Lewis’s Mental Health Journey

It all started in college, whilst I was studying for my HNC Visual Communication degree. I found myself in a great class full of friends, the lecturers were great. It was just that, I was working myself overboard. With a full 9-5 college day, plus work afterwards.

To help combat the fatigue, I would drink loads of energy drinks and coffee, anything that contained caffeine, which I then used to cover my stress and anxiety.

This lead to my body not processing the correct signals for stress and Anxiety to the brain, making me fictitiously immune to feeling Anxiety. It wasn’t until an event happened that left me feeling suicidal, and anxious, that caffeine was not helping!

I would blank out for a couple of minutes and seize up, without any knowledge. It was scary. I had no idea what was happening.

After loads of tests and trails, my doctor told me I had a condition called Non-Epileptic-Attack-Disorder (NEAD) with dissociative traits.

However, I did not take my diagnosis well, and I honestly didn’t believe I had a mental disorder. I called myself ‘crazy’ and became hermit within my own room. I felt so embarrassed and very suicidal. I stopped eating, and then I was admitted to a local Mental Health hospital.

I was an inpatient for three months, and these were probably some of my darkest times. But also brightest times. It gave me a chance to accept my mental disorders and to communicate my feelings to staff and patients. The only person I didn’t ‘ironically’ communicate with was my doctor. She did not believe in Dissociation as it was so rare. I faced so much stigma from ‘that lady’.

I was given a Lorazepam to help combat my anxiety, which then led me into psychotherapy, but because of my new medication, I was not in the correct mindset for being open. This made me feel very vulnerable and extremely confused about my own self, and my relationship with my therapist.

With therapy being unsuccessful I became depressed and I felt unable to express my feelings – this then led to me taking more episodes, and generally mentally unstable which deeply affected my relationship with my family and friends.

After awhile I became more aware of my anxiety which helped me concentrate on becoming better with self-help. I started going out for short walks and battled through my anxieties, with support workers and psychiatry but this time I was assigned a new doctor who understood the condition more.

During this time my Grandma sadly passed away, making my depression peak. I was then prescribed Fluoxetine (commonly known as Prozac) – which reduced my depression and helped me overcome my Grandmas death.

After my Grandmas death I decided to approach psychotherapy again, and eventually found an understanding therapist who worked with me towards a steady and successful recovery from both my grieving and my mental health.

I could not have gone through this without my friends, family and wonderful girlfriend, who have all showed a great understanding and have been very patient through my bad days. These people shall always remain apart of my journey and my life.

Take care,

Lewis xx

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