Sarah's story

I am a 19 year old female and my plan was to go to University to get a diploma in adult nursing. I started on the ‘fresher’s’ week at university. This is when I started the psychosis without actually knowing about it. I had several sleepless nights, my appetite was poor and I began to hallucinate. It made me very anxious and worried and afraid to tell anyone. From what I can remember my boyfriend began to realise that something was wrong so he drove down to get me. It was late when he picked me up and he took me home to his house then early the next morning he took me back to my parent’s house. I don’t recall any of this happening.

Apparently from what I have been told I was totally paranoid, hallucinating and for three days and three nights I never closed my eyes. I talked incessantly about anything and everything. In that first week it was touch and go as to whether I could stop at home (so I was told) but the crisis team were doing their best with the medication to keep me at home with my family.

Even when the medication was sorted, I suffered numerous side effects, mainly slurred speech, tremors and painful joints. The crisis team then gave another tablet to help control the side effects. Over the next few weeks I began to recover but have very little recollection of this.

Whenever I planned to go out anywhere like meeting my friends, boyfriend or just going shopping I felt extremely anxious and worried about going out. Often I would put it off as I didn’t feel capable of doing it. Everything was difficult, even the simple text that I used to send everyday to my boyfriend became difficult and I needed reassurance and prompting off my family to do this. I felt afraid of answering or making phone calls. Everyday tasks like getting dressed and washed was a real struggle for me and felt like too much effort. I even felt extremely anxious and worried about having conversations with my boyfriend that was usually an effortless thing for me to do.

Without me knowing it I became extremely depressed and very emotional. I had to be told how to do everything, how to get dressed, how to make my bed, how to get washed and how to make my breakfast. In the middle of all this in my second week I was introduced to Lucy from the Early Intervention Team who has been helping me and supporting me through my psychosis and still is now.

Over the last week my parents and Lucy  have been trying to explain what happened when I was really ill. It was very scary and frightening to hear what had happened and was somewhat upsetting. But I know I am now making a speedy recovery. The reason for my psychosis from what I’ve been told is that it was stress induced and sleep deprivation. There was also an impact of incidences of rape that have happened to me in the past that often trigger through my mind and are extremely difficult to cope with.

My mind is a lot more focused and I am able to do everyday chores as before. My confidence is improving day by day with regards to going out with my friends and boyfriend and being able to drive independently again which is one of my favourite pass times. I am planning to go to university next year to commence my nurse training but I plan to study locally so I am closer to home. It feels as though for the last few months my life has been on hold and when I was ill I felt as thought I was in such as hole that I was never going to get out of it.

I feel with the support, reassurance and guidance that I have had off my boyfriend, family and Lucy has helped aid my recovery. Knowing that there is always someone you can talk to and that will listen to you in times of need was very reassuring and comforting for me.

Lucy has been a big influence on my recovery as I can talk to her about issues that I may not feel comfortable about talking with my family or boyfriend. Everyone around me kept reassuring me that I would make a full recovery and I feel this has helped me feel more positive and able to focus and move on with my life.

With the right medication and support everyone has the potential to make a full recovery. But at the same time I have little recollection of the last few months, so I can understand that people who have acute psychosis like me who are not in a supportive environment could find themselves in a dangerous and life threatening situation. I know now that without the right professionals and a caring family and boyfriend that I couldn’t have made the recovery.

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