The good days and not so good days: Phil shares his story

Side of RRV with lozenge

Hi, my name is Phil. I have been a dispatcher in Bedford EOC for more than 14 years.

I have bi-polar.

Bi-polar doesn't mean l am mad - but to an extent it does dictate who l am and how l act. I have good days and l have some not quite so good days. When l am down l become inappropriately verbal and noisy. I can’t control this and hate being in that state. I am never violent or aggressive to others, but it has been hard for people to understand that this is my bi-polar and it’s not ‘Phil going off on one’. My bi-polar has resulted in extended periods of sick leave in the past, but l have now found it better for me to remain in work and work through it.

My mental health issues started in 2004. It took six years to finally get a diagnosis of bi-polar.  The diagnosis didn't really make a lot of difference to me, it was just another label. However other people seemed happier that they could attach that label to me.

I also have the dubious misfortune of having diabetes, resulting in me developing charcot foot where the bones of both feet have collapsed. And I have an unrelated condition, brachial neuritis, resulting in me losing most of the use of my right hand. Wonderful if you are right handed!

I make no secret of my mental health problems. l know that this would not work for everyone - the fear of the stigma of mental health is a real one, being seen as odd, strange, weird. I will talk to anyone who will listen, to try to open people’s minds, to allay fears around mental health.  Not everyone with mental health issues is a psychotic killer. Those that self-harm are not generally interested in harming anyone else, we are human.

I will try to challenge these misconceptions and the use of those charming names like 'nutter' and 'fruitloop'. I will explain that depression is a little more serious than 'feeling down' and you can't 'pull yourself together' or 'snap out of it'.

Talking helps, please listen; we don't require solutions, just a listening, non-judgemental ear.

Remember, one in four of you will suffer mental health problems in your lifetime - it's not the end of the world.


Today is Time to Talk Day, designed to get the national talking about mental health and keep the conversation going round the clock. Read more about doing your bit here on Need to Know or visit the Time to Change website for more info.

Published 2nd February, 2017

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