When did you decide to take medication for your mental health?
When I was thirty three, I had just had my second child and I quickly realised that I had problems leaving the house by myself with my son.
I had my own craft unit, I was free to work there when I wanted but even though it was only a few miles away, it felt like somewhere impossible to reach.
I had commissions and my rent was paid for the year because I traded the payment by offering services in kind. I designed a logo and had done some work on some gardening features that guaranteed me secure tenancy for a year.
It basically meant that I could store a lot of wood and materials there, that had been filling my house.
I really did have everything going for me; a career and family I loved and i was earning loads of money.
I knew I was not depressed.
Yes, I'd just had a child and life had to change a little, but I was in a position that meant I could work when I wanted, having my son in the workshop with me was better than staying in an watching TV.
I was supposed to be a part of a community, I worked next door to an amazing artist, the potter Donna Peterson and a glass artist Sylvia Waugh - another very talented lady.
And my partner worked on site, as part of a horticultural team - we were all part of a community interest group that we had formed.
And then I couldn't leave the house.
It was a problem, a massive problem.
Shortly after I couldn't answer my own phone anymore either.
My doctor perscribed me some pills, to treat depression and sent me somewhere for CBT.
I stopped taking the pills after one week, I know that I didn't probably take them long enough for any effect, I didn't let it happen because it felt wrong.
I KNEW I wasn't depressed.
I also knew that CBT for depression was not going to help. It didn't identify my problem.
It was obvious I had a problem, I couldn't leave the house, for fuck sake.
The doctor agreed, I didn't seem like I was suffering from post natal depression. I wasn't - I said I wasn't - I KNEW I wasn't and nobody was helping.
I told my mum, "I can't leave the house and I think my boyfriend is cheating on me" - she didn't make contact with me again over the next two months.
Other people did, they kept ringing me and ringing and Ringing and that triggered so much anxiety in me because I couldn't answer the phone.
I started to break down, I couldn't stop crying. I steadily declined into paranoia about my boyfriend cheating. I felt I'd been deliberately trapped. I didn't know what was happening to me, of why - but needless to stay, my emotional state continued to decline.
At 42, I feel like I've had nine years of hell. I've been completely trapped in cycles of paranoid ideations mixed with total psychotic breaks
I whoy believe I've had a total and complete psychotic break from reality - it triggered PTSD that I never realised, and pushed me dangerously close to becoming an antisocial personality disorder. Mixed with a dangerous dose of avoidant and schizoid, that has made it impossible for me to communicate with other people.
I reached a point were I couldn't begin to talk... about anything with anybody. I was trapped inside my own head and felt so completely lost and alone with my back against the wall, without trust towards any other human being and my welfare.
I came very close to losing my life, in all of that.
Until I was diagnosed with autism, I couldn't see any way forwards with my life, I didn't want it to continue that was what I had resided myself to and I'd lost ALL will to communicate.
I have lost a lot of time, I feel like I've wasted nearly a decade because I've been stuck in my own head, I was mute, aphasic. I lost my voice. I forgot who I was, what I liked, what I did,and I look at it now, like a period that I can only see as like remote viewing - it was some other "me" that has lived this last nine years...
It was all caused by me not being able to understand my own autistic mind. My own measurements of functionality, are limited by that. I felt the limitation, I hit a brick wall when I realised I had problems with communicating the way I was, I couldn't answer my phone, I couldn't make calls and going to work in my unit got so difficult that in the end I let it go.
I let it all go. Eventually.
I am not a religious person, but knowing what risks I've taken I do believe in Providence - some type of fate that kept me alive, because I know it wasn't my doing, I didn't expect I'd be here now.
So, when did I decide to take perscribed medication for my mental health?
I made the decision once I was diagnosed with the conditions that I have, I already knew and accepted that without help and proper mental health support, that I wouldn't have much quality of life.
Look what happened when I was left undiagnosed and without medication!!? I can't believe that it had to come to that. I can't believe that my doctor at the time showed such a reticent attitude towards my mental health. I told them I didn't want to live and they let me go, without even attempting to call me or follow up and make sure I was even ok.
If I had the energy, I'd be half tempted to sue my old doctor for negligence, because I was completely open and honest with him about what my symptoms were, - I believe wholly that he had enough information about the problems I was experiencing - to at least of justified him referring me for autism screening.
I've lost nine years of my life, and expereicnes a lot of awful shit and I think all of that could of been avoided IF I'd of been diagnosed and appropriately medicated.
It's been a nightmare and not just for me: my untreated mental health conditions have affected people who should of been able to rely on me. Ive let down some of my responsibilities, I've thrown away a lot of opportunity, I failed to fulfill commissions and I've let people down.
All because I needed medication.
And what medication am I getting??
That is probably all I needed nine years ago. My son didn't sleep well which meant I ended up sleeping less than three hours at any one point.
That was a major trigger to my own mental health crisis; sleep deprivation.
If taking two pills a day, means that I won't ever become THAT^ Unhinged again, then it's wholly worth it.
I've only been taking these pills for a few weeks, but the sky is looking bluer than it has during the last few years, most certainly.
If you can get to see the right kind of health professional, one who can properly assess your mental health accurately then I wholly recommend taking them up on whatever they suggest.
It's better than what might happen without diagnosis and without mediation... if it's needed.
I still hold the entitlement for consent to treatkent., Because I am not deemed to be psychotic - I know the day, the date and the name of the prime minister and so therefore I reserve the right to refuse treatment, if I chose to.
As it stands, i would much rather receive help, than not.