Preferred name: Lisa
Age at Interview: 24
Gender: Female
Age at diagnosis: 19

Background: Lisa is in a relationship and living with her partner in a suburb of a metropolitan city. She was born in New Zealand.

About Lisa

Lisa received a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa at age 13 and bipolar II at age 19. She has spent time in a mental health unit and been on and off medication. Lisa has not seen her psychiatrist for over a year and is currently not taking medication.

Read excerpts from Lisa's interview

More about Lisa

Lisa has described always feeling 'a little bit different' from other people, including other children when she was young. She related that she has experienced depressed and manic moods over her life, which have been especially prevalent during periods of considerable stress and transition including completing high school, transition to university, travel overseas, and exams. She also experienced significant challenges during adolescence, including the development of an eating disorder. She is currently living with her partner and enjoys her current role in the health sector.

Lisa described receiving a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa at age 13 and bipolar II at age 19. After a period overseas when she was 18 where she described becoming 'really sick' and feeling 'unsupported' and isolated, Lisa moved back to Australia. During her first year at university, Lisa experienced a worsening of symptoms and was admitted into a private psychiatric facility where she spent three months. She describes being 'largely supported' by the professionals there, but was uncertain about whether being 'constantly surrounded' by other young people helped her recovery. Lisa also found it 'bizarre' and challenging during this period that there was no indication or discussion of when she might be 'released'. She experienced manic and depressive periods after that time. Lisa felt her manic episodes were often seen as 'normal young adult behaviour' and that made it 'hard to seek help' during them.

Lisa has established a key relationship with a 'good' psychiatrist, with whom she would seek help from today should she need to. Lisa sees the continuous care she has received, from the age of 15 to a few years ago, as crucial to the trust and rapport she has established.

With the support of her psychiatrist, Lisa has decided to stop taking medication. She felt none of the antidepressants she was prescribed 'worked' for her and the impact of side-effects for a range of medications, including anti-psychotics and mood stabilisers, were very difficult. Lisa now feels empowered to make her own decisions and has 'found a better way' of dealing with her life, and sees growing older and learning from her experiences as key to this development.

Lisa has a positive outlook on her recovery and is keen not to be identified and defined solely by her lived experience of mental ill health but by a range of attributes and skills she brings to her workplace and social networks. She is looking forward to the future and feels she is 'out of the woods.'