Age at interview: 38
Age at diagnosis: 25
Background: Brendan is divorced with a six-year-old son, and lives in a regional town. He is Australian born and of European heritage.
Brendan said that he has experienced episodes of depression for a number of years. He has spent time in mental health units and described receiving a diagnosis of bipolar II at age 25. Currently, he is prescribed an antidepressant and mood stabiliser, and is seeing a psychiatrist.
More about Brendan
Brendan has experienced recurrent periods of being 'depressed' and 'thinking about suicide'. He is father to a 6-year old son in another city who is very important to him. Brendan is currently living in a share house and undertaking a Graduate Diploma at university. He recently resigned from a position in the mental health sector that he had enjoyed. Brendan said his resignation was due to his own mental health problems and what he experienced as a lack of support and flexibility in the workplace.
Brendan described receiving a diagnosis of bipolar II at age 25 and was later diagnosed with depression. Receiving a diagnosis was useful for Brendan as it was an acknowledgement that what he was experiencing wasn't 'just all' in his head. He first experienced suicidal thoughts at 15, and his first long bout of depression began when he was 25 while caring for a young family. Brendan's health problems worsened due to 'struggling' with work and a 'failure' to reach financial goals. He describes feeling 'shame' about not being able to manage this and 'letting people down.'
Brendan spent time in mental health units on two occasions after suicide attempts. He tried to admit himself a third time, but was turned away, in spite of fearing for his life and the lives of others. In hospital, he described feeling 'safe,' but believed that he was discharged too early as 'nothing [was] resolved' and he was then 'on [his] own'. He described feeling supported by his now ex-wife and family during these periods, but also believes that he hid his symptoms and was dependent on 'drugs and alcohol' which isolated him from others and potential supports.
Brendan has 'often wondered' whether he experienced any benefits from the large range of medication that he has been prescribed and instead attributes periods of coping to his own 'management' of his life. He is currently prescribed an antidepressant and a mood stabiliser. Brendan is presently experiencing difficulty with depression and chose to resign from work. Based on his previous experiences and knowledge about patterns of his mental wellbeing, for Brendan, this decision was key to preventing a downward spiral into a period of critical ill health.
Brendan is currently seeing a psychiatrist with whom he does not have a particularly strong relationship, and is also seeing a psychologist. Currently looking for part-time work while he goes to university, Brendan hopes to gain employment in the health sector in order to be able to move closer to his son.