Monday, 30 December 2013

What's it Like to Hear Nasty Voices?

This blog post is about what it is like to hear nasty voices and may contain triggers. Some people hear voices which aren't nasty and they can have a positive experience with their voices. This is about the nasty voices though, which can make life extremely difficult.

Seven years ago at the age of 18, I started experiencing my first auditory hallucination. This voice seemed determined to get me to kill myself and the first few days and weeks were extremely difficult for me as I had struggled a lot with suicidal thoughts before it started. At the time, I was at college, and I was getting in trouble a lot because I wasn't doing enough work. However, this wasn't teenage rebellion or laziness, this was because I simply couldn't hear the tutor over the noise of the voice. My concentration was poor too, and I was easily distracted by what the voice was saying to me.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Psych Wards and the Police

In all three of my psych ward stays, I've encountered the banter between patients about our situations. Patients, or rather 'inmates', discussing the 'jailers' (nurses and HCAs) and the 'prison' (the ward) in a jokey manner. But underneath the jokes, there is a small degree of truth in the banter.

My Final Psych Ward Update

As you may have guessed from the title, I am being discharged from the psych ward soon. In fact, I'm being discharged this Tuesday (17th). It was a bit of a shock to be told last Tuesday (10th) that I would be discharged. My regular psych was off on leave for a few weeks and on the Monday before he came back (2nd), I was told by the psych who was covering him that I could stay in hospital until I got a place of my own. So when my psych came back the week later and told me that I was being discharged, it really did surprise me.

Monday, 25 November 2013

How I'm Doing, Truthfully

Today's ward round went well, I went in hoping to get five hours of leave so was pleased when they gave me six hours. My meds are staying the same - 800 mg of quetiapine and my body is starting to tolerate it, meaning that I'm not so drowsy anymore. It's been all positive steps today.

Monday, 18 November 2013

My Experiences with Visual Hallucinations

A common symptom of schizophrenia that I've not really written about before is visual hallucinations, AKA seeing things. I've written about auditory hallucinations (voices) numerous times before and even created a YouTube video on the subject, which can be found here, but never really touched on the visual hallucination topic before.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Why I'm in Hospital, Partly

I put some tweets out last night explaining the basics of why I'm in hospital. There may be triggers in this for some. Please be careful. So for those not on Twitter, the tweets were this:

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

So yesterday, I blogged here saying about how I wasn't 100% happy with my leave being unescorted, how I wanted to stay on my section and that I was going to move into a flat of my own. Those three things have changed overnight. (Having support worker sessions and the medication issues are still the same.)

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Today's Ward Round

Just a quick update as to what happened at ward round today. My leave has gone to two hours unescorted again (as in, I can go by myself), which I'm not 100% happy with, but I did manage to go out for most of the two hours today by myself. I'm still on the section at my request and my psychiatrist is saying that when I'm ready to come off it, I'll be off it straight away.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Another Huff Post Piece

I've made it to the front page of the UK site of Huffington Post! I used a blog piece that had especially good feedback, tweaked it a little and sent it off. The piece can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/katy-gray/mental-patients-the-truth_b_4179147.html but if you're quick, you should be able to see me on the front page here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk (If you're not from the UK, you may need to change the 'Edition' - a little box on the top left - to UK.) I'm about halfway down on the left hand side!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The 30 Wishes Challenge

To celebrate hitting 30,000 views on here, I decided to set myself a challenge. I wanted to see if I could come up with 30 wishes for my future. It was a real challenge coming up with 30, but I managed it. Once I'd done it, I wondered if other people would be able to do the same. So to you, reader, have a look at my 30 wishes and see if you can come up with 30 of your own!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sometimes to Move Forwards, You Have to Take a Step Back

Last week, I had two hours of unescorted leave and there was talk of me getting off my section today. This week, I've been given two hours of escorted leave and am staying on my section. (Unescorted means going out by myself; escorted means having to have a member of staff with me.) At first glance, this seems really unfair. However, I requested these two changes myself.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A Psych Ward Update

I thought I'd write a blog post about how things have been and currently are for any who aren't on Twitter.

Things seem to be looking up at long last. This last week, I've been allowed two hours of unescorted leave to the local town. To be honest, I've found the full two hours to be extremely stressful so I've only been taking about an hour of it. It's been good though, being allowed to leave the ward without a member of staff with me but at the same time, I found the escorted leave to be less stressful! It's also good that they allow me to walk freely around the unit. A few weeks ago, when I walked anywhere near the doors of the ward, someone would watch where I was going. Now, I not only walk near the doors, but walk through them and around the unit without being watched. So that's good.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Worst Things in Psych Wards

Psych wards are daunting places to say the least and it can take several days or even weeks to settle in. But once you do settle in, you start noticing that as well as noisy patients and intimidating staff, there are other stranger 'worst things' of psych wards. Like the loss of freedom, the boredom, the loneliness and the uncomfortable beds!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

How to Survive Psych Wards

I know I'm writing a lot about life in psych wards at the minute but it's a topic that's close to my heart right now. Probably because I'm in a psych ward myself at the moment! But I'm remembering my first time in a psych ward a lot recently. I remember how scared I was, how confused I felt by the rules and how bewildered my loved ones were at me being in a psych ward. So I thought I'd write a blog post to try and help those who are in a psych ward, followed by a short bit to try and help those who have a loved one in.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Facing up to Triggers

As the title suggests, I will be talking about triggers in this post. So here's the warning to leave this blog post now if you don't feel strong enough.

When I got out of hospital in 2011 after the 17-month stay, it took me a fair while to get used to living in the 'real world' again. I had spent all but about a month on section 3s so I was used to being restricted by them and having to be at a certain place at a certain time everyday. However, once I got used to living in the real world, my thoughts changed to, "I can't ever go back to a psych ward."

Monday, 14 October 2013

What's it like to be Held Down and Injected?

This post is going to be one long potential trigger from start to finish, so please don't read any further if this topic is likely to upset you.

A lot of people with no personal experience of psych wards will have seen a person being held down and injected on the television. It could have been in a humorous situation, such as in the film Airplane! or it could have been in a more serious situation such as in the film Gothika. I've seen several fictional films and television shows where a person is held down and injected and none of them properly convey just what it's like to go through this ordeal. Yes, ordeal.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

What's it like to be Sectioned?

With all three of my psych ward stays, I've been brought in on a section. I've been brought in on a section 2 (28-day hold) twice, and a section 3 (six-month hold) once; this occasion I was brought in on a section 2 but it was changed to a section 3 after five days.

So having been sectioned three times, what does it feel like?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Three Weeks In

So it's been three weeks since I was brought in here. To be honest, not much has changed, aside from the medication I have been put on. I don't really want to go into details as to why I think I'm here, but those things haven't changed. I've had two antipsychotic injections since coming in, one yesterday, one on Tuesday, and both times I panicked and had to be held down. It's weird, I kind of feel the need to go into what happened with regards to the injections in writing, but I don't want to tell anyone about it. I may just type it up and leave it alone.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Thing About Psych Ward Patients

The first time I was on a psych ward was in 2008 when I was 20. If I'm honest, I was petrified. In my mind, the other patients were going to murder me in my sleep or I'd have to protect myself from brutal people wanting to beat me up.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Least Appropriate Songs in Psych Wards

In honour of a request by Bexatron: @DuckBeaki (RIP), plus I'm really bored in here, this is my list of the least appropriate songs to play on a psych ward.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Sectioned Again

Yes you read that right. I've been sectioned again. It's a long story and I'll keep this brief as I don't know how long my signal will hold.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Hospital Stay

Those who are on Twitter will undoubtedly be aware that I was in hospital for a few days due to a sudden illness. I have not recovered from the illness, and to be honest, I don't feel any better. I'll explain the hospital stay in more detail in a bit but I received an interesting letter this morning.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Real Dangers of Self-Stigmatization - An Explanation

My Huffington Post piece was published today, and it can be seen here. However, after watching Eleanor Longden's TED Talk again, (it can be watched here) I want to explain a few parts of my post, and also write about how her TED Talk made me understand a bit more about my voices.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Quick Update

A few days ago, I wrote about a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a blog post of mine used as part of Huffington Post's TED Weekend on Eleanor Longden's TED Talk. More information about the opportunity, along with a link to Eleanor Longden's TED Talk is here.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Another Interview on BBC Radio 5 Live

This morning, I spoke again on BBC Radio 5 Live about the effects bullying had on me. If anyone's interested, the first interview from February is here.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity?

Yesterday evening, I returned home from spending a few days with my sister to an exciting email from The Huffington Post.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

My Comments in the Press

I recently blogged about the jokes made by Ciarnan Helferty, the chair of Amnesty UK. Since referring himself to their board of conduct, he decided to resign a couple of days ago, something I think was a wise decision. The Metro Newspaper and the Daily Beast asked me for comments, which are below, but I'll say it here too. I believe it is right to accept the apology made by Ciarnan Helferty and I also believe it was right for him to step down. Amnesty International do fantastic work around the world, and I would hate for their reputation to be damaged by poorly chosen comments from one individual.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Forced Drugging is SOMETIMES Needed!

Wow, my opinion has caused quite a stir on Twitter. People saying, "No it's never needed," or "Staff aren't doing their job right if they have to fall back on it," or "It's against human rights." I've tried to explain as best as possible that yes, sometimes it IS necessary, but 140 characters isn't a lot to get a long story out. So here it is in more detail.

Monday, 5 August 2013

No, You DON'T Have OCD

There's a lot of jokes and trivialisation going around about OCD lately, and I'm not just talking about the jokes Ciarnan Helferty made. I often go on meme websites, and posts like this are too common:

Friday, 2 August 2013

My Experiment with Twitter is Over

A year ago today, I set up my Twitter account @SchizophrenicGB as a year-long experiment. I didn't write about it being an experiment on my original blog post here, but I did intend to join Twitter for a year, see how it went, and then possibly deactivate my account if I didn't think it had made much difference. However, the results of my year-long experiment have been positive, and I'll be staying on Twitter for now!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Busy Times

I realise how most of my blog posts these days are about schizophrenia, mental health and current events, but not really giving an update into my CMHT or me in general. So here's a boring blog post about my CMHT and me in general!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Jokes in Poor Taste

Here's one for you: What do you call the chair of Amnesty UK who makes jokes about mental health?

Ciarnan Helferty.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Another YouTube Video!

This video is a mammoth one, almost 11 minutes long, so make sure you have plenty of time to sit and watch it!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Result of a Mini Experiment

So yesterday, I posted several memes about schizophrenia, which can be found here. Then, I decided to do an experiment with this one:

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Schizophrenia Memes

For the purposes of this blog post, a meme (sounds like it rhymes with cream) is simply, a humorous picture. There are many different types of meme, and also different meanings to the word 'meme', but for this blog post, it is just a (hopefully) funny picture!

Friday, 5 July 2013

I Hate to Admit This...

I have to admit that Katie Hopkins has a point BUT (I hasten to add) she has completely the wrong attitude. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, Katie Hopkins was recently on This Morning and announced that she judges children based on their forenames. (Full video is here) She also refuses to let her kids play with children who have names such as 'Tyler' and 'Chardonnay'. One point that everyone picked up on, including host Philip Schofield, was that Hopkins doesn't like children who are named after places, but she has a daughter called India. Hmm.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Official Response to my Complaint

As some of you know, I recently made a complaint to my CMHT about their lack of care over a seven-month period. I have blogged about it twice, but here it the actual complaint I sent (with names removed for confidentiality reasons) with notes as to the official response I finally received this morning. The complaint was initially sent on the 2nd of April.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Another Product of Welfare UK

In a little cafe in Scotland, an unemployed single mother on benefits had dreams of being an author. As poor as she could be without being homeless, and in the grip of depression, she battled against her circumstances and was able to complete her first novel. Although she managed to get an agent, nobody wanted to publish her book, and even when she eventually got the green light, she was told to get a day job, as the book was unlikely to make money. The book that was unlikely to make money was the first book in the Harry Potter series, and the unemployed single mother on benefits was none other than J.K. Rowling.

Monday, 10 June 2013

How to Survive Blog Awards

You know what I'm talking about.

"Entries for [charity/organisation]'s blogger of the year are now open! Nominate your favourite here!"

I've seen them for mental health bloggers, beauty bloggers, fashion bloggers, Mummy bloggers and just about every other type of blogger there is. If you haven't seen one of these types of awards, then I'm guessing you're not on Twitter!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be... A Kid!

It's said that children today are growing up faster than ever. Mostly, I would agree. But I also think that children have always wanted to be 'grown up', regardless of what technology was available at the time. Sure, the children of a few decades ago were content with much less than the children of today complain about 'only having', but I think in general, most children have always wanted to be a 'grown up' and have tried to act older than their years.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

My CMHT - An Update

I've just realised that with all the publicising of my new magazine (check out www.stillheremagazine.com if you haven't already!), I've not written about my CMHT for ages. So I thought I'd post an update about how rubbish my CMHT still is.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

I've Done It!

The first issue of Still Here magazine, the free online magazine for schizophrenia, psychosis and other mental illnesses is available now!

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Big Announcement

Despite having a cold drastically lower my energy levels, I started work on a long-term project a few days ago. The rate at which I've completed the first part of it has astounded me, and I still can't believe I've managed to do so much in three days. Often when I get excited about a project, I'll get a massive burst of motivation and work harder in a few hours or days than I normally do in months. I usually end up working so hard and refusing to stop that I end up burning out before it has finished. This time however, I have successfully completed it, or at least the first part anyway!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Worst Part of Recovery

During my second hospital stay, most of the staff there were wanting me to recover as fast as possible. There was the odd member of staff who cared more about magazines or TV than patients, but thankfully there weren't too many of them. Unlike my first hospital stay where you were lucky to speak to a member of staff for an hour a month. Because I was an emergency at the time of my second hospital stay, the support was more intensive and I would usually be seen twice a week for an hour each time. Yet, all most of the staff were concerned about was helping me to recover. Why is that a bad thing? I hear you ask. Because, they were only concerned about my recovery, and not the impact my recovery would have on me.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Suing the Media

Before I start this, I would like to say that I know very little about the law. I know that it's illegal to steal, murder, drive too fast etc but that's pretty much it. Apart from knowing more about the UK's Mental Health Act than the average person that is, but that's only because I've had it used against me. Twice.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Day I Helped Myself

"Why won't someone help me?
Why am I still this way?
Why do they leave me here alone
To struggle everyday?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Why do Schizophrenics Come off Medication?

Every so often, the news tells the story of someone with a mental illness who has committed an atrocity after coming off their medication. Along with the 'This proves that people with mental illnesses are violent!' squad coming out, the question is asked about why the person came off their meds. If the person was well on their medication, why did they come off it when they knew they would become unwell again?

Monday, 11 March 2013

A Year of Blogging

Today is the one-year anniversary since starting my blog.  It's been a year with ups and downs but on the whole, it's been a positive year.  I've done a lot of writing in the past year where I have had blog posts used on other mental health blogging sites, charities, a magazine and have even done a radio interview!  I'm using this post as a boost to my confidence and also, as I would like to start writing professionally soon, I'm using this as a sort of C.V. (known as a résumé in other countries).  I've used a few different names when writing these, one is 'Freakshow', an affectionate name (yes, really!) my sister and I use for each other, another is 'Misty', which was my dog's name and the last one is 'Katy', and I hope you can work out why I've used that name!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

How to Enjoy Psych Ward Stays

Anyone who has been a patient in a psych ward knows that they are very boring places.  If you're lucky, the psych ward will have an activities programme as well as nurses and HCAs (Healthcare Assistants) who actually engage with patients.  If you're not as lucky, the ward will have no activities whatsoever and the nurses and HCAs will just sit in the office with a cup of tea and Heat Magazine.  Regardless of how enjoyable the activities are and how good the nurses and HCAs are though, psych wards are still really, really boring.  As a result, I thought I'd post some activities that can liven up psych ward stays.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

A Step Closer to Being Revealed

With my book nearing completion, I'm getting closer to revealing who I am.  Outside of my family, only a few people know who I really am.  I've only met one person 'in real life' who knows who I am, that person was the Time to Change Wales volunteer I met up with a few weeks ago.  A few people know my surname and have seen a picture of me through Facebook.  Many people have heard my voice though, from the radio interview I did last week (if you're the only person on Earth who didn't hear about it, a link to the interview is here).

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What's the Point?

That title may sound quite drastic and don't worry, this isn't related to thoughts about my life.  Rather, it's related to my book.  I hit 80,000 words last night but I've been having doubts as to whether or not I should go ahead and actually publish it.  I've said all along that if I publish it, I'll be giving all the profits to charity and this is the only thing that has kept me working on it for a while.  However, I know that even if I do get a publisher, the book isn't going to sell many copies and won't make that much money for charity.  Plus, as it's not going to sell many copies, I'm probably not going to help many, if any, people with it.  So what's the point writing it?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

My Interview on BBC Radio 5 Live

So if you saw my blog earlier or are someone who follows me on Twitter, you'll know that I was approached by Mind and asked to do a short interview on BBC Radio 5 Live.  The interview went really well and the woman who interviewed me was lovely.  The interview itself is below so let me know what you think!

I'll be on the Radio!

Research in the US has found that bullied children can suffer lasting psychological harm as adults.  I agree with it, it's something I have believed ever since accepting that I had a severe mental illness.  The research is here and it's a good read.  It's quite a short article so I was able to read it all without losing concentration.

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Person Behind the Schizophrenia

As most or all of my posts on this blog have been to do with schizophrenia or mental health in general, I've decided to write a post that has nothing to do with schizophrenia. It's a post about me. It's nothing that can reveal who I am, just random facts and stupid things I have done in the past! Just to show that I am a person and not an illness!

Monday, 11 February 2013

How to Enjoy Your Appointments With the Psychiatrist

As my previous post on How to Enjoy your Insanity seems to have been a success, I thought I'd try another joke post. This could end up being a disaster so I apologise in advance if it is!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What To Do if You're Diagnosed With Psychosis or Schizophrenia

So maybe you've just been to see a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed as having a psychotic or schizophrenic illness.  Or maybe, something has happened, the police were involved and after a spell in hospital, you have been diagnosed with one of these illnesses.  Maybe something completely different has occurred but whatever happened, you have just received the devastating diagnosis of psychosis or schizophrenia.

Schizophrenic Preoccupation

In 2010, after just over a year in hospital, I was moved to an inpatient Psychiatric Rehabilitation Unit.  It was in this Unit that I finally got to the root of my voices and they lost their power.  I learned more about schizophrenia, from its symptoms and causes to what life with schizophrenia can be like.  A lot of the things that I learned in this Unit stay with me to this day.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Dear CMHT...

Dear CMHT

I wish that I had the courage to send this letter to you in real life.  While I have had some good support from you in the past, as of late it has been appalling.  It has been appalling in the past too and for this reason, I'm highlighting the mistakes, inadequacies and 'wrongdoings' I've experienced with you these past seven years.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Good News at Last? A Follow Up

Yesterday I posted about how I would be having a meeting with Time to Change Wales and receiving a phone call from my CMHT today.  Both of those took place which surprised me.  I really didn't think that my CMHT would actually phone me so it was a pleasant surprise when they did.  But going in chronological order, here's what happened today.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Good News at Last?

So if you have been reading my blog recently or 'know' me on Twitter, you'll know that I have been battling to get support from my CMHT.  This Saturday will be exactly three months since the last time I have received 1-2-1 support from them and the battle I have been fighting with them is detailed here.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Laughter in the Loony Bin

I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my book! It's exciting to be so close to finishing but at the same time, I know there's a long way to go before it's ready for publishing. However, writing this has been a sort of journey and as much as I hate that cliche, I can't think of a better word to describe it! I've remembered things that I had forgotten, things that are both good and bad. I've laughed at the weirdest of times for non-crazy reasons and as the book is more factual than humorous, I thought I'd lighten a few funny incidents up and post them here. Some of these aren't actually in the book but I thought they'd make for good laughs!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My CMHT - A Follow Up

Have been reading the BBC News Website today and have discovered that a nearby community hospital with a CMHT is confirmed to be closing.  There are four in my area that are closing, all community hospitals and all four could potentially have a CMHT attached.  I only know that one of them definitely has a CMHT and it is one that will end up transferring all or part of its caseload to my CMHT.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My CMHT

I have group therapy scheduled for this afternoon but I thought I'd blog about my experiences with my CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) these last three months.  As many on Twitter are aware, I've been without support since the beginning of November despite contacting them numerous times.  Some may know a few details but here is the whole story of the last three months.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

How to Enjoy your Insanity

Do you suffer from insanity or enjoy every minute of it? If you are one of those who suffers, here are some handy tips to help you enjoy your insanity.