My story 

I’m 26 years old. You may think I look like your average 20 something year old but I’m unfortunately not. I am on the autistic spectrum mildly , I have a mild learning disability and I have bipolar disorder, i have also been self harming since I was 17/18.

I grew up In Sutton Coldfield but I moved to Solihull in 2012 and then later moved to chelmsley wood in October 2015. 

I was told I was a happy baby and child till I started at secondary school and then things changed but as a baby and child I was delayed in speech and coordination. 

I struggled terribly as a child and teenager , looking back I did act different from other children I didn’t like to join in, I hated sleepovers , I liked to read or draw back then , I hated the playground to many children and if my friend was off ill from school I stood in the corner alone. When I got to secondary school I acted younger than your average year 7 and it soon got noticed by so-called friends. I struggled with the work and I was very quiet and shy and I didn’t understand the work it only got harder as the years went by and by year 10 I had hArdly anyone I would call a friend except a couple. I couldn’t socialise properly , I would stand alone a lot as, I didn’t like to be in the middle of a group. I got bullied a lot just because the way I spoke, walked, acted generally and then when they all found out I had autism From an ex-friend I was bullied twice as much, my attendance was really bad by year 11, I did manage to  pass a few GCSEs. That was my childhood at school. At home I was different I would go into meltdowns after school let my anger out at home but it put a strain on my family.  

When I was 13 it was just before Christmas 2003 so I was nearing 14 I became deeply unhappy at school I was refusing to go into school most days pretending I was ill I just stayed in bed all day so I was took to the gp who in the end referred me to a psychiatrist. When the appointment came through I had a long appointment with this psychiatrist called dr.minnie Joseph. She assessed me by asking questions from the day I was born to the current day to me and my mum and dad, she diagnosed me with mild autism spectrum disorder and dyspraxia. In the new year January or February 2004 I had a second opinion from 2 doctors at good hope, dr.el sharif and dr.sally ferris who both said I was autistic. I was told to stay at school till I finished year 11 and then go into a special college and to let the school know I have autism to get a statement of special educational needs. I had a statement from year 10 so I had a 1:1 learning support assistant during some lessons , until I left special college at 20. I went to queen Alexandra college in Harborne. 

I went to QAC college I was generally happy most days As a day student for 2 years. I made friends and enjoyed my course which was art. I then went residential so I lived there Monday -Friday and went to see family on a weekend. I became depressed quite badly, started to self-harm and think of suicidal thoughts. I wouldn’t eat much . I ended up back as a day student but I got stuck in self harming behaviours and I kept feeling low in mood but then I would get highs I was all over the place and then to  make matters worse I starved myself for a while and got myself into a very bad place a size 6 , 7 stone not good when you’re 5^6. I left in 2010 not in a good place in my head  . 

I stArted to see psychiatry in 2009 from the Birmingham learning disability team and I got a community nurse too. I ended up seeing psychology and a dietician too from the same team. 

By February 2011 I was an inpatient in a learning disability hospital and a month later I was sectioned under the mental health act. I continued to self harm and be up and down I was diagnosed as bipolar and I had psychology and occupational therapy sessions. I then went very down hill and started to get restrained but a few months later I improved and was discharged into supported living in Solihull. I made a very close friend in hospital who I still see to this day . 

I live in supported living I have 24 hours support 7 days a week, except when I visit my parents for the day. I get to do some fun things plus I’ve found voluntary work, writing group, art groups, short courses…..etc I see friends regularly too like my friend Luke. 

I am settled these days I do get  bad days but not too often anymore and my self harm is getting less. I don’t share with a client anymore (I used to) I live alone with a support worker. I have my professionals like psychiatry, psychology and community nurse but I only see them every couple of months now. 

Lucy xx 

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