Worse than the worst nightmareBMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6941.1445a (Published 28 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1445
When I was 15 I had an acute psychotic breakdown. I was admitted to an adolescent unit, where I had an awful time. My parents and I were not treated sympathetically. According to the doctors my illness was stress related - all other possibilities were completely ruled out. I was labelled a rebellious adolescent from a family with major problems. The fact that my mother had married again caused great excitement. The staff could not accept that I did not have a problem about this and found it odd that I was not at all curious about my real father. I left hospital seven weeks later, angry and bitter and vowing never to have anything to do with psychiatry again.
In the next two and a half years I achieved a lot. I did well in my GCSE examinations. I travelled half way around the world to visit a friend in Brazil. I gained my bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards. And I completed the first year of biology, physics, and chemistry A level examinations with aspirations to study medicine. So it came as a bit of a shock when I had another psychotic attack.
One evening I was very jumpy, I panicked every time I heard a noise, and I was too afraid to have a bath. Then I had a vivid dream; in it people I had seen …