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This is actually happening features real experiences that often include traumatic events, please consult the show notes for specific content warnings on each episode and for more information about support services.


If you could imagine having thoughts that frightened you, then other times they made you believe things about your perception or what you were saying weren't real or distorted. It's absolutely insane and just so hard you would do anything to stop it.


From London. I'm with misalign you are listening to this is actually happening episode one eighty three. What if everyone was watching you? Today's episode is brought to you by Audible If you're looking for the best way to listen to audiobooks, podcasts and meditation programs all in one service, check out Audible. Audible is the leading provider of spoken word entertainment and audio books ranging from best sellers and new releases to celebrity memoirs, languages, comedy, true crime and now podcasts.


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To start your extended one month free trial, visit EHI crime central dot com forward slash quandary today. I was born to a single mother. She was 19. I didn't have any sort of meaningful relationship with my biological father. She married once when I was about six or seven, and he wasn't particularly nice person. It was very much a blended family here for his own children, and mum had me into it and then my sister 10 years later.


We lived in a beautiful house and, you know, in the outside, it looked like, you know, we had this really well put together family, but, you know, you scratch the surface or you walk through the door and it was nothing like that. It was emotionally very hard.


And having to maintain this perception of what our life was, was was difficult. With, you know, a lot of blended families, there were difficulties around, he wanted to be a father figure to everyone, but he didn't treat us all equally. So an example of the kind of person he was is I was very fearful. And so I used to have a lot of nightmares. And I was mainly about Freddy Krueger, to be honest. And he knew that.


And he bought a Freddy Krueger mask, which, you know, which is obviously send me into a complete tailspin, because that was my biggest fear.


Like that was my biggest concern as I was growing up for years and years, or if I lost my glasses, for instance, and I used to sit in the bedroom, I would like pray to some God or something to please let me find them, because I knew the repercussions of losing those were going to be huge and I would have to endure berating for hours or even though he wouldn't physically strike out and insult me or anything, that was just just my mom.


I knew that she was being physically abused by him, even though she tried to protect me. I don't have a lot of clear memories in terms of actually seeing him physically hit her, but I do remember seeing marks and cuts and bruises. He owned businesses and he was the main provider in terms of all the finances and would control all of those, and we lived in this beautiful house and big pool that people would come around and swim at and we'd have to have a party.


And I think that was all a part of the facade that we were this well put together, a functioning, happy family.


It was really just a show. And I guess she wanted to stay for that, even though that came at a huge cost to her own physical and emotional well-being and also her daughter's. He was nothing like he wanted the world to see him as. For a child, for me, I downplayed, I guess, his behavior and the way he treated me and my mom a lot because she would often justify his behavior. He obviously had, you know, that abusive kind of behavior where he would apologize and promise that things would be different for her, and obviously they they never were.


I was too frightened to sit and tell anyone the truth. What would I do to his reputation? You know, he had a business to run. Emotionally, I really did try and put those feelings away somewhere, and it was hard as a kid to keep a smile on my face. So we left when I was 13 and took my sister and we lived in a commission home, so I'm from this beautiful double storey pool, you know, rumpus room to this tiny two bedroom commission house.


I remember having dreams as a kid that I just wanted to go back to the house, even though I knew that represented so much discomfort and distress and anxiety, but the facade of the family was so ingrained in me.


You really justify a lot of that behavior and were so conditioned, I guess, to just protect your mother as well as obviously yourself and the repercussions of that kind of treatment. You just get lost in it and you try and be a kid and work out who you are and turn into a teenager. And I was like I was 13. Like, I was horrendous, but I was unsettled. I was an unsettled teenager because I don't think anyone can come at that and not be affected.


We basically had nothing and we didn't have anything for, you know, quite a few years, so until I was about 17 and she met her second husband.


He was more like a father figure to me than than anyone that I'd had and, you know, he was a bit rough around the edges, but, you know, he valued family and he valued hard work and those kinds of things so that he was a really good role model.


I'd always been a sensitive child, and as I was a teenager, I started to really rebel in a sense, I felt like it was my time to start speaking. There were certainly different things that happened, like being a little bit too outspoken and not really thinking about the consequences of the way I might speak to someone or how that may affect them. So while my emotional intelligence was developing and I had difficulty regulating a lot of that.


My moods were OK. I didn't have any disturbances in my perception of reality that I can really recall as a teenager, I think I had a lot of the stereotypical behaviors associated with being a teenager.


But I remember having feelings of paranoia and being overly sensitive, but then having a shift in my personality. I had difficulty regulating a lot of that, so I'm not really thinking about the consequences of the way I might speak to someone or how that may affect them. I would often speak out about things that didn't really warrant, you know, my time or my my concern. I really struggle with the battles I chose to to fight. That created issues for me, especially when I was in high school and and trying to evolve into a decent human being.


I finished high school, I went on to study nursing. So that time when I was around twenty two, up until I left to go and live overseas, I really had quite a good life. I lived and worked and I had friends and still have these friends today who I absolutely love. And I was working in a job that made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile with my life. For the most part, during my 20s, my mom and I had a really good relationship and we would talk really often, I would always say, you know, there's two people in the world that you can trust and that's yourself and your mother.


And I believe that for a really, really long time. But my mom had complex issues of her own. And as I started reaching my 30s, I found it difficult to trust a lot of the things that she would say and do. She had some deceptive behaviors that really eroded that relationship and that negatively impacted our future relationship and still does to this day. So I went and lived overseas when I was twenty nine to London and I lived there for three years and I ended up with this amazing job on Harley Street.


It's a very prestigious medical practice. I just felt lucky that I kept falling into these really good opportunities and being able to travel and developing my career and had those experiences. That was a really good time for me, but I certainly felt like something was wrong. I felt like I was kind of doing what I did as a kid and was trying to maintain a bit of a facade that highlight reel that we have on all of our social media.


When I turned 30, I was in Sweden with my then long term boyfriend, who I met in London, and I remember feeling really upset about turning 30, I felt like something was shifting or something was changing, but I couldn't articulate it to myself or to anyone. And then that's when I started to unravel a little bit. Something was coming and something was going to change. There wasn't any external factors that were triggering or making me feel like something was happening was it was really like something didn't feel quite right.


My thinking wasn't distorted, my perception of reality wasn't distorted, I just had this sense of foreboding. It was just something that was playing on a bit of a loop in the back of my mind, and I suppose in retrospect I was trying to stifle whatever it was that was happening because I really wanted to continue the life that I was having. And I certainly didn't want anything to jeopardize that. So when I came back from the U.K., I met a younger guy, he was about nine years younger than I was, and very quickly we started a relationship.


It was all encompassing and just crazy and toxic, but I loved him in a way that I hadn't really experienced. We just fell into this codependent relationship where we just couldn't live without one another. And it was so bad when we did separate like one time, you know, I had physical symptoms of grief and loss. But he started to show some really serious red flags that I justified for quite a long time.


You know, the gaslighting, those kinds of behaviors, you know, send me a selfie of where you are every day.


He was very emotionally abusive.


He then turned physically and sexually. See? He would be very, very jealous and trashed the house and I would run off and get in my car and go and sleep, you know, in car parks of shopping centers or something. I just wear it as well lit. And he would just ring me incessantly sometimes like 300 times and send messages and just trying to find me. And I was just desperate to hide and and run away. I eventually went to my GP and I had to have a physical examination done.


He asked me to get off the table and sit with him now sinisterly when he said, Melissa, you need to be honest with me, and I acted like I didn't really know what he's talking about. And he asked me how I had bruising on the leg of his time to one of the physical altercations that we got into. And he basically said, I have to speak to someone about this because I can see that there's a remnants of sexual abuse here and it all unraveled there.


So I went into the police station after I decided to leave him. They got me out of that house in two days and I went and lived with a friend. Consequently, he was charged and we went to court, he took a plea deal, he came in with two risks that were stitched up. He tried to take his own life two days before he went to court. That was a really defining moment for me. It destroyed so many different aspects of how I viewed the world, how I viewed people and how I gave myself, and I remember the judge in court and he said to me, I'm sorry.


I want to apologize to you for what you had been through. That was around two years, including the court proceedings and him being charged. By this stage now, I'd been well and truly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I couldn't have people come into a room unless I had to text me or made it really, really like a loud entrance like Melissa, I'm here. Otherwise I've become really startled and scream. The most significant PTSD symptoms that I had was night terrors, I was laying in bed and all I could see that I was dreaming was him crawling up and over me.


And I just woke up, like, hysterical, like he's here. And what's going to happen to me? There was certainly an element of depression prior to that, I would go out and I was very social, I would say, and do things with, you know, regularly. But as that relationship ended and everything that subsequently happened, I lost a bit of me definitely, and I lost just how I felt about how the world was really good to me.


And I felt like this was my punishment, for lack of better words, for having this really good life. So I was really losing the sense of who I was. And because it is a road that you feel worthless and you don't realize it's happening because it's a slow process, you know, they don't just wake up and punch in the face one day, you know, like it. It takes a long time. Today's episode is brought to you by candid, are you unhappy with your smile?


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Once I was well and truly out of that relationship and everything had finished, I started to feel very depressed and I also had a real sense of guilt. And I remember being away for a friend's wedding, I felt wrong and I remember speaking to my mum and I said I'm frightened to go outside. And I was in a hotel.


I was a part of the bridal bridal party and I started to drink. I was taking medication to help with my anxiety and the depression associated with the PTSD, and I behaved really inappropriately at my very, very good friend's wedding. Knowing that I'd done that as intoxicated as I was at night, I then took 100 benzodiazepine tablets because I truly thought that I just wanted to sleep. I didn't feel like I was consciously trying to end my life. And I wake up unbelievably.


I went to the airport and I was desperately trying to get onto a flight back to the state where I lived, and I remember screaming at this girl who worked at the airports where they organize your flights and take your luggage. And I said, I'm sick. I need to get to a hospital and see a doctor. She says, What do you mean? And I saw there and I said, I fucking taken so many pills. I need to see Dr.


. And next thing I knew, the police and ambulance turned up and took me to hospital and I stayed there for three days and then I flew back home. My mother picked me up and she didn't really talk to me much for a little while after that. I guess that scared her. And I tried to trivialise it a little bit, but that was me starting to have a distorted view of my life, like being in denial about how I felt and what was happening around me.


After that, it took about a year for me to manage a lot of the PTSD symptoms, so after about a year, I was feeling quite good.


I was certainly back at work and I decided that I wanted to study law. So I applied unbelievably. I said yes and I was still working as a nurse.


I started to notice that I couldn't concentrate properly and the way that I would get through a lot of the stress that would come with studying was through self medicating with alcohol. I would spend a fair amount of time, if not every night, drinking, you know, a bottle of wine. And that was also controlling some of the irrational thoughts that I was going to have about the world around me and people's perception of me. Then I met someone else who was also quite toxic, but not physically abusive, but a bad combination, and I let him live in my house.


I remember he was lying about things and I remember questioning whether or not that was my disordered thinking or if that was really happening. Essentially, I felt like my mind was playing tricks on me. And I remember ringing his mother and saying, Is there something going on? Can you please tell me? And I was hysterical. Can someone tell me the truth?


I was struggling with believing what he was saying, and then that just spilled out into believing what anyone was saying, and that's when I started becoming really concerned about what people were doing and saying around me. I saw becoming quite paranoid about who they were, their intentions and what they could potentially do to me, but I couldn't articulate or tell you what that was at the time. Like, I couldn't tell you what I was really frightened of. Religious knew I was frightened.


I found out that he actually had quite an extensive criminal record, which he had kept from me, and he ended up being arrested and went to prison literally while I slept in bed.


And I woke up and I stayed in my house where I was for several weeks, and I started feeling fearful about going outside. So the police were actually doing welfare checks on me. And in that time, I couldn't commit to my financial obligations, including rent. So for the three months that he was in prison, I fell apart. I stopped eating and I became homeless because I couldn't pay the rent. And that's when my life really spiral downward in a very horrific way.


Because I was so desperate to get back to where I was in my life every day, it was a constant struggle. I was crying and functioning in a really basic level. I knew I wanted my old life back because everything around me was just wrong. I lost complete control of everything. The only thing I could control was what I ate, and the way to punish myself really was to eat apple puree for six weeks to the point where I was so thin that it was a concern for everyone except for me.


I would drive around the city for days, sometimes looking for clues that I thought pertained to what I needed to do to find out why all these things had happened to me. I would know to go and stay in places that were well lit, for instance, at night time, but I was also convinced that I had people watching over me. By this stage, I well and truly lost my sense of reality and sadly experiencing very intense fear, I started to think that people were conspiring against me.


And for instance, my mum was stealing furniture off me at one stage.


I still had people around me, but they didn't know what was happening with me. So that was hard for them to be supportive in that time. I started having concerns about my thoughts being broadcasted to everyone, for me, that meant that people were discussing me everyday. One of the fears associated with being suspicious and paranoid about people talking about you is that you become very frightened of people and surroundings because you don't trust people's intentions. So a real sense of fear was starting to develop.


One experience I had was I was walking through the city and I went to the train station, every single person on every tram pass. Everything that I could or they were doing is talking about how ungrateful I was, how I had ruined their days at work, when was I going to sort myself out. And I was just looking at this. People like, how do you know this? Why are you doing this to me? Why are you making me feel bad?


I already feel bad. I'm going away. I'm going. What I couldn't understand was how everyone knew my business, I would try and make sense of this and work out how people are doing it and the way that I did that was through television and you Bluetooth device, any phone, anything that could record tape.


I got to a point where I believe that I was a part of a reality TV series. I would watch the TV and I would see references. It's also known as cherry picking. So you can look at something. For instance, an example would be like your horoscope. You could read every single horoscope and you could find something in that that would relate to you or that you could relate to. So that's what I would do. But for me, it was everything.


The clues were just for me to help me try and process what was going on around me, so it gave me something tangible in a sense, so gave me something to work towards because no one could explain to me what was going on when I asked and I couldn't make sense of it either. So the way I made sense of that was to follow these clues around the city. A movie that I watched that I believe was loosely based on me, that was a clue that obviously people were talking about me enough to make a film.


The people actually around me, the way that I would become suspicious of them and perceiving their lack of knowledge as them just blatantly lying to my face. So I had no insight into what was really going on around me. It was completely 100 percent my narrative, which became my truth. And that's why it was so distressing, because how could someone's life just fall apart like that so quickly? How did that happen? What did I do? Obviously, there's a lot of internal kind of turmoil going on in the ongoing questioning about everything.


It was exhausting, but I had a job to do. I had to find out why this was happening. I had to find out.


I started to get resentful because unlike everyone seems to be benefiting and making programs pertaining to me in my life and what I've been doing. But I'm not getting any royalties here. I'm just the one that's being used to entertain people. I went through probably 10 different numbers and maybe six different phones, and I didn't really have a phone, email or Facebook or any kind of social media for about 18 months because I couldn't get into anything either because I would change your passwords constantly and then I never remember them.


So when I would go off, no one could find me like my mother and her friend would drive around the city and try and look for me. But I wouldn't have any phone or I change. No, I would literally dissemble them in my bedroom and or wherever I was staying until I looked. Absolutely. This is hacked. So I'm still essentially homeless, but what I'm doing is I'm staying with the friend of mine who I started a relationship with, we were friends first, so I would stay with him in his apartment in the city.


That was kind of my base for the lack of better words. For the most part, I would be out in the car chasing clues around the city.


I was living between my car, which was absolutely full of all my possessions in there, and staying in this apartment, which I struggled with because of the constant concern of cameras and microphones within this tiny studio apartment, constantly worried about cameras, film crews outside, just a complete distortion in my perception of what was going on around me. So I would lay there and then go in the car and drive around for several days. So that went on for roughly six months.


I decided that I'd had enough and I left my car and everything in it, I took a jumper, my license and a small amount of money, and I went and I bought a ticket, bus ticket to Adelaide for the seven o'clock the next morning. And I was like, good, I'm going to start a new life with, you know, perhaps 50 dollars. And like I said, my license and a jumper. And the only reason I know is because I stopped beforehand and I wanted something to eat.


And I remember paying for it on my card just on my direct debit card. I thought that it said that someone I knew had paid for it.


And I turned around and I said to myself, there is no point in me going anywhere in this world because I'm still there and these people are still there and everyone's going to continue to talk about me no matter where I go.


That was the actual defining moment for me, and I knew that I absolutely was losing touch with reality. I was walking through the city and walking to the front of apartments, going through people's emails and making sure my name wasn't on certain things, I was trying to find information about myself in other people's mails when I would ask people to help me try and put together what was going on, I would literally say to people like.


Can't you see them, you are facilitating this by recording me in this house, I'm leaving, and then I would go out and I'd be out on the street shopping or doing something, and I would walk into a store and I would think, why do these people give me a discount like I'm famous? You know, people are actually wanting to see me do this stuff. So then I become really conscious of how I acted. I believe that my partner at the time was selling my information, so this TV show and the way he would do that was through augmented reality so people would pay for, quote unquote experiences to hang out with me, but that have to do it through.


I am. And the only way that I could stop them from doing that was to have a shower and apply emollient frame to my entire body, because these people who are accessing these services and using this, I would turn into smaller people that were on my body and the only way that they couldn't stick to it was through the Somalian crime. My internal dialogue was on a loop, and while I didn't have any auditory hallucinations, the only way I can explain it is like a constant sort of chattering in my mind.


And I would often refer to myself as a third person. So an example of that would be Melissa is walking into a new room and she's going to pick up a toothbrush. Yes, she's going to brush your teeth. So that could go to the extremes of everyone's here. They're all outside. They're ready to meet you. And the possibility of them killing you is high. So that was the extremes of those two. Now, by this stage, there had been two times where my mum had tried to take me back to our hometown.


I was staying with her and I was spending some time with my partner who had come down from the city, I was quite manic that night and I was angry because still no one wanted to talk to me about what I was experiencing and why it was happening. And I drove him around quite dramatically in my car.


And I said, you wouldn't last five minutes in my head. I said, what I say and do to myself. This internal dialogue is like nothing I would wish on my worst enemy. It's debilitating. And I said to him, I'm finished now. I can't I can't do this anymore. I will never be the person I was, and I can't accept that what's happening to me is ever going to change. So we went back to where I was staying with my mother and I went into the garage and I made some attempt at a noose and my mum had just left to go and pick something up very quickly from down the street.


And I literally had my head in this news because I just needed it to be quiet and I was ready to step off from the stool. And as I was ready to do it, my mom pulled up into the driveway and I remember being angry at her because I thought, I can't do that to her. I can't let her find her daughter hanging in the garage. So I took the news out of my head and walked inside and went to bed.


I didn't really think about it much until later on that that was so close, that was within seconds close because I couldn't cope with this internal dialogue anymore. If you could imagine having thoughts that frightened you, then other times they made you believe things about your perception or what you were saying weren't real or distorted. It's absolutely insane and just so hard you would do anything to stop it. And that was the rationale behind that suicide attempt. One really significant thing was I was in a suburban Melbourne and there were auctions going on at houses and my car had broken down by the stage and I just put it at the side of the road and I saw an auction and I decided after the auction that I was going to buy the house.


I went in and unbelievably was a cane, and this wasn't the house that was being auctioned. There was a key to getting the back door and I got into the back door and just walked in and decided that I owned it, that I actually bought it. But I didn't really know how I bought it, but I just knew it was mine. Well, I believe that it was mine and thinking about when I would move in and live there.


I stay there for a little while. The house is entirely furnished, like obviously people were living in there. They just weren't there at the time. So then I started to tell people not to worry anymore, that I wouldn't be homeless, I just bought a house. No one knew what to do. No one knew what to do, and that preceded a hospital admission after that. Even the nurses who come to pick me up, so the community psychiatric nurses, I don't even believe that they were nurses and they gave me medication to calm me down, to try and sedate me, to get me into hospital.


I believe even when they were driving me to the hospital that they were trying to tell me, give me a clue about how I could get to them and leave whenever I wanted to. That wasn't the case and I was admitted for just over a week. Today's episode is brought to you by Care of Karev is a wellness brand that makes it easy to maintain your health goals with a customized vitamin plan that helps you feel your best today and supports you long term.


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Being a nurse, obviously, and I had worked in the mental health space, so I was on the other side of the desk this time and I felt confused.


The psychiatrist did just a regular assessment like they do with everybody, and he asked a lot about my symptoms and what was going on for me. And basically that my biggest preoccupation was with monitoring and surveillance. I remember him just taking a lot of notes, but not telling me much. And they started me on a refeeding program because I thirty 35 kilos. And that was really affecting my fluid and electrolytes and my potassium level. And I started on antipsychotic medication.


Even though it's pretty outdated, it does tend to work for a lot of people and I'm one of the really lucky ones and it works quite quickly. And to be honest, even though I think deep down I knew what it was, it wasn't until I was followed up with the psychiatrist in the community that she told me that I had paranoid schizophrenia. So around the idea that it took from the start of symptoms to diagnosis. After the hospital admission, I started seeing a general practitioner who didn't have any extra training in mental health or illness or schizophrenia or anything, but my mum had made the appointment with him because he was close by to where I was staying.


So I went in and saw him and he started me on an antipsychotic medication and he made some deals with me. And those were that I had to take the medication that I wasn't allowed to read, like Google, like the side effects and those kinds of things. And then I was to start eating and I remember saying to him, What what can I eat? And he looked at me deadpan and he said, Whatever you want. I started those antipsychotics, as well as an anti depressant and medication for anxiety, and within one week I was not psychotic.


I still had symptoms. I still have symptoms. So, like, I wouldn't have bad days. Some days I can't get up because I'm experiencing negative symptoms associated with paranoid schizophrenia. But that medication actually works for me. That medication stopped setting. Chattering I don't mind the medication. I'm happy to take it because I know at the end of the day, that's the difference between me living and dying. It also worked in two ways, really, it put a lot of weight on me, so now I'm a very healthy sixty sixty five kilos and I like a walking corpse.


And I also finally start to feel like me, sad to feel like a person again.


Slowly, things like phones were introduced, so I'd only have three numbers on there, so this JP was amazing and he's like the three people in your life that you want around you. And that's it. Until I say when I saw those boundaries were really good for me because that gave me something to work with. From there, I was really compliant and have always been really compliant with my medication and keeping up with appointments, and I've officially been in recovery for about 18 months.


I wasn't like I just woke up one morning like, hey, I don't feel like this anymore. It's nothing like that. The symptoms never go away. There's always good and bad days, some, you know, more severe than others.


There are times where I still have my moments where you'll find notes around the house where I've made notes about numbers or some clues that I'm trying to find for something. But they don't last for days and days like they used to. I'll write them down and then go to bed and wake up in the morning. They're there. I'm like, OK, I know that will be my life and that's OK.


I've got pretty significant agoraphobia at times where I don't like to leave the house. That's not a sense of fear. It's just because I spent so much time withdrawn and in my own head space and literally just catatonic where I just sit for hours and hours and sometimes days just in the one spot. So I'm struggling a little bit to reintegrate and sort of reach out to those people that I kind of left behind when I was unwell because I was embarrassed and I didn't know how to explain it because I didn't understand it.


And I'm still dealing with that now. For the most part, I've kept very, very quiet about this, and it's not so much because I'm ashamed, it's because I don't know how to say what I've what I've been through. I don't know where to start or where the middle is. I struggle with that still at the moment. I feel like a completely different person, and I am grateful, so grateful that I was one of the lucky ones who responded well to medication for one, those people to help make sense of the world for me when I couldn't.


I'd gone from someone who couldn't watch TV, who couldn't look at a mobile phone.


Couldn't have a person in her presence that had a smartwatch on to literally everything, just starting to quieten down, like having a massive sigh of relief. I think now about who I am, and I may and I will always be me, but it affected me in a way that did completely change my life. He gave me a sense of more empathy for people and understanding, and we sit back and we think that that wouldn't happen to me, but it does.


And when it does happen, you don't know how to deal with it because it's just something that's completely unknown to you. One of the most challenging things that I went through other than being completely detached from reality, was that I was actually really, really fearful, mostly because I had no control over what was happening in my mind. And with everything that was going on around me, you know, my entire world and the way I perceive things, everything was just so different and completely out of my control.


I couldn't understand any of it and why it was happening and how anyone could orchestrate the entire city talking about me ruining their day, so while I was really trying to make sense of the world, my brain wouldn't let me. And just. Yeah, trying to make sense of the unknown. It took medication. It took talking. It took me just drawing from some kind of strength. I didn't even know that. I really have to be honest.


I just knew that I had to come out of this. I knew deep down this this wasn't who I was and this wasn't what I wanted my life to be. And I had to change it. And to slowly feel my life re emerging like how I was, I was used to, it was such a relief. It was also a slow process as well. It wasn't something that I just woke up the next morning and went, Oh, right, I feel really good.


It was a lot of months of doctors appointments and medication support services, the whole gamut, really. And it gave me hope. It gave me hope that this wasn't a life sentence for me. It changed my view of myself and my identity completely, and we certainly experienced different versions of ourselves over time. I'm a student. Sometimes I'm a nurse. Other times I'm just a regular person. Other times that this was drastic and it completely just turned me into a different person.


But I knew that deep, deep down that I was still there somewhere and I was desperate to get out. And obviously I did. But I see me now as someone who is certainly not perfect, but I now have insight into so many different things that I never even gave a second thought to beforehand. I'm much more self aware. I think it needed that, you know, I just felt like I was just ticking these proverbial boxes all the time with my life and OK, I've done that yet, done that one tick.


And it wasn't anything. It meant nothing. And especially after all this, it really meant nothing but to see myself reimage a better person. Yeah, I'm eternally grateful for that. My current partner and I have a really healthy relationship in terms of, you know, we don't yell at each other or we don't, you know, we have issues like everyone and the things he has endured with me and the things that I've said over time when I've been unwell and how I've acted.


He ran this radio with me the whole time. And even now, these bad days, like he is a person who will ring the doctors and organise medication. He has kept things together when I just couldn't.


I feel really good about the future. To what degree, to what extent, I have absolutely no idea. I don't know where this will go, but I just want people to know that they're not alone, that there is hope people recover. I think it's really important for people to understand and to know that this isn't a life sentence. If you are committed and you have the right people, health professionals and medication, that this is doable. You can get up and you can live your life every day just like everyone else.


But some days are just going to be a little bit harder. And I'd like to help people. I like to say to someone, which I wish I had someone say to me to stop and listen, it's going to be OK. Today's episode featured Melissa, you can find out more about her on her website, if not now, then when that website, which is still in progress, but which he hopes will become a resource for others with similar struggles.


From London. You're listening to this is actually happening. If you love what we do, please wait and review the show. You can subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, the Wonder App or wherever you're listening right now. You can also join hundred plus in the one free app to listen ad free. In the episode notes, you'll find some links and offers from our sponsors by supporting them. You help us bring you our shows for free. I'm your host witness Aldine.


Today's episode was produced by me and Matt Vola with special thanks to that. This is actually happening team including Ellie Westberg.


The intro music features the song Alabi by Tipper. You can join that this is actually happening community on the discussion group on Facebook, where it actually happening on Instagram.


And as always, you can support the show by going to Patreon dotcom slash happening or by visiting the shop at actually happening store dotcom.


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