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Strict Standards: Declaration of JParameter::loadSetupFile() should be compatible with JRegistry::loadSetupFile() in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/libraries/joomla/html/parameter.php on line 512

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/advancedmodules/advancedmodules.php:28) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/admintools/admintools/badbehaviour/screener.inc.php on line 9

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Strict Standards: Declaration of JRouterJoomsef::build() should be compatible with JRouter::build($url) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/components/com_sef/sef.router.php on line 361

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/hotlogin/hotlogin.php on line 88

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/ganalyticstrcode/ganalyticstrcode.php on line 32

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/content/fb_tw_plus1/fb_tw_plus1.php on line 43

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All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.
Helen Keller
   

FAQ  


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Word Cloud  


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Latest Additions  


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Glimpses

Raija’s Recovery Journey Schizophrenia Consumer

Details

Raija’s Recovery Journey

I believe I first became mentally unstable at age 11. It was at this age I was sent to boarding school and became very depressed because I didn’t fit in there. The majority of students who boarded were from rich families who owned large properties and Hereford studs etc. They had Country road brand name clothes, while there I was a chubby 11 year old wearing hand me downs from my brother and father.

I was teased so much about my appearance, I had no-one to talk to and my parent’s said I would have to complete the year before they would even consider letting me come home.

A year later my parent’s let me come home but the emotional trauma I had received from both boarding school and being a survivor of childhood sexual assault would leave an imprint in my life that would later come back to haunt me.

I started at Bateman’s Bay high school where I had many friends and I began to feel a whole lot better.

At age 13 my best friend passed away due to unknown causes and my depression began to return. I acted out, having risky behaviours and smoking marijuana. I felt scared to get close to, any-one in fear they too may die and leave me all alone again. Words cannot describe the intense sadness that I felt. Pot and sexual relations were the only things that made me feel whole again.

When I was 14 I woke up one night with three guys in my bedroom (I slept downstairs in the granny flat) they told me that a guy that I was madly infatuated with was waiting to talk to me outside. Being young and naive and trusting these people I went outside and there he was. He asked me to get in their car and go for a drive with them. So I did, we ended up at a place out in the stick’s called Grandfather’s Gully, there they undressed me and sexually assaulted me. Then they threw me in the car naked and chucked me out the front of my house while the car was still moving; they threw my clothes at me and drove off laughing.

Something inside of me died that night ,and trusting men was very hard for me. To make matter’s worse the main leader of this assault was my friends brother so I had to keep it to myself as I didn’t know what her reaction would be if I told her.

At age 15 my parent’s and I weren’t getting on that well my mother despised me and could not understand what was happening to me. I don’t blame her in one way as I couldn’t understand why I was doing the things I was doing either. My parent’s moved to Sydney I decided to leave home and stay with friends in Bateman’s Bay.

Staying with my friend did not work out; we had no space to ourselves as we shared a room. There was me, Bianca, Bernice and Gary all in the one room. So I left there and moved to Sydney back in with my parent’s and enrolled in Merrylands High school. My grades at this school were fantastic, but once again I had no close friends, I was living in an ethnic community and was considered a slut because I had blonde hair. The girls at this school hated me so much that they would drive past and egg my house, yelling out ”slut”.

Once again I was in an isolated situation. My parents could see what it was doing to me and they helped set me up in a unit in Bateman’s Bay so I could complete my schooling with people I had known since kinder. I had a great time; life was one big party in fact it’s the only year in my teenage life that I could say I was truly happy.

I completed my year 12 HSC in 1994 and moved back to Sydney with my fiancé to find work. At age 18 my illness really flared up I became psychotic with feelings of great morbidity, I was so ill I dug a grave in my own back yard and lay in it naked, imagining I was dead. I also became very dissociative.

One day I was washing the dishes when a glass broke, it cut my hand and I didn’t even feel it, I just continued to wash the dishes as the sink water turned red. After showering I would wrap the towel tightly around my neck and watch my face turn blue.

I tried to hide my weird and intense feeling’s from my fiancé and cousin who lived with me but in the end I begged for them to get me some help. My partner just told me I was having a bad day and not to worry too much about it, I knew there was more to it than this and confided in my mother. My mother arranged an appointment with a psychiatrist, he took some blood tests and found out I was pregnant; my depression/psychosis was labelled as post-pre natal depression. My life was heading on a downward spiral.

After I gave birth to my daughter I began to see and hear things that no one else could see. I had homicidal images of killing my family and I was so frightened by what I saw and heard that I began to hide in my cupboard and chant different prayers and words in hope to make the visions and voices disappear. Nothing helped I was so scared and I could find no way out of this terrible life so I tried to hang myself. After this suicide attempt I was put into Liverpool Hospital and labelled schizophrenic.

I was so scared in hospital, I was only 19 years old and I was surrounded by people who seemed so unpredictable. I was sharing a room with four other patients’ and I felt frightened that they would attack me or do something to me while I was sleeping. I wanted to die and I began pretending to take my medication but I was really saving it all up so I could take it all at once and hopefully leave this terrible world. I started to have flashbacks about being sexually abused but did not know if it was real or not as my world seemed so surreal and intangible.

I began seeing a psychologist when I got out of hospital. He made me realise that the relationship I was in was very detrimental to my mental health. My partner did not love me, he wanted to own me. He was happy I was ill as I wouldn’t leave the house and that way he had more control over me. Something needed to change in order for me to begin my recovery journey.

After seeing my psychologist and my new psychiatrist I built up the strength to leave my emotionally abusive husband.

I moved to Wollongong with my daughter and I slowly began to get well with the help and support from family and friends and medication. At times I still cried a lot but the images and voices began to die down and for the first time in years I felt hope. Hope that I could beat this problem.

My daughter gave me a sense of meaning and purpose in my life, something to live for; my daughter was my angel of hope and inspiration.

Slowly I reduced the medication and I was deep into my recovery journey when I gave birth to my son in 1999, he was so cute and perfect, he was my source of strength and determination.

I remarried in 2001 my life seemed to be moving forward. My new husband and I were both working, so financially we were secure. It wasn’t till we were married he began to beat me whenever he drank alcohol; living in a domestically violent situation was the beginning of my demise. I started to feel the ground under my feet slowly slipping away but I tried to stay strong for my children.

People often ask why I didn’t leave him; but I loved him and he was nice to me when he was sober.

Eventually I fell pregnant to him, I thought that having a baby would somehow change the person he was, but as the saying goes “a leopard never changes his spots”.

During this pregnancy I began to get unwell again I started to self-harm. I would shut myself in the pantry and slice my arms with a razor blade. I was rapidly sinking into a deep, dark hole of despair.

At 39 weeks of my pregnancy I felt something wasn’t quite right. When I laid down I could feel the baby just flopping around inside me, I panicked and told my mother who said to move my check-up date. So the next day I went for my check-up and they discovered that my child had no heartbeat, she was dead. I couldn’t believe what was happening and I suffered a nervous breakdown and was so distraught I could barely speak; I was taken to Shellharbour psychiatric unit where I stayed for 3 months after another suicide attempt.

My husband left me as he couldn’t understand my illness. I was in deep despair losing my child and my husband and used the self-harming as a way of releasing emotional pain. During this time my children lived with my parent’s, not having my children in my care was another setback, I felt I had lost everything that I loved.

I suffered for quite some time, the medication made me feel blunt and tired but I loved my children so much I fought like hell to get them back in my care.

In hospital I met a man called Rob he and I became great friends, he helped me to rebuild my identity and he also added meaning and purpose to my life. I was no longer to be seen as some-one with schizo-affective disorder and dissociative identity disorder or schizophrenia, I was me and I was worth something.

Slowly I began to rebuild my life, I had many set-backs and many visits back and forth to hospital, but I kept on hoping and dreaming of a better life.

I began to take responsibility for my illness and have an active part in my recovery. Rob linked me up with a really great psychiatrist, he helped me not only by listening to me but by also being patient while we tried different medications until we found something that worked.

I’d let the Doctor know how I felt and what was and wasn’t working for me in the way of medications I began to be more assertive and have a voice.

I felt empowered like I had found myself all over again and started applying for jobs. When I was told about the job as a consumer rehabilitation assistant in mental health I knew it was the job for me, so I applied and was lucky enough to fill the position. So not only am I feeling a whole lot better but I am able to help others with their journey to recovery.

The team I work with is so very supportive and we always work collaboratively with our clients.

We teach our consumers the recovery theme’s such as finding hope, redefining identity, finding meaning and purpose in life and taking responsibility for your illness.

Life is still at times up and down for me as my journey continues. You can never stop growing and working on yourself, trying to make life better. I currently attend the affect regulation group and still have one on one appointments with a psychologist.

I hope by sharing my recovery journey with other consumer’s it will help them to feel that they are not alone and that clinician’s in this field and members of our community can see just how bad life can get for us and how courageous you need to be to recover from the harsh realities of mental illness.

A compilation of uncensored real life experiences with Mental Illness.
GLIMPSES © 2007  For permission to use the content of this manuscript please contact Nicci Wall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax +61 3 5222 6847
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