Frances's Story

It began a long time ago

By the time I turned 13 so many things in my life had changed.

It wasn’t just the mental, emotional and physical changes like every adolescent goes through… but lots of stuff happened that just got on top of me.

I was raised in a challenging household with neglect and abuse, and on top of that my parents got divorced, my brother’s best friend died in a car accident, my grandfather died and I was being bullied at school.

During these times I was very unhappy, I refused to go to school, I didn’t talk to my friends, and always had dark, gloomy thoughts about self harm and suicide.

I tried really hard to get some help, but I soon found that there weren’t many options or places to go in the country town where I was living. It was like there was nowhere to turn.

By the time I was 23 things were really bad. I moved to the city and started a new job and was also studying full time.

I had no friends and no support structures… it all got too much to handle and I attempted suicide.

Time to get some help...

This is when I contacted the YAT team at Orygen.

I started attending weekly appointments with my case manager at the HYPE clinic at Orygen. It was a difficult process of talking about all the things that were bothering me, learning to deal with emotions, understanding self harm and coming to grips with how unwell I was.

Mostly it was talking therapy that helped, but medication was trialled a few times to find the right combination to deal with unstable mood fluctuations.

My case manager helped me to see that even though things were difficult, keeping up with coming to appointments and talking about what I thought was wrong would slowly help me to get better.

One of my favourite sayings that people kept telling me was 'it takes time' which was frustrating to hear sometimes, but helped me accept that it would take a lot of work and effort on my part to get healthier.

Another person I saw regularly to help deal with my issues was my general practitioner (GP). I had weekly appointments to talk about things and to get a different perspective. My GP sent me to hospital once and I didn’t like it at the time but I am really glad that she cared enough about me to do that because it helped me to work through a lot of issues within myself.

On the weekends and after hours if I felt very overwhelmed or unsafe I called the YAT team for support.

Without my case manager and my GP I would never have made it through such a difficult time and I could never thank them enough for understanding what I was going through and believing in me.

Things are better, I am stronger now!

It’s been a year since I was discharged from Orygen and I still have some contact through the Platform team which gives me the opportunity to give something back to Orygen, whilst helping me to feel connected to other people that have gone through similar issues.

To maintain my health I regularly see my GP, my psychiatrist and my psychologist to help me talk through various issues.

I’ve returned to study to further my career and I really want to work in youth mental health, to help others through a difficult journey.

 The one thing that keeps me going is always doing something at least once a week that is for me to remind myself that I am just as important as anyone else and deserve some me time.