Jamie blogs about her experiences and the importance of her family’s support.
There’s a first for everything. In the past year and a half, I have had my first experience of psychosis, manic depression, mania, scary unwanted thoughts and being sectioned.
Being sectioned was the most debilitating experience of my life, but also the most illuminating. After a period of working in a stressful job and getting little sleep, I experienced my first bout of psychosis; hearing voices, hallucinating and strange, scary thoughts. I was paranoid, thinking that I was constantly being watched by my work colleagues and housemates. I spent some time on a mental health ward, but with the support of my family, visiting me every day, I was able to get through it. They would talk to me about normal things, bringing me back from the strange, unreal world that I was living in.
After I came out of hospital, all seemed well for a while. I went back to work and stopped taking my medication. Then came the mania – my usually low confidence was sky high. I would be running around at all hours of the day, spending money frivolously and behaving recklessly. Back into hospital; sectioned yet again. Upon leaving hospital I was still manic to an extent, but back on medication to control it.
It was a few weeks after leaving hospital that I started to experience dark, intrusive thoughts. They were the kind of thoughts that no one wants to be having; so scary, real and unlike myself that I didn’t know how to cope. This started a spiral of depression, panic attacks and low confidence. I spent my time wrapped up in these thoughts, convincing myself that I was a terrible person and losing the confidence to talk to others. Back to hospital. Again, my family visited me on an almost daily basis.
One day, a psychiatrist on the ward explained that I may be experiencing obsessive intrusive thoughts. It wasn’t until this point that I understood that my condition was shared by others. Through research, I found that many people have had similar experiences and that there are means of combating them. By paying less attention to them and allowing them to flow in and out without reacting, you are able to diminish the hold they have over you.
I was still terrified of sharing these unwanted thoughts with others, as I thought people would see me as weird or dangerous. However, I summoned up the courage to share some of these with my family, who reassured me the things going through my head were just thoughts and nothing more. Even with their support, it wasn’t until I started CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) that I finally began to accept that the thoughts were nothing more than that, which helped them to become a little easier to manage.
The support I’ve had from my family through these ‘firsts’ has been truly incredible. Not once did anyone blame me for anything and I put them through a lot. Throughout the highs and lows, they have been there supporting me and never allowed my experiences to define me. When your confidence is low and nothing seems real, having that help is vital and I hope that others going through similar experiences are able to get the support they need and deserve.
I’m a 32 year old female who has experienced mental health problems for the past year and a half. I am now in the process of recovery and I hope that by writing this blog, others who have had similar experiences can relate.