‘Hopeful’ patient discharged from Northampton psychiatric hospital after six-year mental health battle

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‘Now that I’m out through the other side, I can see just how tough it’s been for me and my family’

A young woman who has been in psychiatric hospitals for six years has been discharged from a Northampton hospital, and for the first time ever has “high hopes” for her future.

Speaking ahead of part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts from Monday, May 15, Sedona has chosen to speak out about her complex mental health problems which she has suffered from since the age of 15.

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In addition to being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anorexia, Sedona also self-harmed, endured episodes of psychosis and attempted to end her life on several occasions.

Sedona now has big plans for her future Sedona now has big plans for her future
Sedona now has big plans for her future

But, after nearly three years of treatment at St Andrew’s Healthcare’s Specialist Rehabilitation service, the 21-year-old has allowed herself to make plans for the future.

Sedona said: “Now that I’m out through the other side, I can see just how tough it’s been for me and my family. Mental illness has dominated the last six years of my life. I’ve had multiple operations to correct damage I did by self-harming, I’ve endured hallucinations, suffered deep depressions and experienced a very bleak outlook of life.”

Sedona’s treatment was led by specialist Dialectical Behaviour Therapists (DBT) and includes all five functions of the comprehensive DBT programme, which is a type of talking therapy. It is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but it has been specially adapted for people who feel emotions very intensely.

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The aim of the treatment is to help people understand and accept the feelings they are experiencing, learn to manage them and identify how they can make positive changes to their lives.

Sedona said: “Trauma and striving for perfectionism were my triggers and thankfully – due to the therapy and treatment I’ve received - I’ve been able to recognise them and control them. I honestly never thought I would feel happy again, but here I am. I’m living independently, studying at college and I’m even hoping to volunteer abroad this summer, something I never thought I would say.”

Sedona is now doing triple science at college and is planning to study bio medicine at a university. If she enjoys that then she may consider doing post-graduate medicine.

She said: “I’ve finally got high hopes for the future and it feels amazing. This was, hopefully, the last time I will ever be in hospital because of my mental health again. I can’t go back, otherwise all this hard work has been for nothing.”

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“It’s like a cloudy lens has been lifted and I can see everything clearly again. I owe everything to my support team at St Andrew’s. Staff were kind and showed me compassion like no other hospital ever has. I knew they definitely cared and wanted me to get better which made such a difference.”

In addition to her studies, Sedona is now focussing on trying to get a book which she wrote about her experiences published. She is also planning to raise awareness about complex mental health conditions in a bid to reduce the stigma is that is commonly associated.

Developed in the 1980s, DBT is now used for many different mental health conditions beyond BPD. For more than 25 years St Andrew’s Healthcare has provided specialist care for women with a range of personality disorders, including those with a primary diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) or BPD.

The St Andrew’s DBT programme is unique because it is delivered through a complete risk managed pathway of care, creating a sense of momentum and motivation for patients.

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Patients have benefitted from the charity’s recently created DBT hub in Isham House, which is made up of two wards that specialise in personality disorder services for females. This means patients receive a full multi-disciplinary team 'under one roof' where they are provided with personalised care via a collaborative approach.