THIS IS THE MOST WELL I’VE BEEN: Peter Davis has battled bipolar disorder and encourages people to talk about mental health.
THIS IS THE MOST WELL I’VE BEEN: Peter Davis has battled bipolar disorder and encourages people to talk about mental health.

Bipolar bears less of a stigma for Peter

PETER Davis is proud to be living with bipolar disorder despite battling with 28 years of manic episodes and bouts with depression.

The 49-year-old says living with mental illness is not something to be ashamed of.

In 2009 Peter was hospitalised during a manic high known as mania.

It was so severe he spent six weeks in Nambour General Hospital's psychiatric lock ward.

"I had this full blown manic attack," he said.

"I couldn't function, I was seeing things and hearing things, I was very unwell."

As a result he spent 15 weeks hospitalised between Nambour and Buderim.

During this time Peter lost his registration to work as a pharmacist and walked out on his wife, leaving him in a dark isolated place.

Afterwards he had depression and a common bipolar symptom - guilt.

Peter said as a consequence of his actions during this period his family and friends were in turmoil.

"You cannot get out of bed, you lose interest in the things you find pleasurable and you don't contribute to anything," he said.

"People might write it off as a mid-life crisis but it's not, it's not your normal behaviour."

But he was determined not to have another manic episode and begun turning his life around.

With backing from the Mental Illness Fellowship, Peter started a bipolar support group in Caloundra that he has been facilitating for over three years now.

The group has been so successful he has been approached to start mental health awareness support groups in Maroochydore and Tewantin that will target all facets of mental health.

Because of stigmas around mental illness, many people suffer in isolation. Starting a support group has allowed Peter to open up and share his story with like-minded people.

"For years working in a pharmacy I used to see people come in and I knew by their prescription that they had bipolar but I felt I couldn't share my story with them," he said.

"Until five years ago when I said 'Blow it, I'm coming out'.

"I'm not embarrassed at all; in fact I'm proud to be living with bipolar and that I can help other people with it."

Because of his family's understanding and knowledge of the disorder, Peter was able to rejoin his wife and three kids in their family home just six weeks after the episode.

He has also started working as a pharmacist again where he can better use his role to help people with mental health issues.

"This is the most well I've been in all my life," he said.

If you would like to contact Peter about Mental Health Support Groups you can contact him at :

petbdav@hotmail .com or on 0432 472 126.


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