When I woke up in intensive care after being on life support for a suicide attempt and was told I was being sent to a long-term, specialist, inpatient hospital, I didn’t for one minute imagine that I’d be sat here today – in recovery.
It took a lot of hard work to grow into the person that I am today, but I couldn’t have done it without the support from Richmond Fellowship – or should I say I couldn’t have maintained it? Being discharged from hospital after two and a half years as an inpatient with staff support and 24/7 supervision was incredibly hard. Something that mental health professionals often fail to tell you is that ‘recovery’ is just the beginning of yet another hard fight.
When I was set to move into my own home in the community I was adamant that I wouldn’t need support any more – I believed that this was it, I was better. However, thanks to the persistence of the team at Richmond Fellowship’s Northumbria floating support service, their support (although it has significantly decreased over the years) has made all the difference towards my recovery when the going got tough.
I have now come to realise that recovery is hard; there are ups and downs. When I first went into recovery I thought that it was going to be all positive from then on. So when I had some down moments and started struggling, I really lost a lot of hope because I thought ‘This isn’t recovery, I’m meant to be better all the time’ and I was worried that I had relapsed. After I self-harmed in the community, I would’ve lost all hope if it hadn’t been for the reassuring support of Richmond Fellowship and my Recovery Worker who explained to me that you can’t go from three years of suicide attempts and self-harm to be ‘fixed,’ and in recovery straight from hospital.
Recovery is up and down, it’s not smooth-sailing. There are rough seas and there are calm seas and there are hard times, and there are really amazing times where you love life and you’re really passionate about what you do."
The biggest milestone in my recovery has been reaching half a million readers on my blog I'm NOT Disordered, which I started while I was in hospital. The name is a play on words from my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder because I wanted to get across that I’m not just my diagnosis and there’s a lot more to me and to my life than that. I also wanted it to be a place where I could share and reflect on my experiences of being in recovery, to reassure others who may be going through similar situations and have the same worries.
Over the years, I’m NOT Disordered has really taken off and I have had some amazing opportunities from it, including filming with different TV channels and radios and doing a lot of events with Richmond Fellowship and the services that have cared for me. It’s great to feel like I’m giving something back and that I’m helping services that have helped me.
I’m NOT Disordered is the greatest achievement in my entire life and so to have Richmond Fellowship support its growth and development over the years means a great deal to me and makes the hard work seem less daunting.