Over the years, when the depression returned, for no good reason, I'd often try and deny it. Even when it was staring me straight in the face, I'd convince myself the crippling exhaustion was in fact ME, or that I had food allergies (this led to years of endless research on my part).
The two hours of sleep a night I was getting I put down to too much caffeine (even though I never drank more than five cups of coffee a day). During this time I somehow managed to hold down stressful jobs as a journalist on national newspapers and later enjoyed a successful freelance career.
I'm not sorry I experienced depressive episodes. In a way I was grateful for the insight into human nature the illness gave me. It taught me not to judge people and provided me with an empathy which I'm not sure would have been there had I just bulldozed my way through the backstabbing world of newspaper journalism with its hunger for exclusives. I'm forever being told I'm a good listener - something I put down to years of group therapy.
Earlier this year Abegail Morley's collection of poetry was released to critical acclaim. It's publication was the result of her winning a highly regarded national poetry competition. Librarian Abigail, 42, first encountered depression at the age of 15. She wasn't diagnosed bipolar until eight years ago.
“I started talking really fast and coming up with bizarre ideas which I thought were wonderful - although others tried to put me off them. For example, I'd suggest to friends that we should go have a picnic on the church steeple. I'd also have this fabulous energy and go running for hours at a time. I remember one appointment with my GP where I insisted re-arranging all the chairs in her waiting room - by colour.”
Her thirst for poetry, she attributes to the illness. “I can't express myself any other way. I believe the relationship between mental illness, particularly, bipolar illness, and creativity is well-documented.”