Emergency: Living with mental health
Hi humans, please take a moment to read this, as I am facing a crisis. I’m 21 years old and identify as non-binary. My pronouns are they/them/she/her.
WARNING: CONTAINS REFERENCES TO SUICIDE
In 2020, I was admitted for the first time to a psychiatric hospital after I attempted suicide. It was a wake-up call to the last 5 years I have had battling with my mental health, and what has continued to be 2 years of dealing with ongoing mental health conditions I deal with.
I was first diagnosed with psychosis in 2020, a mental disorder that affects how i connect and form relationships with other people: interact, socialise, and understand others through language, expressions, or jokes. it has also affected my memory skills and cognitive abilities: altering the way I perceive, take in, and remember information - why I didn’t believe I would get this far in my final year at uni. It means I am prone to feeling out of touch with reality: I experience strong audible hallucinations everyday which rarely stop, it tires me during the day and affects me during the night. The voices can also affect how I perceive things, proning me to delusions and can make me talk in a way that does not make sense. On my worst days, I can hear voices telling me horrible thoughts which can affect my self confidence , and I can have insomnia which can affect me during the day.
Living with psychosis means that I deal with social anxiety, disassociation, overthinking. I hear voices everyday that can say extremely alarming and triggering things. I can also struggle to communicate about my disorder as it is extremely difficult when experiencing it at the same time. Psychosis can make you feel out of touch with reality, paranoid and disconnected from yourself and the world around you. It means having to take more time out than usual at work, school, friends and even family. It’s difficult to connect with my friends and coworkers sometimes as you don’t feel like they understand, meaning I can be mistreated and even discriminated against because of my ‘silent’ mental disorder. It means I am prone to self isolating and withdrawing from family and friends, and struggle to maintain close and long term relationships.
It means having extra difficulty with mobility and travel. My ability to travel on transport, to do basic tasks and doing errands like buying groceries is really affected by my condition, even to the point of getting lost, blacking out and finding myself somewhere else or literally forgetting directions/instructions and tasks. It means being at risk of dangerous situations on my own. It means being prone to depression, anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and feeling misunderstood and judged. It means struggling to focus and concentrate (which is also impacted by my ADHD), my memory being affected, and losing my train of thought easily. It means having my other conditions like Tourrette’s Syndrome and OCD being affected. It means struggling to read, a pass time I would love to return to.
I’m crying as I’m writing this, because this is so difficult for me to revisit every time, I never thought I would be reaching out like this, especially for funding, and I’m hoping that part of this would also go towards affording treatment for therapy. This would mean I can stop taking anti psychotic medication that really sedates me for the day.
This funding would go towards supporting my moving out, affording basic goods and travel expenses.
After 2 years, I still experience ptsd flashbacks: reliving trauma and can be so strong they can send me into a psychotic episode or panic attack.
It has been difficult to find jobs that can support my mental health, and in July I managed to land my first full time job. Although the team have been respectful compared to my previous exploited workplaces, the demands for this full time job with experiencing psychosis and anxiety is difficult as I’m earning minimum wage but at the higher price of my mental health. This would support going towards finding a new job that is supporting to my health.
I am also a singer songwriter, and initially is picked up music as a practice of self care because I was initially denied access to therapy from a referral I had been waiting for 2 years for. It has become a medium to try and deal with the ptsd. I also took up yoga a year and a half ago, for my own self therapy, and quit drinking and smoking this year.
If you have read this far, I highly appreciate you and want you to know you’re an amazing human for taking time out to read my journey for the last 2 years. Words cannot fully express how grateful I am if this has reached you in any way. I don’t want this to be interpreted at a sob story either as most of my journey with my mental health has been significantly self led and self-cared for in the best capacity I have made it so far, even though there is so much healing to go. This support funding would go towards my rehousing, food, living, transport costs, and treatment towards therapy for the next few months.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart
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Chelsea Hines Rivera