Living with a mental health challenge of any type, often means that you go through many stages of exploration until you reach a true diagnosis that will allow you and your helping professional to put a plan in place of the proper treatment and self-care routine. Initially these types of changes in our mental health can often lead to having more questions than answers, but in time the new insight gained can be invaluable to our recovery.
My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, John Dickson, lived with Major Depressive Disorder for 40 years, before being officially diagnosed. As he shares on his blog, The3inMe.ga, …Over the majority of that period, my illness was undiagnosed and untreated. It’s only in hindsight that I can see that I’ve experienced many depressive episodes. Each episode was both darker and longer in duration than its predecessor. The most severe episode culminated in a suicide attempt in September 2014. It was after this attempt that I was diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder.
More recently I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. Bipolar II Disorder differs from Bipolar Disorder in having a hypomanic state rather than a manic state. Hypomanic simply means less manic. I’m still coming to terms with this new diagnosis and don’t yet fully understand it. I’ll share what I learn in this blog.
Depression is the silent killer. This is true especially, among men. Men remain silent and steadfast while they suffer. I was one of those men. I suffered in silence until I succumbed. This lesson has taught me to speak out about the dangers of silence and in this blog, I speak out. I also have a son and family who I love very much. This blog is for them. Here they can see for themselves that I’m recovering.
John and I first met at the HealtheVoices 2018 Conference, in Chicago. We struck up a friendship there and have kept in touch since that event. You can listen to some thoughts that I had about the conference on a special edition podcast that I recorded this past spring.
During the podcast, we cover topics including:
- Why John is so open about sharing his mental health struggles.
- More about the events that lead to an attempt in taking his own life in September, 2014.
- How those events lead him into not only his blog writing but advocacy work.
- Talking specifically with your therapist or counselor about specific diagnosis treatments and options.
- How his life has changed since the events in 2014, including the new diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder and learning to understand what it means for him, including the hypomanic states that come along with it.
Be sure and check out his blog, The3inMe.ga , as he writes weekly about his journey of understanding and healing, both past and present. John’s message is one of vulnerable insight… an expression of hope, a declaration of love and a celebration of a life reclaimed. Ultimately, it’s my letter to my son, my apology and my promise.
You can follow John on Twitter @Zelandroid009
If you haven’t done so yet, please consider subscribing to the podcast, to get notified when I release new episodes each week! I’d sure be stoked to have you on this journey of inspiring others with the power of sharing their stories.
-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP
All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.