Posted in mental health, mental health awareness, mental health campaigner

The Scribblings Of Psychosis

Psychosis holds a lot of stigma, It also holds a lot of shame for those that experience it.

I have written about my experiences in my book In Bloom Not Broken and spoke about it in my last Vlog Here but I have never shared my scribblings and thoughts in this way. No one has ever seen these besides my psychiatrist.

There are pages and pages that could share but I have picked out just a few to try and highlight what happens in the mind of someone with psychosis.

I was ashamed about these experiences for a long time. I am in no way religious but my experiences have always had a religious spin and i found that very hard to get my head around. I was embarrassed and my last episode which these scribblings are from after it was over and I was recovering from the depression that ensues after the manic episode I would have flashbacks from this time that would stop me in my tracks and see me bursting in to tears. It was so powerful, so all encompassing that when that has gone and you are left the the depression that follows mania, it’s a confusing place and I found myself questioning who I was.

This specific episode started off the back of a lot of stress, exactly one year to the month from the previous episode of major depression that had landed me on hospital only 12 months earlier.

There was a lot going on and I was very busy. This built and it built quite quickly, I remember when it started. after a while of feeling a bit on edge and like I felt that there was something going on that I could’t put my finger on I was sat on the sofa and a white van pulled outside. I remember eyeing this van thinking “I wonder what they want, they are watching the house, they are trying to rig the house. You need to keep an eye out for these white vans”

And there it began.

I couldn’t switch off and I had this paranoia burning away at the back of my brain whilst feeling like everything was very bright, very HD like, things sounded louder and I felt like I was being sent a message from god. I felt like I was meant to do something and I just had to figure out what that was.

I was going to bed and would get a voice as clear as day right outside my ear saying my name or random words that had no meaning.

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This feeling built. I was making Beauty and Beast style rose jars at this point and had started doing some Snow White themed ones with apples and felt that his had something to do with it all. I was making so many of them and was so busy fulfilling orders that I was fuelling the mania but I was unaware of this so continued with this feeling of adrenaline and paranoia corsing through my vains. Nothing felt enough, nothing was fast enough, it was all too slow. I felt like I could’t get the house clean no matter what I tried and starting to feel increasingly agitated. I felt like everything was too loud, like there was no quiet – It felt like everything around me was just buzzing,

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The religious connotations then started to take over and I felt like everyone was plotting against me, I thought my partner was going to take my daughter off me and that everyone was planning to bring me down but if I completed this mission in someway, If I protected myself, the house, the world against this first it would all be ok.

I had become focussed on red being the colour of the devil and white being that of purity, I placed coloured related items in each of the rooms and towels of these colours over the doors of rooms, to me this was “biding time” until I could figure out what I was supposed to do.

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I soon linked everything together with the roses and the apples to the Garden Of Eden and i really thought at this point that it was all coming together, that it was all starting to make sense and that I would know what I was supposed to do really soon and that is why this next one is starred. I remember feeling like I had had a revelation as to what was happening and that it was being revealed to me piece by piece.

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It got to the point that I was jut so agitated but feeling like I had ants crawling in my brain that I would sit and write the alphabet out over and over again. Hoping that something would jump out at me and make some kind of sense.

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This is just a really condensed snippet of what I experienced and how I felt, you can read more about it and my story in my book In Bloom Not Broken Here but I just wanted to share a few of these pages as there are many but I wanted to share just a few in this way as I want others to know they are not alone with having experiences d this. I felt like I was the only one to have these sorts of thoughts and beliefs and I found it extremely traumatising and shameful and just very difficult to accept that my brain had acted in this way!

I was embarrassed and even thought my psychiatrist would think I was crazy to the point I gave her all these scribblings in my hospital admission and I cannot tell you what a bit step that was and how nervous I felt thinking she was going to tell me that I was a freak. As it was she handed them back and just said that it was quite normal and it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before. I could have kissed her. I was so sure I was only one.

So I decided to share these to try and give others that may be feeling that I bit of how I felt when she said that to me. A little bit of realisation that you are not a freak and that you are not alone. We aren’t ashamed if we break our leg or our arm so why should we be ashamed if our brains broke for a bit?!

You are not alone in experiencing these things.

I do think there needs to be more support for psychosis AFTER it has happened as I found it’s not just the episode itself that needs treating but it’s very difficult to come to terms with and I think there does need to be more to support people with the feelings that come after this kind of episode as it isn’t easy. It’s not like just because the psychosis is treated and gone it feels instantly better. There is a lot of aftermath thoughts and feelings that go with it too.

If you are struggling please as always, reach out for help. You are not alone with this and it’s okay not to be okay.

 

Posted in book publishing, mental health, mental health awareness, mental health campaigner

Psychosis And Me – thoughts, experiences and stigma.

I finally got around to watching the amazing David Harewood Psychosis And Me documentary and I wanted to do a video as I realised I haven’t spoken about this quite so much.

There is a lot of stigma around psychosis and what experiencing psychosis actually means.

I have spoken about my experiences in my BOOK – In Bloom Not Broken and it is something that is definately tough to tale about but this documentary did a fantastic job so I wanted to touch on my own experiences in the above video and share with you a couple of my “scribblings” from the time.

It’s important that this topic is spoken about more so I am grateful to David Harewood and this documentary as I feel it is quite a hidden mental illness – one that carries a lot of shame and gets shyed away from.

It is a scary experience, it’s confusing and it is hard to come back from too – the procesing and feelings that come in the aftermath are in some ways just as difficult and I think there also needs to be more support post psychosis – not just treating the psychosis itself and this is important to highlight I think.

If you have experienced psychosis you are not alone and you are not alone in how it makes you feel and how it makes you question yourself. It’s okay to talk about this. Don’t be alone.

If you would like to read my story and journey through mental illness my book is available here.

Posted in mental health, mental health awareness, mental health campaigner

Words Of Hope Video – In Bloom Not Broken

I have put this video together to help and inspire others that may be struggling with their mental health and to promote mental health awareness.

Everyone in this video has personal experience of mental health issues and have all come together to create a video to tell others that it’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay to have mental health issues and to talk about it and most of all, things can and will get better.

I have done projects within the local community and I wanted to do something that was accessible to more people and available online to offer hope and inspire others especially as it is nearly Christmas.

While it may be “The season to be jolly” , the fact is that a lot of people, myself included struggle around Christmas and New Year for a variety of reasons and so I wanted to put something out there from people of different backgrounds, from across the world sharing pieces of hope from their own experiences with mental illness.

There is a lot to be said from hearing words of encouragement from people that have been there and so I hope people get some comfort from this video and will share it to offer hope to others who may be struggling right now.

 

 

follow me on twitter @KatieHoughton85

Posted in mental health, Uncategorized

To You On World Mental Health Day 2018

It’s World Mental Health Day 2018 and it’s great when these dates come around as there is so much more conversation around mental health which can only be a good thing.

It’s also important to remember however that mental health is something we need to be aware of everyday. For ourselves and for those around us. Mental health awareness needs to be there 24/7 the same as our physical health.

For people affected by mental health which is 1 in 4 it’s not exclusive to mental health day, it’s a day to day battle of fighting for ourselves and far too often, our lives.

With the success of my recent campaign “hearts of hope” with personal notes being an effective way of reaching people struggling, for those of you that don’t live local and so haven’t been able to go and get one of my notes and whom haven’t received Happy post from me I wanted to write you a letter here, to anyone that may be struggling and finding things difficult – This is for you.

Dear You,

To the person that feels lonely, scared, ashamed, hopeless and who is struggling today, I want to tell you that you are going to be okay. It may not feel that way now, but it will.

You see I have felt hopeless, lonely and had given up on my life once too. I planned to end my life. I was in so much pain with so much confusion that I didn’t know which way was up. I barely functioned and I battled my way through 15 years of trying to get the right treatment. That may be the last thing you want to hear. 15 years is an awfully long time but there were good times within that too and I battled my way through. It’s not like that for everyone, everyones journey and path is different. Even with the same diagnosis no two people are the same. For you, your journey will be different too, it wont go the way mine did – because you are you and that alone is something to celebrate. There is not another you on this planet – just you – one of a kind and you are all kinds of amazing.

You may be new to struggling with mental health and wondering what you’re supposed to do and may not have told anyone yet how you are feeling. Or like me you may be an old hat and more aware of what is going on and how to manage that better. Wherever you are on that journey however it still hurts the same when it hurts and the black is as black when going through a depression, the delusions are still as scary each time they roll around – Whatever it is that you are struggling with when it’s bad it’s bad and we all cope in our own ways as will you.

What I want you to know today is that I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, I know what it is to break in to a million tiny pieces and feel like it’s impossible to glue all those pieces back together to resemble something called life. I also know that is possible.

Now I’m not perfect. Far from it. I have moods that flail around at times, I have anxiety and that gets the better of me, I still check pointless objects at night as part of an OCD ritual to make sure they are still there. I still take lithium and quetiapine to keep my brain on track and throw in a clonazepam a day to keep the anxiety at bay. There is no such thing as a perfect recovery in mental health. It’s a process of management. Of learning about yourself, what makes you tick, what makes you break, your limits and learning to manage your life and your illness but do you know what? That’s okay!!!! if you’re not there yet then you will be.

You may be thinking “That’s great for her and I’m never going to feel that way” That’s okay too because that’s exactly what I thought when I read things like this, I thought it happened to “other people” and how great that was for them but that I was too broken.

This is why I created the hashtag #InBloomNotBroken which will also hopefully be the title of my book when it’s published because no one is too broken, we are simply in bloom. That means you too.

I nearly ended my life and quirk of fate stopped that from happening and now my god am I glad I didn’t!! I struggle but i’m better than I was, I do things that matter to me, I have a beautiful daughter to see grow up. I may not have the uni degree or the career…I’ve spent so much time in hospital and in the depths of mental illness that wasn’t possible but just because that’s what society tells us is success, actually it’s not. Success derives from happiness in whatever form that will take so screw what anyone thinks – If I have a period where I’m happy and healthy then I deem myself very bloody successful.

You have a purpose. If you feel you don’t then you just haven’t found it yet. You will find it. If you are struggling remember – This isn’t the forever you, it’s just the for now you and you will find the true you again, just give yourself time. Everything needs time, a cold, a flu, a broken leg – Mental Illness is no different.

You will be okay. I promise. Just be gentle with yourself, give yourself time, don’t push yourself to do what you think you should just for that reason alone, listen to your gut, take time for you, listen to yourself and fight for the right help and treatment – you deserve that, don’t put up with being lost in the system.

If you are struggling but haven’t told anyone yet please take the first step of doing this. It’s hard, scary but it’s vital. Holding it back doesn’t nothing but make it grow. Tell a friend, a family member or talk to someone in confidence like the samaritans who you can call free 24 hours a day on 116 123.

Don’t suffer in silence.

Don’t be ashamed to be you.

And don’t be ashamed of your story. One day it will inspire others.

Take care of you

Lots of love

Katie

xxxx

Posted in mental health

The OTHER TRUTH about having a baby – Mental Health

Prenantal postnatal depression - mental health and new baby
Prenatal and postnatal depression often lie in silence through fear of being judged.

Becoming a parent is the most magical time of someone’s life………

…..Or is it?

What about those with prenatal and post natal depression? What about those that have had a traumatic birth? Why are we programmed in to this state of mind that it should be a certain way and feel ultimate guilt if it’s not?

As parents we are almost brainwashed in to thinking we should enjoy every waking second of it. From pregnancy to even the labour….We’ve all heard SOMEONE say “I really enjoyed labour it was magical!” …. Magical was far from my own experience of labour. I would be more inclined to use the words “Traumatic” and “Horrific” for the way that mine panned out. I will also say that for the pregnancy and the six months following my Daughters birth due to prenatal and post natal depression.

Continue reading “The OTHER TRUTH about having a baby – Mental Health”

Posted in mental health

When Mental Health Is Protected By Walls, Guards & False Pretenses

mentall illness stigma
mental illness is surrounded by the assumption of what someone should present like…what if that just isn’t the case?

What does someone with a mental illness look like? Sound like? Act like?

Can someone be severely struggling with mental health but still able to portray themselves as a functioning person? Still look well groomed, hold a conversation to the point that you’d have no idea? Does someone have to have not have washed or got out of bed to be suicidal?

I believe that these are some of the most important questions that need to be asked and addressed in regards to mental health awareness.

These are factors that are so ingrained in to society about how someone with severe mental illness should present and portray themselves. Not just by the general public but also government bodies such as the DWP and also unfortunately by some mental health professionals themselves.

Continue reading “When Mental Health Is Protected By Walls, Guards & False Pretenses”

Posted in mental health, Uncategorized

Psychosis – Melanie Llewellyn – The Day My Brain Slipped Out My Head Onto The Kitchen Floor

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the day my brain slipped out of my head

Psychosis is something that isn’t spoken about enough. It’s a topic that holds a lot of stigma and one that people are frightened to talk about.

Psychosis has a lot of stigma attached to it and is one area of mental health that is less spoken about.

I can understand this, I was scared and ashamed of my own experience of psychosis and found it very difficult to talk about. Out of all my mental health experiences, it remains the one that I still find hard. It’s not an easy thing to be open about without judgement but it’s something that will remain stigmatised unless we do. I have learned to be more open about my own experiences and talk about it more, even though it actually took me a long time to get over my worst episode in 2016 and I actually had flashbacks from the experiences I had for some time that would see me suddenly breaking down in tears. Continue reading “Psychosis – Melanie Llewellyn – The Day My Brain Slipped Out My Head Onto The Kitchen Floor”