Living with voices in the head

Sometimes people can misunderstand psychosis. There are so many misconceptions. People who suffer with psychosis are violent, unpredictable and the most debilitating assumption of all, they can never recover.

I would like to challenge these stereotypes by telling my story. I come from a difficult background and have a long history of mental health difficulty. By my late teens I’d been diagnosed with many conditions namely Epilepsy, anxiety, depression and Bulimia. I’d been given more labels then Tesco’s!

By my 24th birthday I had been in hospital countless times. I would often abuse drugs and alcohol. I made reckless, impulsive decisions. My self-esteem was on the floor, and was pushing my family away.

Then I got a second chance. I was admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital for my eating dissorder. There were group meetings, individual therapy and psychosocial nursing. It was like a family. Safe, supportive but also challenging. For the first time in my life I felt like someone understood me and wanted to help me to understand.

I thought everyone had these voices

After I left things were so much brighter than before I got admitted. People think it’s a risky time for addicts when things are going badly. This is true but it’s also difficult when life is going well. I felt so happy after so many years of despair I thought I could use drugs to have fun and enhance that happiness.

I was so wrong. After taking drugs one night I became extremely unwell and lost touch with reality. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I thought people were going to kill me. That people were hearing my thoughts. Paranoia was an understatement.

This photo was taken on a walk just after my diagnosis. I remember because my dad got quite depressed (although he tried to hide it) that i had started crying 1/2 way through because one of the voices wouldn’t shut-up and started screaming violently at me.

After being re-admitted to a different psychiatric hospital i realised that i was still feeling paranoid, hearing voices and having odd, disturbing thoughts. For years i’d been being treated for bulimia and never psychosis. It wasn’t until i was speaking about the people in my head to my sister and she double questioned me about it stating “that’s not normal” and the diagnosis came from there.

They’ll never go away

I’ve never told anyone about psychosis because it just seemed unnecessary. Another ting to add to the already extensive list of labels. I didn’t want another reasons for an employer not to take me on or a man to ditch me etc.

Yes, I still hear voices and have bizarre thoughts that distress me. But, I’m a lot better and have many different coping mechanisms. I think it’s understandable as to why it may come hand in hand with an eating disorder. I’m very open about my mental health and am not ashamed of it. Why should anyone be?

I’m also an ordinary person living an ordinary life. I don’t hurt anyone. I’m stable and calm and most importantly of all, I have got better. Just because a person hears or sees things that others do not, it doesn’t mean they can’t live a happy independent life.

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