When you picture someone with a mental illness, picture me in a nice tailored suit
It's been nearly three years since I lost my mind.
I had told people in the past that I'd lost my mind, but I didn't know what I was talking about.
For instance, I'd once danced on stage with the Flaming Lips while wearing a giant furry koala suit. I told people "It was amazing! I lost my mind!"
But I didn't know what I was talking about. I was just super-excited, quite drunk, and really high.
No, the day I lost my mind was something quite different indeed.
At the time I was living in Venice Beach, California, right after the first season of 'The Bachelor' Australia had finished shooting and we were yet to know if the network was going to renew us. So here I was, living in a foreign country and paying rent out of my savings while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life.
I was already feeling extra edgy because I was in the ninth month of living life without the anti-depressants that had been reining in my anxiety disorder since 2007.
Life on the meds was good, but I'd been doing pretty well recently and was a bit fed up with the weight gain and zero sex drive -- so my doctor and I decided to try life without them.
It was nice to be skinnier and even nicer to experience sex where I actually felt something again, but to be honest I wasn't coping. I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't stop the ruminating negative thinking no matter how hard I tried. I'd usually go out for a run, and that tended to quieten everything down.
It was on one of these runs that it all became too much. Stress about lack of work, a recent breakup with someone I was really into, and news of my Dad back in Australia ending up in ICU all culminated in one horrible moment.
It was as if the final Jenga block that was holding my teetering sanity was knocked out of place, and my brain burst open into white-hot, unstoppable, irrational fear.
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