I am no longer a user of mental health services, but I have the support of my family and friends and I have found effective ways to stay happy and express my emotions safely.
The first time I hurt myself I remember it feeling like all the painful feelings inside of me being let out; as it by tearing open my skin they were being set free. I had stopped wanting to be near anyone else because I felt that I hurt them and they hurt me so what was the point, I’d be safer on my own even if I did cause myself physical pain, it was the easiest for of pain for me to handle.
At 13 I had reached a point where I was barely communicating with people anymore, just staying myself all the time; but this gave too much time to thinking, thinking about every little tiny thing I had ever done wrong, no matter how insignificant. Guilt and self hatred swallowed me up; I became convinced that everyone around me hated me too and they were watching me at all times finding even more reasons to hate me. I tried to kill myself twice within a week; both times stopping myself only because of the thought of my younger brother finding my corpse and not wanting that to make him feel like how I did, he was too important.
About two weeks later I started counselling; I started faking getting better because that way no one asked questions I saw as completely pointless and patronising. I kept this up for months but it didn’t last.
Just less than a year later I started seeing a demon; she followed me most places I went but no one else seemed to see her. I was terrified and alone. My older brother was one of the first people to ask me what was wrong, he was one of the only people ever to ask me this in a way that felt to me at all genuine; so I told him everything and he listened to me, and without judgement he tried to help me by telling me a way to keep the demon away from me; that night he kept me safe from trying to kill myself again. I was only 14; and this is when mental health services started taking over my life.
I saw three different workers before seeing my first psychiatrist; soon after my 15th birthday. Within three months of this first psychiatrist appointment I had seen two more and been put on antipsychotic medication.
Three months after this I was admitted to a psychiatric unit. I was far from my friends and family; I felt completely alone. They kept switching my medications until they found a concoction they felt worked okay to stabilise my condition and within three months I was back home in full time education again. I took my GCSEs just like all the other kids in my school.
My condition remained stable for a while; I managed get through the summer rather optimistically thinking that my life was going to get better and that I would live what I saw as a normal life.
When I got my exam results I relapsed. I knew then I was never going to be like anybody else and I hated this prospect so I didn’t want to live. The demon was screaming at me constantly trying to get me to kill myself. I was at a point where the vast majority of my thoughts involved how I could get away from everyone and end my life. After just over a month of not being able to be left alone I was readmitted to hospital and put on stronger medications and given more intensive therapies.
Over four months later I was discharged with at least some hope of having a future having been regained. I began attending some short courses that my mum helped to organise so that I wasn’t just at home all the time dwelling on my thoughts. This also helped me to think that I was good at some things and that I wasn’t completely useless.
I then met my support worker. She helped to arrange going to music groups and learning the guitar. I found this really helped; concentrating on playing music helped to keep relax, find happiness, and feel that I was good it. I found throughout my recovery that music had a way of consoling and understanding on a deeper level than just simple conversations with people; it’s like it can reach into you and help you to find the forgotten pieces of yourself to help make you more whole again.
To get to these groups she encouraged me to take the bus. This was difficult for me to begin with because I struggled a lot communicating especially with strangers and being around people who I didn’t know made me paranoid; but after I had done it once with my support worker I felt empowered to do it by myself and by repeating this I became more confident in being able to get the bus on my own. This was a big step in my recovery as this allowed me to be able to access various services and facilities away from where I live.
I applied to go to college to retake my GCSEs and started going soon after I became 17. During this academic year I got stronger and made some friends on the course and I managed to get several more GCSE qualifications at the end of this course.
During the summer I came off my antipsychotic medication before starting a new college course and did some work experience; my support worker helped me to set up the placement and get me used to being a worker in a working environment.
I made friends quickly on my new course and became more confident in myself. I started to like not caring about being different to other people and just be who I am. Only a few people found out about my mental health history but the ones who did find out were all very supportive of me.
I am no longer a service user of mental health services but I have the support of my family and friends and I have found effective ways to stay happy and express my emotions safely.