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Personal Story: Experiencing psychosis

Gain insights into the experience of psychosis and the available support for individuals navigating this condition. Explore symptoms, causes, coping strategies, and resources for understanding and managing psychosis and promoting mental well-being.

Personal Story: Experiencing psychosis

I started becoming anxious when I was 11 and it escalated to the point that I couldn’t leave the house because I was afraid of being judged. There was so much pressure to always be right, get good grades, be perfect and it was all so paralysing as I got older. I would not study on the test so that if I don’t do well, I can blame it on not studying rather than on myself. It took me a very long time before I could reach out to people. I felt like people wouldn’t understand.

I was 20 when I experienced my first episode of psychosis and that is when I got help from my GP. During my psychosis I believed my body wasn’t my own, that I was unsafe, and I tried to escape it. That was accompanied with the feeling of paranoia that I felt someone wanted to do me harm. For a lot of young women, sexual abuse is a precursor to a first episode of psychosis. I wasn’t diagnosed with schizophrenia until i entered adult mental health services 2 years ago. Until then I had no specific label, just a history of symptoms.

During my journey of recovery what I found most helpful was goal setting, slowly changing how I perceived myself and having meaningful relationships. I am part Maori and I know mental health is really tapu. For Maori, saying you have problems with your mental health can bring shame to the family. It is important to me that we are able to have conversations about mental health so that our People don't suffer silently because they are afraid of the shame it would bring to their family.

#BeautifulMinds is a series of raw and honest stories from people sharing their lived experience with mental health in New Zealand. Published with permission. We hope these stories capture the diversity of how mental health affects different people and you can be inspired by their journey towards mental wellbeing. Clearhead’s mission is to destigmatise mental health through raising awareness and encouraging people to feel it is ok to seek help early by giving them the tools to do so. Sign up now to use the platform, it is free to do so!

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If you are not in immediate danger but require crisis support:  mentalhealth.org.nz
Suicide Call Back Service
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467. — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14
, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.
Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.
Kids Helpline
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 – 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
MensLine Australia
MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online counselling service offering support to Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or organise a video chat.
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24/7 free and confidential counselling to anyone who has served at least one day in the ADF, their partners and families. Call 1800 011 046.
If you are not in immediate danger but require crisis support:  healthdirect.gov.au