After experiencing psychosis, James hopes to use his experience to help others going through a difficult time.
Follow James on Twitter at @JamesLindsay23
Nearly two years ago I went through what was by far the scariest and most difficult period of my life. I was sectioned for three weeks due to an acute psychotic episode. This was mainly triggered by breaking up with my long term girlfriend, but I was also putting myself under immense stress for not achieving my personal goals at the time such as owning a property and getting promoted at work.
When the relationship ended I moved back in with my family and not long after this I began to experience the symptoms of my psychosis. Before I was sectioned I was not sleeping well at all, some nights I would stay up for the entire night struggling to understand what was going on. I also experienced bizarre and unusual thoughts and according to my family I was constantly talking, jumping from one subject to another without making much sense. One of the peculiar thoughts I experienced was that I was being headhunted by a company for a job, which definitely never happened, it was just an idea in my head that I had convinced myself was true.
"I was taken to the nearest hospital with my mum and dad, where the doctors decided I had to be sectioned."
Eventually my family had to call me an ambulance when my behaviour became extremely concerning. Part of this behaviour was that I became convinced that my brother was plotting against me (which reading this now seems so unbelievably ridiculous, as I know he would never do such a thing). My parents had to make him stay in his room so that I couldn’t see him. I was also writing on some of the furniture in my room for some reason (another thing I just cannot explain now - I don’t know what was going through my mind at the time!). I was taken to the nearest hospital with my mum and dad, where the doctors decided I had to be sectioned. This was not only a hard time for me but also affected my family and close friends.
I don’t have a good memory of my time in hospital but I remember making friends with some of the other patients who were going through similar experiences. I met both young and older men and women, many of whom were still there when I got out. The staff there were excellent and very supportive, they let me use the exercise facilities, which was a big help because there was not much else to do there at the time.
I began taking medication in hospital including clonazepam, olanzapine and sodium valproate. I continued taking these drugs when I got out and they slowly helped me get better. The side effects were not pleasant, mainly making me feel tired all the time – I had no energy to do the things I would normally enjoy doing. When I eventually went back to work I really struggled to cope and had to reduce my hours to two or three days a week. I never managed to get back to full time hours at work and after a few months they decided I had to leave the company through a settlement agreement, similar to being made redundant. This was a setback and it took me six months to find another job.
"Thankfully I am now over the worse of it and am currently living a much happier life."
Thankfully I am now over the worse of it and am currently living a much happier life. I am still on medication which has been changed to a drug called aripiprazole, I am coping with this one better than the previous drugs.
The aftercare I received was very helpful. I had a care coordinator who I would meet with regularly to discuss my progress. I have now been discharged from the mental health team but they put me in touch with Mind. I have registered for a couple of courses to help manage my anxiety and build my confidence.
Although it was a dark period of my life, my experience has taught me the importance of looking after my mental health and wellbeing. I do this through regular exercise, healthy eating and talking openly about the subject. I want to use my experience to help others going through a hard time and help them overcome their struggles.
Read about Information and support
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Choose one of the options below to find out more.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.