I am a 26yo male with a strong family history of mental health conditions. I have previously been diagnosed with depression and personality disorder. I have begun to experience unusual sensory reactions and believe they may be audio/visual hallucinations. Am I overreacting or should I seek help?

5 months, 15 days ago

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Hello. I'm hoping that someone can give me an objective view of my situation, as I am currently unsure as to the validity of my thoughts on this matter and as such am reluctant to begin the long process of being assessed and treated for mental illness here in the UK. I fully appreciate that any guidance given on Reddit is not a replacement for sound medical advice – I am just looking for input.

As stated in my title, my family has a very strong history of mental illness. I am one of 4 children who all suffer a least one form of MI, and between us to my knowledge we have been diagnosed with: general anxiety disorder x2, OCD, Depression x3, antisocial personality disorder, emotionally unstable personality disorder, ADHD, suicidal thoughts/behaviour and other anger-control issues. There may be others, but these are the ones I am aware of.

My mother has a history of manipulation and addiction to alcohol/drugs/tobacco etc., as well as depression. My father has extreme anger problems, depression, suicidal behaviour and thoughts, addiction, and I suspect that he has narcisstic personality disorder or something similar (based on my own experiences and his behaviour). Almost every single aunt/uncle/cousin that I have also exhibit signs of MI, or have been diagnosed. Diagnoses range from schizophrenia, general anxiety isorder, bulimia, anorexia, addiction, suicidal behaviour and thoughts, self harm and autism. On top of this, we also believe that a number of us show signs of autism spectrum disorder, but have not been diagnosed.

Full disclaimer: I have a tendency to overthink and find weak/loose connections between things, and as a result do sometimes find that I believe myself to possess medical conditions that I have not been professionally diagnosed with. It is this sight hysteria/overreaction that is giving me pause in my current situation.

I was diagnosed and treated for depression at 15 (when the school finally noticed and had me referred for counselling), until I was 18. There was no change or improvement to my mental health, and I was taken off of the medication I was on (sertraline). When I was 20, I was referred for a mental health assessment and was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. I did not receive treatment for this. I have remained fairly unaffected by my issues, however, and am managing to continually improve my life as I grow older. I rent a property, have a full time and decent job, a diverse mix of friends and a long term romantic partner. Among my friends/family, I am usually thought of as the stable/reliable/strong one of the group.

Over the past few months I have started to notice movements/shadows in my peripheral vision that disappear when I focus on them. I have also heard whispering/speaking/laughing on occasion, despite being alone and there being no plausible explanation as to where the noise came from. And, I sometimes feel movement/changes in pressure around me when there is nothing visbily present that could be the cause. Sometimes I've seen, heard and/or felt an item fall off of a surface onto the floor, but after looking away and back the item remains on the surface and the floor is clear. I would say that I have experienced these things roughly 15 times throughout this year, at least.

I have so far rationalised each instance and have not addressed the underlying problem – that all of these things revolve around my senses identifying and responding to events that have not actually happened. I am aware in the moment that I may be hallucinating, as I feel unsatisfied with the reality of each event after I have experienced the sensory reaction – what I felt is not reflected in real life.

Unfortunately it is a long process here to receive therapy or treatment for mental health conditions, despite us being one of the most developed countries in the world. Patients with MI complaints are referred to a national program, where they are then assessed and entered into the system before being given counselling and therapy, before then moving onto medication and treatment. This process can take anywhere from 3 – 12 months, and usually involves multiple clinical teams and departments working together, which results in many delays, repetition of test/work and other unhelpful factors. It is also common here for medical professionals to dismiss complaints of mental illness, or for them to go the other way and overprescribe medication as a cure-all without addressing the root cause of the problems.

Given the context provided above, is it possible that I am overreacting to innocuous behavioural 'tics' or something similar, or should I start the process of getting back into the system and attempting to receive treatment for my issues?

I apologise for the length of this post. Please do not hesitate to ask me questions if you have any, I'll be happy to answer them.

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