Audley G. Coley

Audley was an exceptionally energetic young adult and as a dancer and creator, possessing such vigour was a gift. Occasionally, however, his energy could reach such frenzied heights that he seemed to lose control and focus. As a result of this state, Audley suffered bouts of depression, including a major episode that landed him in hospital. Professionals talked to him about bipolar disorder, but he thought it was just overexertion of energy. His family, on the other hand, believed it was something of a spiritual nature. Audley’s many commitments, which kept him in physical top shape, allowed him to cope for a certain time. However, his intensity and euphoria were becoming overbearing for his colleagues. He ended up in hospital again and, while doing his own research, discovered that many artists he admired had also suffered from mental health issues. And that despite it all, they enjoyed successful careers and achieved great things! Audley therefore decided to do what was necessary to get better. His illness is caused by a chemical imbalance, and finding the medication that would stabilize him would take time and patience. But the wait paid off, because now that he is stable, Audley has the impression that others—and he, himself—are finally seeing the real him.

With ironclad discipline, Audley takes his medications and maintains his overall well-being by eating and sleeping well, and exercising. He has also learned to say no and to recognize the signs that can affect his state of mind. Whereas he used to believe his periods of euphoria were a bonus for his creative inspirations, he now knows that he is more productive, structured and organized when he is mentally stable. He has also learned to speak openly about his problems. Recently, Audley has been leading fitness classes at the Atwater Club, which he has continued to lead online during the pandemic. He believes that keeping active is even more important for maintaining positive mental health during times like these. Audley keeps getting himself involved in anything that can help him reach people and get the word out that mental health can be managed and everybody can live their best life. He delivers motivational talks, loves to cook and posts on social media every day to inspire people. By raising the awareness of those he meets, he hopes to break down stereotypes and open minds about mental health. He also hopes that telling his story will encourage people to never give up and to take care of themselves.