Let me be the first to welcome you warmly to our community!
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012 and since then, I have been coming to terms with my illness. I looked for support extensively in South Africa, but didn’t necessarily want to attend weekly support groups. I opted to check online for stories of people I could relate to, local people like me. I couldn’t find much. This left me feeling a little lonely obviously, but I was also baffled by headlines like, ‘One in three South Africans suffer from mental illness – most won’t get any help’ (sourced on Times Live), which led me to believe that there were many more like me. Surely there were more people suffering, but what kept them quiet?
After some time, I decided to start a community where we could feel comfortable sharing our experiences of our illnesses, and champion the need to flush stigma down the toilet. And so ‘Our Lived Experience’ was born. It was born out of a need for conversations to be started (and continued) about mental illness in our very own country.
As we come from a myriad of cultures, let’s start that conversation with stories, stories that live inside of all if us, that connect us all, regardless of our illnesses or our culture.
We aim to launch officially on South Africa Bipolar Day, 26th May 2015.
We are brave.
We have hope.