TW: Voice hearing, self-harm
I have always struggled with my emotions, constantly feeling “other” and like people couldn’t understand me. When I was a child I went through some traumatic experiences and I began to hear voices that no one else could hear. They were friendly and helped me get through the day, reassuring me that things were going to be OK. As I got older, my voices began to become more distressing, saying disturbing things and scaring me at how violent they could be and my family were slowly becoming less supportive. When I came to University at Bradford I decided it was time to ask for help as things were becoming out of control. I approached my GP who, although they tried to help, didn’t really know what to do. I was in and out of A&E most weeks with self-harm as a result of feeling in such distress because of my voices. Through First Response, I found out about the Early Intervention in Psychosis Service in Bradford. I was referred and from then on things started to change for the better. I got the help I needed – lots of therapy and a small dose of medication to calm me and my voices down. At University my mental health advisor and support workers were able to help me get through my undergraduate degree with a 2:1, despite everything that had happened during my studies. I began to understand my voices – that a lot of the time they were protecting me in their own special way. Today I have learnt to live with my voices. Instead of finding them distressing and using harmful ways to cope with them, I talk to my loved ones about them. Rather than them saying disturbing scary things, they shout “FRIED EGGS ON TOAST” to tell me it’s time for breakfast. Even when I thought there was no hope, there were still people around me trying to get me to see the way through, from friends to strangers and mental health professionals. I have managed to repair relationships with my family and I have now almost completed my postgraduate degree. There is help out there. Sometimes you have to fight for it but there is always that someone waiting and willing to help.