LISA LEIGH-WATTENBURY and KEN HAYES were once both at the same stage of their lives.
Now, in their 50s, they have been living together in the same house for decades.
LISA: I had a very bad period of illness.
So I had to stay at home.
My mum and dad didn’t want me to be away, and I didn’t like that at all.
And it got to the point where my mum was getting sick and I was sick.
KEN: And I was doing the same thing.
Lisa had been living alone for a long time, but then she came back to her mum.
And her mum started getting really sick and had to leave.
She’d been at home for four years.
She couldn’t cope, she couldn’t do her work, she was having trouble sleeping.
She said, “you know, I can’t do this anymore, I’ve had my breakdown.
I’m in a really bad way.”
And I said, you know, you’re not in a good place, I’ll get you out.
And she did.
But she was not able to get out, and the same goes for me.
And I’m still in a bad place, so I didn.
And that’s when I realised that I could do this.
It was a huge shift.
It’s been hard, because I’ve always been very open and honest about my illness, and my mum’s not really interested in talking about it.
KEVIN: You don’t want to talk about it, right?
LISA (laughing): No.
And what I found, is that the stigma that you’re going to go to bed feeling better is just not true.
You’re going, “Well, I’m going to sleep better, I got the pills, I have the money, I know where to get it”.
But you’re still in this state of being in this sort of, you don’t know what to do.
And you’re just, “Oh my god, I don’t have the time, I haven’t got the energy, I want to do something, I really want to be a doctor.”
KEN (laugh): And there’s no-one there to help you.
LISABELLA: Well, it’s not just about the pills.
I mean, my mum and I were living a very, very, strict, very different life.
I didn, you see, I was very very, really stressed, and it’s just not fair.
And so I’m happy to say that we got on very well.
And there were a couple of times when she said, well, you’ll do what you want, but I’m sorry I’ve got to go.
And then it’s all right.
It gets better, and then it gets worse.
But the problem is, my depression doesn’t go away.
And we don’t do anything to help.
KENNEDY: There’s a great book called The Bipolar Cure, by one of the most renowned psychiatrists in the world, the renowned Professor John Seale.
He’s the man who helped to create the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
And he’s written this great book about depression.
And one of his themes is that we have this very specific set of symptoms.
And the best way to treat it is to have a diagnosis, and to be able to work with the symptoms.
So he calls it the Bipolar Solution.
LIZA: The Bitch Solution, Ken.
LISE: The way that I thought about it is that I knew what I needed to do to get better.
So there were three things.
And if you’re suffering, there are three things you need to do: You have to, you have to get help, and you have got to be on the right medication.
And, you also need to take care of yourself.
And when I said take care, I mean just be, you can take care.
I can do this for myself.
It doesn’t need to be an enormous amount of work.
KATHY: How did you get that diagnosis?
LISE (laugh, laughing): Well, I think I just got the first, I guess, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, actually.
KECHIN: Yeah, you didn’t get a diagnosis until you were 50.
LISSA: I don`t know, maybe when I was 50.
KEMIN: So it was in your mid-20s, and we didn’t have a lot of information about bipolar disorder at the time.
LITTLE LIS: Yes, I had bipolar disorder as a child.
I was always, you could say, a bit of a misfit.
LESSON: I remember sitting in class and someone was