Hi, Im Erika, I write this blog to help others understand mental health. I am a student mental health nurse who has struggled most my life with mental health difficulties.
Throughout my really rough times I never thought I would make it to 18, considering I am almost 20. I would say I achieved what I used to feel was impossible.
I think that the mental health stigma is still so big. Throughout my life and even to this day I am judged for having mental health disorders. Its almost as if struggling psychologically means you cant do anything. Ive been told numerous times ‘how are you gonna be a mental health nurse with your history’ and ‘how dare you look after others when you cant look after yourself’.
To all those people that have doubted me I wanna say stuff you. How dare you judge me when you don’t know the entire story. My life is my business and not every person needs to know the ins and outs of my struggles.
The reason I became a mental health nurse was to help others using my experience and knowledge of being on both sides of care. My mental health improves hugely doing the job I do. And yes I have bad days and bad moments but isn’t everyone?!
One phrase that I base my life upon, is don’t let your past define you! My past consists of numerous attempts on my life and severe self harm, does that then mean that I cant work in healthcare, no, it means that I know how the people I look after feel, from their prospective. And if anything I hope that makes me a better nurse.
My complex mental health difficulties will never define. Just because my depression causes me to experience negative thoughts at times, doesn’t mean I cant perform care. Just because my anxiety causes me to overthink everything and puts me on edge, doesn’t mean I cant perform at work. and just because I have EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder) and PTSD doesn’t mean I cant work. my diagnosis doesn’t define me and never will. How can anyone say I shouldn’t work when I have worked my arse off to get to a place where I am stable in mood, living on my own and performing well in my degree.
The way I live my life and the way I feel is different to the way that everyone I this world is unique. Because I can guarantee that if you were judged and discriminated against because you had a physical disability or were pregnant or have an injury so had to work in the office for a while, you would be kicking off. Shouldn’t it be the same for mental health.
Deciding to study mental health and becoming a mental health nurse was the best decision of my life. I go to placement and different fields of work with a complete different mindset. Im not in this profession for money or for a job im in this profession to help change mental health care. I hate that there are still horrible stereotypes for behaviour of someone with a mental health illness, I hate that there are workers that are working in mental health care without training or any inside knowledge to the way their patients are feeling. I want to help change the way people feel about working with people with mental health difficulties and I wanna help put in place more training for workers about the psychology of mental illness.
My goal in the future is to put in place a service for patients transferring from child mental health services to adult mental health services. This is because the 2 are so different. There are more suicides in the age category of 16-25 because they aren’t receiving the right care and are just rushed in the transformation of care. Could you imagine if there was a service that gradually took you from one level of care to the other. With more guidance, more support and more help for both the services and the patients. If the move from services was smoother im sure patients would feel more safe. Because that’s what I would have wanted.
My story goes that at the age of 18 I was discharged from CAMHS services with only the little support of having numbers to ring if I was struggling. I was at camhs for 3 years which included a 10 month inpatient 24/7 care admission. I went from having all the help I needed to barely anything. I actually refused to go to adult mental health services because the change was too severe and I was better off on my own. In CAMHS the help you get is constant and the therapy is more extreme, because you are a child… when you become an adult you have more responsibility and less people care, Because you should be able to function individually. The adult care services takes ages to put in place, will call you maybe once every 2 months for a check in and barely help unless you are severely ill.
I really wish I was ready to go from having someone checking in constantly to no one ever, because it was extremely hard for me to adjust. Luckily I have. But I still wish that there was a service to help me with the changes that came into play.
So my goal is to put that service in place. Let me know what you think…
and please stay strong and contact me for support if you need it. you can contact me through the contact link on the page.
all the best