NAME: Leah Alder

AGE: 16*

LOCATION: Durham*

“I have struggled with my Mental Health since I was a very young age , I have always been  an anxious child but when my Anxiety began to effect my daily life my mum contacted my GP and I was referred to CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service). My Depression however soon came along, and I began isolating myself not intentionally but my mood was getting lower and lower, my ability to concentrate slowly started to deteriorate and I lost interest in pretty much everything. Things I enjoyed such as, Dancing, shopping, seeing friends became too much for me to manage and I began to lose friends and my Depression then became worse and worse.

I was already seeing a Clinical Psychologist at CAMHS for my anxiety, but we began a therapy called CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for Anxiety and Depression. A few months had past and the CBT was doing wonders for my Anxiety but my Depression was still getting worse. I began understanding my anxiety and I was finding new ways to manage it so it wasn’t affecting me as much. But Depression was slowly deteriorating so my Psychologist referred me to a CAMHS Psychiatrist, who prescribed me Anti-Depressants to see if medication along side Therapy would benefit me. After months of trying to find the right Anti-Depression for me, i finally found one and I began noticing a slight difference with my mood. However that slight difference I was noticing only lasted a few weeks and I was back to square one. CAMHS and School decided that I needed to be Home-Schooled as my illnesses were becoming to difficult to manage. So for years 10 and 11 I was Home-Schooled by a service known as Home & Hospital.

With my Depression becoming more and more Severe I began experiencing Psychosis. Psychosis? Psychosis is symptom of a illness such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Bipolar or Severe Depression. Psychosis is usually when an individual experiences Hallucinations, Delusions and Disorganised thinking. For me it first started when I was becoming paranoid and I began thinking everything had a hidden meaning, and that something was going on behind my back – which I didn’t know about. My thoughts began getting jumbled, I couldn’t think straight and everything began getting confusing and muddled up. I eventually started to hear voices and then I began seeing people, however I was the only one who could hear and see these ‘people’. Alongside this I began having Delusions, such as believing that there was cameras watching my every move and people were out to get me. I could go on but some Delusions I don’t feel comfortable sharing and also some I cant remember.

In January 2016, CAMHS decided that as I was a risk to myself, and also that my Depression and Psychosis were becoming to difficult to manage in the community, I should be admitted into to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit. This is were I would be assessed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

After a few months in a Child Psychiatric Hospital I was discharged. I am now on the correct medication, Anti-Depressant and Anti-Psychotics to help stabilise my illnesses. I continue seeing CAMHS and I now also see a service called EIP (Early intervention in psychosis team) who specialise in Psychosis. Yes my illnesses still affect my daily life but its about accepting it and learning to live with it. I am back in Education and in my first year of College studying Health & Social care. I am an inspiring Mental Health nurse for Adolescents, and I hope one day I will help other young people who may experience similar difficulties.

Please reach out for help, and don’t be afraid! The sooner you speak out and get help you need, the sooner you will get back to living a normal life.

I also have a Blog to help raise awareness of Mental Illness and also to try and reduce stigma!!
I have the full version of ‘My story’ on my Blog. If you could, please check it out!

www.leahjoalder.blogspot.co.uk 

Thank you for reading, I hope this has helped!
Leah x “

 

Inspired by Leah’s story? Leave a comment below!

 

*Correct at time of submission.