Hi, My name is Anna Lipska and my story is one of million others.
In 2012 I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, told I would never recover and had to take psychiatric drugs for the rest of my life.
I was treated according to biomedical model with pharmacotherapy. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants and finally antipsychotics had a disastrous effect on my health both mental and physical, but what in my case proved to have been most harmful was the label, which took away from me hope to live a life that would have a meaning.
My life has changed in many ways and I don't feel like an alien on Earth as I describe it in the book. I know human life on Earth involves experiencing both beauty and sometimes immence suffering and there is no running from that.
I know that I am not as special as I used to think- neither in the amount of my suffering nor in what I perceived as weirdness. I have found out that the diagnosis I heard when I was in my early 20s was both inaccurate and simplistic. Most of all it didnt explain anything – about me, other diagnosed individuals or the nature of life.
I looked for alternative ways of understanding my experience and I have found it. I have found incredibly wise and strong people whom I am honored to call my friends and my tribe. They are giving me the reason to go on and with whom I share stength and hope when I have it. I shifted from mentality of a patient convinced of having no impact on his life due to ''chemical imbalance in the brain'' to awareness that years of my depression, mania and psychosis were attempts to integrate experiences that were extremaly hard to integrate and that I was constantly breaking down to finaly break through.
My life is far from perfect, don't get me wrong. Sometimes it's simply a massive pain in the ass. But it is not a result of my 'mental illness'. It's because life is simply bloody hard. And now I don't have an escape which my insanity granted me.
But I am grateful. I had the chance to get a degree in clinical psychology, recover (in terms of having no drastic episodes, being free of psychotropic drugs for over 4 years, being able to work fulltime and be a useful member of society), write this book, start a postgraduate training in Integral Psychotherapy and tell my story- something so many people are not given a chance to do. Not because their stories are less interesting but because of difficult internal and external circumstances.
My story is one of million others and it is in no way unique. It is simply not talked about that people diagnosed as seriously mentally ill recover. Now we know from the research they do more often than they don't and often feel their lives are more fulfilling than they were before the crisis. Mine most certainly is.