Psychiatry over 6 decades – From a personal perspective

Part 3 – the Eighties

The eighties provided the fuel for my major explosion in the nineties, I had little or no contact with services but it was the decade which, with hindsight, could have alerted everyone, including me, of what was to come. During this decade I started the cycle of following good events, such as the birth of my children, with huge downs, almost immediately followed by a desperate need for change. So, during the eighties I changed job five times and moved house four times, I think I had about six different cars as well. It was also during this period that I started using money to self harm; I know that sounds strange, but I found that the adrenaline buzz I got when I had overspent and started getting mail and calls asking for the money, addictive.

Obviously my behaviour caused problems at home, the constant change, the money worries allied with bringing up young children caused intense friction; subconsciously I fuelled the friction as yet another bizarre way of self harming. Unfortunately this “self” harm had severe knock on effects to those around me which led to immense guilt and deeper downs. Towards the end of the decade I visited my GP on a few occasions but was unable or unwilling to express my problems. So I would talk about sleeplessness or stomach problems, the physical problems caused by my distress. He told me that I was stressed and that I needed to exercise more and improve my diet. Although this was sound advice for stress, my problems had far exceeded that a long time before. However unfairly, I came away from the surgery exceptionally disillusioned with the help offered.

The eighties are a mixture of very highs and very lows for me, generally I try and forget them. Even music, which is one of my greatest loves, didn’t move me, not sure if that says more about the music offered or my state of mind though!

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