Recently I joined Young Minds at a training event for professionals working within CAMHS. One of the training tools used was a scripted piece called “Disaster”. The idea of the piece was to help the professionals have some understanding of the emotions surrounding a person when they enter into services. “Disaster” however brought on something more for me. As much as I was excited about using it as interactive training tool I began to feel as though time was slipping away from me and I was being pulled back into my own past. I found myself thinking about my time in Mental Health Services. The most dominant memories coming from the first time I was hospitalised at the age of 19. I had the arrogance of thinking I knew everything, when the truth was that I knew very little. 4 years later and countless hospital admissions I am only now beginning to be able to understand the system I entered. I had to learn lessons not just about dealing with my Mental Health but how to manoeuvre my way round something so much larger than me without being left scarred by it. I write this and by no means am I recovered, I haven’t made it to the other side, and some days I doubt I ever will, but I’m no longer suffocated by the intensity of being in the middle of a meltdown. I can reflect back, really see what happened and make some sense of it. So with all that in mind I wanted to write about the lessons I learnt in the process, the things they don’t tell you and about taking ownership of your salvation.
© Vanessa Findlay