I wish for the day when my mental illness goes into remission for good
By Rachel Scott-Mignon
It has been 10 years now since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Getting the diagnosis, after having suffered with symptoms for most of my life, was a relief. But, even so, it has remained a struggle. There’s no denying it; treatment has been rough.
And I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I have had the good fortune to have had the support of my family and of multiple skilled and compassionate psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians, and nurses.
My journey has been immense. I have been prescribed more than 30 medications over the years. It remains a system of trial-and-error. I have travelled to the United States to obtain the latest medications. On top of battling the symptoms of my illness (anxiety, depression, mania, an eating disorder and episodes of self harm) I have suffered from numerous side effects caused by the medications, ranging from nausea to a frightening seizure. I have undergone electro-convulsive therapy several times. I’ve been hospitalized more times than I can count, most often at The Royal and, most recently, for 3 weeks this past winter.
But there is hope. The Royal is a special place. The wonderful staff, the progressive culture, and the constant drive to break new ground through research, all serve to give patients like me hope for a brighter future. I know what a difference it could make in my life to have improved diagnostic tools and new treatments to help me get better faster. The acquisition of The Royal’s new brain-imaging machine and the research that it will enable at the Institute of Mental Health Research is such exciting news for me and many of the patients who rely on treatment to get and stay well. I can’t tell you how much I wish for the day when my mental illness goes into remission for good! This could well be another step toward that day.
I’m aware that this new opportunity for insight into the mind that the PET/fMRI machine brings to The Royal was made possible through support from the Ottawa community and for that I am grateful. Because of the compassion and the dedication of the team at The Royal, I have hope. I know I am not alone in this struggle.
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