Products of Our Environment

So as the title states – I’m gonna be sharing my own story about my younger life and growing up with a history of mental illness in my family.

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s purely coincidental, whether it’s hereditary or whether being in an environment where mental illness was prevalent was a norm for me as a child and perhaps made me more susceptible to becoming mentally unwell.

Does mental illness flow through my veins, beat in my heart and thrive off my healthy mind?

A woman very dear to me has struggled with inner demons for as long as I can remember. I was about 9 when I first began to notice that something wasn’t quite right. She’d spend days in bed, she wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t even wash. With hind sight and personal experience I can now see that she was in an incredibly deep rooted depression.

It didn’t last days, or weeks… it lasted years.

I began to notice these traits in myself a number of years ago which was a very scary thing for me. I didn’t want to have a halted life because my mind would throw a fit every once in a while.

I decided to push on through, to finish studying Forensic Science, to get an unconditional offer at the university I wanted to study at – although I dropped out! I’ve worked in the Mental Health field and am now heading into working for the Ministry of Justice.

It’s ok to be abnormal, I wouldn’t have thrived as much if I was never unwell or had never battled with addiction.

If I could meet my 9 year old self, I would tell her that she would be okay. That her mum would win the uphill struggle. I’m now 21 and have almost set myself up for life.

This is the year everything changes!

If Kiwi can cope, so can you!



Being Inside a Psychiatric Unit

I’m going to cut straight to the point – being inside a psychiatric unit as a patient is one of the scariest things that I’ve ever experienced.

This is the first time I’m explaining in detail what happened that night back in March.

The day was March 12th 2016, I’d been out drinking with a few friends to have farewell drinks for a dear friend that had passed away a few days before. The morning of March 13th I’d been detained and sent to the middle of Southampton. My Dad was the person who told the police to detain me, I was completely out of control to the point that even he couldn’t cope with it – and that man can carry a lot of bullshit!

I was in the back of a police van with a police officer, he was purposely twisting my wrist with the handcuffs on to make me wince in agony. I was in such a horrific way and he leant over to me and said “have you got Facebook?”. I was absolutely stunned to think that a man of authority, who was supposed to be caring for me said something as unprofessional as that. 

I got hauled up to Cosham in the back of the van and got transfered to two men in another vehicle. I felt like a fucking ragdoll being passed from pillar to post! 

This officer grabbed me by the shoulders and yanked me out of the van as if I was a fucking quadriplegic. I was then handed over to two Medisec workers.

Two men… again! Fucking great. I was disorientated and scared knowing that I was going to be locked in the back of a car with two men again for atleast another 45 minutes. I had shoved myself right up into the corner of the backseat. I was ripping chunks of my hair out, I was shaking like a leaf. 

Thinking back, it was stupid of them to not check my bag while leaving me handcuff free in the back. I had a pen knife and half a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum still on me. Silly people…

We got to Antelope house and they registered me in, by this point it was about half 6 in the morning and I was dying for a cigarette. I ended up going out to smoke with an officer and the psychiatrist. I was stood in this tiny box courtyard that made me feel like I was inside of a prison. The walls were atleast 20-25ft high. 

I remember gazing into the sky and telling myself that I didn’t belong in that place. I wanted to shake myself awake from the bad dream. I started to think it was a dream until I felt cold splats of water hitting the apples of my cheeks. It had started raining and I didn’t have a bloody jacket with me.

I was placed into a white-walled room with peeling paint from floor to roof. I slumped myself onto the ‘mattress’ – I put that in quotations as it was no thicker than a babies changing mat.

I was given a blanket and was set to hit the pillow until one if the Medisec guys popped his head round the door and said “you must be starving, do you want anything to eat?”. I hastily thanked him but politely rejected. 

I was so paranoid that I hid under the blanket while questioning why he’d offered me food. “He’s laced it with Rohipnol… Maybe he’s just innocently asking… NO! He’s definitely laced it with something. Why would he do that!? How has he got a job working with people like me. Who would allow someone like him to offer people food. How putrid!”

Looking back now he was just doing his job, making sure I was as comfortable as I could be in that human ‘kennel’. I resurfaced from under the blanket and started questioning myself more “I’m 19 years old, why the hell am I sat in this box? This is like something out of a thriller movie. I do not belong here, what the fuck lead me to this point? How the fuck have I ended up in this state at such a young age!?”

I couldn’t answer any of my questions and fell into a light sleep, only to be woken 15 minutes later by a short, stocky woman saying that she’d be waking me up every half hour and peering in every 15 minutes to make sure I was still alive. Suicide watch – a bit like Bay Watch but instead of skimpy red swimsuits, it was baggy grey jumpers.
I groaned when she said it but agreed, although now I needed the toilet. So here I was banging on the door to get out so I could pee. I got escorted 2 meters to the bloody toilet cubicle. Like an old Cowboy film – there was a saloon-like door between me peeing and the 3 people keeping an eye on me. I felt like a bloody animal knowing that they could hear me wee! So I started to hum Bohemian Rhapsody really loud to try and drown out the tinkle and one of the guys ended up whistling along.

After I’d washed my hands, the whistler asked me if I had anything in my bag that I shouldn’t have. I had the Rum, the penknife and an empty baggy that had previously had coke in concealed in a little gap in my purse. I told them about the rum and penknife. The guy said that they would have to pour the Rum away, I felt my heart sink. “I only bought that today!..” I said sternly but in a joking manner. “…Do what you need”I continued.

So byebye Rum, hello distraught Ciara.

Anyways, for the next few hours I’m woken up so often that I may aswell have just stayed awake. I got up from the bed and started hearing noises from down the corridor. A woman was screaming and banging the walls, that started World War III in the building! Some guy who sounded about 40 was barking down the corridor telling her to shut up.

I ended up sitting with the people watching me and was even offered a Twix by one of them, bless him. I needed the toilet again but this time, I noticed in the corner of the cubicle a blue bucket with my empty bottle of Rum in it. “Bastards” I thought to myself, “hang on a moment, I could easily smash that and start self harming with it.” 

The second I got out the cubicle I vented my frustration about the bottle being left, especially after knowing why I had been brought in.

The rest of the night is a blur to me now really.

Please do not ever let yourself get so unwell that you have to experience a place like that because I promise you, it’ll fuck your head up more.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.