My very own story at Cass Conservancy.

On the one hand, I myself am a victim, but I am also a relative of several other victims. I therefore know many facets from my own experience. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, an aunt came to a psychiatric clinic and there she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. For many years she had been attuned to lithium, but nevertheless experienced relapses and finally had to change the long-term therapy when the body resisted lithium.

Her son, my cousin, has also been living with the diagnosis for many years and is now an incapacitated pensioner. A cousin was rescued from her employer’s roof by the fire brigade when she wanted to take her own life because she felt bullied by her colleagues. She has also been an occupational disability pensioner for many years due to depression.

My father has various symptoms of bipolarity and retired prematurely due to depression. He considers himself to be completely healthy and there is probably no way to get him to rethink his thinking and to undergo behavioural therapy at his age.

As I would like to have maintained independence for myself, I accept his view. Nobody gives me or anyone the right to declare him sick. I can also not force a smoker to stop smoking because he endangers his health. An adult person must have the right to decide for himself what form of help he wants to take or not. Only when one’s own or other life or the health of other people is actually in danger may one protect him or others against the will of the person concerned. But these are very rare cases, such as rescue from suicide.

I myself have tried to commit suicide, was faced with the danger of an extended suicide and was afraid of myself for a while because I was busy with very concrete thoughts of a rampage. When I heard in a radio report in 2005 about a Swiss bank employee who had shot his two superiors in his bank branch and then himself, I wondered how far away I really had been from it myself a few years earlier.

At my first suicide attempt I was 10 years old, at 22 I was in psychiatric treatment for the first time after the 8th suicide attempt. I was lucky, I love life and I am grateful for every day I have because my suicides were unsuccessful due to happy circumstances or friends.

When I was 42, I last thought about suicide and at that time I also thought about taking my little daughter with me, because I was not allowed to leave her alone in this terrible world. The fear of being able to do something to my daughter was finally the trigger for the examination, which provided a diagnosis and since then my “otherness” has had a name: Bipolar or manic-depressive.

Healthy – is that possible?

I live normally with my family and work full time in a responsible position. Yes, it is possible, it is difficult, it is a difficult path, it requires a lot of strength, discipline, insight and consideration for others.

Every day is a new challenge. Important anchors for me are my family, which gives security and keeps me, even if it doesn’t understand.

Real friends who support, who draw attention to mistakes in the good sense, who don’t know better with their index finger raised, but can articulate clearly where the person concerned is currently running off into “fixed ideas”.

Colleagues and superiors who are willing to tolerate the good side of the medal (extremely hard-working, dedicated, highly talented employees) with the other side of the medal (occasional flood of e-mails, emotional derailments), or to offer support in learning how to deal with these emotions.