A few days ago whilst sectioned on a psychiatric ward, i came out of ward round and sobbed, with pure relief.
You might think i had been taken of my section, or even discharged.
And yet no, it was neither of those things.
I instead had been diagnosed with a severe mental illness called schizoaffective bipolar type.
You might think what the hell, crying at relief for that, well let me take you on a journey, then maybe you’ll understand i sobbed with relief at a diagnosis.
Beginning in childhood (but do not worry we are not going month by month of my nearly 32 years!)
As a child of about 6/7 i used to see random people of history just stood in my parents garden. I was a history geek even at that age, and history coming to life was pretty cool. I wasn’t scared, but i told no one, because i didn’t think it strange.
That was until the night that the Normans fired arrows at my window and the Battle of Hastings was kind of performed in front of my. Except this was not comforting, but terrifying. And i screamed, my mum came running in and i explained and pointed to what was going on, she of course could see nothing except our garden and other houses, me on the other hand was a screaming mess, i thought I would be killed in this battle.
I still never told anyone about the historical figures who just stood in the garden and sometimes waved. They were not scary, or weird, just history coming to life.
At this age i also heard a voice (which i thought everyone did). Either just saying my name (birth name) to me or asking how i was.
Jump forward about a decade and things had began to ramp up. I was now seeing random people and myself dead in various ways, i started hearing a mans voices who was mean and mostly aggressive, at first he did not have a name, but a few years later he told me he was called malcolm.
I began to hear other things, music, alarms, voices that talked to me and others which talked about me, static and muffled voices like an out of tune radia.
But it was not just constant auditory hallucinations, and some visual hallucinations, it was also texture, taste, and smell, plus a lot more visual hallucinations too.
Blood everywhere, shadow figures, myself as the devil or a skeleton in the mirror, smelling cannabis, the dentist, food going rotton in my mouth, feeling of being attacked by holly and nettles.
The severe paranoia started, then the manic and depressive episodes, and then grandiose delusions, thought disorder and more.
Typically whilst at the same time i was also trying to navigate university with undiagnosed autism and tourettes, plus come out as trans.
My first psychiatric hospital admission a doctor saw me for ten minutes told me i had EUPD/BPD, told me i was very manipulative and discharged me with no support.
A pattern began to follow of mental health professionals seeing me, but very quickly dismissing me as manipulative, lying, or making the story sound worse than it was.
Whenever i mentiomed my hallucinations, delusions, mania, paranoia, they called me a liar, said i wanted attention and the ‘good drugs’
No what i wanted was help and support, because i was going crazier and crazier. More hospital admissions, two where inwas sectioned for several months each time.
At the end of 2014 i got my tourettes diagnosis, and met a very close friend who has helped immensely, especially as her job was working in the mental health system.
In 2016 i got my autism diagnosis. Yet still something was missing, the EUPD felt oh so wrong, and also it just did not account for things that were going on.
The years went by and i thought to myself maybe i have bipolar instead, even mentioned it to one psychiatrist who just said no.
My friend mentioned schizoaffective, which i had heard of but did not know loads about. I started to research, and the more i researched the more things started to make sense and fit together.
Then a psych ward admission where i ended up in bristol, with a psychiatrist who did listen and put me on lithium at my suggestion.
I started to feel that maybe i could ask my community psychiatrist for a re assessment. I wrote a letter, and so did the above friend. The psychiatrist assessed me and diagnosed me with complex PTSD, which i do not deny having, but i also knew there was more to it than that.
I went away from that appointment feeling pretty crap, but in online spaces continued to self diagnose as schizoaffective.
Jump forward a year to now, and i am section and sent to a local NHS hospital. The psychiatrist suggests i might consider starting clozapine. But then when i ask a nurse a few days later it would appear that my outpatient psychiatrist and the ward psychiatrist are arguing over clozapine and me, and also diagnosis.
So i realised i had to act, and i wrote a 2500 word email to them both essentially laying out the symptoms that have been dismissed and ignored, and my thoughts.
In ward round two days ago the psychiatrist summerised the email for everyone else in the room, and then he said the words i had given up hearing.
He tells me that i have psychosis with bipolar affective disorder, known as schizoaffective bipolar type.
I don’t know how i managed to hold it together in ward round. But when i got back to my room, i sobbed tears that had been fucking years in waiting.
Relief that a professional had believed me and taken me seriously.
Just pure damn relief, after fucking years of fighting to be heard and listened to, it had finally happened.
So yes that is why i sobbed with relief at a diagnosis of a severe mental illness.