Recovering mental illness is possible

Karen Tyrrell is an Australian award winning author. She’s known for writing empowering books for children and grown-ups. She conducts several workshops and talks on an array of topics. Karen, however, once suffered from the dreaded bipolar disorder. She triumphed over her battle with Bipolar disorder. Womendiaries is honored to interview Karen and discuss her memoir, ‘Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness’ and ‘Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery’.

Treat mental illness like any other illness with symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. You CAN recover from mental illness and live a happy healthy life again. I did.

Please walk use through your journey from being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder to now, a successful author?
Parents at my school harassed and tormented me, a teacher, until I could take no more. I escaped and ran to a lonely motel. Police incarcerated me into a psychiatric hospital. A psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Slowly I accepted my diagnosis and treatment. I was determined to understand what triggered my illness and how to reclaim my life. I wrote Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness & Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery sharing my tips to recovery and resilience. I’m passionate about writing and mental health, helping others to become well again.

Karen, could you tell us about Bipolar Disorder? What is it?
Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder affecting your thinking and behaviour. Bipolar symptoms range from a very high elated manic mood to a low black depressive mood. When I was high, I paced the floor energized with fast thoughts and speech.

When did you think of writing a book about your experiences?
A I began scribbling down my manic decline and disintegration, part of my obsessive compulsion to write. Later I grasped that writing Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness empowered me to heal and would inspire others on their recovery journey.

Not many remember about their ordeals during attacks of mania and madness. Please share your experience from your perspective.
I wrote Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness from two perspectives. ME: normal mother, wife, teacher, writer. HER: manic, healer to the living, telepathic to the dead and I was very psychotic. When I was HER, I experienced manic black dreams, voices commanding me to follow their instructions. During the day, I escaped into an altered state of reality. I connected with my psychologist in a psychic way, double guessing him. My exuberant mania, profoundly affected him too.

It takes courage to open up to the world! How did you manage it?
Three years ago, I ‘came out’ on my website with much angst. Gradually I revealed my mental illness on the internet. Each time, growing stronger and more confident, delivering positive messages of HOPE and recovery.

You are a positive example to many. What would you like to tell your readers about mental illness?
Treat mental illness like any other illness with symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. You CAN recover from mental illness and live a happy healthy life again. I did.

In many places around the world, people stigmatize mental illness. How can we change people’s outlook?
MORE people should share how they became ill AND how they recovered. Sharing experiences will humanize the face of mental illness and show how we’re all vulnerable but able to recuperate.

You are a strong advocate for mental well-being. How can we achieve mental wellness?
Develop your own pro-active wellness plan with hundreds of coping skills to empower you to stay well on a day to day basis. Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery shares my coping skills for recovery, wellness and resilience.

What message would you like to give to the loved ones of those who suffer from mental illness?
You CAN help your loved ones recover from the grips of mental illness and live a happy healthy life again. Follow my steps in Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery. Read how I reclaimed my life in Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness.

Learn more about Karen go to: www.karentyrrell.com

Watch Karen talk about her book:

Karen’s recovery books are available at Amazon in print and as eBooks
Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008219QQS

Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BMMQ036

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