My older sister was diagnosed with psychosis over 10 years ago. I gradually became involved with her care because other members of the family just didn’t have the time, understanding or capability. I had to fight for my legal right as her carer, and I never gave up until this happened – now I am involved in all her meetings and decisions.
My partner of 10 years has schizophrenia. He’s been displaying symptoms for about seven years now but was only diagnosed 3 years ago. We’ve got two children and he first became ill when I was pregnant with our first son. We saw some symptoms early on, but it was quite difficult to get him to go to a doctor. We have a very good relationship so I am now actually part of his care plan.
I have had depression for about 14 years, and then about a year ago I was diagnosed with psychosis as well. I’ve had quite a lot of traumatic life experiences so I think my psychotic condition is the result of having experienced these events.
As far as I know my son was diagnosed with psychosis. He never wanted me to go into his meetings in hospital, as if there was a big dark secret he didn’t want me to find out about. He went to great lengths to stop me finding things out, and wanted me to be distant from his condition. My daughter tried to go to the meetings instead, but he didn’t like that so it caused a rift between them and he didn’t speak to her for several months and he decided to keep his meetings and condition private.
I became ill recently after travelling – I came back on a plane thinking I’m some sort of extra-ordinary amazing person who doesn’t need to sleep and was talking absolutely non-stop. It was very confusing for everyone, especially my parents, who couldn’t even begin to understand what was going on. It must have been really difficult and stressful for them, because they ended up calling the GP which resulted in me being detained in a psychiatric hospital. I was very angry with my parents for a very long time, but they have been a HUGE, HUGE support for me, have always put up with me and almost put to one side their own emotional needs – I don’t know what the future holds yet, but I can’t thank them enough for their help so far.
Relative & Service User
My dad was diagnosed with depression for as long as I can remember, and then about 10 years ago he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. At the time he was looking after my mum, who had Multiple Sclerosis. I also have Bipolar, I think it can be easy to miss by health professionals – I went to see my GP when I was depressed, but during mania, if it’s not extreme, you are quite happy and it sometimes doesn’t register as a problem.
*We have used actors to retell the stories shared by relatives and service users in order to keep their identities confidential.