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Fighting through psychosis

Tayla tells us about her personal experience of Schizophrenia and first time psychiatric ward admission.

Tayla tells us about her personal experience of Schizophrenia

Trigger warning: This post contains reference to being sectioned, psychosis, hallucinations, self harm and suicide.

“Tayla, you have to take the meds”

I didn’t understand. Why were these people so desperate to control me with their so called “medication”. I had opened up to them. Let myself trust them, even. So this betrayal felt like a dagger to my already aching heart.

I refused. Again and again and again. You can’t force them down my throat. You can’t poison me with your contaminants. I refuse. I won’t let you.

Perhaps I appeared stubborn, but inside I was just scared.

You see, the devil spoke to me. He told me to do bad things. And sometimes, sometimes I did them.

I don’t remember how EIP (Early Intervention in Psychosis Service) first got involved, but I remember the day I was sectioned clearer than I would like to.

“These people are here to assess you. We might need to take you to hospital.”

I actually laughed out loud for the first time in a long while. Hospital?! Hospital??! Why on earth would they need to take me to a hospital when there was nothing wrong with me?

They spoke to me but it was all just words. They explained the situation, but not for one second did I believe they could make me do anything or go anywhere. It wasn’t until the patient transport van arrived outside my home that things suddenly dawned on me and the reality of what was happening started setting in.

These people were going to lock me up. But that’s illegal. I know the law. You can’t put someone who is not unwell into a hospital, just the same as you can’t put an innocent man into a prison. I know my rights and I know they can’t legally keep me anywhere that I don’t want to be. So I get into the van, taken to a hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

I spent 3 days there before being transferred to my local acute ward, where I subsequently spent the next 12 months.

It was there that I realised I wasn’t getting out of this. They had locked me up. Taken away my freedom. Made me out to be crazy. They were trying to poison and control me with medication, and now also the canteen food.

What was worst was the devil. He was angry, and distressed. So distressed. Because now I couldn’t help him with his plan by carrying out his demands.

But then I saw an opportunity. I had managed to sneak in some contraband and had a very serious incident, for which they put me on one to one for the next 9 months or so.

One to one was hell. Someone watching you every moment of the day. Whilst you sleep. Whilst you pee. You were never alone. Which meant I could never satisfy the devil’s urges, which caused me extreme fear and distress.

After about six months of pure torture, something in me began to give. I started to eat the food more. Started willingly taking my meds. Something in me snapped and I started to realise that the devil wasn’t all he’d had me believe.

He wasn’t the be all and end all. I didn’t have to follow his every command. And most importantly; he wasn’t even REAL.

He WAS part of an illness - Schizophrenia as I was diagnosed as having - and the medication was trying to HELP me, not control or poison me.

I felt relief. Amazing, unfathomable relief. 

It was still a long road ahead before I was well enough for discharge, but when the day finally came it was the best feeling in the world. I had beaten it. I had beaten my illness. I had fought against the devil and won.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been smooth sailing since then (I’ve currently been inpatient for the past two years but that’s another unrelated story), I’ve struggled with self harm, suicide attempts, restraints, drug addiction; and I’m still not out the other side but things are a billion times better than they were.

Now I’m planning holidays, going on home leave every other weekend, starting an online Open Uni course, training for a sponsored 10K run, and generally just trying to find ways of helping anyone who is going through what I went through.

It’s terrifying when everything you thought you knew comes tumbling down around you, that’s why it’s SO important to reach out. 

I know this sounds cliche; but you’ve just gotta hold on and keep hoping for something better and keep FIGHTING for something better, and eventually things WILL be okay.

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