September 10, 2012

Photo of an eyePlease note: do not read this blog if you feel vulnerable to triggering issues.

I’m Laura and I’m ill. Wow – that’s the first time I’ve ever admitted that ‘out loud’ so to speak. Since a life changing event last year, my life has been in a steady decline – my mental health has spiralled downward so rapidly that it has at times made me dizzy thinking about it.

It started gradually; depression and anxiety taking a vice like grip on my life and slowly tightening the screws until I snapped. It became harder and harder to get out of bed, panic attacks were becoming as commonplace as breathing and my ability to look after myself tapered off completely.

I was lucky. My GP was fantastic, she was so kind, compassionate, and understanding. She took the time to explain to me what was happening to me both mentally and in terms of the support I was receiving. But all of this was to no avail.

Self harm became a larger part of my life than I could have ever have imagined. A previously alien concept to me, it completely took over my life. The need to hurt myself was overwhelming to the point where I was completely out of control. I became a frequent visitor to Accident and Emergency where the kindness of the medical staff was my saviour.

 owned up to my GP and there began the intervention of the Intensive Home Treatment Team

I was a danger to myself and my suicidal thoughts culminated in a near suicide attempt. I owned up to my GP and there began the intervention of the Intensive Home Treatment Team. They visited me every day in my home and tried to ensure I was able to look after myself. At this point my weight had dropped to a dangerous level and my body had begun shutting down but I didn’t care.

Shortly after this came my first overdose. I was in hospital for nearly a week. It was a close call, I was told afterwards. A week after I was discharged, the Intensive Home Treatment Team decided I was too much of a danger to myself and I was admitted to a secure psychiatric unit for treatment.

Up until this point I had managed to keep everything (and I mean everything) from my family

Up until this point I had managed to keep everything (and I mean everything) from my family. The call they received from the nurse on the unit was the first they knew. They still don’t know a lot of things. It’s too hard for me to admit to my actions at the moment, writing this blog is a massive step for me.

I was discharged from hospital after about three weeks, back to the care of the Intensive Home Treatment Team, and my CPN.

Things have changed and they are improving

Things have changed and they are improving. I’m slowly getting back into my job. My employers have been fantastic and the support of my friends, both online and in real life has been a vital lifeline.

I am awaiting a start date for DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) and art therapy and am receiving treatment at a specialist self-harm unit as a day patient. I am also on regular medication, although I am still awaiting the stabilising effects of this, and have regular interventions with my psychiatrist and the local community mental health team. My relationship with food is also improving, albeit slowly.

But with the cessation of one issue, another one raises its’ head

But with the cessation of one issue, another one raises its’ head. One I have yet to admit to the professionals. I have been asked many times, ‘do you hear voices?’, ‘do you see things?’, and I have always answered vehemently ‘no’. Yet this has now changed. Is it that the thoughts have grown in substance so much that they have now become voices? Or is it a new thing?

Either way, it is a frightening experience and one that I am still struggling to come to terms with. To an extent the voices are controlling my actions at the moment. It is almost like an auditory version of the proverbial devil on your shoulder, making it impossible to share my fears with the professionals at the moment. Hopefully this blog is the first step towards being able to do so.

My biggest critic, discriminator and stumbling block to recovery is still myself

My biggest critic, discriminator and stumbling block to recovery is still myself. On the whole, my experiences with talking to others about my mental health have been positive, yet the demon that is the mental illness is forever chirping in my ear.

I have begun expressing myself through writing and art and I’m hopeful for the eventual journey towards self-acceptance and the ensuing improvements to my mental health. Acceptance of myself and my illness is my eventual goal and I hope talking about my experiences will help someone, somewhere along the way.

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