Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Your Thoughts Create Your Future, by Soph Hopkins

“Key to my future”—the quote that lead me to take control of my life, accept the help I need, and move on.

I have been battling severe depression, anxiety and BPD since I was fourteen years old. In that time I have been in and out of hospital due to overdosing and cutting. No one would help me. I was labelled an attention seeker. I suffered seven and a half years with sporadic help and only crisis intervention. A recent move to Wales changed all this.

Soon after the move my GP was concerned at my many attempts at taking my own life. Unfortunately, this continued. Two months ago I was assessed and put under continual assessment until I took an overdose that could have killed me.

I remember crying for help in A&E and was then taken to a hospital for assessment. I didn’t know what to think but I knew deep down I needed the help. I was kept in overnight and transferred to an acute ward the following day. Talking to the nurses upon arrival I was shocked that it took a move to Wales to get the help I needed. The move which I know is permanent was a big step for other reasons.

I didn’t know what to think when I was offered leave until I was seen by the psychiatrist. I was shocked at the fact I was not even assessed by a consultant and I was given five days leave. I later found out this was to see how I would manage. I managed four hours before I was back in. I was displaying dangerous behaviour by running into traffic. The police were brilliant with me. They listened to me and understood I desperately needed help. They spoke to the ward and it was decided I would be back as an informal inpatient.

I was discharged the following Monday but the dangerous behaviour continued and within two days I was back again. I spent a couple of weeks as an inpatient before being given leave. I managed two hours of what was supposed to be weekend leave and then was taken back in. I spent another ten days there before being discharged into 24 hours supported accommodation.

Whilst on the ward I gained an experience which I want to share. A lot of the blogs I read about being inside a psychiatric unit are based on patients who have been sectioned. A small proportion go in as “informal.” However, being informal is not as easy as it sounds. Theoretically, it is meant to be your choice to come and go as you like. However, this is not the case. I was told it was for my own safety and the safety of others. If I didn’t agree to go in as an inpatient I would go under assessment of the Mental Health Act.

I went in voluntarily but I couldn’t come and go as I pleased. However, I liked it. I felt as an inpatient I was there for a reason and to assess it fully I should be on the ward attending occupational therapy sessions and DBT. I was on daily clothing and fifteen minute observations. Whilst on the ward I learned to write if I couldn’t voice my opinions. I learned skills to cope with my cutting and dangerous road behaviour. I was also able to use art as a form of expressing myself.

Six weeks as an informal inpatient helped me so much. I was able to find myself, my future, and ME. The psychiatric ward introduced me to friends who helped me but also who I helped during recovery. These friends have played a big part in creating the new me.

After coming out of hospital I was given a Home Treatment Team who will be discharging me within a week, because the hospital rehoused me into 24 hour supported accommodation. I will have Community Mental Health Team support for six months. This and the medication and new strategies have helped me grow to love myself and have the confidence to do things.

After moving to Wales for personal reasons, I now have the help I needed for so long after spending time as an inpatient. I am on medication. I have a library of tools and skills, and a team of people to help me. I also have short term 24 hour accommodation until I can manage to live independently.

I was also able to open my eyes to how mental illness can affect others, and sometimes just because you’re not sectioned it doesn’t mean you’re not ill—you just made the choice to follow the suggested plan of treatment.

My recovery has begun and writing and art is my way forward.

They say “Your thoughts create your future” and only you as a person can change that. I did and so can you.


About the Author

Soph Hopkins is 22 years old. Originally from Gateshead, she now resides in Wales. Soph has been volunteering and campaigning since she was 14 years old. In 2014 she was Vinspired regional Volunteer of the Year for the northeast of England for bringing communities together. Vinspired is the UK's leading volunteering charity for 14–25 year olds.

2013 and 2014 marked the start of Soph’s mental health campaigning, with her spending the summers at events to raise awareness of mental health stigma. Soph also spent time in London at events with YoungMinds and Youth Focus North East on a project called Change Ur Mind, raising awareness and delivering workshops on the stigma around mental health.

Soph spent most of 2015 campaigning and raising awareness of mental health and the stigma attached. She worked with the YoungMinds media team, and was involved in many radio interviews. These were mainly for BBC Newcastle but she was also on Women’s Hour, Heart Radio and Capital FM.

Soph featured in two articles in The Times newspaper. The first article, I Wasnt Taking Seriously Until Overdose, was all about Soph. The second article, Depressed Children Seek Help On Web, covered a campaign YoungMinds worked on with The Times regarding using the internet when feeling depressed. Soph was used as a case study.

Soph has volunteered for Time to Change at many events including Time to Talk Day Newcastle, The Sunderland Airshow, and Northern Pride.

Towards the end of 2013 she was invited to work with Durham University on a research project which looked at getting young people involved in mental health research. Soph was an original member of the group and played a big part in setting it up. She was actively involved for two years, attending regional events to share the work they were doing and help gather funding.

Also in 2013 Soph participated in the Changemakers leadership program, leading to a six month placement working with local GP practices and sexual health clinics in Gateshead to make them more young person friendly. This included looking at mental health and how to improve the services offered to young people. Soph represented Changemakers (now merged with The Foyer Federation) at many local and national events, using her story of battling severe depression and suicide feelings but still putting others first.

Soph is diagnosed with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD). Having spent six weeks in and out of psychiatric hospital, Soph is keen to use her experience of mental illness to help others.

Please contact Soph by email (hopkinssophie3 [at] for copies of her articles, or for more information. She is keen to hear of any mental health opportunities in Wales.



  1. I can understand how difficult it is to go throufgh a severe depression and than come back to life by forgetting your past. One needs a great amount of courage to do it.

  2. Yes iagree it takes time strength ans support to do so