I thought the best way to start my blog was an introduction to myself, and my story (sorry it’s a bit long!). I recently graduated with a degree in Psychology, now debating my next career steps. The reason I created MaisySmiles is because, in my own experience, I felt that I didn’t have enough support from people who had shared my experience, or that I could talk to as a young person. I felt like I was alone as a mental health sufferer, I now know that this is not true and I would like for other people to know that they too, are not alone.
From a young age I was always a bit superstitious, however, during my final year of primary school it became more than just superstition. I would have to do the same things the same way every day, and if for some reason I didn’t, I would become very anxious and try to get out of going to school. This was the start of my 10 year battle with OCD. I never tried to challenge my OCD, but when I reached 14 I realised that my anxiety had grown to full blown paranoia; I excluded myself from my friends and family; stopped going to school and was constantly convinced something bad was going to happen, and I started self-harming. Over the next few months this worsened dramatically and I was diagnosed with Psychosis.
It was all very confusing; I was young and had never even heard the word before. I was constantly passed from professional to professional; prescribed medication and people were constantly bombarding me with questions. I was treated like a young child and wasn’t involved in any decisions made about me, which made me not want to cooperate. I felt not many people wanted to know anything about myself, just my illness. However, I remember one counsellor, who I didn’t particularly want to see, started the session getting to know me and we found out we both had Jack Russell’s. We spent at least 10 minutes joking about the silly things they do (mine tends to run head first into walls quite often!) and I instantly started to warm to her. It felt such a relief just for one second to talk about something other than my Psychosis!
After recovering from a second episode of psychosis aged 15, I began to regain my confidence and my enjoyment in life, however, my OCD remained. It was not until last year, aged 20, that I was encouraged to try again and I spoke to the doctor about CBT. I was placed on the waiting list, and I was quite pessimistic about it, after all it didn’t work the first time, why should it work now? But I was very wrong. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
For the first time, I felt that this therapist believed that I could overcome my problems, as opposed to waiting for the next bad thing to happen and worrying about me rather than believing in me. My counsellor taught me about my emotions- how to understand my own feelings and we worked together in overcoming my OCD. I achieved the goals we set and so much more. I have come so far and have my counsellor, friends and family to thank for that.
During these years, there were many external obstacles I had to overcome, which is why I have created MaisySmiles. I felt that I didn’t have contact with people who had recovered; I did not have a role model; I heard more upsetting stories than I did positive ones, and I did not know anyone who was suffering any of the emotions I was.
It is so important for mental health to stop being a taboo subject, my friends and family did not know how to react when I was diagnosed with a mental illness, because they had no previous knowledge of what Psychosis or OCD are. If mental health can become something easier to talk about, people will be more likely to seek help and understand that they are not alone.
I hope that you will find MaisySmiles informative, but also, fun!
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Follow me on twitter @MaisySmiles