​The following blog posts are written by people with personal experience of psychosis. By talking openly, our bloggers hope to increase understanding around mental health, break down stereotypes and take the taboo out of something that – like physical health – affects us all.

Find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatments of psychosis from MindRethink Mental Illness and the NHS.

In Kenya, mental health conditions have been criminalised by the systems

As a child I was very curious. I was restless and always fidgeting in class. By the time I was a teenager I began experimenting with different things. I was always looking for a high. I wanted something to make me happy, because most of the time I felt sad.

That’s how I got into high-strength alcohol and started smoking weed. It reached a point of no return and I couldn't work anymore, I could not fit into social circles.

I was subjected to electro convulsion therapy due to a diagnosis of substance-induced psychosis. But in the real sense, I had depression.

I lived in fear of saying schizophrenia out loud

What it took for me to recover from schizophrenia was having people who believed in me and who did not give up on me. Their belief and love for me encouraged me to believe in myself, so I could have the patience to heal slowly over several years, with the help of steady, continued medical treatment. Their love and confidence in me gave me a reason and the strength to try and endure the emotional pain and social stigma of having schizophrenia.

Living with Bipolar

Many people believe having bipolar means simply dealing with alternating very high and very low moods, but there is so much more to it. During a manic phase, the person can experience delusional hallucinations, which can be terrifying. During a depressive phase, the person may become very forgetful or indecisive. It isn’t as simple as “today I’m happy, tomorrow I’m sad”. It can be life-threatening. So please, the next time you crack a “bipolar joke” – bear this in mind.

Employers found it difficult to see past my mental health problems

I have had serious mental health problems most of my life but despite this I work and live independently.

Feeling part of society has had the single most positive impact on the state of my mental health. Unfortunately, it is the very thing that stigma and prejudice has the most negative impact on.

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