From psychosis to: Danni's story
Danni, 26, lives in Dorset, where she works for the NHS. Here she tells us more about her first experience of psychosis, and how opening up to a therapist led to ‘lifesaving’ treatment with the early intervention team.
I was 16 when I was diagnosed with psychosis. I’d been having some strange thoughts for a while, thinking there were hidden cameras or that people could hear my thoughts, but I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal. I didn’t think anything of it, because that’s just how it was. But then I mentioned something to a friend one day and she was like, ‘that’s not normal’.
Things spiralled very quickly. It was like being in a daze, where I was separated from everything. It was really scary.
I felt increasingly paranoid. I started to hear different voices. Sometimes it was kind of non-descriptive mutterings, like people just talking in the background, but other times it would be someone talking to me, telling me that I had to stop the world from ending or to hurt myself. They also tied into visual hallucinations I had, where I would see things out of the corner of my eye or see people watching me. It was like someone was always there in the background, which was very unnerving!
I was already in therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) so when I opened up to my therapist about what I was experiencing, they organised an assessment and referred me to a psychiatrist really quickly. Within a week or so, I was under the care of the Early Intervention Team. In the beginning, I was quite resistant to going on medication or going into hospital. But my Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) was the one person I saw every week who helped me to cope and talk through my feelings until I got to a point where I could help make myself better and start taking medication.
It’s no exaggeration to say the Early Intervention Service saved my life. My CPN was incredible. I saw her every week for three years, either at my house or the local hospital. I’m so grateful for that support and I’ve always said that if I won the lottery then they’d get a share. I’ve met other people who’ve had similar experiences with the service who have said the same. It’s literally lifesaving.