A Seattle teen is hoping to combat lack of awareness of mental illness by sharing her personal story to help spread understanding. Fallon experienced psychosis during her sophomore year of high school, and told her story to Seattle’s KUOW, as part of their Radio Active Youth Media series.
She explains psychosis as “a brain disorder [that] describes someone who has lost touch with reality.” Reflecting on her first psychotic episode, Fallon states, “I was having delusions, which are thoughts and ideas that aren’t real. Like, I was scared my dad was gonna kill me. I tried jumping out the window, running out the door. I did everything I could to escape the situation.”
Fallon’s condition resulted in her being admitted into Fairfax Behavioral Health, an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Kirkland, Washington, which she describes as very structured, with counselling, mental health treatment, goal-setting, group exercise, group therapy and art.
Fallon received support from her family throughout the whole experience. She began to achieve clarity after a newly prescribed medication began to take effect, saying “Within days my thoughts cleared. I started looking back on my thoughts, realizing, ‘OK, that’s not right. None of that was real.”
Fallon offers advice about helping others with psychosis, saying that being aware of early signs and taking people seriously when they think something isn’t right can make all the difference.
She concludes by saying that, “It’s been a little over a year since I left Fairfax. I still take medication every morning to prevent another psychotic episode, and it keeps me from getting overly emotional during the day. I have a ton of questions I still think about. No one can tell me if what happened is part of something bigger or not. I don’t know if this is something I’m going to live with the rest of my life. I don’t know if it will happen again.”
[Photo by Colleen McDevitt | KUOW]