Today’s Star columnist: A Sheffield grandmother

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You may have noticed that last month I didn’t write anything. Well, unfortunately last month I stupidly decided to take an overdose. I’m not writing from the spirit world, so you can conclude that I lived to tell the tale, which is exactly what I’m going to do; try and explain about how I got from doing well in my recovery to trying to take my own life.

I was diagnosed with bi-polar a couple of years ago. It won’t come as a surprise that it’s pretty common to have underlying mental health problems with an addiction. Often drink or drugs are used as a form of self-medication. I experience what’s referred to as rapid cycling which means I can get very low, very quickly. I am on medication that really helps, but I am still learning how to cope with my condition.

Anyway, this time round I hadn’t spotted the early warning signs and my mood plummeted pretty quickly. I can’t exactly remember how I got to “I’m going to take all my medication”, I wasn’t exactly having rational thought patterns. The funny thing is (if there is anything funny about it), while I was off my head on medication I must have started buying things on eBay as loads of parcels turned up containing jewellery, clothes and even trainers (I don’t even wear trainers!).

Looking back it is all quite scary as it’s all a complete haze. I must have contacted the mental health crisis team, though I don’t remember this, and they must have rung an ambulance. It’s all a bit of a dream – I know my family were there as I have images of my daughter by the side of my hospital bed. Once I was physically stable I went into what’s called a Crisis House, where you get support from trained staff in a peaceful, calm house. I stayed for a week and came out feeling much, much better.

I’m not sure why it happened, I think it was a build-up of pressure: to be a good mum, grandma, role model etc. I guess that’s the next thing to work on, why it happened, what triggered it and putting strategies in place to stop it happening again. But, you know what, before this would have led to me grabbing straight for the bottle but this time I didn’t.

The writer is a volunteer at Sheffield Alcohol Support Service (www.sheffieldalcoholsupportservice.org.uk)