My first experience of psychosis was with my son’s father, who had the condition. Jumping on eighteen years, my son went through school fine, he was going the direction of music. But when he was seventeen/eighteen, I noticed he really got quite low. One day, he said ‘I want to quit my course’. I said ‘I think perhaps, you’re a little bit low, it might be a good idea to see the doctor’. So he did. I sat in the waiting room and was quite relieved actually that the doctor decided he had mild depression and put him on an antidepressant. Over a period of weeks he seemed much happier.
But then that happiness went a little bit further and I could see signs of perhaps a psychosis or something. I didn’t want to believe that, but with the understanding that I had with his father, I was seeing little signs. Then his first episode was actually quite rapid, within six weeks he went quite high. His friends also started noticing this change in his personality. It’s the chicken and egg thing, maybe he had genetically the bi-polar, and also recreational drugs were coming into play a bit, the cannabis and stuff, which I know doesn’t help.
I called the doctor about it and eventually we were put onto the crisis team. He was hearing voices and everything was really quite scary. The crisis team realised that they had let him go too long really, but it’s really hard with this sectioning business. In the end, he was behaving so strangely he was hospitalised for a while. The drugs that he was put on actually worked quite quickly but with this illness it takes a while.
He was in hospital about 2 weeks and then they transferred him to EIP (Early intervention in Psychosis Service). I was introduced to the staff and a person I could phone and talk to. My son had his care coordinator which was just really useful. Some mornings I would feel so upset and I could phone and speak to my person. It is quite scary for a mother or a father or anyone close to the young person it’s happened to. Also the staff put me onto the carer support services – [link to these here] and they were marvellous. They helped me with completing benefit claims for my son.
My only frustration with EIP was that, on his road to recovery, I felt that he should be seeing his care coordinator more often. But then I think that’s just being a mother, and actually you can’t rush their improvement. It takes time and a lot of love and care. Obviously funding affects them and they’ve only got so many staff, so sometimes they are really busy.
He was very lucky he had a lot of friends. I tried to talk to them directly and make them try and understand this condition. It’s just good to talk to as many people as you can. We’re four/five years on now. We’ve had a couple of blips, he’s been sectioned three times over the last four years and they were all a little bit different. But all that time, I could just pick the phone up and speak to EIP.
It is fixable but there’s got to be a lot of love, care and understanding and just to realise that this illness can’t be controlled like a broken arm. It’s really important to talk and get information. I would recommend that if you are concerned you should call the EIP team and say that you are noticing these certain behaviours in your child. I found that any questions I had, I would never be scared to ask EIP or even just phone up on a bad day.