Tuesday 10th October 2017, was mental health awareness day and I do feel strongly about mental health I think there should be more awareness of it, but I do feel that there is more awareness out there than there was years ago.
I have Autism spectrum disorder, Bipolar disorder and anxiety, I also have times where I struggle to sleep and I dissociate sometimes where I don’t feel real in myself, I have also self harmed for 9/10 years.
Whilst growing up I started to suffer with mental health I feel I started to feel ‘unreal’ at the start of my teenage years and that is around the time I got an diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. I felt different from others and suppose that started to make me dissociate which has never gone away and comes back strong when I feel anxious, stressed or low in mood.
At school/college I was a quiet person but all the feelings I got built up until I got home and I would get really angry which I would flip out, throw objects, bang things – I was a nightmare I can see living with me must have been a nightmare.
When I was 18 I moved into the residential part of the college I was at, it was my decision. I disliked it from the first night, I wasn’t very good at socialising with large groups and I was very quiet I had hardly any confidence, and thats when I started to self harm, feel really depressed and I felt isolated. I was put on medication but that leaded to being tried on various medication and having to see a psychiatrist very regularly by 2010 when I was 20 I had outpatient appointment every week. I had very strong thoughts to end everything, to self harm daily (which 99% of the time I did with glass and razor blades) I left residential but went back as a day student.
I started to starve myself after realising weight gain was a side effect on the medication I was on and that was what I did to myself for a good year but a whole month without having anything to eat just living off diet drinks.
I began to eat after having blood tests and came back dangerously low in something and nearly being admitted into an eating disorder unit, but my moods were going from one extreme to another, self harming, skipping doses on my medication, being angry, argumentative/aggressive and not attending college.
February 2011 psychiatry, community nursing and other professionals thought it was best that I went into hospital to get sorted out and get back on track and I would be in there for a few weeks. I went into hospital 2 days before my 21st birthday and I was in a unit with 4/5 others it was under the young persons unit but I was settled at first then I started refusing to go anywhere except home leave, refusing food, I always found a way to self harm via cutting/scratching/banging my head, being restrained for a month after I thought I’d be in hospital for a long time, I’d seen lots of patients be discharged and new ones be admitted and I was just living day by day and not seeing any progress with my discharge but then in August 2012 I got discharged after 18 months of being in hospital, it was a journey and I got better and I got put on medication, a diagnosis and I was discharged into supported living and its helped me a lot especially since living on my own with support workers. the only bad thing with hospital I gained a lot of weight which was around 4 stone!
Supported living the first 2 years I lived with clients which did not help me mentally, I was very unhappy and didn’t enjoy living with clients I started to self-harm more regularly after not doing it for a long time. But 5 years later I am still in supported living, in the same care company and in that time I’ve gained confidence, tried new things like volunteering/art groups/social groups and exercise groups I would never have done things like that 5 years ago, when I first came into supported living I stayed in most of the time in my bedroom not doing much just thinking most of the day, I felt I had no future but things changed when I got a private rented flat which was my name on the tenancy agreement and I didn’t have to share with no clients, it feels like a proper home where I’ve made it look homely.
I am no longer under psychiatry but I am under community nursing, psychology and mind – I don’t feel like my psychiatrist has ever listened to me in the past 2 years especially with the strong unreal feelings and lack of sleep I get he always says the same thing you’re doing so well, I’ve tried you on many medications over the years!!!
My journey has had its up and downs I still get my bad days and my good days but the bad days aren’t as bad as they were, my anger is less these days and my self harming is hardly at all now think I’ve done it 4 times in 1 year.
I have a great relationship with my family and I see friends from college every few months and even a friend from hospital who doesn’t live in Birmingham but we have kept in touch Since the day he was discharged and I go to see him and he comes to see me I even see him more than my friends in Birmingham sometimes.
To think I was under a section, a person who was restrained, deeply distressed and with very deep negative thoughts and now my life is completely different 5 years on which makes me feel proud at how far I have come.
This year I started to lose weight by joining weight watchers and doc spot (gym) and its the longest I’ve stuck to a diet healthily which is also shown how far I’ve come and I’ve gained the confidence to speak to others and stay to group I’ve been there since June 2017.
I hope life will be just onwards and upwards from now on..
xxx Lucy xxx