Addiction, self-harm and suicide have plagued one student for almost a decade, but the future is looking brighter for Alice Gee as she turns mental illness on its head. She is now using it to fuel her passion for eradicating the stigma through music.
Alice Gee, a media a cultural studies student is giving back to Mind, a mental health charity that has helped her, by hosting a night of live music.
“Mind your head: In aid on Mind”, was on October 26 at Notting Hill Arts Club. Alice is supporting Mind because it’s close to her, her family and friends.
Alice has battled for years with her mental health, but has turned her life around with the help of Mind.
She said: “Mind gave me a chance to move forward and combat what I felt was a life sentence.”
“Holding gigs is something I’ve been doing for a while due to being a musician and a freelance journalist for Guestlist. Doing it for Mind is not even something I had to think of.
“Music can feel like a safe haven to many people therefore it’s a no brainer combining the two. What a way to simulate and encourage people to help those who suffer with mental health.”
Alice has now come to terms with being bipolar and is now on the right combination of medication that is helping balance her life.
“My bipolar is a reason not an excuse for my behaviour,” said Alice. Her behaviour with drugs and self-harm hurt a lot of people around her, but she no longer wanted to be seen as “the addict”.
Alice also counts the positives of having bipolar disorder by saying she is more aware and able to empathise with other people when they are struggling and not be judgemental.
Alice struggled with addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs because she believed “the painkillers would also take away the pain in my head.”
Her lowest point was at 17 after struggling with a past break up she struggled to cope with her own mental turmoil and tried to end her life. It was horrifying for a friend when she had to clean up her attempt. Alice said: “Afterwards, I drove to my friend’s house and she patched me up. I was covered in blood, they were covered in blood.”
She was also suffering from psychotic episodes that would cause hallucinations, disorientation and blackouts. Hallucinations varied from shapes, dots to actual people, characters or menacing figures.
During a manic period, she bought 25 coats in a month. Alice said she must have spent over £5,000 a nine-month period.
Being on a high she had excessive energy and motivation which got her interest in making and recording music to give her a new lease of life.
Not all the spending was bad as some of the money went on recording equipment and enabled her to support the band Jaws for a few gigs.
She regrets spending that much as most of the money came from work and her inheritance from her grandmother but she does not regret the positive purchases.
She is still working on her music now. She has taken up writing music up again and met with a producer recently to get her up and coming, so far unnamed, EP back on track.
She treated her bipolar by going to counsellors throughout school and now has a psychiatry team at Kingston University that she says has worked wonders.
She said her parents would have to force her to go and they would ransack her room daily looking for sharp objects.
She is thankful to Mind because their online resources gave support to her family and friends while they were supporting her.
They also helped her understand she was not alone as well as aiding her to accept her scars.
Alice has held two previous similar events, another for Mind and one for St Michael’s Hospice.
She said: “This is the first one in London, for a charity everyone can support.
“The charity is golden. They spend so much time campaigning and helping individuals and families. Their work is endless. I will always support them.”
Alice has some advice for anyone suffering from similar things: “I promise you that someone out there cares you and desperately wants to be part of your recovery.
“It’s not forever. Just don’t give up. I beg you don’t give into something that can appear as a demon. It just takes time.
“No matter the actions you take, you won’t be judged and will always have and find support in those around you.”
You can still help Alice support Mind on JustGiving.com.
If you are struggling with any issues related to this article please:
Contact your GP, or visit Fairhill Medical Centre on Penryhn Road Campus.
Call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Use the Kingston University wellbeing website.