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01 Aug 2017

Living with a mental illness – Jamie

We’d like to thank Jamie for sharing his experience with us and our readers. You can contact Shine or Aware if you have been affected by the information contained below.

Well where do I start… I’m writing this blog to give people an idea on how depression and especially schizophrenia can change your life forever. Five six years ago, when I was in St Marys CBS I was doing transition year and life was absolutely fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed the year and made friends for life in it.

Near the end of that year I was noticing that I was getting down and had noticed that I had a lack of motivation to attend school and felt so so lonely even when I was in a classroom full of colleagues and peers. At that stage our transition year was linking in with the convent to do a musical. I usually love doing these things but NO, I just couldn’t do. This was the second sign that I really thought something was wrong.

My mood was all over the place I just didn’t know what was wrong. I was so confused and of course I had no idea I had depression so I kept quiet and like a lot of people that suffer from mental health problems such a depression and schizophrenia.

My first experience of schizophrenia was the awards night of transition year which was an awesome night. I was there with my peers and fellow students. I also won Business student of year and was presented with other awards such as the gaisce awards. After the awards night I was so so tired and then it hit. I was in my room and there was my first hallucination I heard an audio hallucination saying “well done Jamie great work” I didn’t really think of it much, I just thought it was my imagination working in over drive.

For the next few months the hallucinations kept talking telling me good things, and I thought it was good, thinking about it now it sounds crazy but I genuinely thought the hallucinations were really.

Then the visual hallucinations started and then I knew it, it was time for the doctor straight away. I was depressed and now this. I had no idea what was going on at all. It was one of the most scariest  thing I have ever went through and that probably won’t change. The doctors in Portlaoise did everything they could, but at 16 years of age I needed a clinic or hospital for adoloscents

The next step was been admitted to Willow Grove and adoloscents unit. It really changed my life and I have my family to thank for that. I was in Willow Grove for 8 or 9 weeks and I got out of hospital in time for my birthday and the next mission was return to school. I thought I’d be well able for it but no, the stress was getting to me and signs of relapse were on the cards. I got through December and enjoyed Christmas.

Then my life changed for good. I got a relapse of schizophrenia and was sent back to Willow Grove. The doctors and nurses were fantastic they really helped me get out of the dark dark hole I was in. It looked very bleak I didn’t think I’d ever pull through this. As months went by I really improved and there was some light near the end of the tunnel. With councelling and therapy and everything else I was nearly ready to be discharged and return home. It was the hardest six months of my life but them six months have really made me a way stronger person.

After Willow grove it took me awhile to a just and get back into some sort of routine. I started to attend the Triogue centre in Portlaoise and they ran so many groups like cooking, art and other stuff which kept me occupied. The staff of Bridge Street were so and still are so good. I don’t think I would be here today without there help today.

When I got a lot better and I became way more confident and I got my mojo back and I have done two or three plc courses. Ive also got work experience in the Laois Nationalist and realised that the journalism industry is for me.

At the moment I am doing a course in Carlow Sport and recreation which is going good to. I also have filled in the CAO and I’m hoping to go to UL for journalism. Five or six years ago if I was told that I would be on the verge of going into University I would never have believed them.

Lastly I want to urge people who have mental health problems and are afraid, please please seek help, DO NOT keep it bottled up. There is help out there for you, look at my story I got help and now I’m never better. And for people with suicidal thoughts suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Its ok to not to be ok.

I would also like to take this chance to thank my family and friends, without your support I wouldn’t be where I am today.

You can contact Shine or Aware if you have been affected by the information contained in Jamie’s story.

 

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