Mental illness ~ my personal journey

mental health illness
Mental illness ~ my personal journey
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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For almost three decades, I manage a mental illness called Bi-Polar 2. It started with panic attacks in my early 20’s. My first nervous breakdown occurred in my early thirties.

Often mental illness starts in the late teens or early adulthood. It can be hereditary or situational or both.

Many young people are not diagnosed. A common assumption, symptoms go away with maturity. This isn’t a reality. Thankfully, many GPs are now taking mental health symptoms seriously.

When my symptoms first emerged, the psychiatrist recommended exercising. I ended up on the floor of a gym, utterly depleted, yet the symptoms didn’t get better. Exercise does help, but is not a panacea.

Mental illness is not cured with a magic pill. Often management requires several different medications along with therapy. It takes time.

Currently, I manage the illness. Most of the time, it doesn’t affect how I live my life.

This year’s journey included working with a psychiatrist, a therapist, and attending peer groups. My health improved in 2018. It was hard work.


There have been times, when I’ve needed to take time off work. Unfortunately like most people with a mental illness I faced stigma. A boss said, “just shake it off,”  and that comment stuck for years. Trust me, no-one wants to be considered lazy.  Like everyone else, we want to succeed.

A mental health illness is like any other illness such as Diabetes or Cancer.  I manage it with the assistance of professionals

.”Bell’s Let’s Talk” campaign makes it easier to talk about my mental health. Now people reach out for help and guidance. A few of the people were living with a mental illness, but not diagnosed. They suffered in isolation. They were relieved to have another person to speak with about mental illness.

It feels great to help.

Local mental health resources:

  1. CAMH – Oakville
  2. COAST
  3. Distress Halton
  4. One Link
  5. OTMH – Psychiatric Department
  6. ROCK – for children and teenagers
  7. TEACH – groups and programs

The facts:

  1. One in five Canadians experience a mental health illness every year.
  2. The Canadian economy loses $51 billion every year.
  3. Annually, over 3,800 people commit suicide.
  4. It is the second highest killer of young people, just below motor vehicle accidents.

Even though mental illness is terribly invasive, our knowledge is limited. The underfunding of research and programs slows progress.


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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Vladimir Kabelik says:

    Thank you, Nolan!

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