When did you first notice your condition?
In 2009, I was on my way out of work when I heard someone say 'you're useless; hurt yourself.' I remember looking around to see who it had been and there was no one. It was Albert. The first voice I heard. Within ten days, I took my first overdose during three A Level exams in Sixth Form. I was sectioned and that was the beginning.
Is there a stigma attached to mental illness?
Of course. And there probably always will be. My experience of stigma has mainly been with professionals which might sound surprising. My first experience of stigma was from my local Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team, I found that not everyone on the Team had the same opinion on my... Behaviour? I think that's the right word. Some of them were worried and concerned and others thought of my as a waste of their time and an attention seeker (this was before I got my diagnosis). And the majority of the Police I came into contact with had a similar belief.
Ironically, since being diagnosed and announcing to the social networking world that I have a mental illness, I've rarely directly experienced any form of stigma. It's as though until you have a label, everyone doubts you and underestimates the situation and your struggles.
Is there enough support?
No. But I don't think there's such a thing as enough support. There is such a wide range of mental health disorders and even those who have the same diagnosis can still be so different, therefore than can never be enough or even the right support for everyone.
But, for me personally, the reason I've had to become an inpatient on a long-term ward is because there wasn't enough support in the community for me. My Community Team (Community Psychiatric Nurse, Psychologist and Psychiatrist) were all amazing! I felt supported by each them... I'd had my CPN for three years, I had my most stable period in three years when I first started seeing the Psychologist and my Psychiatrist was the one to have the brilliant idea of writing my Advanced Directive. The trouble was, they weren't a 24/7 service... That was the Crisis Team's job and since their approach and attitude often made me more upset it basically meant that on a night-time or at the weekends I had no one (professionally). Also, there were no services where I'm from that specialise in Personality Disorders or even in the recommended treatment of PDs.
What do you miss out on because of your disorder?
Life and all the normality and dramas that everyone else gets to experience. I miss out on having unmarked arms, having a quiet head, knowing everything is real, drinking alcohol, going out alone, spending the amount of time with my Mum and cat as I want to, being safe, not worrying about something I might do, not knowing what pink papers mean, being unmedicated, not having a criminal record, not having 'triggers' and probably a hell of a lot more but that's a taster.
Do you take medication?
This is my medication routine:
8am - Beclomethasone (inhaler)
30mg Lansoprazole (stomach tablet)
Cerazette (the pill)
1.25mg Bisoprolal (beta-blocker)
60mg Fluoxetine which converts to 15mg of the liquid version of it (anti-depressant)
12noon - 250mg Quetiapine (anti-psychotic)
10pm - 2X 7.5mg Senna (laxative)
400mg Quetiapine (anti-psychotic)
PRN (when required) - 50mg Quetiapine
1-2mg Lorazepam twice a day (mild sedative)
7.5mg Zopiclone (sleeping tablet)
&; my physical meds including Paracetamol, Tramadol (another painkiller), Cyclizine (anti-sickness) &; Ventolin (inhaler for asthma attacks)
Would you get rid of your condition if you could?