World Mental Health Day: Living With Anxiety, Depression And Psychosis

For as long as I can remember I have experienced distressing episodes of "loudness" where my mind races, my body freezes and I struggle to distinguish what is real. I would hear and see things that, I'm told, aren't there.

For as long as I can remember I have experienced distressing episodes of "loudness" where my mind races, my body freezes and I struggle to distinguish what is real.

I would hear and see things that, I'm told, aren't there.

The worst period of my life, mentally, was actually when everything was going pretty well.

It was Winter 2014. I was seven months pregnant and looking after my two-year-old daughter when I first realised I might be having a psychotic episode.

My daughter was asleep in her bed and as I lay next to her I thought the walls were caving in.

My fiancé was out on a night out and I was so scared. I felt sick and dizzy and as the room began to shake I checked the news on my phone for reports of an earthquake.

But I couldn't find anything. I peeped out of the curtains to check nobody was trying to destroy our house and capture us.

I couldn't see anything, but I knew they were there, somewhere. So I blockaded the bedroom door in an attempt to keep my daughter and I safe.

The following day I confided in my partner Chris.

And I started to understand that there might be some truth in what my mental health nurse had been saying - I was paranoid and experiencing psychosis.

I'd had depression and an eating disorder diagnosed when I was 12-years-old, so a lot of health professionals were - already involved in my care, especially throughout my pregnancies as I was "high risk" due to my mentally ill past.

But nearly all of the extra appointments I'd had, focused on my physical health or at the very best I was asked to complete tick-box surveys on how I felt whilst Doctors asked closed questions to cover their backs: "You're not suicidal are you? "You look fine to me.

"You won't self-harm will you?

"You're not thinking of hurting anyone, right?"

I was fortunate, however, that a consultant obstetrician had the initiative to check out my head, asking open questions and listening to my responses.

And then my mental health care escalated.

I was scared but it also gave me a glimmer of hope. Maybe I was mentally ill and life didn't always have to feel this bad?

Perhaps people weren't after me?

I had various check-ups with nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists and remember going into a mental health hospital in Wakefield that looked so bland, dark and scary. I felt I didn't deserve help like other patients. I had a family, a fiancé, a job and a another baby on the way. Life was finally pretty cushty.

I felt out of place, I didn't look or sound mad, I was just me.

But I was in an excruciatingly dark and lonely place and thought the professionals - no matter how high a role they held in the NHS nor how posh they sounded - were trying to interfere in my life. They couldn't see or hear what was going on, so how could they be qualified to help me?

I thought there was a conspiracy against me and people were after me and my unborn baby.

I was given the option of being admitted to a mother-and-baby unit for specialist support or being cared for by my partner at home. We decided it was best to try keep me at home as I couldn't bear to be away from my eldest child.

I received crisis care support which consisted of daily visits from community mental health nurses who would talk to me and make sure I was taking my medication.

Finally, after months of trialling different anti-psychotic drugs, and 24/7 support from my fiancé, I was beginning to feel more stable. Finding the medication that worked for me was a massive positive and I also had the added distraction of a beautiful new baby to look after.

I'm pleased to say that my mind is a lot quieter now. I'm exploring different coping mechanisms like returning to my love of dance and drama and, I'm playing football for the first time in years. I also love running everywhere with my baby in the buggy.

During my illness I left my dream job in the media because I needed time-out to get well enough to function again.

I find vlogging and blogging very therapeutic and I hope this will be my new career alongside looking after the kids.

I'm now 28, recently married and I have two awesome young daughters aged 4, and aged 20 months.

Kids help you understand what is important. They are not bothered about big titles or careers, they just want to have people who love and care for them and want to play with them. They have really helped give me a focus and finally, I can see a future.

This article first published on Sophie's blog:

I made this video on my experiences as well as those of other mum's...

Mad Mums?

World Mental Health Day (Oct 10, 2016) is all about first aid for the mentally ill.

If it wasn't for my now husband, I wouldn't be here, or I would still be locked up in a mental health institution.

You might not be able to just "fix" someone, like me, with mental health problems, but there are ways in which you can help us, before it's too late.

Whilst he may not have had the medicine to help cure, what we now know was a psychotic episode.

Just the fact he was there, he listened, he didn't run away scared or try to avoid me.

Giving me first aid

By "first aid" I don't mean, bandages and CPR. But My hubby Chris helped and fought for me to get the right care and support, in order to keep me safe, keep me alive.

And with the right care, medication and family support I was able to stay in the community as an "outpatient."

I've now come through that very dark time. I still can't believe that I suffer from "Psychosis."

It sounds so big and so terrifying.

But I can cope. I'm on a lot of medication but it's helping me to heal and deal with life.

The theme for this World Mental Health Day is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.

The principle of first aid is that all or any of us may need to step in to help when someone needs it, and to help them to see if they need professional help. All of us may need to build our confidence to do this with the people we are close to, our family, friends and colleagues.