Psychosis (young people)


Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 21

Brief outline: Sameeha experienced a single short episode of psychosis in her early 20s during an unusually high period of stress. Although she was hospitalised, the psychotic thoughts stopped after less than two weeks with no sign of a coming back.

Background: Sameeha is 22 years old.

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Sameeha experienced psychosis for the first time when she was 21. She was in her third year of a law degree and was under an unusually ‘high level’ of stress due to problems with her loan, her job and her landlord. She was also rethinking what she wanted to do with her life. She began to lose awareness of time and what was happening around her and one night she just walked out of her student accommodation feeling very paranoid and with delusional thoughts. Her housemate brought her to A&E and she was eventually compulsorily detained in hospital for two weeks under a section of the Mental Health Act.

She clearly remembers the day and moment when she felt better. Someone was fixing the dim lights in her room in hospital and turned them on very bright. Colours looked brighter and “everything just illuminated” and she felt her “consciousness coming in”. Whereas before she hadn’t been aware what time of day it was, she was suddenly aware of the time of day and interested in reading her books. Despite the fact that she felt completely well, it was another 4 or 5 days before she was allowed to go home because staff were not available to assess her and release her from her ‘section’. 

Staff in hospital didn’t interact with her, they spoke ‘about her’ as though she wasn’t there. She thinks that staff need to be aware of the environment they are creating. She thinks staff who are not happy and comfortable being with people who experience psychosis shouldn’t be doing that kind of work. 

Sameeha says that getting plenty of sleep was very important for her recovery in hospital and suggests that doctors should help people to just sleep for a few days and then slowly bring them back, talking to them, telling them who they are, ‘grounding them’, and explaining why they are there. 

After she left hospital, a psychiatrist told Sameeha she had experienced psychosis. She did a lot of research online after that, and what she found most helpful was hearing about other people’s experiences. She found Youtube was a great source of information and decided to record her own story and post it on Youtube too. Talking about what had happened gave her a sense of release.

Friendships and her own spiritual beliefs have helped her to move on from her experience of psychosis and she has become very good at checking in with herself to make sure she is ok. She listens to music and finds meditation helps her to stop ‘buzzy’ thoughts in her head. She says it’s important not to feel ashamed or guilty about what happened and not to judge yourself but to look inside yourself for solutions. 


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