February 15, 2013

Jen blogs about an experience of psychosisSupport from family and friends makes all the difference when you experience mental illness. For me, illness came quickly, seemingly out of the blue, when I was twenty-six.

I was a newly qualified teacher and experienced acute depression followed by a psychotic episode.

I was taken to hospital and placed under a 72 hour section, spending a month in hospital in total.

I couldn’t have got through the experience without family and friends. My brother, who was unwell himself, took me home to my parents when he saw I was getting ill. We shared a very surreal tube journey home during which I told him the people at work were witches and that I needed to be exorcised. He generously nodded and said, ‘ok Jen’.

My parents took me to hospital after a psychotic episode

My parents took me to the local GP and then to hospital, they were there when I raced, terrified, around the hospital ward, and when I came round some three days later and said to my mum, ‘I think I’ve been acting a bit strangely.’ She sat by my bed and hugged me.

My boyfriend sat with me holding my hand while my head was spinning with ridiculous notions and ideas. And my brother came to visit in a wooly hat and scarves to ward off ME and after I’d come round he brought craft materials with him to make a card for his girlfriend. We didn’t talk about where we were or what had happened, we talked about cutting up photos to make the card. I helped him a bit with the photos of sky. Well, maybe ‘helped’ is too generous a word! But discussed it with him none the less.

Hospital was strange but having visitors helped me

Hospital was a strange, unknown place with its own rules and a crowded smoking room. Having visitors helped me keep my spirits up and believe I was going to go home soon. It gave me the strength to engage in some of the groups in the hospital, like the yoga class and the art group, and going to those classes helped me find motivation.

Friends came to visit bringing postcards for me to put on the wall and one friend brought her Fuzzy Bear to cheer me up and remind me of teenage days listening to the Muppets and Fraggle Rock sound tracks on her Walkman while in our GCSE art exam.

Relationships and connections helped me build resilience

It must have been hard for them to come to a strange concrete building and make a visit they didn’t think they’d have to make. For me it meant the world. It meant normal life flowing into a place that was not normal at all. It meant relationships and connections that helped me build resilience.

I found, when I was experiencing a psychotic episode, that I sensed connections between all things, permeating us all. Afterwards, it was the connections between my loved ones that meant so much.

I was in hospital on Valentine’s Day and my boyfriend took me to the hospital canteen…. We had a romantic meal of macaroni cheese and I gave him a card I’d made from old bits of material and a picture I’d drawn of a tree of hearts. I was in a psychiatric ward, but we were continuing with our lives, determined to still share time together.

The support of my loved one's helped me through the experience

I will forever be grateful to all my loved ones who showed me such warmth, generosity and friendship through that time, and have continued to through the times to come.

If a loved one of yours has had to go into hospital, please do go and visit them. Your being there will make all the difference. Don’t be scared of what to say. Say anything. Say nothing. Ask them how they are. Talk about a film you’ve seen recently, or your cats, or the fact that your boiler’s on the blink. It doesn’t matter, just sharing your solidarity at a difficult time: it breathes life into any situation, no matter how hard it seems.

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Thank you

Thank you for writing and sharing your experience. It's brought back some tough memories and made me cry, but for some reason I feel like it's doing some healing.


ive just started to look at this site and have read your story first, and i want to cry... thank you for sharing, its a strong thing to do and im not sure i can do the same, or rather spend the time rethinking how things have been for me, but i have shared this site on my facebook page, some people/friends know i have Depression, out of those few they probably think im ok now.. but its ups and downs and at the moment i have slid downwards not as deep as before, i put this on my facebook page............. when we meet its quite common to say "You all right?" as a way of saying hello, then its confusing when the person or friend says "Er no im not..." and you might wish you hadnt asked!! people with depression are likely to say "No im not" but sometimes they may say "Yes" but in a quiet way because they are sick of feeling ill, please be aware your friend might not be alright, if you care for that person, please double check with them if you have the time, because you might just be the person they need to talk to, it could change their day or text them later, a proper hello how are you make can make all the difference... it is time to talk... and your amazing Jen for doing so... xx Jo

Dear Jo, thanks ever so much

Dear Jo, thanks ever so much for your comment and I''m really sorry to hear you're going through ups and downs, I really hope sharing the words you've written on Facebook helps, they're absolutely true, and really important. I've found that writing about experiences and sharing them is a really positive thing to do and helps during times of ups and low points. I really hope that the clouds start to clear soon and that in the meantime you feel you can share with friends, and that doing so helps, Jen

Thank you ever so much for

Thank you ever so much for sharing too, wishing you well, I've found sharing really does help with recovery. Very best wishes, Jen

Thank you too

Yes I have to say, 'Thank you' too. Reading what you've written brings back memories for me too and I cried. I think I had four visits from people in two months. I know what you've written is true because of my lack of visitors... they can make all the difference. :)

relationships and connections

I've also been in hospital following a psychotic episode and like you, grateful for the consistent visits from family members. It was an important key to my recovery. Continued support once discharged from hospital was also key to my recovery and more often than not, it was the little, every day, ordinary things that helped. A shared cup of tea, pizza or a glass of wine, phone call to say hi, a walk in the park... Just knowing loved ones were around was enough to keep me going. You express it perfectly when you talk about resilience being built from relationships and connections. Thank you.

Yes it really is the little

Yes it really is the little things that help isn't it? I really hope your recovery is going well - and that you're still sharing those cups of tea and glasses of wine! Very best wishes, Jen


Hi and thanks for sharing your comment. I had my first experience with psychosis this last week and it was horrible. I was terrified and became very suicidal, which is strange considering during my episode I was acutely aware of my own mortality and that was just as scary. If psychosis could be more like a good trip instead of a bad trip it would be ok, but thats not how it works generally. Hang in there and use the internet as support I guess. Chris


So sorry to hear you've had an experience with psychosis this week Chris. It really is a terrifying thing to experience, I think you're so strong to have got through it and already be speaking about it and writing out on this website. I really hope time helps (I've really found it has) and that the internet helps as a source of support and information. Sending all very best wishes to you for your recovery - I've found recovery from psychosis to be rich and full, your speaking out here already is an amazing thing, Jenny

jens story

thank you for sharing.i have also been in hospital for weeks at a time and dont think i would be here if it wasnt for family and friends.although some people stayed away due i think to them being scaredd of how to act with someone who is clearly in a black place

a/d/h/d and ortizzom

my son has got a/d/h/d and 2 forms of ortizzam and people dont help us to cope with him he on tables for it but people just keep picking on him at school and in the streets when he gos out to ply we have no help with him there is no places to go with him or to speak to other people with the same problems we have


I wish I had a support network like yours. Truth is I've ended up in the severe depression I'm experiencing now as a direct result of family in particular not supporting me. And now I'm here they keep at a distance and pass the buck to the professionals. And friends pass the buck to my family. So I stay in the depression, and am gradually getting worse - because a visit from the CMHT every few months just doesn't cut it.


I'm so sorry that people aren't being more supportive. I really hope that in time your family comes to understand your situation better. I hope that organisations like Time to Change may be able to help by offering a space to speak out. I really hope that your situation starts to get a little easier very soon, Jen


Hello my love, I'm sorry to hear that you feel so alone, that you feel unsupported by your family friends and your CMHT. While the support of family is valuable it's not the only way out, and if yours can't or won't support you, it doesn't mean you have no hope. You do your future is just as bright and just as important as everyone else! If your CMHT are not providing support in the way that is helping you, you must speak to them. I do understand this is easier said than done, why not take a copy of this blog and show it to your care co ordinator and if you are up to it your family. The least that will do is open up a conversation that will help others understand how dark it is for you, and allow you the chance to tell these important people in your life how you feel. It maybe that people think your coping better than you are? We try hard to help ourselves and sometimes people mistake this as coping. You deserve support and its clear the lack is making things worse, give the important people in your life a chance, they may surprise you, please do this for yourself.

my story

Hi there,your blog has really inspired me to tell my story.Been under the cosh as I call it since 1991.2 deaths in 3mths started the downfall.young man with young family,very caring sensitive soul.i was using recreational drugs & life began spiralling out of control.relationship breakdown&death of my son 10years this year all took there toll.this recent spell as been since Christmas & I cannot get out of it,meds aint doing owt,my opinion.i am angry,envious,jealous,want to hurt myself,thoughts of doing crazy things like robbery & hurting people.i have no love & feel very lonely & isolated.if I had a girlfriend to hug & feel loved I know I would be so different.done all the talking,but it is your head that satan his bashing with his poison.last 2 days,bad news.if you have understanding family,that ig great,i don't.friends.what are they!i have more to add another time if anyone is interested,

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your experience, it's a really brave thing to do. I had a breakdown while on a GTP teacher training program. At the time I had undiagnosed post-traumatic stress, and then I found myself working a 90 hour week. I ended up with amnesia and had to be brought home by my mum (at the time I had no idea why, even though I'd just been told she was coming to get me). Most of my friends still don't know the extent of the mess I was in at the time, it was my family and a few close friends who stood by me and helped me through it. Well done for sharing this and showing people that they are not alone.

What a lovely article and

What a lovely article and very useful information, thank you. My girlfriend has just been sectioned with a psychotic episode - very difficult time, will be there for her.


I turn 37 tmrw and I've had several episodes since I was 20! I've recovered from all of them except for this last one around Christmas!! I really embarrassed myself this time and it feels like I'll never recover! I have a team to really help, family etc... But I'm confused, bad memory, no motivation, only wanna lay in bed... Nothing seems to be working and I got denied ECT Therapy Treatment... I barely talk... Any advice!?


Hi Happy Birthday for today! I really empathise with you. Things really will get better. It’s really good that you have a team to help and family. But also know that you, in yourself, will be able to get better. Recovering from an episode can take time, please have faith that things will change for you. It takes time to come to terms with the things that happened during the episode and I don’t know your own situation, what happened for you, and where you are now. But time does heal. A couple of things that I found helpful were finding some outlet for counselling, is there any way do you think that you could go on an NHS waiting list for it? They helped me with mindfulness, which I found really difficult in many ways but also have found, somehow, has helped. Also, I don’t know if you experience anxiety, but someone told me to try writing down every positive thing that happens to you in the day in one note book, and then writing down all the negative thoughts etc. in another notebook. She said she read the positive one a lot, but never read the negative one – it was for getting stuff out, and then leaving it. I have found this really helpful, writing out the positive things that have happened in the day last thing before I go to sleep. It can be things like ‘had a nice cup of tea’. ‘Had a text from my Dad’. Sorry for the long message, but I really wanted to reply. Everyone's different so please do leave the suggestions above if they don't sound right. Things really do change. If you find it helpful to speak to your doctor, would you consider talking to them about the feelings of confusion and lack of motivation? Sending you very very best wishes for your recovery and I really hope you start to feel better soon x PS I'm so sorry, I was sent your message yesterday, but I've just logged on to the website and seen you posted 6 days ago. So sorry for only just seeing your message


I'm not sure of anyone will ever read this but I had to admit my boyfriend to the hospital 2 days ago and I'm terrified. We've been together three years and I've never had to go a day without him. I'm scared he won't come home. This blog helped give me hope that my boyfriend may just come back to me. It's hard and isolating to be on this side of the equation. I only get two hours a day to see him but I go faithfully everyday. His family keeps mentioning inpatient treatment, 24hr homes. It feels good to have hope. Thank you so much for your story.


Julia - I read your comment! I hope your boyfriend is doing better. Hang in there. It's scary and difficult for you - even more so for him. All you can do is support him and work with the professionals to ensure he gets the best care possible. Don't lose hope. Wishing you all the best.

Psychotic episode

Hi I am Mirey I feel so identified with your story, I saw my mom and sisters like witches I spent two weeks in hospital without visits...here in my country hospitals are terrible......I think my family helped me yes....but they did other things that made me felt worse .... While I was at the hospital they got in my room and they put all my stuff out without my permission .....I got my clothes out of the room while I was in my crisis......my sisters threw away my clothes .....I was expecting they kept for me since they knew I was in crisis ....when I got home ....my room was empty ...some clothes they decided to keep for me were in my mom's room...they threw away some personal things ....my ex gave me ...they were sure I had this problem for him....I was working too much and studying when this happened ........I got into a deep depression I felt I had absolutely nothing.....I dont know why they decided to do that......I felt abused by circunstances and family as well .....I didnt have even my favorite clothes .....to feel little joy.....then In my depression and anxiety out of my room and with a lot of noise.......now I see my room full of other stuff ........got some clothes from my best friend ........thanks God......and I am doing my best to get over everything......just my family doesnt understand that things they did made me feel deeper in the hole.....I had to start training my brain ....and missing many of my possessions........working a little to get clothes and an iron for my hair.....why Is it difficult for me to forget that? I live in a noisy house... when I was okay before this episode I spent all my time in my room since my sisters are so noisy......now I am in living room and sleeping with my sister who gets up 4 times during the night and makes me up since I have sleep issues too....I just think on my room ...then I write I should be grateful for what I am living now.....I am doing my best though to get over this......watching my sister's tv show about people fighting in latin tv shows ...noisy programs and noisy people around ....thankss God this sites exist I can express myself out .....now I know I am working on my self steem ......after all this that happened to me.....I am doing all my best against all odds...I pray I go to the church ...color ... Do all I can I started to work at least on weekends since I dont have any support .......I feel thankful for that to.....I want to be better soon it is not easy but I know I can do it

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