Psychosis (young people)

Becky

Female
Age at interview: 24
Age at diagnosis: 20

Brief outline: Becky experienced depression while at university, which got slowly worse. A difficult relationship break up in her final year sparked violent and aggressive behavior that was unlike her usual self. Mindfulness and CBT help her manage the ups and downs.

Background: Becky works full time and is single. Her ethnicity is White British.

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Becky was given a diagnosis of depression in 2010 when she was having a bad time settling into university. She experienced a relationship breakup in 2012 which brought out “the worst” in her, and she found herself becoming violent and aggressive and unlike her usual self. She still struggles to remember what was happening during those months. She was arrested a few times for breach of the peace, and for her own safety, and her parents then realised it wasn’t just depression. She was hospitalised involuntarily initially for a month and then, after just a week of being out of hospital, again for another month. The only other time she was hospitalised, this time voluntarily, was in 2014 when her parents got divorced. The experience of being in hospital was very different then, and she thinks that she was able to much better understand what was happening and was treated better by staff. 

Her first experience of being in hospital in 2012 was the “worst time” of her life and she couldn’t see a “way out”. She missed her final exams at university and lost a lot of friendships. She didn’t feel her parents understood or supported her at that time and she moved away from home. Despite a difficult period which followed, and being by herself, she managed to graduate and get a job and found good housemates and things started to get “back on track”. 

She was given a diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder in 2012 but her therapist thinks that a diagnosis of anxiety and depression better reflects what she is experiencing now. If Becky is having a bad day, the diagnosis/label can help her to differentiate the “illness side of things” from her as a person, and remind her that she is “not a bad person”. Although therapists say not to separate yourself from your moods, these thoughts can help her to get through the day, and that’s what matters most. She has good support from her therapist and GP and they discuss changes in her medication with her. She takes citalopram which, along with CBT, she finds works well. She previously took lorazepam and Diazepam in hospital which was fine while she was in hospital but wasn’t suitable for every life outside hospital because it caused drowsiness and lack of concentration. 

Talking therapies and CBT have helped her to be more aware of what is happening for her. Although she initially thought mindfulness was too simple to be effective, she finds being able to focus on the moment and pause her thoughts helps her. 

Becky works full time and her employer allows her to have time off when she needs it. In her day to day life, sleep is an issue and she has painful tummy cramps. 

Her experience has taught her to expect less from others in social situations and she thinks that whereas in the past she has expected her boyfriends to cope with her anger she now sees that she cannot expect that from them.

She uses social media and has acted as a peer support worker in the past and wants to help others. She thinks that its better to use the internet sites that are official rather than looking at individual people’s views and opinions on blogs and forums. 

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