Louise blogs for us about a difficult time in her life when she experienced psychosis. She talks about her journey to recovery and her plans for the future.
About two years ago I went through a difficult patch in my life. Suddenly I had to cope with some new challenges and looking back I think that’s when I started to struggle with depression. I couldn’t accept that I was ill and I ignored the signs for a long time. I was scared people would see me as weak and unable to cope with life. Eventually I hit rock bottom and knew things had to change. I quit my job and experienced a crisis.
While everyone was celebrating the Olympics I was sectioned and spent a week in hospital. I had started to hear voices and was living in a very strange world. Being in hospital was a terrifying experience and I couldn’t understand why I was there or what had happened to me. I thought the nurses were trying to kill me and I refused medication. Eventually I accepted the drugs and I did recover. I was released after a week and received treatment in the community.
Coming out of hospital was the realisation for me that the world inside my head didn’t exist. The drugs, however, made me spaced out and I put on over two stone in weight. My depression got worse - suddenly I was unemployed and unwell. But I continued with my medication, followed every expert’s advice and concentrated on getting better.
It was an extremely difficult time of my life, not only for me but also for those around me. During my psychosis I talked a lot about experiences I’d been through during my life and I’m sure those close to me blamed themselves for what they saw as their contribution to my illness. The truth is I had just hit rock bottom and my mind was out of control, there was no one to blame.
Even a year on, I still find it hard to accept this happened to me, an independent, strong, career woman. There are days when I don’t feel 100% but I have learnt to focus on all the good things in my life. I have so much to be happy about and recognise I need to change my thinking to ensure that I stay well. I’m glad to say now that my medication is being reduced and I feel more and more like the “old me”. I have been to the darkest place and I’m refusing to ever go back there again. I would be dishonest if I didn’t say I was scared of the future, but life can be about coping with stress or change and now I feel better able to adapt. The next big challenge for me will be to start a family when the time is right, something I know could trigger my psychosis. But I think it helps to know my limits and be better prepared for what life throws at me.
Looking back I feel psychosis has honestly changed my life for the better. I appreciate the friends and family that supported me through the bad times. But most importantly it’s changed my attitude and outlook on life. I have had a change in career which allows more time for me, my friends and my family. My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever and we are genuinely very happy. Now spending my time thinking about the future and not the past, I feel I have a healthier approach to life. I’ve just started writing a bucket list of all the things I want to achieve and I’m slowly ticking things off one by one – this blog included. I want to show that mental health problems can affect anyone at any time, but more importantly I want to give hope to those currently struggling. Getting the right support can lead to brighter days.
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