...

This interview has been sourced from, award-winning research into patient experiences in conjunction with the Health Experience Research Group at Oxford University, UK.

healthdirect doesn't endorse any personal opinions expressed in the video, and we recommend you discuss any questions you have regarding unfamiliar terms or descriptions, as well as how this experience compares to the Australian health care system, with a health professional.

Video transcript

Having a mental health disorder can open up opportunities, and you can do much to change your life, including creative and social activities.

That there is hope, there is, you know. That isn't the end. I think your feeling is, "Right", particularly if you're ageing you know, "Right that's the end of my life, that's the last thing I'll ever do", you know. "And all I'm ever going to do now is either retire or whatever", you know and certainly things change totally, and a lot of things...a lot of opportunities opened up which I would never have thought had happened.

Strangely enough there were certain things, practical things that made these things happen. One was a... a friend of mine bought me a mobile phone and that opened up the social side of things, which it hadn't existed before. So and then the other thing was I started playing around with computer graphic packages, Coral Draw was one I was working in, and I'd started doing kind of abstract art basically using that. So sometimes there can be things that can facilitate things happening, but I think you definitely need to, I mean I started using the phone more than I'd ever used it in the past. So it was a communications thing.

It made you more social?

Yeah, I'd probably go out more, I'd have a drink and that sort of thing, which I'd not done before. But that came partly because of being involved with the band. So the band would be going off and we'd go off and have a drink together that sort of thing. So you get to talk to quite a lot of people that way.

Says that the Internet allows you to 'demystify' health professional authority because you can research a treatment and identify other opinions.

But the point that the Internet has done, has kind of demystified authority, so in the past doctors would prescribe something, and you'd just take it because the doctor said so. Now most folks will look up on the Internet, what's the side effects, what do we know about this drug before we take it. So I think that's informing more people, and probably the same will happen with psychiatric conditions. People will look up what's been said and you know, is there any dispute about this, are you, is this the, is the truth or is it just a version of the truth.

It is sometimes hard to know who your real friends are, but they are probably those who show concern about you when you are depressed or manic.

So if you, the advice that you'd give, you'd need to find a really good friend and you're never quite sure who your friends are. As they say, "A friend in need is a friend in deed", you've basically... you work on people that really seem to be still concerned about you when you're in this state, and they, they are probably the people that you know, you should confide in and find out that you know. It won't always work, sometimes you'll have chosen the wrong one and the very person you thought you could trust is actually the one who is the Judas if you like, and the one who reports you to the authorities [laugh] so you really need someone that... that totally trusts you regardless of what you say and doesn't say, "Right it's in your best interests to do such and such a thing".

Says that The Sun newspaper got lots of complaints when it described the boxer Frank Bruno as 'bonkers'.

I think that lobby groups are tending to change things because we had an issue with Frank Bruno. You heard the story that there were a lot of people who bombarded the Sun newspaper with e-mails saying, "You know it's not acceptable to talk about 'bonkers' nowadays, and you know, the attitude, do you realise you're actually offending twenty-five percent of your readership"? [Laugh]. Effectively you know, if you think about it. So you know that kind of there's more sort of pressure perhaps to stop people being, well to get people to be a little bit more... I don't really like "politically correct" but that sort of thing you know. And there's various taboos, you can't be sexist, you can't be racist you can't be ageism or you can be a little bit ageist but you know it's getting that way. But you can still talk about nutters and psychos and so on. And so it's getting to a stage where those sort of words as well you know, what do you mean by that when you use that word you know?

More information

Learn more about this condition in our depression and mental health disorders sections.

Source: (Depression, age 55-64, interview 31)

Copyright: ©2013 University of Oxford. Used under licence from DIPEx. All rights reserved.

Last reviewed: February 2013

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