Sue Yule lived in a state of confusion and chaos for almost two decades prior to her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. With no frame of reference for understanding the calamity that seemed to impact every aspect of her life, Sue struggled for years before finally reaching her limit.
“When I was 17, I had my first manic episode, but I didn’t know what was happening. During mania, I felt really good and the world looked extra bright. I didn’t realise it was an illness. When I was 30 and had my first child, I had another manic episode, but again I just thought it was a part of life. I thought, ‘if others can cope, I can cope too’.”
“Eventually I said, ‘This can’t be right, I don’t think other people feel this way’. I went to the hospital, where I was immediately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started on medication which calmed me down. Prior to that, there was so much drama in my life. I couldn’t keep a partner; my life was all over the place and I couldn’t manage. It was exhausting.”
Now a world away from her past difficulties, Sue’s bipolar disorder has taken a back seat in her life – to the point where she sometimes forgets she even has it! She has discovered a medication that works well for her, found a loving partner and just become a grandmother!
“All I ever wanted was a calm, stable life – the kind of life that others had but I could never manage to achieve. Nowadays I keep my stress to a minimum and enjoy passing the time by creating art – whether it be painting, lino carving, gel printing or free-form crocheting.”
Sue loves that art allows her to tap into a sense of serenity that was missing from her life for so long.
“When I’m focusing on my art, I feel relaxed. I love the quiet time, which allows me to daydream and lose myself. That is something no one can take away from you. Creating art is my ultimate self-care and a contributing factor to why my mental health is so good now.”
|"Heat Wave" by Sue Yule on display at the 2022 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.
While her bipolar disorder was once met with uncertainty by others, Sue has since found her tribe – a group of fellow artists who support one another through thick and thin.
“Back when I was first diagnosed, most people had never heard of bipolar and didn’t really understand what I was going through. In the end, I just decided to keep it to myself. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it and that was quite tough.”
“Nowadays, I attend Access Arts every week with a close group of friends, many of whom live with mental illness. We talk openly about our struggles and share if we’re having a hard day. There’s no judgement. I’m open about my illness and feel that has given me a greater sense of peace.”
The 2022 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition saw Sue sell her artwork, with a heart-warming story going alongside it!
“The woman who purchased my painting visited the exhibition with her sisters. They were rather taken with my artwork and couldn’t stop thinking about it after they left – so they purchased it, and it now hangs in their childhood home! I was quite touched when I heard that!”
With life now ticking along the way she always dreamed, Sue is determined to make the most of every day.
“The years just go by beautifully now without any drama. I’m so content. I have my art, my friends, and my family. I can’t wait until my baby granddaughter can hold a paintbrush! I’m looking forward to that. The truth is, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to now. Life is going well – I feel so lucky.”