"I am a totally different person"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – Community(County)

(as the patient),

Towards the end of my year 8 year I fell very depressed, I began to feel the pressure of school and the outside world. I had never spoken about how I felt until the first time I self harmed n my left forearm twice and told my closest friend at the time. Nothing serious was made of it and I just survived through everyday life and activities such as dancing.

I began to shut myself off from everyone, leaving the house less and less, and completely segregating myself from my entire family as my time was spent solely in my room and at school. I told myself I was never going to self harm again until about 6 months after I found myself doing it again and again, until it began to consume me, I self harming everyday and causing pain in a desperate attempt to wash out the lies and see the world in a better way.

I was very weight conscious and still am and had even starved myself and missed meals. I had always had people say things to me/about me but I denied it to ever be seen as bullying as I felt it wasn't enough to destroy me... even though it did. A few weeks down the line from this point there had been serious bullying towards me and threats of physically harming me which meant my everyday at school was spent in fear. My parents nor teachers besides a couple friends knew of anything of this until I was finally driven to over dosing during a maths lesson without anyone knowing.

I had two close friends, one being who had suffered through this before who recommend me to tell a member of staff and go to a hospital, which I then did. My parents were very angry and they couldn't believe it when I told them I thought I was a disappointment to them. After spending the night in hospital and being told I was lucky to not have my stomach pumped, my parents also found out accidentally about my self harm. Basically that was the worst feeling of my life and I felt as though nothing could get better.

The next and last day spent in the hospital I spoke to a woman and someone from CAMHS about everything basically, but I still lied because I was still in denial over everything and was convinced I was perfectly normal. I went for one more checkup with my parents and was adamant I did not need to see her again.

After about another year of being caught a few times with more and more scars and family issues, it was reported again to another teacher who then made me sign up for CAMHS again. After waiting several months for my assessment I began having regular sessions with my Councillor.

13 appointments down the line I am much happier and confident as I struggled with anxiety bipolar and was then diagnosed with autism. I am over 9 months clean from self harm and things at home have got much better and I have a much better connection with new friends. Camhs has helped me so much and I am a totally different person.

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Response from Caroline Prance, Acting Clinical Team Lead, CAMHS Outpatients (South), nottinghamshire healthcare NHS trust

Dear TariN

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and for being so open about your experiences, that really does take a lot of courage. I know that your honesty will really help other young people and their families as it is a story of hope. I know your story will also encourage therapists. I am so pleased to read how much better you are now feeling than those early clearly difficult days, and how your relationship with family and friends are improving as you become happier and your confidence grows.

I wonder if you would mind contacting me on 0115 8415812 so that I can ensure those who have helped you can be acknowledged?

With my very best wishes to you TariN and thank you once again for sharing your story.

Caroline Prance

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