Peter Hughes shares his experience of mental illness, and explains why it doesn’t define him.
"When I was a teenager, I’d go through different bouts of being in a fog, so to speak. I just thought it was part of adolescence, I thought that’s what everyone went through. It wasn’t until university that somebody said, 'hey that’s not normal and you should go and see someone.'"
Peter Hughes is a minister at St Stephens Anglican Church in Sydney’s northern suburbs. He holds degrees in theology and neuropsychology - and he has a mental illness.
"So I went and saw someone, to prove this person wrong, but the counselor quickly diagnosed me with a form of high frequency bipolar disorder."
One in five Australians will experience mental illness every year. Internationally, the World Health Organisation reports that one in four people will be affected by mental disorders at some point in their lives.
In this episode, we look beyond the statistics and explore what it’s like to live with a mental illness.
"Through the year, I’ll go through periods of two weeks or so where I just feel like I’m in a fog - mentally, emotionally, physically - I have a lot of trouble sleeping and concentrating. But at the same time I’ll have a couple of days where I feel great. I can do anything."
Peter’s story is just one of many.
"I am somebody who has bipolar, but it’s not the thing that defines me. It’s not who I am. The thing that defines me is my relationship with God through Jesus. And that’s something I can hold on to through the rocky and stormy periods."
If this story raises any concerns for you, or someone you know, please talk to someone. In Australia, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat to someone online at www.lifeline.org.au.
If you’re in Sydney on Thursday, 12 October, Peter Hughes will be speaking at The Edge’s next event - ‘Beyond Worry: The science and stories behind anxiety, fear and depression’. Book your tickets here: www.bit.ly/2x2lPHL
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