Apologies again for the lack of posts lately, just been trying to get myself better! I think I’ve finally turned the corner and am on the mend now, woohoo! Anyway, today’s post is going to be pretty epic, so bear with me, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this!
Facebook kindly reminded me, that today is my 2 year breakdown anniversary. I wrote the following as my status (and thought it was a good way to start this post too….)
2 years ago today, I was going through hell. A severe breakdown had me floored and I thought that was it for me. I had no hope left and just wanted to die. But luckily I found a doctor who understood me, like no other had done before. He saw my pain was real and did everything he could to help me. I was referred to a psychiatrist very quickly, and also for CBT.
It took a long time, and a lot of hard work, to get through it, but I did. And I’m still here to tell my story.
And this is my story….
It began long before I knew I was unwell; I can’t pinpoint an exact date/time, but it had been going on a long time, I know that much. I was hearing voices and seeing people that weren’t there. I was essentially living a double life, one real, one imaginary. But to me, that imaginary life felt so real, I’d gotten in so deep that I had no idea what it wasn’t real. The main voice/person, was a guy called Benji. He was a goth, like me at the time, and was 1 year older than me. The things that went on are far too complicated to go into here, but it progressed on from just him, to my mind creating his entire family and friends as well. I deeply believed that they were real, and even involved actual real people in the stories. I created on-line accounts of these people, and conversed with others as them. I had a second mobile phone, that I used to text people as Benji. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, but looking back, it’s all so screwed up. I can’t believe how deep I really was with it.
I don’t know why, or where it all came from, other than it was all in my head. In a way, I admire my own imagination, but that’s probably so wrong of me to do that. The whole time I kept it all from my husband; he had no idea what was going on. I feel bad for keeping it from him for so long, and you can’t even imagine how scared I was when I eventually told him what I’d been doing for near on a year. But he was amazing about it, and just said that he wasn’t angry, and that it was all just part of my illness and that I’d get better and all would be fine.
I got so lucky finding a GP that understood me; he saw how real my pain was and went above and beyond to help me. I can’t thank him enough, he literally saved my life. It’s not every day you can say that about someone is it! He got me referred so quickly to a Psychiatrist, and for CBT. (As I said above). And from there, it was a daily battle to get better. Once I was on some medication I realised that these voices/people weren’t real, and I was rather mortified at what I’d done. Slowly but surely the truth came out, and I lost someone very close to me because of it. (Although he’s back in my life now, in a way, so I didn’t lose him permanently). The one I felt, and still do, most bad about, was my sister. My lies had caused her a lot of heartache, and for that I’ll eternally be sorry; nothing will ever make up for what I did. But she was amazing, understanding that it was all because I was unwell, and that I didn’t do it to be malicious or on purpose. I know deep down that I didn’t, but it still hurts me that I hurt her.
Looking back, it all feels so surreal. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was doing. I was completely lost for a while. As I said above, I’d lost all hope and just wanted it all to end. I was literally at rock bottom, I couldn’t get any lower I don’t think. To look at me you could see I was suffering; I didn’t smile, or really engage with anyone. I had a blank expression and just spent a lot of time in my own head, going over everything constantly, trying to make sense of it all. I found a few selfies that I took back then, when the depression was really kicking my ass, and I don’t even recognise myself to be honest. I was just an empty shell, existing day to day. I wasn’t living.
As time went on, and a lot of experiments with medication later, I finally started to turn the corner and parts of my old self started to show again. Then, on April 1st 2014, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, type 2. I was put on an anti-depressant and an anti-psychotic. Basically a medication to raise my mood, and one to lower my mood, with a view to keeping me on a level plane. The first combination of medications really didn’t work for me, I felt so ill on them, physically, that they were quickly changed. Then something just clicked; we’d found the medication that worked for me. A combination of Sertraline and Aripiprazole. Since then, I’ve not looked back. Over the past couple of years we’ve played with the dosage, I’ve had set backs, lows, highs (manic episodes), and times where I’ve just been on cruise control in the middle, which is a great place to be!
Right now, in this moment, apart from being unwell physically, mentally I’m doing okay. Back in cruise control haha. I can’t believe how far I’ve come to be honest. I found my inner strength and really fought back against my mental illness. It is a daily battle though to be honest. I can never predict how my moods will be, I could go to bed feeling fantastic, and wake up the next day feeling like hell on earth. So far I’ve been fairly stable for a good 6 months now, if not a little longer than that. I lose track to be honest. I just make the most of every good day, and always in the back of my mind, I’m prepared for the bad days too. I know that when they come that they are only temporary, and that I’ve got the strength to get through them.
I hope by sharing my story, someone reading this, feels less alone. If anyone wants to get in touch please feel free to. You can either comment on here or e-mail me directly on – email@example.com
I’m happy to answer any questions, or just generally be there for anyone in the same situation as I was. You’re not alone, never feel that way.
Anyway, time to get on with my day I guess!! Been sat here typing for near on an hour now, so I really should get on with something productive!! Thanks as ever if you’ve read all of this, it truly means a lot. I hope it’s made sense and given some hope. There is life after mental illness; recovery isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.
Take care, stay strong and until next time….
x Sara Phoenix x