Julia has bipolar disorder. She explains how direct payments
have helped her to stabilise her life by funding her fine art
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Julia: Apart from the episode when I was fifteen when I
moved to England I was very happy, I was very happily married, four
lovely children, I have two sons and two daughters and I was really
involved in my career.
Then after the birth of my last child which was in 1982 I didn’t
feel quite right but it wasn’t depression or anything like that, I
just felt stressed, I did feel as if I was running
Eventually in 1987 I woke up one morning and I felt
suicidal. I couldn’t really understand what was happening to
me and the only way I could express it was through my art.
These images here are related to my mental health.
This one is probably one of the most important images because it
represents new beginnings is what I call it.
It’s not just a baby being held and ah isn’t that lovely but
what it symbolises to me is that the baby is completely vulnerable
and completely dependent on the two people holding it.
Ryan (interviewer): What is it the doctor’s
describe your illness as?
Julia: Bipolar with psychotic.
Ryan (interviewer): What’s bipolar?
Julia: The old name for it is manic
depression, it’s a mood disorder characterised by highs and lows
but there can be times when you are perfectly level.
But, when I’m relapsing there reaches a point where I can’t get
past it and it builds up too fast for me to control and I end up
terrified of everyone thinking that they are actually against
My belief system changes and I stop believing I’ve got bipolar
and that I think I’ve something innately wrong with me and I should
terminate my life as soon as possible before it impacts any further
on my children or anybody else.
My belief system is that I should set light to myself, that’s
the way that I have to do it. I start to get very, very suspicious
of everything and it’s a horrible, horrible place.
Initially Social Services have paid for me to have a support
worker which helped me to leave the house.
Gradually I have built up confidence that has then led to
support workers taking me up to London to exhibitions and things
and more recently it’s been down to the Direct Payments that have
enabled me to go to college and do my art. It’s more than just
a course; art has become my life.
It’s given me a new focus and actually enabled me to have a
reason to get up in the morning again. I actually do believe that
it’s helped me, the relapses haven’t been so frequent.
The Direct Payment’s have been absolutely essential; I could
never have gone to college without them.