In My Life Of Darkness, I Found Light & Hope
Hello. My name is Tina and this is some of My Psychiatric Story and of being in the mental health system for the last thirty-odd years.
I’ve had mental health issues since early adulthood, and have numerous diagnoses over the years. The current one is reactive depression brought on by the life trauma that I’ve been through in my life.
Had my first admission to a psychiatric ward at the age of eighteen. Having taken two overdoses in the space of a week. After the second overdose, I was admitted to a ward, and treated for depression. I was put on antidepressants and discharged.
After that it was a revolving door of trying to cope in the community on my own, and short admissions that really didn’t help. Once the psychiatrist learnt of the childhood abuse I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and support became even more limited, as it was said people with BPD don’t respond to treatment.
In the year 2000, I was admitted to a Psychiatric intensive care unit after doing a very dangerous suicide attempt. Spending a good part of a year there. Gradually disclosed some of the abuse I had experienced as a child. On discharge I started seeing a therapist. I was in therapy for many years. Doing a lot of work on coming to terms with my past.
Made the biggest decision of my life in 2007. Moving down the country and made a new life for myself. I did have support from a CPN and a mental health support worker. Describing my experiences in mental health services as varied. Some good experiences, but also experiences that damaged me even more.
In the year 2010, I spent eight months in a low-secure unit in London doing Dialectical behaviour therapy. (DBT) the new treatment for those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Whilst DBT gave me the skills to deal with how I’m feeling in the here and now it didn’t help with the trauma and the reasons I was reacting the way I was.
Physical health deteriorated rapidly
My physical health declined after being diagnosed with Lymphoedema in my legs. I wore compression garments on my legs to help reduce the pain and swelling. Nevertheless, the pain got worse to the point where I was struggling to walk. After an occupational health therapist assessment whilst on a psychiatric ward it was decided I should go into a nursing home as I could no longer care for myself whilst living independently.
So I went from living with my dogs to living in a nursing home. By this point, I was confined to a wheelchair full-time. I’ve been in four different nursing homes in the last five years. The first two didn’t have any mental health training and struggled with my mental health issues to the point I was asked to leave.
In October 2022 I was moved to a nursing home in Birmingham that said they catered for people like me with both complex mental health issues and complex physical issues. Five weeks into the placement I hurt myself quite severely.
Psychiatric hospital again
I ended up in a general ward having been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, while they tried to find me a psychiatric bed nearer to where I originally came from. Four weeks later they found me a bed and I was moved two days before Christmas. I was placed on constant observation, which meant I had to have a nurse with me at all times. This admission was very different to my previous experiences, as they took the time to build up trust and listened to what was going on for me.
To summarise my experience of the mental health system over the years has been varied. A lot of it is unhelpful and at worst damaging. As I’ve got older and been able to build trust with people it’s got better. I do think the mental health system in the United Kingdom could be improved. So many people end up becoming what is called revolving door patients – In and out of hospital with no real support and treatment. You often read news stories of where mental health patients have been so badly let down by a broken and stretched system that they’ve ended up taking their lives. Those stories break my heart.
If you have been affected by my mental story and want to chat – you are more than welcome to Contact me I do try to reply to everyone who reaches out to me 😊
(Updated August 2023)