This story of recovery is from none other than our CEO at WMHI, Peter Diaz.
He now travels the world, has a healthy and prosperous family, lives a pleasant life beyond survival, and works passionately towards his mission of bringing Mental Health Awareness to the world, helping as many people along the way as he can. But, his life wasn’t always like this.
Peter Diaz’ Early Life
Growing up he always had challenges with identity and belonging. He was raised in Germany but with Spanish heritage, he was always identified as the ‘Spanish kid’ and was bullied growing up. Back in Spain, he was identified as the foreigner- ‘the German kid’.
He was also raised in a strict religious family. That meant he didn’t get to mix well with the other kids because they were considered a risk to his inherited faith.
All this resulted in him feeling lost and unable to identify with the things around him when growing up.
Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
Later in his life, he was made the Minister of a church. Although he was good with his duties and was living a comfortable life, he didn’t find it fulfilling.
In this current state of life, he gradually started experiencing stomach issues and some mental disturbances which later became severe enough to the point that he was unable to perform his day-to-day duties.
Eventually, Peter was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
He shares that at that time, he was relieved after hearing the diagnosis as now he had hope. He felt hopeful that something could be done about his situation. But, later he realized that getting a diagnosis and going to a mental health specialist is just the start and that bipolar disorder was a call to change his life drastically, and to discover parts of himself that had been hidden in an effort to ‘be a good person’.
In retrospect, he goes even further to say that he considers Bipolar Disorder to be his teacher.
Recovery From Bipolar
Peter´s seemingly perfect life situation at the time weren’t so perfect at all. The gravity of the whole situation was ‘behind the curtains’ as it were, ‘hidden from plain view’. Hidden from himself too behind a significant amount of denial.
In short, he was living the life he had created, he’d ticked all the boxes but didn’t feel it was him. He felt we was living someone else’s life.
At this point, even suicide became an option, even though it was one he didn’t really want to take. He decided that suicide was too final.
In his own words, “I had hit rock bottom and, I didn’t know it at the time but that was my advantage. So, I couldn’t fall any further and I couldn’t kill myself because of my kids. So, I decided I could only go up”. And so he did.
Here is an online course that shows the many ways to treat bipolar disorder without medication
Steps to Recovery
In short, Peter became aware of all the things that weren’t really working for him, and that needed to change. And he took action to make those difficult changes.
He had to create a new identity. This time, an identity he could live with. And, he didn’t know really know what his interests were. So, first he had to discover himself and find things that were meaningful to him.
He was on a disability pension at the time and started working on himself. He started reading books which he just started as a ‘thing to do’, something to accomplish and teach him self-discipline, which now he sees were instrumental in helping him discover new and better aligned interests.
Later, he made the decision to invest in therapy, coaching and other personal and professional development activities.
He gathered strength and first faced the fact that, while he loves religion, the guidance and the lessons to be gained, he’s not a religious person in the institutional sense, and didn’t fit well in that context. He knew that changing that could mean losing friends and family members. But it was something that needed to be done.
Peter was right. It disrupted his life, his connections fell away and his relationship with his family was also affected. But, he forged ahead, regardless.
Some time later, one of his friends offered him the opportunity to become a support worker at a Mental Health Facility. Peter reluctantly and with some apprehensions, acted on the opportunity and went with it. That’s where he fell in love with mental health and helping people out of the throes of mental suffering.
Later he completed his degree from the Australian Catholic University in Social Work. From there, like one domino after another, he acted on the professional opportunities he saw in front of him and he is now living a life well and truly beyond his diagnosis.
He is completely free from any Bipolar Symptoms, feels better than he ever did, and lives a happy, fulfilling life.
His main message to the world is that recovery from Bipolar is not only possible but highly probable. And not just mere recovery, but living a pleasant and meaningful life beyond survival and he is a living example of what is possible.
He looks back at his diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder as a wake-up call to change his way of life.
Conclusion and More
Peter Diaz is an inspiration for anyone drowning in the ocean of their life situation.
He is an inspiration that recovery from Bipolar is possible. And not just living free of symptoms, but living a meaningful and happy life, no matter what challenge life presents you, is possible if you apply self-discipline and take charge of your situation. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Peter shares his experience with Bipolar Disorder in his own words, in the video here.