We are finally getting somewhere! I have a new GP, who straight away referred me to a new psychiatrist, recommending to them that I be prescribed a mood stabilizer and referred on for CBT. Just like that.
But what did it take for me to get to this point? It’s time for me to be brutally honest with you all about what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I am giving you a fair warning that the following may be extremely uncomfortable reading, particularly if you are family.
It began around the age of 5, after my parents divorced. I began seeing a friendly, furry green monster at the bottom of the stairs. He was tall, very thin and had big eyes. He would dance around and sing to me.
Shortly afterwards, around the age of 8, i felt i was being watched by someone. This grew into the full blown belief that my entire life is being filmed, that there are cameras everywhere and i am being constantly observed, like some sort of experiment.
My moods became erratic, as with any teenager. The fact that mine were abnormally erratic was masked over by puberty.
I became obsessive (not obsessive compulsive). I would develop full blown obsessions with people, and not in your “high school crush” or “boyband” sort of way. I want to know them, believe that we have some sort of connection and become completely fixated on them. I feel like i love them, hate them and think about them all the time. It never crossed a stalkerish line, ever. It always stayed inside my head (and still does), but i fully believe these people know that they can make me feel whatever they want me to feel and jealousy is a large part of it, although i never let it show. There is only ever one person at a time and it changes every so often.
Additionally to this, i believe they are going to kill me. I am convinced i am going to be murdered and think abu. I constantly imagine what my death will be like, what the death of others will be like. I imagine what it would be like to die or to kill someone else and have a recurring daydream about waking up in the mortuary with a Y incision carved across my torso.
I suffer periods of massive anxiety, where i find it very difficult to be in social situations. It can make me come across as very ignorant, when in reality i am probably trying desperately to think of something to talk about. I also find it difficult to leave the house and when i am out and about i am very VERY self aware (why are they looking at me? Oh god they are staring and probably thinking *insert negativity here* and i am just too strange to be out here).
I don’t think i am a likeable person, which is why i have a non existent social life and no current friendships. I’m not good enough. It doesn’t help that I am convinced certain people can hear my thoughts.
Normal people daydream. I completely lose touch with reality for periods of time and “vanish” into a different world.
Despite all of the above, 3 separate breakdowns, a long list of additional symptoms and a serious attempt to end my own life (Which not only did lie to you all about, it was also brushed off as a “cry for help”), i was dismissed by the Norfolk & Waveney MH team when I needed them the most.
Mental Health is currently at the forefront of many minds, with BBC Three running their mental health season and many across social networks campaigning hard for awareness of mental health issues, better access to NHS MH services and to break down the stigma that we individuals face.
To help, I have joined Minds Like Ours (where I am an ambassador for mood disorders and forum moderator), a supportive community run by those with Mental Illnesses, all in various stages of our treatment. It was set up by Bex Walton (remember The Mental Health Struggle) who featured in Diaries of a broken mind, with the view to continue to raise the awareness generated by the show.
Since Minds Like Ours began only a fortnight ago, I have witnessed immense strength, great vulnerability and an amazing amount of support being received from a very large number of people, including Celebrities. However, I have also witnessed a shocking amount of stigma against those who featured in the BBC Three Mental Health season and also been on the receiving end of some very vicious and unnecessary verbal attacks.
This is what we are fighting for. We aren’t asking for the world, fame, fortune and to have everything handed to us. We are asking for basic support from the NHS, understanding and a little bit of compassion, three things which should be a given in our society.
The truth is we shouldn’t have to fight for any of this.