My Journey to Recovery
YEAR OF LISTENING
My journey began at the age of 16. I luckily achieved 8 standard grades before the real test happened. To cut a long story short I became unwell mentally, unaware I had psychotic symptoms and severe depression which then led to a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. For the months that followed it felt as though I was in a slow movie, trying to find a balance in my life while being supported in an adolescent unit. Most of the time, I was really trying to find the ‘real me’. I believe this part of my journey was a stepping stone into adulthood, one I will never forget.
A couple of years later I was introduced to The Richmond Fellowship, and while it took time to progress while coping with many ups and downs and hospital admissions, we forged a strong bond where trust was the key. I learned many skills with their support and found I could access a variety of training programmes which gave me the tools to manage my mental health in a more positive way. This journey was probably the hardest for me and my family as it challenged our deepest feelings, at times when we were less prepared. During this dark period day by day we all got stronger and I found it brought us all closer together as a family and for that I am truly grateful.
The most difficult time I experienced was waking up in an intensive care unit having being in an induced coma as a result of being found in my sleep choking on vomit – something that can happen when over medicated…I was one of the lucky ones, I was found in time. Although the experience was hard on me and my family it also opened a door. I found my relationship with my consultant changed for the better. A respectful bond forged and allowed me to move forward with a clear sense of my direction. I felt I was improving slowly and realised that progress took time for a reason. A few years later and now working with a new consultant having a modernised view about my life and who has faith in what I can achieve, making me believe in myself and my abilities I feel I can contribute to my community in a meaningful way.
Of course I also have Richmond to thank as they have given me opportunities I could only imagine. I am now, I believe, the first Service User volunteer support worker in Inverclyde, which I enjoy and am very proud of.
I stand here before you an adult now. 24 years and I have probably been given more than my fair share of challenges at such a young age over the past 8 years. Through understanding and support I have been able to engage in society and feel I am making a difference, not just to myself but to others who are connected to me. During my most darkest of moments I know I wouldn’t have come through without the support I have received, from family, friends and support services out there.
I don’t know where my journey will take me but right now I want to say there is light at the end of the tunnel as there is always hope, and while I believe this to be true it goes further than what I believe. Recovery is a part of my life, and I accept that, but to keep me on the road of recovery I need people like YOU. You can make a difference to people like me, so make a difference…
Thank you for listening.