Today is the day after World Mental Health Day, however it is no less important to share and raise awareness for Mental Health than it was yesterday. Mental Health is a daily struggle for many people and doesn’t just go away when its not a highlighted awareness day. Therefore I’m going to share my Mental Health story today, not on World Mental Health day, but another average day..My first memory of hearing the voices I have today was around the time I had just started secondary school at the age of 11. To begin with I didn’t really realise what was going on, I remember a couple of times, hearing the negative comments, and thinking that it was a classmate being mean. I was bullied for a while in school so it was an easy conclusion to make; but my friends and other students would tell me that no one had said anything. After a couple of times that this happened I realised that this was something odd and different, I think this was the first time I started being scared of it.
The big difference between when it started and now is that it wasn’t always constant voices 24/7. To begin with it was just randomly every now and again, mostly in class rooms, and crowded places; a few times they would occur when I was at home doing homework, or planning for a big event, or even if I was prepping to go out to something I was nervous for. If I’m honest I don’t remember when they first started being constant, it was not long after it all started.
Its no secret that I kept quiet about my psychosis for a long time, but I did try to seek help at one point. I approached a teacher, explained that I thought I was having trouble with the work load and everything; mentioned I was hearing things, but I was stopped before I could elaborate. The teacher just smiled at me, said that I had ‘normal school stress’ and that I’d need to just adjust and ‘get used to it’. That’s when I made the conscious decision that whatever I was experiencing was something I shouldn’t talk about, that I should just keep this to myself; and that’s what I did. I was so aware of needing to hid it, that I started to convince myself that it wasn’t happening, I became adamant at one point that it was all just a headache- a really terrible headache; I became so sure about it, that I even went and saw a neurologist. The day I admitted to someone else that I was hearing voices was the day the headache stopped, and its never come back.
I always had the two voices, a male and a female; the guy is always negative, putting me down, telling me I’m going to fail, blaming me for things. While the women is scared all the time; telling me that the world is dangerous, that I’m going to die or get hurt, that I’m not capable, that I’m weak etc. This hasn’t ever changed, but about a year ago I did gain a third voice. He’s a child in sound, around toddler age, and all that he does is scream. This one isn’t constant, it only occurs during highly emotional situations; thinking about it not sure why I refer to him as a male, I cant really tell it just feels like it fits.
So on 18th of October 2014 I ended up in hospital with a nasty kidney infection and it was then that I admitted to a psychiatrist that I was hearing these voices; my GP had referred me to a psychiatrist due to noticing I was having issues such as pressured speech and not having ideas straight when trying to communicate.
At my very first appointment I was told that it would probably be Schizophrenia, but it takes a year of observation to officially diagnose. I did confuse things a little as I have a rare presentation; I internalise rather than externalise like most Schizophrenics; I also classify as ‘young on-set’ in my diagnosis which changes the expectations for the future, but I’ve talked about that in the past. I was given a three year recovery plan very early on in the first couple of appointments, and then after exactly a year I received my official diagnosis of young on-set internal presentation schizophrenia. However I do also have bi-polar aspects, in that I do get manic with my mood; but I see myself as lucky to not get the depressive side of it.
Well that’s about it I think, I’m going to be doing a two year update around the two year anniversary of the start of my recovery where I will go into more detail about some of what has happened- the ups and the downs.