AN ECCLESHALL woman who suffered a terrifying break-down which left her convinced her family were trying to harm her is organising a music festival to raise awareness of mental health.
Harriet Harper, 22, suffers from stress-induced psychosis and experienced it for the first time at the age of 18.
Harriet, who lives in Wooton, had already experienced depression and anxiety but following a stressful time at school and not eating and sleeping properly, her condition worsened.
She said: “The subconscious part of your brain takes over. My thoughts became more and more paranoid. I thought my family were trying to poison me and I was petrified. It was so upsetting for my family.
“It lasted for several months and then my dad found a psychiatrist who diagnosed me.
“I take medication but I have suffered episodes since that first breakdown. I can’t judge when it is going to happen but my family and friends are able to recognise it. My attention span will start to go and I will start talking about strange things.
“It is hard and I can see how it affects the people around me. Afterwards, I often feel like I’m apologising for someone who wasn’t me.
“The one thing people said was how surprised they were that this could happen to me.”
Harriet is determined to raise awareness of mental health, particularly in light of the death of Hollywood star Robin Williams.
She and friends Harriet Kenworth and Jack Simpson are organising a music festival, called Fiestable Party in the Woods in Penkridge from 5pm on September 13 to 5pm the next day and plan to raise cash for mental health charity Mind.
The event, at Project Paintball, will feature headliner band Mogadishu, as well as sets from a number of DJs and an acoustic stage featuring different performers.
Harriet added: “We wanted to do something to raise awareness and to just bring people together to enjoy themselves.”
Tickets are £5.50 and free camping is available. To book phone 07936 603080.