Erika-Maye is 17. She’s had depression and been hearing voices for as long as she can remember. She’s also recently been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She says antidepressants, together with other therapies have helped her, as well as singing, music, writing and her faith. Erika-Maye has formed a group called Smile to help improve local CAMH Services. (White British).
Erika-Maye is 17. She’s suffered from depression to a degree her whole lif but was diagnosed with it when she was 13. Erika-Maye was bullied badly in school and she’s also been self-harming since the age of 9. When she first went to see the doctor she was not taken seriously but told her depression was just hormonal and something teenagers should expect to go through. Her self-harming was labelled as attention-seekin. Erika-Maye never liked going to the doctor in the first place, but feeling undermined has left her not being able to trust health professionals to this day. Erika-Maye has always been hearing voices. She says she used to thinks it was something everyone experienced and only when she saw a psychiatrist about CFS was she told it’s not meant to happen.
Seven months prior the interview, Erika-Maye suffered a prolonged virus which led her to be diagnosed with CFS; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She says CFS has made her life with depression much harder. She gets tired very easily, has trouble sleeping, can’t read or concentrate for long and now needs help with many everyday tasks like cooking or washing her hair. Because of CFS, her balance and muscle strength is poor and she’shas difficulty chewing and swallowing. She also has to have a walking stick or a wheelchair because without support she;d walk like a drunken pengui.
Erika-Maye has stayed at a psychiatric unit as an inpatient, and later as a day patient, but says it wasn’t a huge help to her. Antidepressants have helped and she’s currently on Fluoxetine. She says happy pill can help along with other strategies by addressing the brain’s chemical imbalance. For Erika-Maye, these include going to Cadets and having good friends she can trust and who take the mic out of her. Also her faith helps her although sometimes this can cause her to feel anxious. Erika-Maye also finds comfort in singing and writing and is looking into yoga, aromatherapy and reflexology.
Mental health system isn’t working as it shoul, Erika-Maye says. The services and people supposed to help young people sometimes in fact make them feel worse. There is a wide lack of understanding of mental health, and in the case of young people, even more so. To tackle this, Erika-Maye started a group called SMILE with a few other young people she met at the psychiatric unit, and they’re been consulted on by their local CAMH services.
Erika-Maye has filmed a video dairy of her thoughts, which can be found in her interview clips.