1. Can you remember when you first realised you were mentally ill? What made you realise? How did this make you feel? And what did you do in response?
I first realised that there was something 'wrong' when I took my first overdose. This made me feel guilty, ashamed, upset, angry, hurt and scared because I didn't know what was wrong and I hurt my family by attempting to take my life. I talked to my mum and the professional at A+ E which helped me a lot and reassured me that people do care.
2. Which of your 'symptoms' of your mental health diagnosis bothers you the most? And why?
There are two symptoms of my mental health that bother me the most; the first is the auditory hallucinations that tell me to hurt others; I don't want to be a violent person and I don't want to hurt other people. The second, is self harm because afterwards you have to deal with the guilt of what you have done to yourself and also, you have to deal with the scars. Gone are the times when you can be 'normal' and wear what you want; the scars that you have made mean you have to lie and constantly cover up or you risk being stigmatised.
3. Have you experienced any stigma because of your mental health?
Yes; when people find out that you have got mental health problems, the minority of the people will say nasty comments which make me feel ashamed and guilty.
4. Have you had any positive experiences as a results of your mental health? (e.g. meeting new people etc)
Positive experiences have been making new, lasting and positive friendships due to being in hospitals. Also, it has helped me to be a stronger person and given me ideas for a future career.
5. What was your 'lowest' point and how did you overcome it?
I have had a lot of low points but the lowest point was when I first found out that I had mental health problems and got sent to a specialist place miles and miles away from my family and friends.
6. What have you found most useful in aiding your recovery, and why?
Therapy because it has taught me the skills to cope and manage my mental health problems. Also having the support of close family and friends because it given me the strength and motivation to carry on.
7. What would be your advice to anyone struggling?
My advice to anyone struggling would be to tell them that they are not alone, talk to someone they trust and get the help they need by going to a professional such as their GP. In an emergency, go straight to A&E because there will be people there such as a social worker that they can talk to. If there is no one that you trust ring a helpline such as the Samartians on 08457 90 90
8. What are your plans for your future?
My plans for the future are to study to become a mental health social worker so I can help other people with mental health problems.