I now mentor bipolar sufferers
It annoys me how many people shut off when you mention mental illness or suicide. It’s a disease and no one is safe from it. Just a fact.
Suicide is not a weakness. Its often caused by mental state of mind. I tried fortunately unsuccessfully, 5 times.
I conquered bipolar. It will never completely go away but I own it, it no longer owns me. I beat it with a lot of medication but I always say the real key was the counselling. I paid for the best I could get at the time as then I had the finances. I hated those sessions. My partner at the time couldn’t get over how angry I came home each time yet I was determined to go back. Then one day I realised he had got through to me.
From those many sessions I learnt ‘me’. I learnt where in all probability it all started. I learnt the triggers. But most important I turned from a personality I considered negative, to a positive one.
I never understood why the only job I ever applied for was my very first one and after that I was head hunted from one advertising agency to another to become one of the top in my time in my profession. Yet here I was the man that left school at just 15 with no qualifications. Couldn’t pass exams except art. But I never understood why.
I remember teachers would be baffled. If asked questions I was always the first to answer and correctly. Yet on a piece of paper I failed.
The medication I took for bipolar started with minimal doses but at my height I was on extremely powerful doses to level the old brain out. But the counselling was key. Now I take no medications but I avoid stress like a plague. I left the big city. I left the profession I was among the top and earning huge money. I went bush for a while then I re-emerged and firing on all cylinders.
I have the greatest wife in the world. Getting on 10 years now. I made her research bipolar early on. We never argue and she knows when I may be stressing and unwinds me.
I started in tourism 9 years ago with Xiaoli. A small homestay far north of New Zealand we grew to be the fastest growing tourism business in our region.
I have become a professional tour guide but only do 5 plus day tours and smaller groups. I like the one on one relationships that develop on multi day tours and now I have friends all over the world that have toured with me and stay in contact. Other operators with boutique tours like ours ask me to drive for them at exceptionally good rates. It means I need employ more drivers for our own business but generally it means I am dealing with different nationalities to those we attract.
With the bipolar I have a growing number of people around the world that write to me when they are struggling. Occasionally when in good head space to which is great. I call an ace an ace. I work with them and advise only. Tell them they must rid the stress. If a partner is the main cause ten sit them down in a quiet space and talk to them. Ask them to research your disease. Turn them from being a stress factor to a support factor you can lean on.
Xiaoli considering our different upbringings and cultures is fantastic for me. It was not an overnight thing though. We as people are different.
I was one of 6 children and none of my siblings talk to me. We still meet 6 monthly or so but I am known as te rogue in the family because I am different and did go my own way. But funny enough in old age they finally seem to realise that compared to a lot, I am a very happy positive person.
I have a great wife. 4 beautiful dogs who are our children to us as our own are grown up. We have a successful boutique business I love being part of. I love going to work now!
The friends I have now are the true ones that hung in when times were rough. They never understood Xiaoli and I as to how we met and married but now see 2 blissfully happy people.
Mental illness is a disease. Often a disease that can be conquered. If you know someone struggling, give them some quality time. But do not pressure them.
And if you want to join me on tour in New Zealand then visit our website. Next year I may yet add a tour to see temples in China. I am fascinated with buddhism. I love seeing temples and towns built centuries ago. And I think time is coming I need lead a tour over there. But a very laid back tour that is an enjoyment where everyone gets to enjoy what they see, but time to get to know others.