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Help in a crisis

 

If there is an immediate danger to life, please dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

I am in Gloucestershire

If you or someone you know needs help in a mental health crisis, call our crisis teams.

Call 0800 169 0398.

And choose one of the following options depending on your location:

  • Option 1 for Stroud and Cotswolds
  • Option 2 for Gloucester and Forest
  • Option 3 for Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds

Please note: telephone calls may be recorded. If you do not want that to happen, please tell the person who answers your call and they will phone you back on a ‘non-recordable’ telephone.

The number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Occasionally, callers may be asked to leave their name and number on an answerphone. In these circumstances, staff will return the call within one hour.

I am in Herefordshire

If you are in Herefordshire, please call: 01432 364046

The number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need help but are not in crisis, please contact your GP if in opening hours, or 111. If you don’t have a GP use the NHS service search to locate the nearest one to you. If your query is not urgent, you can find our contact details here.

Are you feeling vulnerable? Do you need to talk to somebody now?

samaritans

Call free on 116 123
If you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide, you can call the Samaritans.

Stay Alive App

A pocket suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. The app can be accessed through the Apple Store, Google Play and downloaded as a pdf.

childline

Call free on 0800 11 11
If you are a child or a young person you may want to speak to Childline.

selfharm

Call 0808 816 0606
A safe, supportive, non-judgmental and informative service for people who self harm, their friends, families and carers.

In March 2016 I was discharged from Laurel House, a recovery unit in Cheltenham.

I had been there for 16 months and I left to live on my own. Prior to that, I had been admitted to Wotton Lawn Hospital 14 times in 14 years.

There have been a lot of stages in my recovery, but more than two years ago I was prescribed the medication I currently take. That is the longest time, by quite a way, that I have stayed on the same dose of medication. I have to say it is working for me.

A year-and-a-half on from my discharge, I still have times where I suffer from my symptoms. Sometimes the voices are all-consuming. It can be as if I am listening to a hundred different conversations.

I still get the feeling that people’s spirits are around me, like they are trying to tell me something important. And I still get the feeling that other people are using my words; that my intelligence is influencing a lot of people. But I recognise these things as symptoms of my paranoid schizophrenia. They are real in a background sort of way; they have a disguise of truth. But they are not an immediate truth. I don’t just dismiss these symptoms. Rather I accept that if I engage with them too much it would damage my health.

So I try to live healthily. I have put on some weight since my medication was changed. But my weight has been fairly stable for more than a year.

I eat a lot less fatty foods, preferring vegetarian food most of the time. My medication makes me hungry after I take it in the evenings, but I make an effort not to snack too much.

My routine also includes exercise. I try to include sport. When I was younger I would exercise every day, but with my current routine it is harder. I still play football, cricket, tennis, badminton and golf, but not every week like I used to.

Perhaps the biggest step forward I have made in the last few years is to start voluntary work. I have given up on education for now, as it has fuelled some of my illusions of grandeur.

I work four afternoons a week at three different jobs. I have slowly built up the hours and the type of work I do. They give me great satisfaction. People can be so grateful and it warms my heart to think I am helping, that I am useful.

At the moment I feel a long way from an episode.  I think I’m the happiest I have ever been.

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