Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Beginning

After reading many blogs for months I've decided to start my own. It may well end up being an online mood diary but I wanted to write it after reading many other blogs by people living with mental illness. Some I've found inspiring, some sad, some made me angry. I've also found it really useful to read blogs my medical professionals.

I'm in my twenties and live in London, I have a diagnosis of manic depression and in 2008 I was sectioned 3 times so it was a pretty terrible year. I still have nightmares about my time in a very well known mental hospital in South London, hospital is a subject I'll return to. This year I'm trying to stay well and avoid hospital, I'm on a pretty strong dose of medications and see a CPN weekly at the moment as I am just coming out of a depressive episode.

Last week I think I was a bit hypomanic and had a couple of nights without any sleep, my thoughts were speeding and I felt elated and life was generally speeding up. I'm getting better at catching the early warning signs and taking action rather than enjoying the pace and letting things get out of control before I can catch it. I do enjoy the shift in mood, I'd been in a depressive episode for months, my longest ever and I think I just overdid things once I was not feeling so down before, I need to learn to walk before I run.
I've managed to catch up on sleep now and am able to concentrate a little better. 

My view on mental illness is that there is a huge amount of personal responsibility that goes into staying well, I've only accepted this even though I was diagnosed a few years ago. I have, in the past lied to both doctors and cpns about taking medication, about how I was feeling (telling them I was well, when I wasn't) use of alcohol and generally how I was taking care of myself. I was also reluctant to accept the diagnosis, but I realised I couldn't move on if I didn't.
When I was last sectioned I saw women twice my age in the hospital, who frequented the wards and it scared me. I talked with them and a common theme of non compliance with meds, non engagement with services meant they lived from crisis to crisis. I don't want to end up like those women, they filled me with sadness. One woman i met goes into hospital every year for about 3 or 4 months and has done for 20 years.

I also terrified myself last year by taking a massive overdose which lead me to intensive care, a result of suddenly stopping meds and not sleeping for days. I took the pills to slow things down but it didn't work out and I nearly died. 
I suppose I want to try and attract people to read this blog because what I want to share is someone genuinely trying to battle living with this illness. I don't like having this illness but I'm at a turning point and have to try and fight it rather than letting it beat me and destroy my life even more. There is nothing more frightening than waking up in intensive care wired up to the nines and being told you nearly died in resus 3 days earlier.
I am a graduate and in the past I've had good jobs but at the moment I'm signed off sick, I'm very grateful to be being looked after by the taxpayer at the moment but when I'm well I'll be back contributing to society.

I wanted to comment on the article in the guardian by Clare Allen on Fri 23rd Jan, I think Mixed Sex wards are an absolute scandal in mental health, just before christmas I nearly went into hospital and probably should have gone but I refused because there was only a bed on a mixed sex ward. Even the doctor agreed to me that it might be more detrimental to my mental health and I saw the crisis team at home instead. I've heard horror stories about sexual assaults on mixed wards and I just think that single sex wards should be compulsory. 

That's it for my first post, I'll be posting on life as it happens, past events and my opinions on issues in the mental health system.

Thanks for reading 

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