Mandy says she’s always felt different to others and like she didn’t quite fit in. Mandy’s been self-harming since a young age, and later on experienced depression and been hearing voices. She stayed in a psychiatric unit for a while where she made two very close friends. For Mandy, time, getting involved in her care and going forwards in small steps helped the most. (White British).
Mandy says that from a very young age she felt different to other kids and like she didn’t fit in. Ever since she was little, she says she was accident pron; throwing herself down the stairs or banging her head and passing the incidents off as accidents. This was the beginning of self-harm. Mandy first sought help at the age of 14 – she;d been badly bullied through primary school and was feeling very low. Mandy says depression runs in the family and for her, bullying was the tipping facto. At first, she stayed with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) for a couple of years, during which she also took her first overdose, but was discharged for attention seekin.
By the age of 16, Mandy had started hearing voices and having visual disturbances, and was self-harming and feeling more suicidal. She was put on heavy medication and says she was pretty much out of i until she was transferred to a new hospital and started dialectical behavioural therapy and was weaned off most of her medication.
When in the local psychiatric unit, Mandy met Frankie (see Interview 13) and Sian (see Interview 12). The girls developed a very close bond during the months they stayed in the same unit and have stayed friends ever since. They stay in touch regularly and refer to each other as sister. They all say that getting to know each other was the biggest help they got, both in and out of hospital. During their stay in the hospital, the girls got to know each other’s moods, knew when to support each other and when to leave each other have the space to have their own time. They say they kept each other sane in the most insane way.
Mandy says it’s a cliché but time will help – it helped her and her friends. She also says getting properly involved in one’s care is crucial – to help build confidence and a sense of achievement. Setting realistic targets and taking small steps at a time were also important for her. Mandy says she still has her good days and bad days but she feels OK for most of the time and has learnt to acceptthe times when she doesn’t.
For more from Mandy see her Group Interview 11-13.