Nearly 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
There are 450 million people currently suffering from mental health conditions, making mental illness one of the leading causes of ill-health and disability in the world.
I know. I’m one of them. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder nearly 20 years ago, I have worked for many years to deconstruct the stigma surrounding it and educate others on this serious world health issue – and I’ve improved the quality of my life along the way.
These are striking statistics, but with the eyes of the world on suicide prevention – especially on World Mental Health Day 2019 this 10 October – there is still hope. WHO says the overall objective of the annual day is raising awareness for mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health initiatives around the world. This year’s theme is investing in mental health due to the impact of the Covid on our societies, which has led to more people feeling isolated working and schooling from home.
Add to that financial instability, people having to say goodbye to dying loved ones without even seeing them as well as travel and leisure – including vacations, concerts and sports – being cancelled, it is indeed an unsettling time. But how we make choices for ourselves going forward can make a difference. You just have to know where to start.
Sharing My Experience
With that, I’d like to share with you my contribution to this effort to combat mental health issues and provide solutions for those suffering.
My book about my life with bipolar disorder is being published this weekend in honor of World Mental Health Day. The book, Bipolar Phoenix: My F’ed Up Life and How I Fixed It, talks about how and why I was stricken with bipolar disorder and offers 13 chapters of methods I used to help myself recover and turn my life around. (Scroll down for details on where to find the book in Singapore.)
My first main point is that people who are having mental health problems should be evaluated by a medical doctor who can put them on a treatment plan. (No Karens, please!) There, I discuss a variety of other methods I used to help myself, such as psychotherapy (where I walk and talk in Singapore Botanic Gardens), yoga and meditation done in various places I’ve lived or travelled to in the U.S. and Asia, and even Equine Assisted Psychotherapy right here at the Singapore Polo Club.
Moving beyond activities you can choose to support your mental health, I also turn inward looking at issues of self-love (and self-hate), issues of faith (is God punishing me?) and issues of self-esteem (fake it ‘til you make it). Throughout the book, I use detailed and sometimes dramatic anecdotes from my life story to illustrate my points and to show just how bad and good mental health can be.
You don’t have to have bipolar disorder to glean tips from this book on living your best life. My hope is that it will shine a light on mental health and the need to take care of it. Your life may depend on it. And I can tell you that, with my life being what it is today, my journey and all its troubles, was worth the effort to make changes. I’m happy now and I’m so lucky to still be here.
Read more about Andrea’s journey by ordering her e-book on Amazon.com or Kindle. You can also purchase the printed version by reaching her here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Andrea McKenna Brankin
Andrea McKenna Brankin is a journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.
More on The Finder:
Ask The Expert: What Is High-Functioning Depression And How Do I Identify It?
Suicidal Thoughts: My Own Personal Experience And How To Get Help In Singapore – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin
An Expat Mum In Singapore’s Heart-Wrenching Tale Of Her Teen Daughter’s Suicide
10 INSPIRING Self-Care Ideas To Try On A Regular Basis In Singapore – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin
True Story: “I’m An Expat In Singapore With Bipolar Disorder And I’m Not Ashamed Of It”