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A journey to Diagnosis

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

" At first, my initial contact with mental health services was when I was just a teenager. I was unfortunate enough to grow up around people who sold drugs from a very young age. This led to heavy use of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms. I was a mess by the end of it all.


I ended up being hospitalised in an acute ward. I tackled with police, was drugged against my will and I even threw a chair through a glass door. This meant I ended up on a Forensic ward as a just turned 18 year old. It wasn't a nice experience. I started to come around thanks to the medication, only to find I was in a very bad place. I got transferred back to the open-ward shortly after, where I finally came around.


I had a drugs-counsellor appointed by the courts who got me through addiction, and he stopped me from being labelled a Schizophrenic at the age of 18. I had no support after this from the services, they ended up diagnosing me with drug-induced psychosis. I took the pills for about a year before I stopped, and things were fine until I was about 23 years old.


When I finally decided that I would try and fix the fact I did not have an education, this was when I got myself on the track to another psychotic break. Where I studied I was left to wonder around hallucinating and I was so scared of being at home, I packed everything up and quickly got accommodation where I was studying. This was not a good idea. I was convinced that drug dealers were after me, and someone threatened to murder me. I guess now that might not have happened, but it scared me and everywhere I looked, these people were after me. At one point, I could not even make out other peoples faces it got so bad. The voices were trying to trick me into engaging with other people, but I had no idea who they were and I couldn't trust my perception at all from what I could see.


The services on campus were helpful, but they did not know how bad things were, as it's such a traumatic experience to describe to someone. What triggered a referral to the local Mental Health services was the fact I had actually drawn my nightmare on a single piece of paper, and this scared the on campus councillor into action. I was quickly seen, and I was given a choice of anti-psychotics to try. They did not help me, and I stopped taking them.


I had two dissertations to write, I was behind on my courses and had not been attending the lectures I had too. Things were in a mess, but whatever strength I came up with, I just about managed to cope enough to block out the world around me, and finished what I needed to do to finish what I had started.


I lost contact with the health services when I moved back to my family home nearby, abruptly. This lack of follow up meant that just two months after graduating, things got so bad that I was found walking the streets of a near by city with no shoes on, and glass in my feet. I could not talk properly according to the diagnosis letter, I was hearing and seeing things, I had the return of trauma that felt like it was happening right then, when in fact it had ended many years before - and I was scared.


I got diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, and that gave me insight, but insight and being educated means you don't act out - you just get very irritated with how things are as you notice these symptoms all the time. I have since been hospitalised a few times, as I got suicidal and lost all hope. I soon realised you have to pay the mental health team 'lip service', just to leave you alone. What's sad about that is you cannot get help. You have no credibility and the moment you try and talk about what's going on inside your head, they write it down and use their brand of help as a weapon against you to ensure you're 'safe'.


Right now I struggle to take my medication, I have lost faith in the mental health trust and I feel like I am not taken seriously because I have Schizophrenia. What baffles me is that these people are the few who know the truth about what you have, and they even influence your own family to drive home the same messages of compliance or else the worst will happen.


I have grown tired of all of this. I just want to be left alone by all this 'help' that's available and get on with doing something useful. The only thing I have to make sure of is that I tell no one what my diagnosis is. I know now that if people know, they make unnecessary 'accommodations' that come across as condescending and basically treating you like you have no agency over your own affairs. The illness becomes a weaponised way to stop you from having an opinion, and make you out to be just a collection of symptoms - rather than just a person trying to get by. " - Un-disclosed poster

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