Lifeplan provide disability and mental health services, to the Perth community. Our trained professionals tailor our services to suit the needs of the individual. Below is a testimonial from one of our customers (Please note names have been changes for privacy reasons), about her journey with Lifeplan, to get the mental health support she needed, to help get a positive outcome.
During my intake interview with Lifeplan Support Services, my audio hallucinations were so persistent and intimidating that I could barely concentrate on what Lifeplan staff members were saying.
I brought to that meeting a history of many years of untreatable depression, anxiety and habitual workaholism; all playing out in the high-pressure fields of media and communications. I had no ‘off’ switch and at one point in my career, found myself in a role that required me to be available to take media calls 24/7. Personal and work relationships were in tatters.
Eventually I was hospitalised with a Major Depressive Episode and was forced to stop work indefinitely. However, it was the arrival, soon after my discharge of menacing, terrifying voices which seemed to come from somewhere outside and around me, that made me admit to myself that I had a serious mental health problem.
Even then I tried rationalizing away what was happening to me and I kept them secret for close to 18 months, thinking they would eventually subside, that I was just badly stressed and if I just relaxed, they’d stop. Then I would negotiate with, beg and threaten them; to no avail. I was swimming in delusion and felt suicidal.
The hallucinations and psychotic scenarios grew more bizarre and finally I succumbed to a complete psychotic break which lasted three sleepless, chaotic and dangerous days. I admitted myself to a psychiatric ward where I was given anti -psychotic medication and slept for days, waking only to eat. I was diagnosed with a severe psychotic episode, for which they could find no cause and cautioned to continue taking the medication, because it was likely to happen again. I was discharged two weeks later into my daughter’s care and began my recovery.
The Turning Point
What I did hear clearly the day that Lifeplan staff came to visit was that they could help me manage my voices. Their support worker, Paige, had trained in the hearing voices approach, a cutting edge, client centred process that, worldwide, has changed the way psychosis is perceived and treated.
I was more than willing to give it a try, as the medication was increasing my appetite and I was gaining a lot of weight. At my age, diabetes two and heart disease are real risks. I was also sleeping a lot and my hair began to fall out.
I also engaged a therapist who specialised in hearing voices, so that my recovery plan was informed by the hearing voices approach. In this way the work I have done with Paige and my therapist have complemented each other.
Benefits of In-Home Support
Having a support worker who spends four hours a week working with me in my home is invaluable as it is here that I experience my voices for the longest periods of time.
Paige is with me at the coalface of my voice activity and we have been able to work with the voices in way that gives meaning to immediate situations. We also examined my life story together, pinpointing events from my past and how they are connected to my voices
She helps me to identify various voices and, through me, is able to talk with them to better understand why they are with me. I must add, that my voices have also developed a relationship with Paige and are as eager for her visits as I am.
Looking to the Future
We’ve all been working together now for almost 18 months and the most surprising thing has happened. My negative voices, those that had inspired the most fear and delusional thinking on my part, have disappeared, replaced by comforting and protective voices who keep their activity to a minimum, speaking only when I need an affirmation or a kind word, or defending me in the rare instance of the return of a negative voice.
My medication intake is now at a bare minimum and I see my therapist on an ‘as needs’ basis. I have gone back to studying and hope to start a new career in mental health next year, this time accompanied by voices who will remind me when it’s time to slow down and support me in my efforts at good self-care practices.
Lifeplan have been providing mental health support services to the Perth community, for the past 18 years. Our dedicated Perth Mental Health Support Workers are trained and ready to help, with tailored services, to suit you. Please get in touch with Lifeplan to discuss how we can help.