Anita, 45, Brisbane

Happily married mother of two, writer, mental health advocate, and part-time veterinarian, Anita, 45, Brisbane, has lived with bipolar I disorder for the past 12 years. During this period, she has battled symptoms of mania, delusional thinking, psychosis and catatonic depression.

Anita either is functioning well or is non-functional. When she is well, she is able to work, care for her children, and enjoy spending time with her husband and friends. When unwell, Anita is “completely wiped out”. She experiences extreme irritability, has racing thoughts (delusional thinking), pressured speech, and cannot sleep. When catatonic, Anita struggles to eat and move and is almost unrecognisable.

Anita has bravely chosen to share her lived experience with bipolar I disorder to help destigmatise the mental illness through her website and blog –
She is also a Peer Ambassador for the national mental health charity, SANE Australia.

Anita is participating in the Australian Genetics of Bipolar Disorder Study to help raise awareness of, and assist researchers to identify the genes responsible for, bipolar disorder to ultimately improve treatments for the illness.