Holding on to hope

When he was 17-years-old, he went through what he describes as a �major depressive episode�.

�As time went on, it got worse,� he said.

�I turned to alcohol and self-harm. I just stopped taking care of myself.�

When he reached 18, Nathan was admitted to a private psychiatric hospital.

�It was my lowest point but I always had hope I would get better and I held on to that,� he said. He was in and out of hospital for six months, and trialling 30-40 different medications before he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

�It took four admissions over six months before I was diagnosed,� he said.

But Nathan said it wasn�t until he had a reaction to a new medication that he really took his health seriously.

�I was home alone and my muscles started convulsing. It started in my jaw and began constricting my airways,� he said.

�I had to text a friend because I couldn�t speak. I told them to call an ambulance.

�By the time the ambulance came I was turning blue and was in and out of consciousness.�

He said after that, he really put the effort in to get better.

�The more effort I put in, the better I felt,� he said.

Nathan described getting better as a full-time job, but said he could now identify triggers and emotions before things got out of control.

�That hope I held on to still helps me,� he said. He will be sharing his story at a youth mental health forum held by Ascot Rotary this month. It will feature speakers from mental health support services.

n If you or someone you know may need help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.