Zandra’s story – self managing mental health
Zandra is nominated for the Individual Transformational Story of the Year award at the ALLIANCE's annual Self Management Awards.
“For many years I was unwell with my mental health, with a diagnosis of Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, I had spent a lot of time in and out of the psych ward. On many occasions I had attempted to end my life and with each attempt the risk level increased. During one of these admissions, I was asked to complete an Advanced Statement, but felt it was just going to be a box ticking exercise to be filed away, never to be seen again. What I really wanted was more of a crisis plan that would suit my own needs, but research didn’t really bring up anything suitable. My psychiatrist suggested I write my own, so I did, I made a plan that suited me for when I was in crisis. The plan is in two parts. The first half is a pre-crisis plan or care plan, this is because I still have insight to address the crisis before it becomes too overwhelming, the second half is the crisis plan. It is set up so it can be used backwards as well by using the care plan when coming out of the crisis to regain my positive wellbeing.
My CPN at the time said he thought it was the best crisis plan in Argyll which was a wonderful thing to hear. It was distributed to the Community Mental Health Team, A&E, GP and my psychiatrist. This was so no one needed to go and find it, which in time of crisis could be too late for me.
In addition to my plan, I knew I needed to stay in contact with other people with lived experience, so I started my own peer support group in our local community. My long-term aim would be to encourage as many people as possible to feel empowered to write their own personal care and crisis plan. I work in our local hospital and recently had a nurse from the psych ward say to me that I was looking well, this is a huge confidence boost for me, it reminds me to focus on my wellbeing and recovery.”
The Self Management Awards take place during Self Management Week 27 September – 1 October.
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