Why a mirror on madness? Well there are two things that I feel qualified to write about. Firstly my own personal experience of mental health; this website mirrors my experience of the world and my own mental health problems, namely having bipolar disorder and years of battling with an eating disorder. Secondly, as a former physical scientist I can critically review and write about research in the field. My writing is a reflection in the mirror of personal experience and of the current understanding of psychiatric illness and treatment.
The Oxford English Dictionary (2017) describes madness as follows:
1. The state of having a serious mental illness.
2. Extremely foolish behaviour.
3. A state of wild or chaotic behaviour
Given the above definitions of madness, which have changed over time, I have no problem using the noun to describe myself as suffering from madness. I suffer from two serious mental illnesses so I clearly fit the first definition with forays into the other two during particularly interesting bipolar states. Many people view the word negatively with images of the classic Victorian asylum or Jack Nicholson’s character Randle Patrick McMurphy in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckko’s Nest’. I want to help dispel these ideas and the word to be seen as a medical state encompassing a range of health problems.
I created this site to provide a safe place for people with mental health problems and the people close them to feel less alone and maybe learn something about their illness. I also hope that others will help me start making mental health less stigmatised in our society.
Being diagnosed as having bipolar disorder was a relief as it explained what had been a lifelong roller coaster of emotional swings and confusion. After the relief died down it was replaced by fear about what it meant and how my future would unroll. I struggled to find the information and support I wanted on the Internet so I decided to develop the website I wish I could have found.
As well as writing from the heart and personal experience I want to include results from recent research so it is not just my opinion but to also show that change is happening.
If I help just one person I will have succeeded. I hope this helps you along the path to self acceptance and a better life.