My name is Petra d’Huy and I live in the Netherlands with my caring husband, two lovely children and a stubborn dwarf dachshund. After my studie ‘Communication’ in 1997 I was eager to get started. I felt a real workaholic and was very demanding of myself. After a few years I suffered from psychological problems. It started with burnout symptoms followed by a psychosis. “Well, that can happen to anyone again,” said the doctor. A year later psychosis again. I was seven months pregnant with my first child. The diagnosis was: bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive (type 1). Even during my pregnancy I started Lithium. My life was turned upside down. I had both a child and a diagnosis. We moved to a quiet town close to my family because you can not recover by yourself. A year later the third psychosis. I had to stop working and opted for part-time treatment.
This was the beginning of the search for my instructions. Who was I and what especially did I need to get the most out of life with this mental disorder. Unfortunately, you can not get rid of your sensitivity, but you can learn how you can go best with it.
The road to acceptance is long, if not a lifelong process with many learning moments of trial and error. Dealing with uncertainty and embarrassment. Visits to psychiatrists and psychologists, peer support, two months treatment in psychiatric hospital, isolation cell, and a one and a half year of part-time treatment, therapies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy and Rational-Emotive Therapy), psycho-education, years completing life-charts, establish and maintain a crisis plan etcetera. I now know how to remain stable with the necessary help of others, spiritual development, mindfulness, lifestyle (rest – activity – regularity) and some medication.
My ambitious, perfectionist ego is get sometimes in the way because he often thinks too much and compares himself continuously with the successes of others. He would also like to achieve a lot and feels important, interesting, loved and appreciated. But I’ve learned to observe him from ‘a distance’ and now I am very happy with who I am.
Finally I would add that it is very important to have meaningfull life. We hope, in my opinion, all that what we do in life is valuable. Life still exists for a reason? To give meaning to my life, next to mothership, I want to be open to others about my psychic sensitivity and I am a regional contact for the Association for Manic Depressives and Stakeholders in the Netherlands.