“I’ve found that when I’m feeling like a burden or that I’m asking too much of people, it’s best to be honest with them. Because they do want to help.”

As a young person, I wish I’d known how many other people were feeling the same way that I was. Instead, I felt completely isolated. I’ve struggled with my mental health all my life and made my first suicide attempt in high school. Dance was always a source of joy for me, so when my ballet career was cut short by an injury, it was really tough. I continued to pursue a career in the arts, but was heavily financially dependent on my parents, and really struggled with all the pressure to perform. After a lot of misdiagnosis, I finally found out that I had Bipolar Disorder at age 18.

Things were still difficult in my early twenties and I felt like I was always asking for help from my friends and family. I didn’t want to burden them anymore – I felt like I was always asking too much. I made another suicide attempt. While I was in hospital, I decided that things really needed to change. I was scared. I didn't want to derail my life anymore.

I now have a team of mental health professionals and a strong network of family and friends supporting me. I’ve learnt how to ask for help, and I now know that I deserve it. I wish I’d realised earlier that if I was struggling with something, I should tell someone. Because it’s so much easier than trying to do it alone. My family and friends remind me all the time that I contribute in so many amazing ways to their lives, and can reach so many others through my creative projects.

Phoebe doing ballet in a dance studio.
Smiling portrait of Phoebe at the beach.