If you search Psychosis on the NHS website the results say, ‘When people lose some contact with reality. It could be seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or hear or believing things that aren’t true.'
Psychosis is all these things, and it began for me in secondary school. I am not sure if there was a trigger, but I just remember hearing a voice or seeing a figure that no one else could hear or see. The struggle was that I believed the voices and people were there, when in reality, they weren’t.
I started to lose concentration at school and really withdrew from my friends and classmates, I thought people were judging me for acting a kind of way. My parents were no longer able to get me into school and so I stayed at home - at that time no one really spoke about mental health – gossip was spreading like wildfire; people saying I was mad or I was crazy. They said,
“Every teenager has depression and I needed to get on with my life.”
I was in a downward spiral, knowing that I was different from everybody else, nobody understood or believed what I was seeing/hearing and that’s when I was referred to CAMHS. I was with Havering CAMHS until I was eighteen and I felt supported and cared for; the voices where still prominent but the team made it more manageable with medication and coping techniques. When I reached eighteen, I was transferred to adult services, and it was a frightening change for me. I was scared, I felt like my life was flying before my eyes and I wasn’t ready for the huge jump. I didn’t adjust well to the change and I withdrew further and transferred myself to the management of my GP.
From eighteen I attempted to self-manage (along with medication from my GP). I had good days but the bad outweighed the good. It was debilitating, the voices were taking over, they grew louder, more offensive and I didn’t know how to control them. I would hide myself away in my room for days rarely getting out of bed, sleeping just to try to get rid of the voices. I was scared the voices would control me to do something I’d regret, it was scary, it was frightening, and it consumed me!
The voices would say I was worthless; I was a burden on my family, and they began to command me to take my own life, they told me that everyone would be better off without me; the thing is at that time I believed them. When all got too much for me, I attempted to take my own life and was rushed to King George’s Hospital and then admitted to Sunflowers Court, this happened three times in the space of six months.
Whilst on the ward I would feel well/safe in the hands of staff. I knew that nothing was going to happen to me, or I wouldn’t be able to harm myself when the voices got unbearable but when I was released the first and second time I felt vulnerable and the voices would come back telling me I was useless, that there was no point to my life and a burden on my family and friends. I felt like my psychosis was playing on the fact that I was fragile and weak. I tried one last time to end it, I wanted the noise to stop, I wanted peace, I wanted out! The cycle started again, and I was taken from King George’s A&E to Sunflowers Court. On my first day on the ward, I developed COVID; this was a blessing in disguise, I was confined to my room with no human contact, meals delivered to my room. It made me reflect of my life and how there was a world outside of my mental illness. I needed to accept the help now, I couldn’t fight this fight alone; I have my family and friends that loved and needed me.
Once I was strong enough, I was discharged to the Home Treatment Team, along with psychology/psychiatrist and counsellors help, I could cope with the voices. There was lots of change in medication, none thus far have been successful in taking the voices away, but I have got to the stage where I know that they are “just voices” they are not real and that I can still lead a happy and fulfilling life even if they are still there.
It has been just over a year now since my last admission, looking back at my battles with psychosis; I honestly feel like it has changed my life for the better. I still have my bad days, but I have learned to focus on all the good things in my life. My challenges have made me strong, and I feel like this is only the start of my recovery. I sometimes wonder why Psychosis chose me but what I do know is that I deserve to recover and grow.
If you need to talk or help, please reach out you wouldn’t believe how much better you will feel just sharing. Working at NELFT has been a blessing for me and I hope that by opening up and sharing, I may be able to help someone in some small way.
EDI Administrator (Kickstarter)