Sally Buchanan-Hagen

My name’s Sally and I live in Australia. I’m 24, a nurse in the emergency department, an honours student and I have bipolar type I disorder.

When I was 20 I was diagnosed with unipolar depression, but a few years later at 22 it was evident that I had bipolar. I was diagnosed with bipolar type II but in the months following that diagnosis I had a full-blown psychotic manic episode and was re-diagnosed with bipolar type I. Looking back, I had my first major depressive episode when I was 14 which lasted for nearly a year. Since 18 I’ve been cycling between depression and hypomania/mania. I’ve been hospitalised for a mixed state, a manic episode and a depressed episode. Over the past 18 months I’ve spent the equivalent of 6 months in hospital.

I’m slowly finding my feet with this diagnosis and am learning to recognise my triggers and early warning signs of an episode. I don’t know where I’d be without the love and support of family, friends and health care professionals. I’m now passionate about mental health promotion and eliminating the stigma of mental illness. 

I enjoy surfing, writing music, playing piano, cello and violin, running and spending time with family and friends.

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