Working long hours, not sleeping and drinking too much provided the catalyst for a manic episode nearly a decade ago for English high school teacher Sharon Yardley.
Ms Yardely had suffered from depression and been diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder in 2010 but her medication and lifestyle failed to moderate the condition.
This resulted in her arriving at work one morning at St Catherine's Catholic College in a state of mania.
"I literally walked into the staff room that morning and crashed," she said.
"I couldn't move and the wonderful deputy principal at the time Cathy Petersen called my husband and together we sought immediate medical assistance. For a couple of days I was in a catatonic state and didn't return to work for 12 months."
This episode prompted a huge reassessment of her life and work and how she had to come to terms with living with a mental illness, that was in her, case bi-polar.
During the early stages of her readjustment her daughter Matilda become her carer and slowly, slowly she came back.
"I learnt about bi-polar including what were my particular triggers and what in my life had to change to enable me to live a purposeful life," Ms Yardley said.
Using medication, mediation, mindfulness and no more alcohol has transformed her life. Her success also relied heavily on the love and care of her family and friends and work colleagues.
Returning to part-time work at St Cath's in 2015 Ms Yardley wondered if she would be accepted - asking would parents want someone teaching their children if they had a mental illness?
"I was protected by a very supportive school community - it is why I love St Cath's so much. The entire school community is simply wonderful and have been such a big part in enabling me to make a full recovery and being able to continue working," Ms Yardley said.
"With everyone's support I have been stable for three years with no episodes of depression."
Having started at St Cath's in 2004/5 Ms Yardley decided to take unpaid leave from the school for 12 months during 2020 to write a book about her mental health journey.
And last week she officially launched the book 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark' (Ultimate World Publishers) at the school surrounded by her fellow teachers.
"In the early stages when I was first diagnosed I did not want anyone to know and thought people would use my condition against me," she said.
"But in fact it has been the opposite at St Cath's and through their support I have been able to talk openly about living and working with depression and now I have written a book.
"I hope to helps other like myself but also educates people about us and hopefully we all come to realise that so many people are living and working with bi-polar."
Mr Yardley said her story was a demonstration that you can still fulfill your dreams while living with mental illness.
"You are a person first and the mental illness is second." she said.
Today she is working casually closer to her home in Raymond Terrace as a primary school teacher.
She hopes to return to full-time work locally and most probably working with younger students adding teaching either primary or secondary has its own unique challenges.
"I will miss St Cath's but I realise the commute from my home even with car pooling can leave you tired by week's end," she said.
"Just another adjustment I have made to manage my health. I love teaching and through my journey I have learnt if people do not want me to teach their children that is their problem.
"So don't be afraid of the unknown accept who you are and remember to nurture your mind and body."
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