A Personal Story on Recovery

The Scottish Recovery Network has just produced more materials to promote the message of recovery for people who have mental health problems.  They have also published some interesting pieces on the use of compulsory treatment.

This is my personal experience of recovery – of living with serious mental health problems.  I am describing it here in the hope that it will show how people who have serous mental ill-health can also have good mental wellbeing.

My experience is that the medical care I received was the right thing for me.  There are different views about whether it is right for someone to receive compulsory care, but for me it was a good thing.  This included staying in hospital and receiving medication to control the symptoms of my illness.  I believe that the compulsory care (sometimes called ‘sectioning’) saved my life.  There is a lot of negative press about this issue and doubtless to say there are times when the system gets it wrong.  I know that some people are concerned about the risks of longer-term physical ill-health associated with anti-psychotic medication, but I believe that without it I would have remained in a catatonic state.

I think it is healthy for the issue of Compulsory Treatment Orders to be challenged and that there has been very important points raised in the articles on the SRN website. Surely it is important to take on board the views of the person who is ill. But when that person is so ill and cannot express their opinion, like I was, then there must be steps taken to intervene and help them.

I have been blessed by having wonderful Doctors and Nurses taking care of me. In Leverndale Psychiatric hospital I was looked after by tremendous nurses.

And to this day I have got people helping me and making sure I never succumb to this again. I have a brilliant CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) who belongs to the ESTEEM team. He sees me once a week and develops me as a person that I used to be. He gives me the confidence to attempt things that I was once good at. And this is how far I have come. I am now returning to University in September. This would not have been possible without ESTEEM’s help.

I have also been grateful to be working with the Mind Waves project. This has given me a sense of purpose. I believe we are doing a good thing, promoting awareness and attempting to eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness. I am not ashamed of what happened to me and people shouldn’t feel that way.

We will never quite know how I fell into this mental breakdown. For many people it cannot be explained and we must realise that it is an indiscriminate illness. There is a slow change in people’s perceptions that this is the case and we hope to build on that.

I hope to get the chance to meet the staff at Leverndale and make people aware of the terrific work they do there. I will also try to speak to my CPN and see if he is at all willing to speak to Mind Waves about what they do and aim to achieve at ESTEEM. Watch this space.

There are many other ways people who have suffered from a mental illness that can be helped. It would be great to hear the stories of their own recovery and their continued recovery. The SRN (Scottish Recovery Network) website provides an excellent medium for telling your own experience. www.scottishrecovery.net/

And for more information on ESTEEM see their website www.nhsggc.org.uk/content/default.asp?page=home_esteem

Hopefully my story of recovery can inspire people and give hope to those who are still in the early stages of recovery. Mental illness can affect anyone but the important thing to know is that people can get better.

Story by Community Reporter.

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