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"SANE is the INSANITY most call NORMALITY put forth by SOCIETY."—Erik Till 22nd April 2013.
I've often found that what society dictates as normal isn't an accurate depiction at all. It may be because I am not what society deems normal that I have always felt this way, it may be because that is what I was brought up hearing from my family. I don't know, but it stands as said.
Hearing and seeing things, for example, is not accepted as normal by society, yet for me it is the norm of my day to day life. The fact it has been part of my life for as far back as my memory stretches is most probably the reason I feel this way.
I accept that I have an illness, as for the vast majority of the population, this is indeed highly abnormal. I also accept that unfortunately I shall never be rid of my illness and I shall have to contend with it for the rest of my life, yet I endeavour not to allow it to control me, albeit with much difficulty. For you see, I have schizophrenia along with depression and social anxiety, a lovely cocktail I can assure you!
When I found out that I have depression and anxiety, I had realised myself already that something wasn't right, and my doctor did send me to counselling, and for a while it helped. Once my counselling finished however, it was a matter of months before I was struggling once again, too afraid to go for help and too afraid not too.
It had been 9 months after finishing counselling before I attempted to overdose... realising that I didn't want to die, but that I just wanted the voices to stop, and I made myself sick. The following afternoon, my learner mentor in college managed to get me to tell her what was bothering me, I only admitted to the attempted overdose. I was taken to the hospital to have my bloods checked. Later on that evening I was released and given an emergency prescription by the doctors I had changed to 5 months prior.
Meeting with the doctor a few weeks later, I had a brief chat in which he coaxed out of me what was wrong. I was given new medication and sent on my way. For a year and a half I have been on medication and for a long time whenever I explained that the medication simply wasn't working, I was told they'd increase my dosage which after the first few times I argued against.
Would you believe me if I told you, it was only when I moved from where I'd been living in Staffordshire back to the Forest of Dean just over 2 months ago, that I finally got help from a doctor that would listen? It was during an appointment in which my mother (I have a private foster arrangement) that I was told they would change my medication slowly; they also booked me into an appointment with the psychiatric nurse for a month later.
My mother glanced at my medical file which was on screen and found that it stated I was a schizophrenic. That, dear reader, is how I was informed of my diagnostic. Later on, washing dishes she turned around and asked me if I was aware of what was written on my file... Thanks Stafford doctors!
I had never before realised just how crap the system in place was for those who suffer with mental health. To be diagnosed with an illness, yet never informed by the doctors who did so, for them to only want to shove more and more medication down my throat. It disgusted me. Honestly as well, I had little to no idea of what my condition included or what it meant for my future.
"Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually appears in late adolescence or early adulthood. Characterised by delusions, hallucinations, and other cognitive difficulties, schizophrenia can often be a lifelong struggle."—Medical News Today
However, I must count myself lucky, having moved back to the Forest of Dean, I have found professionals who want to do everything they can to help. I have also found a family, even if it not family by blood, it most definitely is by bond, that are willing to go above and beyond to help me.
My mother's first instinct was to research what it was and what she could do to help. My sister spends her mornings getting ready and never forgets to bring me my medication, nor does she forget to give me my night time ones either. When I begin to run out of medication, it is reordered and collected. My sister always then sorts it and encourages me to have them when I really don't want to.
I'm also extremely lucky to have a close set of friends I can trust to be there for me regardless and the sweetest man as my boyfriend. My biggest fear from my mental health has always been the thought of being abandoned because of it, but my friends have promised to stick by my side and prove it with their actions. My boyfriend told me it doesn't change his opinion of me and that he'll learn what works for me and do it. My biological dad—well, we've never been close, but he's promised to learn and improve for me, and I never thought it would come to it, but it made me feel loved and like they all actually cared.
Yet I am under no illusions, I know I will loose friends and family when they find out, as they won't understand. I'm no naive idiotic girl who believes that it'll all be okay and work out with sunshine and daisies. I know it will be difficult and I will loose people, but I guess it'll allow me to find out who are true friends and family.
I suppose my whole reason for writing this is in the hopes that anyone else suffering in silence will see there is hope for help, and even if there are those who will pull away from you, there are those who will pull you close. I guess what I'm trying to convey is that there will always be at least one person that will support you. I know I always needed to hear that before.
So for anyone who is reading this and I suppose needs a friend, I may not know you and you may not know me, but I know the pain of struggling on one's own. I am here for you, even if it's just to lend a shoulder to cry on.