February 20, 2014

lauraI’m Laura, and I’m 17. I've had mental health issues (hearing voices, seeing images, anxiety and depression) ever since I can remember. As far as I know I've always had mental health issues. It wasn't until I was 15 I decided to talk about it.

When I was younger, probably about 8-9 years old, I tried to talk to my Mum and Dad. I think at the time, my voices were good. I thought everyone had them, like it was normal for everyone to hear voices. But I was wrong, when my parents looked at me strangely and asked what I was on about I knew what I had was something different. I know many people have these voices, but when I was younger, I never would have imagined that. I just thought I was the only person.

I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone

That day was the first time, and the last time for many years that I told anyone about the voices. I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, as everyone would find me stupid, ignore me, bully me. Since that day when I questioned myself, my voices have been negative and the images started coming. Even though they were both negative, I was able to cope with them at the time.

I told myself that if I couldn’t tell my family, then I’d tell a doctor when I was old enough

Things have happened in my past, my Mum got threatened, and there were problems in the family. It wasn't until 2008, when I was only 12 that the voices and images started getting worse. And to this day, they continue to get worse. At the time I had told myself that if I couldn’t tell my family, then I’d tell a doctor when I was old enough without my Mum accompanying me. But as I was 12, I knew I had to wait a good few years. So I tried to deal with them by myself.

I started to get quite angry and upset, and I self-harmed

During this time, when there were problems in the family, I started to get quite angry and upset, and I self-harmed. Each day went past where I’d be punishing myself, hurting myself, but I needed to keep it secret, even if the voices and images were getting worse by the day.

A year went past, and in the meantime I had searched online for my problem, and even read my favourite author’s book which seemed to me, what she was explaining, was that I had anxiety. Even with this news I told no one, not even any member of our church!

It was when I was 15, I was at the point when I was really struggling, and I had no one to talk to. I would be crying nearly every day in my bedroom, where no one could see me. I was then I made the decision I needed help. So I tried to communicate with Mum. But every time I did, the negative voices got in the way and stopped me.

It was then I just came out with it, the whole truth

After what felt like the 100th time of trying to communicate with Mum, weeks after I decided I needed help, I was going upstairs and my Mum must have noticed my state. I was really upset. It was then she called me down, and I sat next to her. She then said that something wasn't right. It was then I just came out with it, the whole truth. I spent ages explaining, and even though I expected Mum to resent me, she didn’t. She gave me a hug, and she asked if I wanted to see a doctor. I nodded.

Within a month, I saw a doctor who registered me with a team called CAMHS (Child Adolescence Mental Health Service). In July of that year, I saw this team, and I spoke to a psychiatrist. Since that day, I've seen 6-8 different people for my health. Even though I hear voices, no one could class me as having psychosis, because I didn’t fit in what psychosis was. It’s only recently, the end of December 2013 that someone actually told me that what I could possibly have is OCD. As I fit the picture more well than psychosis. 

I spent so many years keeping it to myself, but I was wrong to do that

Hopefully now with this in mind, I’m on my road to recovery. I spent so many years keeping it to myself, but I was wrong to do that. One of the best decisions I've made is talking about it, and now, apart from the odd days where the voices and images get stronger, I don’t feel scared anymore that someone will call me stupid or something.

For anyone wanting to talk about their Mental Health problems, please don’t suffer alone.

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