These are the teddies I got given in hospital and the roses my ex boyfriend of 4 years gave me just before we broke-up.
One year yesterday my life was completely changed forever... or it was the start of it anyway. On September the 13th 2017, I was admitted to a mental hospital as I wasn’t feeling myself, I was feeling anxious, paranoid and my moods were all over the place. My first day there, I had my own room and I brought little things to make it feel like home, it still didn’t. I went to all of the classes, made new friends and i reported back to loved ones that all was going well. The next few days after settling in, things seemed to get worse... My boyfriend (at the time) said I was just being affected by the environment that I was in and that I would have been better off staying out of hospital, I knew something wasn’t right and I felt like it was the place to fix it.
I was seen by 3 psychiatrists over my stay in the mental ward, I was diagnosed with all kinds of illnesses, none of them seemed to fit... My mental state got worse over this time. I remember screaming down the hall “I just can’t fucking do this anymore” at the top of my lungs- and I’m not one to yell or scream, mind you. I was slowly becoming more and more paranoid, I was convinced people were in my room, I would take photos of my room how I left it and check every detail when I came back. I started feeling ill, I wasn’t eating, I was taking drugs I had no idea what the name of them were, they tasted sour and dry.
Flash forward past the drug tests, the suicidal thoughts and the appearance of voices again. I was at breaking point, I told my parents and my psychiatrist that I couldn’t be in there anymore, we packed my stuff up in record time and I was in the car without saying a single goodbye. I was home.
That afternoon, I changed all of my passwords. Every single one. People were getting in my emails, you see... that’s what I thought. I remember laying on the floor in my childhood bedroom, I was laying on my side looking at my phone completely emotionless and it was uncomfortable- but I couldn’t move. My mouth started to droop, I couldn’t control my speech, I was speaking slow. My boyfriend called me, I wasn’t replying to his texts, as soon as he heard my voice quiet and fragile he said he was coming to get me. I was going to stay at his that night.
Around 10pm that night, I had some weed and decided not to take my pills they had given me at the hospital. My boyfriend was going to crack my back on his, arms interlocked he pulled me up and then as I came down, I hit my head on the edge of his bed. I had my first seizure.
He put me in recovery position, and called an ambulance. Now everything gets a bit blurry from here on out, next thing I remember I’m in the emergency room, my dad got there straight away but my mum was away and getting home the next day or so. I remember being so determined to go to the bathroom on my own, I couldn’t. Every time I got out of bed I would collapse and most times have another seizure.
The doctors said that they had to do some testing on me, that was when they told me I had to take all of my piercings out, all 22 of them which you can imagine I was very upset for, and yes they all closed up. Over the next few weeks my boyfriend became more and more distant, he told me that it was making him sad and hospitals made him depressed so he couldn’t come visit me. I was still hearing voices, one night I was searching for my dog, Raven, under my bed, convinced she was in my room and a nurse came to see me and was very confused about my search, one of the other patients gave me a stuffed dog as a thank-you for talking to her after her brain surgery.
They still had no idea what it was, the mental side and the physical side wasn’t lining up. They tested me for epilepsy and did an ultrasound on me too. Still nothing. That’s where doctor Emily came in, we did a clock test up in the ICU ward, they do this test with Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. I did this and I put all of the numbers on one side. This is how they new how to test me for a special kind of disease.
They did a spinal tap on me and it came back positive. It was found that I have an auto-immune disorder named Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, which in simple terms is swelling in the brain. My brain was on fire.
I was asking my parents to bring in fresh fruit for me every time they came as I wasn’t eating the hospital food, I had to learn to eat properly, go to the toilet, shower, walk and do normal human things all again. Doctors would make me push on their hands with mine and feet with their hands when they came in to test my strength, nurses would ask me where I was, what day it was and who the prime minister was. Only at the end I was able to do all of these things at the bare minimum.
My birthday was coming up, I wanted to get out of there, I begged the doctors to go home basically. I was on all of the right medication now and I hadn’t had a seizure in about 2 weeks. I got out on the 18th of October 1 day before my birthday. My boyfriend brought me a teddy bear and roses a few days later, I had always asked for roses. I never seem to get them unless things are in a bad way... He didn’t see me on my birthday.
I had visits from a few friends at the first hospital and some old friends while I was in the second hospital. I started to recover slowly, but my relationship was falling apart, or well... he was drifting away from me. He eventually told me that I had changed as a person and that he didn’t love me anymore. We brokeup.
My life was turned upside down, my brain was on fire and I was alone. I still don’t know if it was the stopping of the drugs, the weed, the head bump or something else that started this... or maybe it was with me for a longer time. The doctors can’t tell me, but I can’t help but think back to that night and wish that it never happened because my life was going so smoothly before that, I had just gone to Melbourne to shoot The Medusas project and I was earning lots on my Patreon. It’s going to take a while to work up to where I was again.
Today is September 13th 2018. I am still seizure free, I’m still taking a lot of medication, I’m engaged to an amazing partner and I’m taking photos again. It’s amazing what a difference a year can make to your life and how your life can change overnight.