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.