Austin's Story

You know when you see those stories in the paper that sound like a bad day on Coronation Street? Well here’s mine … Which includes my teenager being sectioned twice, Successfully fighting him being force injected with anti-psychotics and holding down a high pressure sales job and a marriage and both my son and I coming out on top!

It started last June, I was 3 months into a new job selling software to big corporations, when I get a call that my son (who has lived with his mum for some years, not my choice, another story!), has been admitted to hospital with a plan to kill himself - The outcome of which, was him being sectioned under the mental health act, with probable psychosis, an ASD diagnosis & the promise of help.

Immediately this leads to 3 or 4 new mental health meetings a week plus 3 or 4 visits to my, all of which are 40 minutes drive each way from home, plus every waking hour is spent Googling what happens under a section, psychosis, legal rights, and so many terms it’s crazy.

Over the coming months, they assess, discard psychosis, let him out with zero support and he gets re-admitted, where a new doc wants to force inject anti-psychotics which is legal(!!!), but I’m against it … my stance always has been and always will be, that we are all born awesome, but we get caught up in thinking that takes us away from this … The cure is always love and understanding, because we are all mentally healthy underneath, we just forget it sometimes and often get told we are not awesome. So I did my research, saw that this doctor liked facts, so I walked in with a bunch of papers and stats on the bad effects of anti-psychotics, including the shocking number of deaths, plus an amazing paper called the Power, threat, meaning framework, which basically says we should be asking ‘what happened to you’re not ‘what is wrong with you’ … The doctor agreed several weeks of therapy instead of drugs thankfully!

Things levelled out, the diagnosis of ASD became the focal point, but it still didn’t fit for him. My strategy has just been to turn up with love every time, play games, listen to music, remind him of his awesomeness and this seemed to help him level out. One day, we had a conversation on how things that might have been useful in the past, might not serve us any more … three days later, he’d worked it out for himself. The staff were stunned, a literal overnight miraculous change is unheard of in these situations, yet my son had remembered his own awesomeness, realised he didn’t need to hang on to thinking that he had held so tight, and 2 weeks later, he was fully discharged from hospital!

For me, I was lucky that I’d worked out that life works inside-out, not outside-in a few years back – That my thoughts create the reality I’m in, not what people do or say to me, but how I think about that is what’s really key. Couple this with the belief that every single person was born awesome and you can literally get through anything and not just survive, but thrive!