Following intense bullying in school, I developed depression at the age of 13. Despite leaving school as soon as I could, I was unable to escape the darkness of depression and following additional bullying while I was in further education, I developed schizophrenia at the age of 18.
My main symptoms of schizophrenia were depression, hearing voices and having delusions, and I fought a hard battle against the illness and the doctors who were treating me. I read an article recently that estimated around 30% of schizophrenics do not respond to current medications. I was definitely one of them. I have never found anti-psychotic medication useful and on the contrary, I have found them to have had painful and distressing side effects.
Yet despite my body’s resistance to the medications, I am in remission from my worst symptoms. I put this down to the talking therapy I finally received after more than two years of waiting. I would recommend that talking therapies are offered to everyone with a mental health problem and I really believe that the government needs to at least quadruple the number of NHS therapists in the country!
Although I am in remission from my worst symptoms, I still experience depression and sometimes have some pretty bad days. However, no matter how bad I feel, I can now manage my worst days until I get to a better place mentally. When I have a good day, I do my best to make it last as long as possible and always stay aware of things that could trigger a bad day. When the bad days occur, I know that the quickest way out is to do whatever I feel like doing. As long as it isn’t harmful to myself or others that is! If I feel like crying, I will cry. If I feel like not talking to anyone, I’ll not say a word.
After a while of doing this, I will put on what I call my ‘happy face’ which is where I pretend to be happy around everyone so that they think I am really feeling that way. I do this because I prefer bringing myself out of a bad day and turn it into a good day. I don’t like relying on others to do this for me, because I don’t ever want to become dependent on help and risk harming myself if I’m ever alone.
As an ex self-harmer, I know what it’s like to take a bad mood out on myself, but I’m so desperate to make it to two years without self-harming that it’s really kept me focused on staying safe. When the two year mark passes, I will look ahead to the three year mark and so on. Each day can be a battle to get through but I keep fighting as I believe that one day the struggle will be worth it.
To anyone who is currently struggling and on the brink of giving up, I have this message:
There is always a notable day in a person’s recovery when they can say that they began to get better. Keep going just one more day because you never know, your starting day of recovery may be tomorrow.
Follow Misty on Twitter @SchizophrenicGB