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Anxiety, Psychosis and Me – Mental Health Awareness Week

Anxiety is a mental health condition that can vary in severity with symptoms such as a racing heart, dizziness, and trembling to, in more severe cases, being house bound. There are many different sorts of anxiety, and the symptoms are different for everyone. Mine is social.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is anxiety. As someone who experiences social anxiety, and uses creative writing to ease my symptoms, I saw this as an opportunity to tell my story. It is a tale of teenage mental illness, anxious thoughts and an inner strength that is hard to describe.

According to Mind, psychosis is “when you perceive or interpret reality in a very different way from people around you.” [1] For me, it began as heightened anxiety and paranoid thoughts with an odd narration of my life from a voice that wasn’t my own. I had never learnt about mental health conditions in school. I had never heard of psychosis. I just didn’t feel like myself.

The bad days, which I now know were psychotic episodes, came and went. I was unable to go to school on the worst days, feeling extremely stressed and anxious, I would stay in bed. Eventually, the psychotic episodes all merged into one. I experienced auditory and visual hallucinations. At one point, because I had shut down, I was prescribed anti-depressants which made me manic.

It became too much to be at home.

I had to get treatment for the psychosis as I was becoming catatonic: unable to move, eat or speak at times. At this point, no one could tell what the problem was. When I reached the hospital, the lead psychiatrist put a name to my parent’s concerns. The nights when I was struggling to move were catatonia. When my body shut down it was because the psychosis hadn’t been treated for so long.
I was given medicine to lift me out of my catatonic states and within a few days that was no longer a problem. I was prescribed different medicines for my psychosis, and they made me aware of my surroundings, able to talk and think clearly again.

I first wrote to ease my anxiety when I was recovering after experiencing psychosis. I have battled anxiety for most of my life. The psychosis, I developed at 13 and suffered from for 2.5 years.

But, these experiences and my anxiety have given me the determination to succeed.

I see the anxiety I was left with because of my mental illness as a challenge. A reason to fight, work hard and achieve (even little) things. My anxiety was what saved me really. It showed other people I needed support. Now, I use it as a way of reading myself and I find new ways to cope. Anxiety will never fade from my mind completely. But I think back to when I struggled to talk whilst battling psychosis and think I fought to come back from this.

If I can do the impossible, I can do this.

Mental Health Support:

For all emergencies, mental or physical, please call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, there is support available to you 24/7. Find your local urgent helpline.

Anxiety UK provides support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

You can also visit our support services page for a list of organisations which provide mental health support.