Men­tal health sto­ries wanted for book


An Auck­land woman, who suf­fers from bipo­lar dis­or­der, hopes her story will in­spire and in­form the pub­lic about men­tal ill­ness.

Mt Eden res­i­dent Char­lot­teRose Rud­dell and her col­league Liv Young are col­lab­o­rat­ing to pro­duce Men­tal.

It is a book of real sto­ries from peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced the re­al­i­ties of men­tal health is­sues.

The book, which will be pub­lished by the end of the year, in­tends to chal­lenge at­ti­tudes and per­cep­tions about men­tal ill­ness in New Zealand.

Rud­dell, 30, an early child­hood teacher, was di­ag­nosed with bipo­lar in 2015.

Her con­di­tion re­sulted in her strug­gling to man­age her work­load, she said.

‘‘I could run with an abun­dance of en­ergy for weeks on end and find it hard to eat, sleep, fo­cus or re­lax.

‘‘I might feel com­pelled to do odd things for no par­tic­u­lar rea­son.

‘‘Then I’ll swing to times where bed is the only place I want to be and mak­ing eye con­tact with other peo­ple seems like the hard­est thing in the world,’’ Rud­dell said.

‘‘Pep­per those moods with some anx­i­ety and that pretty much sums it up,’’ Rud­dell said.

She said an as­sump­tion that med­i­ca­tion was the only way to treat bipo­lar hurt her feel­ings.

‘‘Med­i­ca­tion is merely one method of help­ing to sta­bilise a per­son’s mood.

‘‘I’ve learnt to deal with my men­tal ill­ness by know­ing my­self well and read­ing the warn­ing signs for when I’m too far up, or too far down.

‘‘There are so many other things to con­sider like nu­tri­tion, ex­er­cise, con­nect­ing with other peo­ple, con­tin­u­ing to learn new things, tak­ing no­tice or be­ing mind­ful each day.

Men­tal will have a range of per­spec­tives to in­ter­est, in­spire and in­form the pub­lic. Rud­dell and Young hope it en­cour­ages more di­a­logue around men­tal heath.

‘‘If it en­cour­ages an in­di­vid­ual to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, reach out for help, or per­haps, lis­ten to some­one go­ing through a tough time, then great,’’ Rud­dell said.

She hopes to doc­u­ment up to 50 peo­ple’s men­tal health sto­ries in the book.

The pub­lic can con­trib­ute to the book with their ex­pe­ri­ences with men­tal health to men­tal­con­tri­bu­


Olivia Young, left, and Char­lotte-Rose Rudell of Mt Eden are putting to­gether a pub­li­ca­tion on men­tal health.

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