If it wasn’t for my now husband, I wouldn’t be here, or at the very best I would have been locked up in a mental health institution.
You might not be able to just “Fix” someone, like me, with mental health problems,but there are ways in which you can help them before it’s too late.
I don’t like to think back to two christmases ago, but it’s necessary to appreciate how far my family and I have come.
I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, I had just finished the training for my dream job at BBC and I was going on maternity leave.
For once, things in my life were going in the right direction and my hard work was coming to fruition.
But my head had other plans…
My shrink said that sometimes your past and problems can creep up on you when your life becomes more settled.
My paranoid thoughts intensified, my thoughts of self-harm escalated and I started hearing things.
Even as I write this in past tense, there’s a part of me still fearful that the voices are real and we’re being truthful in what they said.
Nonetheless, I was a bit of a mess struggling to get by from day-to-day.
I was petrified to be on my own in case “they got me” but I struggled in busy places as I couldn’t control who was watching me.
From the outside, I looked fine, maybe a bit unkempt but I looked and sounded normal.
He was the first person I confided in about what I thought was happening.
Whilst he may not have had the medicine to help cure me, what we now know was a psychotic episode, just the fact that he was there, he listened, he didn’t run away scared or try to avoid me.
Giving me first aid.
By “first aid” I don’t mean, bandages and CPR. But My hubby Chris helped and fought for me to get the right care and support, in order to keep me safe, keep me alive.
And when I received day-to-day crisis care it was discussed about me going into a mother-and-baby unit but I really couldn’t stand the thought of leaving my eldest daughter.
Fortunately for me, Chris acted as my carer.
Neither of us wanted me to be sectioned but it was touch and go.
With some care, medication and family support I stayed in the community as an “outpatient.”
Part of me thinks I would’ve been better as an inpatient but there were so few beds and I didn’t want to be away from my family.
I’ve now come through that very dark time. I still can’t believe that I suffer from “Psychosis.”
It sounds so big and so scary.
But I can cope. I’m on a lot of medication but it’s helping me to heal and deal with life.
I think that we talk openly about anxiety and depression these days.
But when it comes to psychotic ill health such as bipolar, schizophrenia and Psychosis, there’s still a taboo around these conditions.
Which is why I really do want to talk about it because I’m not scary, I’m not dangerous to others and I live a good life, albeit challenging.
On paper, I’m a mum-of-two, I’m married, I’m a professional blogger, publicist and dancer and, I have a safe and secure home with food on the table.
October 10 marks World Mental Health Day…
(Source: Mental Health Foundation https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day)
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year as an opportunity to raise “awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.”
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.
In a global context, there is a need to ensure that when crisis events occur part of the humanitarian response is appropriate and timely mental health support – including psychological first aid. But of course, crisis events are not just limited to the events we see on the news. Every day, and all around us, people often experience personal crises, from potentially losing a loved one, going through a stressful situation at work, or experiencing a serious physical illness.
There are also people who sadly experience abuse and/or violence, all of which increase stress and the likelihood of developing mental health problems. We need to be conscious of the need to provide the right support when people experience the stress of traumatic events, both in the global context and on an individual level.
The principle of first aid is that all or any of us may need to step in to help when someone needs it, and to help them to see if they need professional help. All of us may need to build our confidence to do this with the people we are close to, our family, friends and colleagues.
Coping with traumatic events
This World Mental Health Day we will explore the impact of traumatic events on people’s mental health and the steps people can take to support themselves and others through a series of blogs and personal stories.
What are we doing for World Mental Health Day?
Every year on World Mental Health Day we try to get the nation talking about mental health, which is one of the best things you can do to look after your mental health. All you have to do is get together a group of friends, family or colleagues, put the kettle on and invite them to make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation – it’s as simple as that! Don’t feel stuck if October is no good for you though – you can hold Tea & Talks.