"Years of struggle now over"

About: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I've always been different as long as I can remember. Gloomy, introspective and morbid. I can remember thinking about my own death from a very young age, 8 or 9, and thinking what a good thing this would be.

I always had trouble at school, difficulty recalling stuff and concentrating. I left at age 14 and took up manual work. I didn't feel that I was capable of anything else. I was taken to a GP but he dismissed my mood problems as just being normal teen blues. Never made any close friends, just passing acquaintances.

From the age of about 25 things started changing. My normal mood remained down but occasionally, just every now and then, I would have a sudden jolt of elation. These high periods started to last longer and longer, sometimes whole seasons. My problems with concentration worsened really, and I started drinking very heavily to smooth out the transitions between highs and lows.

I became a very sexual person. I had an incredible number of partners - without any discretion or consideration for others. I didn't really think about protected sex either and had several STD's. I have married and divorced three times.

My opinion of myself and capabilities changed. I started college and gained a qualification, started a semi-professional job. Unsurprisingly I struggled to keep up and the drinking problem became worst.

My third marriage broke down due to my drinking and irregular behaviour. I really lost the plot then, the thought of losing contact with my kids was terrible. I was off work for three months. When I returned to work I had entered another high period. In retrospect it wasn't appropriate for me to be there or to have contact with customers! On my first day back a female customer made a formal complaint about me having made a sexually inappropriate remark and I lost my job.

I appealed against this and was asked to see a psychiatrist. I was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and after a few blood tests I started taking a mood stabiliser.

I should admit that I was extremely reluctant to surrender myself to psychoactive medication and took some persuading, but within about two months of taking it I realised that my outlook on life had totally changed. The miserable depressed me had completely changed and I actually felt better than I ever had in my life! The elation popped up occasionally but soon got ironed out with some minor medication changes.

I hardly drink now - I had a period of abstinence that lasted about six years - and my other less savoury personal habits have become more controlled too ;-) I've even stopped smoking.

I am working and expect that this will continue until retirement. My last marriage had irretrievably broken down but I have come to terms with that and have a decent relationship with my children.

I have much to be grateful to the doctors and nurses from Lancashire Care. I wonder where I would be now without them? Dead? On the streets? Who knows.

Thank you.

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Response from James Maclachlan, Web Officer, Communications, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting your comment and we are glad to hear that our services helped and supported you.

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Response from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

As part of our commitment to learn more from patient’s experiences of our services, we would like to talk you about your story and experiences with Lancashire Care. If this is something you would like to do, please contact Steven Edwards, Service User Experience Lead.