Ss family story

Before this happened to my son Sam, my understanding of psychosis was that it only affected deeply disturbed people who lived in the shadows of society. How wrong that stereotype is.

I will never forget the day Sam told me he was seeing visions and hearing voices. He was 14 years old. He said the voices told him he was the Chosen One, a messenger to save the world and he had to listen to the voices or else. He was seeing disturbing visions of people dying in front of him. The voices would also torment him and tell him he was useless and worthless, and scream these things at him for hours on end. He had been experiencing these symptoms and not sleeping, for months. He finally couldn’t take it anymore, and he told me what was happening to him. I felt sick with dread and panicked, as I didn’t know how to help him.

We went to the doctors, and he also panicked when Sam told him what he was experiencing, as he had no idea where to refer him to. We were sent to the CAMHS service the following week and the psychiatrists and key workers there were so helpful, and made it clear they had his wellbeing at heart. He wasn’t diagnosed with First Episode Psychosis until 6 months after he had been with the service, when his symptoms again got worse.

Things changed quickly for the better when Sam was referred to the EPI service. Having people who specialise in psychosis, and having a multi-disciplinary early intervention team, helped him immensely. He was put on better medication and had regular meetings with the psychiatrists, key workers and psychologists. It makes a world of difference for families if they have confidence in the service they are being offered to help in such a distressing, disorienting time not only for the person, but also for the support network around him.

He has his ups and downs with psychosis, but overall is doing really well, with a lot of support and his own amazing resilience, coping strategies and fantastic outlook on life. He wants to be a psychologist in the future, to help people just like him.