January 10, 2014

In November 2011 I was diagnosed with Bi polar Affective and along with my family have battled the condition since, It wasn’t long after I had gone through my first psychotic episode that I had re-established a sense of reality and re-discovered my ability to think rationally. There was, however, so much more besides my sanity that I had to regain, with which tablets could not help me, in order to make a full recovery. I had lost all hopes and aspirations for the future, my self-confidence was shattered and at an all time low and I felt extremely lonely and isolated. I have had really bad days where I haven’t got up until I’ve needed to go the bathroom, then gone back to bed. I’ve had times where I’ve stayed in bed for days on end. I’ve not washed, not changed my clothes all because I just couldn’t, which is one of the hardest things to understand or explain.

What I needed was to be able to talk to someone

The more isolated I became the more depressed I was which led to my admission back onto a psychiatric ward as a voluntary patient. After 9 weeks I was finally discharged but I was finding it extremely difficult to place any trust in anyone, let alone a load of complete strangers, but what I desperately needed was to be able to talk to someone, about both what I had gone through and my worries and concerns for the future. This is exactly what The Early Intervention Service helped me to do. Having been introduced to the team and informed of what they do, I regularly saw my Care Coordinator Emma, who always remained positive, non-judgemental and encouraging towards me. A combination of these factors meant that I soon established trusting relationships with her and the service who were there to support me. I found a real comfort in someone just simply listening and allowing me to talk about my issues. Just talking and being a friendly face helped develop hope that I was going to get better.

Through opening up to someone and talking to them honestly without any fear of criticism, I was able to relieve the massive burden of anxiety that I was experiencing in the early stages of my recovery, a burden which was preventing me from moving forward and getting on with my life. I knew that whenever I was troubled or needed support, Emma would be there to listen and would have the necessary time, expertise and determination to help me sort it out. The fact that she always did so with an attentive ear and a compassionate nature gave me a feeling of importance that I was actually worth it.

I was able to get back in touch with friends I had before I was ill

Being in hospital for so long really knocked my self-esteem I was totally lacking in confidence to engage with others and had no sense of identity, I wanted to apologise for my illness and was very self-critical. Through seeing and talking to Emma regularly, she was able to gain an understanding of what my interests were and what used to motivate me before my psychosis experience. She does everything she can to get me involved in these activities again, providing, once again, her time along with her company and transport to wherever I needed to go. She showed me that I could, regardless of my fears, enjoy life again, her encouragement and assurance gave me the motivation to do so. I am now more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes and I am not so bothered about what others think of me, bipolar is a part of who I am but I’m not defined by it, I am more positive about myself I have a stronger sense of identity than before my illness and I see myself as a better/wiser person than before.

Thanks to Emma’s support I was able to get back in touch with friends I had before I was ill that I thought I would never see or speak to again. I was also given the opportunity to meet and become friends with many people who were also recovering from a psychosis which made me feel much less isolated and helped me to accept and come to terms with what I had been through.

My journey to recovery has been far from simple and straight forward, but I feel as though I’ve nearly made it but I could not have done it without The Early Intervention Service. I was very lucky to have been introduced to the team, who helped me through a depressing and dark time when I was most vulnerable, showed me that there was light at the end of the tunnel and persuaded me that I could make it there. They have been there for me every step of the way.

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