What is it about?

The article is about my history of bipolar disorder, including my biographical background and my struggle of accepting the diagnosis. I describe the development of a severe mixed episode due to not taking my prescribed medication, and about the pain and shame resulting from it. It took time to understand that my experiences as a doctor and a patient had advantages like a greater understanding of my patients and of psychiatric disorders. I also talk about the "Selbst Betroffenen Profis" (“self-affected professionals”), a self-help and interest group of people working in psycho-social fields diagnosed bipolar, I established in 2014 aiming at reducing feelings of guilt and shame and trying to reduce mental health stigma.

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Why is it important?

The narrative describes how I overcame feelings of guilt and shame and began to understand what advantages for my work as a psychiatrist my own lived experience has. It describes the development of "Self-affected professionals" ("Selbst Betroffene Profis", a group of people diagnosed bipolar who work in psycho-social fields. It may encourage colleagues in other countries to disclose their mental health issues and form similar groups to help to reduce mental health stigma.


Writing this article was challenging because I had to deal with my history of mental health issues. It hurt to go through the experiences again. But I think it the narrative is important because it might encourage other colleagues with lived experience to share their story and it might reduce feelings of guilt and shame I had to deal with for too long.

Dr. Astrid Gesine Freisen
DGBS e.V., Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Str. 10, 60528 Frankfurt a.M.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Changeover—How my lived experience changed my life, my work as a psychiatrist, and how it resulted in the establishment of a support group for prosumers in Germany., Psychological Services, February 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/ser0000487.
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