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Being diagnosed with Psychosis

Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
edited May 2019 in Guest blogs

DJ has asked to be anonymous.

I can't say I woke up one day and everything was off. It really was a slow build in the lead up to a dramatic climax. I remember feeling down, not like myself, not wanting to socialise and preferring to spend my spare time alone in my room watching Netflix in bed.

                             man covering his face with his hands

I was working two jobs trying to generate enough money so I could take some time off. It was intense, I would go to my first job until the late afternoon then rush to my second job in the evening until quite late at night. I remember walking home and feeling very alert and anxious that something bad would happen to me.

On top of everything I had horrible Acid Reflux and a cold that wouldn't shift.

One Saturday, I was sent home from work after losing my voice. I went to the big, central rail station and called 111 to schedule an appointment with a Doctor as soon as possible. After what felt like ages on the phone, I was unable to find an appointment nearby and soon. I flew into a panic; my heart wouldn't stop racing, my breathing was erratic and I couldn't focus on anything. I was convinced I was having a heart attack and began looking for the nearest Hospital. I was crying and shaky as I made my way there. I calmed down but couldn't sit still for even a minute. I googled my symptoms and they matched with several conditions, but I settled on panic attack. I took some comfort in knowledge that it wasn't as serious as I felt it was when it was happening.

The Nurse took my blood pressure and monitored my heart rate - my heart was beating over 99 beats per minute. The Nurse looked concerned, asked if I had a previous heart problem and went to consult with her colleague. She returned and said I should go upstairs to wait to see the Doctor. 

Later that night, I had another panic attack and couldn't sleep. They were exhausting. I would have them a few times a day and my Mum or Sister would stay with me and settle me down. I was heavily reliant on them to get through the day. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep and found it hard to focus on anything. I would spend my days in bed being restless and irritable.

My family had been doing research on the Internet to find coping strategies and get me some help. We visited my GP, but he was more concerned with my physical health conditions and said we should hold off on getting therapy until he gave us the go ahead.

One day, I began to hear voices and became very paranoid. I started making plans to hurt myself and became physically aggressive towards my family. I was incredibly emotional and vulnerable. My family were very concerned and called a helpline. They were told to take me to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. We got in a cab and went that day. We had blood drawn, had an assessment with the Mental Health team and stayed overnight. For the first time in weeks I got a good night's sleep.

The next day I was transferred to a Psychiatric Ward in a Hospital outside London. My family visited every day and would stay with me and keep my spirits up.

After a week or two of observations the Doctors decided I had suffered a Psychotic Episode that wasn't drug related. I was given antipsychotics and anti-depressants to manage the symptoms and help me function properly.

I was discharged after 3 weeks and had follow up aftercare from my local NHS Team - Early Intervention in Psychosis. I took the medication for 16 months every day, went to individual therapy, group therapy, social activities with a mental health group and reconnected with my friends and family.

Now, I no longer need medication and I am leading a full, healthy and happier life.

Did you have a positive outcome after getting a new diagnosis? If so, how did it go?


  • Kate_ScopeKate_Scope Scope Navigate service Posts: 74 Pioneering
    Hi DJ, thanks so much for sharing your story. 

    you are 100% right in that early diagnosis with Psychosis is the best thing that can happen. 
    I have worked in mental health for a number of years and find psychosis is the one that people are more afraid of than anything more through lack of understanding than anything else- psychosis as you know is a symptom of  a mental health disorder.

    People dealing with a psychosis can and do recover well, with the right interventions and medication- in fact over 33% never have another episode and 33% only ever have two. Self awareness is the biggest tool in managing mental health and once you can read the signs of how you are feeling you will manage it well. 

    I had a diagnosis of OCD around 3 years ago, after battling with my own mental health for many meany years- as soon as the diagnosis came it was like a light-bulb went off in my head, i wasn't a bad person i was suffering from panic disorder and OCD- it all made complete sense.  My GP didn't want me to seek help from a psychiatric doctor they said i was managing (which i was) but if i had a bad knee? there would have been some sort of specialist if it had gone on for over twenty years!! so i pushed and pushed- they didn't want me to use that diagnosis as a reason to not work and manage my life as i had done for twenty years. I needed to know why i was counting all the time, having intrusive thoughts etc and while i still have them i can brush it off as i know what it is. 

    It was a very positive experience for me and one that changed my life and made me understand myself more- so diagnosis was very positive for me. 

    Good luck on your journey :)
  • Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Thanks DJ, for sharing your story with us.
  • Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Thank you for sharing this with us @Kate_Scope , I am happy to hear you had a positive experience :)
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,997

    Scope community team

    I've known a couple of people with psychosis over the years, but never had a real handle on what it involved. I was watching David Harewood talking about his programme, 'Psychosis and Me' yesterday and after what he said, I can't imagine how frightening your experience must have been and I'm really glad you've managed to move on to lead a happier life.
    Thank you for sharing this, DJ. Sharing these sorts of experiences with people is really vital to developing that wider understanding of mental health and removing the stigmas. 
    Senior Community Partner
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