Engaging with help was a real turning point. I slowly realised I wasn’t being judged.
In the summer after my first year studying film production at university, I experienced a quite major psychotic episode. As a result, I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and put on a psychiatric ward. It's impossible to pin down one reason for it happening but it was something that needed to.
A rush of energy and flood of ideas for creative projects soon manifested in a full-blown mania. I was talking to my friends incessantly, a thousand miles an hour, about things that made perfect sense in my reality but something more than nonsense in theirs. Hallucinations occurred, people looked like Neanderthals, I saw demons in my tobacco, I even had conversations with people who it seems didn’t exist.
Not being able to shut it all off, I couldn’t sleep for around five days
It was truly scary for my friends, I’d keep them up at night talking about profound ideas. Not being able to shut it all off, I couldn’t sleep for around five days. With my friends shying away, or sleeping, I turned to my notepads, Dictaphone and video camera and I had company again. Capturing myself on film seemed to rationalise and normalise these thoughts and never-ending reams of writing seemed as though I was writing a bible. This only fuelled what had already erupted inside me, but it felt as if I was in on a monumental secret that would have some profound effect on the world.
Before I knew it, my friend had phoned my mum, who came straight away and phoned an ambulance. After refusing to get into the ambulance, the police came. Eventually, after a lot of desperate pleading on my part, I begrudgingly went into the van and was taken to hospital.
The process of restoring some lucidity or normality was one that lasted longer than I ever thought it would. I expected everything to go back to normal as soon as I left hospital. Finally choosing to properly engage with the help I was being offered was a real turning point. I slowly realised I wasn’t being judged by these people, and that they could only help as much as I could help them. Having a say in the treatments available to me, and options for different medication, was not the image I had been sold by my time in hospital.
Through a mixture of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) I have a much better understanding of the way my brain works.
I was soon diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, which, in one way, was a relief to me and those around me. Learning to manage the symptoms at their worst or to spot the triggers and avoid them altogether has made life much more bearable. Through a mixture of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) I have a much better understanding of the way my brain works.
The whole thing has had a severe effect on my life, my aspirations, and those around me. I'd refrain from saying it has defined me, but it has shaped a lot of who I am today, maybe who I’ve always been, and in many ways for the better.
Read more: Aidan's Story