No one should face Mental Health on their own :
" My mental health issues started early on in my teenage years. From the age of 12-15 I suffered from anorexia, coupled with depression and anxiety, this led me to self-harm to cope with the feelings of emptiness and low self worth. Fast forward a few years and I was prescribed a high dose of codeine phosphate after having an operation to remove my tonsils. This is where my addiction journey began. I would become dependent on opiates to combat the emotional pain I was in.
After a few failed suicide attempts, I turned to cocaine at the age of 17. This rapidly spiralled and soon enough I was putting any pill, powder or substance into my body that would numb me to any feelings. This became my daily life. Struggling to function without drugs and alcohol was my life. I completed a college course whilst surviving on drugs. The self harm got worse.
When I was 19 I met the love of my life. He helped me to get clean off all substances and I stayed clean for nearly a year. Until I fell pregnant the first time. My world got turned upside down when I was told there was no heartbeat at 15 weeks. I then fell into an even deeper depression and turned back to cannabis, opiates and self harm. This continued for a while until I fell pregnant a second time. I was riddled with anxiety the whole pregnancy but managed to stay clean until my son was born. 6 weeks came and went and an illness that not many are familiar with ravaged and consumed me:
Postnatal psychosis. I was hallucinating visually and auditory all day every day. I didn't tell anyone for fear of being labelled crazy and having my son taken away.
I, once again, turned to cocaine which would then go on to ruin my perfect little family. I would use cocaine every waking minute of my day for 8 weeks until I overdosed and had a seizure. I was sectioned at least 4 times for my mental health and the threat of my son being taken scared the life out of me."
"I was referred to the Oasis Women's Project and this is where I met Irene. She taught me coping strategies and new ways of thinking to combat the cravings and the hallucinations. Speaking to Irene gave me hope that I wasn't a lost cause and I could pick up the pieces that was my life and put them back together. Irene would take the time to listen and really made me feel like someone cared. Irene has helped me in all areas of my life. If I was distressed and felt like using. Irene would call and talk me through what I was feeling. She helped me to understand every day life and how to cope without self harm or substance abuse. She co-ordinated with all services involved with me to give me the best support possible. Without Irene, I would not be where I am today. I am eternally grateful for the support I received from Irene and I know she will go on to help many others like me in the future."
Today, I am raising an almost 4 year old with 3 years clean time.
Chloe Monks , 25 years old.