Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Rethink Mental Illness on NICE guidlines

Found this piece by Rethink Mental Illness on the NICE new psychosis guidelines really interesting. I think I've been really lucky in Bournemouth and Poole as most of these guidelines have been met but I know in other places it is very different. One of the reasons I moved away from Worthing when coping with my psychosis was that there was little help or understanding there. I saw several GP's, none of who knew what to do with me. I kept pushing to see a neurologist and was eventually given the phone number to the neurology department at the hospital. I was expected to sort out an appointment myself which had a 2 month waiting list. When telling the neurology department I couldn't wait 2 months as it was an emergency, I got no response. More support needs to be in place in this area.

Please look at the link below view on NICE psychosis guidelines.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The voices in my head- Part 2

I had never in my life expected that I would one day be telling someone I had voices in my head, so had never exactly made a plan of how to do it. How exactly does someone go about telling another person that they are hearing voices? I was never able to find a manual explaining it.
The first person I told was my friend Martin. Although we haven't seen each other much since college, I will forever be grateful for the way he reacted with absolutely no judgement. I really don't remember what I actually said to him but I do remember that he didn't run away screaming. I had expected that there would be some kind of awkwardness and that maybe I would end up retreating into myself and pretend I'd been joking. Instead he was comforting. He pointed out that I was on mind-bending drugs for epilepsy which made me suddenly think, maybe I'm not such a freak. He told me about a bad experience he had when taking a recreational drug and it seemed that he understood that things can seem so real and scary, even when they're not real.
After finally talking to someone openly about what I was experiencing, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I was still being tortured by the voices and feelings, but I knew now that I could start talking about it.
Telling my family was terrifying. They have always been so open and loving but the voices were still telling me not to trust them. I think initially I just said that my stresses and anxieties had returned and I thought I may be having problems with my medication. At this point I had started seeing GP's asking for help which I had told my parents. None of them seemed to understand however and I was really having to push to see a Neurologist. I was exhausted and depressed and decided that I needed to go home to Dorset. I needed to go to the hospital that knew me and be with my family. So, I had to tell them. As soon as had, I knew the voices were wrong and that I could trust them completely.
The more I talked the more comfortable I felt. People weren't looking at me like I was a nutcase, they were just sad that I was going through this. It made me feel less alone and much more open. I still find it difficult to talk about certain things but the more I do, the easier things are to say. I have never had a negative experience from talking to people about my paranoia and hallucinations, just people not understanding. I hate the idea of it making other people feel awkward but usually that is just because they don't understand. Mental health is not something that is often talked about (hearing voices is a particular taboo) so how is anyone supposed to have an understanding. I have found that if I talk honestly and with confidence, then people feel more at ease and interested more than anything.
Being open about the voices hasn't solved all my problems but talking about it was my first step to getting better and just knowing that I am not alone.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The voices in my head- Part 1

Hearing the voices didn't happen over night for me. I was in my first year at college feeling happy and excited by the adventure of independence ahead of me. Acting was what I have always wanted to do and was thrilled to be doing it. As the year went on though, I struggled to concentrate and couldn't focus on the written work and began to lack confidence. I started to lose confidence and thought i could hear my housemates discussing me. The more i thought I could hear, the harder I found it to cope with life until I finally broke down.
A week before the end of my first year I decided to go home. I thought I was struggling with the stress of work and being in the midst of a doomed 'sort of' relationship 'thing'. I thought if I went back home I would be able to talk to the doctors and have a rest and it would all go away.
At home i did begin to feel better. I went to see a GP who sent me to a councilor. I thought I was dealing with it really well and decided to return to college for the second year.
When I moved back I was in a new flat with 2 other girls. I felt confident that I would be able to make friends with these girls. Unfortunately, soon after moving in, I began hearing them through the walls talking about me. They were saying hurtful things about my looks and that I was weird. I started to feel more anxious about leaving my room and was too scared to talk to the girls. I thought I would be safe if I stayed in my room until one evening I heard one of the girls say that her boyfriend had installed hidden cameras and microphones in my room so that they could watch me. Sometimes when I went out I could sometimes see them in the street watching me and knew they were following me.I had told my friends that my flatmates where being horrible to me (not in detail) and they would let me stay with them so I could avoid my flat.
Then one day I had an epileptic seizure in the street. It was the first seizure I had ever had alone. I woke up with a grazed face and a bloody eye. I felt so alone in hospital. All of a sudden, I started to hear my flatmates. They had inserted a microchip in my eye whilst I was unconscious. They could read my thoughts, see what I could see and hear what I could hear. I no longer had anywhere to hide and felt terrified.
I still had 6 months left on my tenancy agreement but my landlord let me move into another of his flats. It just happened to be the flat next door.
The first month of living in my new place was great. I got on well with my new housemates. The cameras had gone and I could no longer hear the voices. I felt safe and free. Then, one night, for no apparent reason, the voices returned. I was looking in a mirror getting ready to go out when, like a switch had been flipped, they were there. The girls voices were watching me through the mirror.
From that moment, everything hit me like a tidal wave. My landlord was in on it too. He had installed cameras in every room. Everything I did they would comment on. The only way i could escape the voices was to drown it out with music. I hated bedtime as then I couldn't escape them. I started thinking more and more people I knew were becoming involved. The voices told me that my mother new all about it and I shouldn't trust her. I was now suffering from extreme paranoia. I couldn't leave the house without thinking everyone I passed was laughing at and talking about me.
I probably hit rock bottom when I spent a week under my duvet crying. I didn't eat and all I could hear were the voices telling me how disgusting I was. They started daring me to cut myself which I would do. They would tell me different ways that I could kill myself. The voices and thoughts were there and just wouldn't leave. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep but my head just wouldn't stop.
I don't know when I started to think that it may not all be real but i kept thing about it more and more. I think part of it was a desperate hope that I could stop this. Was it was to do with my medication? Could I make it stop? But then that thought also began to scare me. The only way I could find out for sure was to ask someone. How exactly do you ask someone what the voices in your head were. If the voices were real then everyone already knew, and would just lie to me. But if they weren't real, how would people react to me saying I could hear voices. I had to make a decision which would be worse.