Judith Haire — “Don’t Mind Me”

By Judith Haire

Judith is a guest writer and friend sharing her story.  She is an all-around wonderful woman.

I was in my teens when I first heard voices.  I’d recently lost my beloved grandmother and had been excluded from the funeral.  I took it badly.  My grandmother had been one of my main carers up until the age of three.  After her death I became depressed and got behind with school work.  One day without my permission or knowledge I was taken to a child guidance specialist who quizzed me about my family life.  Our family was dysfunctional but I was playing the game and said nothing was wrong.  Even my mother was too scared to admit there were problems.  Result? I was medicated and labelled a psychiatric case.  There were no bereavement counsellors around at that time

Later on aged 30 I married someone who was a version of my father.  The marriage only lasted 3 years and was abusive.  I found the courage to leave.  But the scars ran deep.  I struggled on trying to ignore what had happened.  Eventually at the age of 37 my world fell apart as I descended into psychosis and was hospitalised for 6 months.  I was given a cocktail of medications.  I’d been sectioned after I refused all food and drink for eleven days so when, 4 months later I was still not in the real world I had no say when it was proposed that I should have electro convulsive therapy (ECT)  I had six treatments and I had the mother of all headaches after each treatment.  I have to say it worked.  I did not want the treatment but it did bring me back to reality.

After I was discharged from hospital I started the long slow journey to recovery. It was l994.  Each day was an ordeal to begin with so low was my confidence
A psychiatrist told me I’d need to stay on anti psychotic medication for life.  No way!  I was intent on reducing the dose and this I did until I was able to stop the medication in September 2000.  In 2001 I married for the second time, to the absolute antithesis of the first partner, a kind and wonderful man and we are still married and very happy together.  In 2003 I was diagnosed with cataracts.  The consultant said I’d got them as a side effect of chlorpromazine.  I’ve had both eyes operated on now.  Now it’s 2009 and I am fully recovered.  Yes initially  I had setbacks without medication; I had several small relapses but I have now stablised.  I’ve gone back to driving, I’m at college, I’m working part time for a mental health charity

Best of all in my recovery was writing my book Don’t Mind Me. The catharsis was incredible.  In my book I tell the story of my dysfunctional childhood, my teenage depression, my abusive first marriage, my experience of rape and domestic violence, my terrifying descent into psychosis, my experience of electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and my recovery.  I wrote it to help others as well as myself, to raise awareness, to help mental health professionals, mental health students and anyone wanting to gain an insight into mental illness

dont mindDon’t Mind Me by Judith Haire is available from Chipmunk Publishing, or Amazon or any bookshop.

I’ve got my life back, I’ve got my sense of humour back, I’m whole again.

copyright: Judith Haire 2009

8 thoughts on “Judith Haire — “Don’t Mind Me”

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  1. Just want to say to you, Judith, that even though I already knew your story well, I still found this powerful and inspiring. Reading it made me feel so proud of you, of me, and of anyone who has proved the psychiatrists wrong and come through such horrible experiences. The note of triumph at the end nearly made me cry (tears of joy). “I’ve got my life back, I’ve got my sense of humour back, I’m whole again.” Great!

  2. Duane

    Heartfelt thanks for your very supportive comments above. I always hoped something good would come out of my breakdown and it has really because now I can share my knowledge with others. Also my breakdown made me see just how precious life is and how fragile too and how humour smiles and music are all so important. I am so glad to have met you here Duane and to have met other courageous folk too – thanks again and talk soon! all the best from across the pond and a big :))

  3. Judith,

    From the first day you joined Gianna’s network, I’ve been impressed by you. Whenever you make a comment to a fellow member, it has such clarity – your comments are so focused – showing the obvious – years of research and personal understanding.

    I think each time we find someone who tells their story…..and does it in this way – with insight, and understanding….our cause becomes stronger – to be seen and treated by others as “equals.”

    I’m so appreciative of you – the way you help moderate the Network, and all of the wisdom you bring to others….with you willingness to share all you’ve learned.

    Nothing better.

    Your smile….You have a wonderful smile. I find smiles so healing.

    My very best,


  4. Thank you Gianna for publishing my story. Thank you too and hello, to Haakon and Naturalgal
    I can still remember the horror of having cataracts diagnosed. I think where diabetes is not present nor steroid use there’s a strong and good chance cataracts (lens opacity) is thanks to an anti psychotic or an anti depressant and as Gianna says above, it is usually the old ones HAVING SAID THAT I asked the manufacturers of Seroquel/Quietapine and they admitted it caused cataracts in dogs, now forgive me for asking, but it’s not rocket science is it, that this new ish drug could also be a culprit. Anyway it’s great to meet new friends above and all best Judith

  5. From: http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/004291.html

    and there is other stuff on cataracts and neuroleptics out there too…the old ones especially seemed to cause cataracts….

    The Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed a professional sales aid (238110) for Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate) tablets (Seroquel) submitted by AstraZeneca under cover of Form FDA 2253. This piece is false or misleading because it minimizes the risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus and fails to communicate important information regarding neuroleptic malignant syndrome, tardive dyskinesia, and the bolded cataracts precaution. Thus, the promotional material misbrands the drug in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act), 21 U.S.C. §§ 352(a) & 321(n). Cf. 21 CFR 202.1(e)(6)(i). The promotional material raises significant public health and safety concerns through its minimization of the risks associated with Seroquel.

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