Experiences of psychosis

Messages to others about psychosis

People who had experienced severe mental distress wanted to pass on what they had learned to people who may be experiencing similar problems. Looking back over their experiences, many offered advice that they wished they had received themselves. Some people we talked to also worked to help improve services for others (see ‘Work and education’). Many people felt hopeful about the future and wanted to communicate this hope to others. Even those who felt less hopeful found better ways of coping with severe difficulties, and said that it was possible to manage their lifestyles and their mental health (see Recovery).
Advice to others
Many looked back on their difficulties where they had felt scared, traumatised and hopeless. They wanted to tell people that there is hope, and that people could do things to help themselves feel better. People we spoke to wanted to inspire others to keep going through difficult times and to continue with their hopes and ambitions for the future.
Whilst some felt that accepting a diagnosis was the best thing to do, others recommended people not to take their diagnosis too seriously, or to be defined by it. Arwen said whatever your diagnosis keep fighting.
Over time, people found that they developed more stability in their lives. If people took medication, people advised getting the right sort of medication and taking it regularly, as the right medication could be ‘life changing’ as one person said. Some people managed better without medication, but had had to develop other means of coping with hearing voices over time.
People spoke about the whole range of things people could do to improve their lives such as doing research to find out more information on schizophrenia and other approaches to mental health. Others mentioned getting benefits organised, doing meaningful activities (e.g. voluntary work), ensuring you had caring friends (one person advised dumping bad friends) and avoiding stressful situations. A number of people advised people should always talk to someone trusted (e.g. a professional, a friend) as the longer the problem was ignored, the worse the consequences were. Rachel said it was important to learn how to love yourself, and David said it was crucial to ‘be strong.’
Personal views on changes in mental health services
A few people spoke about how they could have been treated differently, and how they had to fight to get particular treatments such as counselling. Many people had seen changes in the services over time and reflected on what had been helpful for them. There is more about this in the ‘Experiences of outpatient and community services’.
One person, Ron, describes his work with the ‘Hearing Voices Network’ and the changes within mental health professions.

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated April 2014.


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