Mental Health Chat Featuring Anastasia Bliss

Tuesday 24 June 2014

As most of my readers know, from time to time I like to write about mental health issues and share my own experiences where possible.  What I really would like to do, is help others - who may be going through the same, or similar things - to realise that there is no shame in having a mental illness, or at least there shouldn't be.  I think the more open we can be with our stories, the more chances there are to help others who are also suffering, simply by sharing and offering understanding.

A lovely friend of mine, YouTuber Anastasia Bliss, was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.  Although her diagnosis is quite different from mine, I feel such a connection with her because a lot of our struggles are the same.  I believe in this day and age, the stigma's attached to any form of mental illness, should be eliminated.  Anastasia shares this opinion with me, so I asked her if she would have a chat with me about her diagnosis and share her story with all of you.  I'm so glad she agreed, and I hope you will enjoy reading our little heart to heart.

Anastasia, what would you say has been the most difficult part of receiving your diagnosis?

The most difficult part of receiving my diagnosis is realising that there was actually a chemical imbalance in my brain.  I was instantly struck with regret for not seeking help sooner.  I'm sure my life and relationships would be a lot healthier by now if I hadn't struggled with an un-medicated mental illness for thirteen years.

What are some of the symptoms you suffer with?

I am a Bipolar Schizophrenic with Borderline Personality Disorder.  I rage a lot, I'm driven by anger 24/7, I am vicious, abusive, manipulative, thrive off other peoples pain and just an all around horrible person.  I am blank.  Other than the anger and rage, I am blank.  I am not empathetic, incredibly strong and withdrawn.  I have several personalities that I have spent my entire adult life building so that I can function in society.  I'm a very cold person when I'm not showing people what they want to see. 

It must have been horrible to have to try and suppress that anger all the time.  You are not a horrible person though, these disorders are not you - they have happened to you!  How long have you been dealing with these issues?

Since I was thirteen years old.

Have you come across any negativity from others since opening up about your diagnosis?
I haven't come across any negativity.  I've come across negligence though.  I casually informed my so called best friend that I had been diagnosed with bipolar (back when I was ashamed or scared to admit I was schizophrenic) and she palmed it off as if I hadn't said a thing.  Then five minutes later sent me an sms asking what foundation shade she should buy.  I think people need to be aware that some friends will back away, some wont care and some will be super supportive.  Don't let the fear of other peoples opinions stop you from being upfront and honest.  "Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter."

That's really awful.  I know that feeling well, as I have also lost quite a few friends along the way.  It's so hurtful because it's a time when you really need your close friends the most.  You really do find out who your true friends are.  Who has been your greatest support?
My mum has been my greatest support.  She actually broke down crying recently.  Since my medication has been taking effect my facade has slowly disappeared.  She can see the blankness and admitted that she's finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that the happy, bright eyed woman she has come to know was all an act I built up to please those around me.  I was coming down out of a manic state once and asked her why she didn't just let me leave when I was younger.  She looked at me and said "because you'd be dead by now.  You would have raged out at the wrong person or you would have turned to drugs."  Hearing my own mother saying that was hard to hear but I try not to dwell on it now that I'm medicated.

That's so lovely that you've got such a great support in your mum.  My parents have been a huge help and support to me also.  It only occurred to me recently, how difficult it must be for them as parents to have had to watch their child go through an illness like this.  They had to see me when I was suicidal and as low as I could possibly be - as a parent, I can only imagine how hard that would be. 
Do you think having a daughter has given you a different perspective on how best to live with a mental illness?

With my condition I don't feel guilt.  I have no conscience.  Having a daughter has made me want to be more aware, if anything.  I sought treatment two days after yelling in front of her for the first time.  I don't want to be that person.  My cousins mother has Bipolar and refuses to take medication.  He just locks his door and hides under the bed when she's manic.  He's twelve.  A child should never have to fear their parents, or anyone for that matter.

Good on you for using that experience to push you towards getting treatment.  ZsaZsa is such a precious little girl, she must be a huge motivation for you.  Do you find it difficult to be on prescription medications?
Not at all.  Prescription meds are a miracle.  I wish I had have been on them since the beginning.  I have always hated taking pills.  I find they get stuck in my throat or I regurgitate having to swallow them down but not once have I had a problem - and I have to take five a day! 

I couldn't agree more.  Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to medication, but really unless you're in the situation and suffering the symptoms of an imbalance, you just don't have the right to tell anyone they shouldn't be taking something.  I've found that prescription meds can be the best help, but they can also be the worst hindrance if you're not on the right one or the right dose.  It's super important to find a good doctor who is willing to put in the work and find the right combination for you personally.  I found that out the hard way unfortunately.  How do you handle criticisms from others around you?

I often don't handle criticism at all.  I am the best friend anyone can have.  I work harder than anyone else to maintain healthy relationships because it doesn't come naturally to me.  In that being said, as soon as they don't hold up their end of that loyalty I am quick to pounce and cut ties if need be.  Criticism from my family don't go down well.  It usually results with me flying off the handle and not speaking to anyone for about three hours.

What advice would you give to others going through a similar situation?

Honestly, being Bipolar and Schizophrenic, it's powerful.  It's addictive.  The rage, the anger, that fire that's always burning inside you makes you feel invincible.  I think I ignored the fact that I was mentally ill for so long because I don't know how to function without the anger.  I've never known true happiness.  I don't know what "normal" adults feel like when they wake in the morning.  I liked that at any moment I could snap if I had to.  When you don't know any other way, it's hard to try to be better.  But it's SO worth it to try.  I understand it's hard to admit that your brain isn't like the next persons but at the same time, try the medication.  You have nothing to lose.

I couldn't agree more.  I think seeking help is the best advice for anyone.  Are there any specific things, people, books etc that have helped you along the way?

Google was a help and a hindrance.  You want to research the medication and peoples experience but at the same time, every single person responds differently.  I was super hesitant to take my medication after hearing peoples negative experiences.  I think people should be experiencing it for themselves rather than hearing everyone else's horror stories or praises. 

That's so true!  I am definitely guilty of spending hours on forums, reading about all the horrible things that can result from different meds and treatments.  I'm still guilty of doing that, but you're so right, it's certainly better to find things out for yourself as we are all so different.  How do you feel about the stereotypes that are given to people suffering from mental illness?

I think stereotypes are becoming a thing of the past.  There are so many people suffering from some form of mental illness that it's just too common to be taboo anymore.  I haven't had a single negative reaction and I've found that talking openly on my families vlog about my mental illness has resulted in over twenty of our subscribers sending me personal messages regarding their own mental illness.

It really is so common nowadays.  I love watching your family vlogs each day and it made me so happy to see you open up recently about your diagnosis.  The emotion you showed was so beautiful and personal, I was crying right along with you!  The thing I admire the most about you, is definitely your confidence.  One of my biggest struggles is my low my self esteem.  How do you remain confident?

I think the confidence I portray is part of the facade I've been able to maintain.  I feel that I'm attractive on the outside, despite how ugly I can be on the inside.  I'm working on my body, which is currently 20kg overweight and I think that for the first time in my life I actually care about myself.  I've physically looked better but seen myself as being fat and ordinary.  Now I see a face of lovely features passed down from my family and a body that is curvy, thick and a work in progress.  I feel powerful in a positive way because of my medication.  I think being diagnosed put me at peace with my demons which resulted in a new found confidence in myself.  After all, it takes a strong, willful woman to be able to survive in the world as an un-medicated mentally ill person. 

That's so good, and I so hope I'll be able to find that kind of confidence in myself one day.  Do you think your diagnosis will hinder your plans for the future at all?
I think it's exactly the opposite.  My diagnosis have helped my plans for the future.  I'm not going to be erratic, non-committal and clouded by rage any more. 

That's awesome!  What things are you looking forward to the most?

I'm looking forward to the day when I wake up with a smile, stub my toe without wanting to smash a window and hearing my daughter cry and feeling like my heart will break.  Take away my anger, my frustration and my lack of empathy.  That's what I'm looking forward to the most.

That sounds like a good plan to me, and I so hope you will experience all of those things very soon.  Thanks so much for answering all of my questions so honestly, Anastasia.  Your strength and openness is so admirable and I'm so happy to be able to call you a friend.

Myself and Anastasia
 So I hope you all enjoyed our little chat!  As always, I would love to hear from you if you'd like to share your own experiences or thoughts, so please do comment - and most importantly, if you are also affected by mental illness, know that you are not alone!

You can find Anastasia on YouTube at or her family's daily vlog channel - head over and check out Day 1269 to see me with Anastasia and her gorgeous little girl, ZsaZsa! x
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1 comment:

  1. don't know why my last comment didn't show.. but I said it was a great interview and well done Steph, Anastasia makes a great interviewee because of her forthright openness and honesty, and this kind of question/answer session can also be very informative to read.


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