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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Glad I waited so long for this advice!

I’ve not posted about how I felt coming in to the ward and maybe I’ll go back to that at a later point but for now I have to vent. A quick (or maybe not) update:

During the night there was an incident with a violent male. All I heard was him shouting and this is an extremely bad trigger point for me and set off a myriad of flashbacks. I couldn’t get to sleep and when one of the staff came to check on me (I was in tears), they apologised and said it would be over soon. In the nicest way, I wasn’t bothered about him, it was the effect this place is having on me.

I try so hard to see things from their perspective and the reason I am here – if I can do that then I think it will be an easier journey. But the benefits of me being here are being far outweighed by the negatives at the moment. So in the night, I decided I was going to ask to see a psychiatrist in the morning to see if I could be let home. These are the reasons I wrote down:

1 – It’s a mixed ward. After being raped I struggle around men – it’s that simple!

2 – I really struggle to leave my room. I’ve not even been seeing friends at home so going out in to a ward full of strangers (staff and patients) – no way!

3 – Because of number 2, I’ve not eaten in dining room which again is full of strangers (and you have to share tables)

4 – last night a male patient kicked off and was screaming and shouting – this triggered a huge flashback for me!

5 – my safe place at home is in a dark room and no noise. In my room here, there is always a light on (dimmed but they won’t switch it off completely) and lots of noise.

Back to last night, I fell asleep around 4.30am and woke up at 8am. All morning I worked myself up to go out and ask one of the staff for some one to one time. I went up, under the guise of getting some water outside the nurses station, but when I went to the door everyone just kept walking right past me so I lost confidence and came back to my room.

I ended up ringing my cmht (community mental health team) at about 11.30 am to speak to my care co-ordinator (cc) but she wasn’t in. Normally I’d just say ok and leave it there but instead I asked for the duty worker. I told him my issue and he said he’d call the ward and ask someone to come and see me – great, I could deal with that.

Two and a half hours later I hadn’t heard anything and was aware that a psychiatrist was looking extremely doubtful at this point, I knew my cc shares office location with my psychiatrist so decided to call her again. I managed to speak to her and explain and she said I just need to ask someone when they next checked on me. Whilst she was on the phone, someone came in so I asked if I could speak to someone and the response….”Not really, we are really busy at the moment so ask again in a few hours!” Well it’d only taken me 3 days to build up courage to ask that time – arrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!

Luckily I was still on phone to cc and told her and she said she would come up and visit on Monday and if I could just give everything I could until then, then we would look at re-assessing things. So that’s a positive I hope!!

About half an hour after the woman said no, someone came to my room (assume it’s my nurse) and as soon as she started I wanted to tell her where to go!! Apparently I just had to stop letting them win, go up to the dining room and get on with it. Why hadn’t anyone told me that before (yes being hugely sarcastic!!) It really disappointed me that this was her attitude. I explained how I had flashbacks and how I started with racing heart and sweating etc and she told me again that I just had to do it. The panic attack would only last an hour or so, so I should be able to deal with that!

Next, she told me I had a rule a day and todays rule was not to blame myself. Does she think telling me that is gonna make me all of a sudden go oh yeah it wasn’t my fault – I believe therapy will help me with that but not just her saying it to me today.

I could go on forever, but in the end I’ve realised the one thing I need to live by if I’m going to get out of here: it’s their game and I have to play by their rules!! What this means for my actual mental health doesn’t really come in to it!!

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Detained under section 2 of mental health act

So the title pretty much says it all. On Tuesday I had my normal appointment with my cc but it happened that at the same time I was in the depths of a suicidal thought place (followers on twitter will know what I mean as I usually log on there when in that state).

She left as normal and I was booked in for therapy the next day. But 10 mins after, she called to say she was still outside and she had asked my psychiatrist to come out to see me. Me being completely new and naive to the system thought it would be to talk about my meds and try get something sorted asap. Even when she arrived and was talking I still didn’t think anything. And then she said well the upshot is I think you should go into hospital tonight and there is a gp on the way to give an independent assessment.

I said no I couldn’t (obvious reaction I’m sure). I think I’ve mentioned on twitter how much work I had and the deadline was the end of this month and thinking that I would be going in to hospital and missing them stressed me out. I asked if we could leave until then and I’d do whatever they wanted and to be fair, the psychiatrist did think about things – until my buzzer went and it was the gp.

It was only when he introduced himself and said he was there to assess me to see if detainment under section 2 of the mental health act was needed, that I truly understood what was going on (told you I was naive!!)

Anyway, he agreed with them. However, my cc who is also an amhp said she’d prefer not to take control away and let me decide for myself. I said to her about work and I’d lose my clients and that would cause even more problems and again asked if we could wait till Tuesday. Then my psychiatrist said ‘right you’re not of sound mind to make a decision so I’m detaining you’.

Now let me just say at this time – yeah I was angry (only inside self) but at no point did I blame or have any anger towards my cc or psychiatrist. I know they only had my best interests at heart and doing their jobs. My cc was really apologetic but whilst waiting for the ambulance (that’s only way they’d take me), we had a good chat. I told her what I just said, that I trust her enough to know she is doing it for me and apologised for being trouble for her (mainly cos I refused crisis team). I’m glad we got to have that chat!!

So that was me, 8pm on Tuesday night, brought to the hospital and if I’m honest have never been more terrified.

I’m gonna leave this post here and will maybe do another soon but one last thing – thanks so much to all in twitter land who have helped me through these past 2 days – you’ve no idea how much you have helped me!! I am now trying to see this as a new start for me and hopefully I can start climbing out of this black hole!!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Coroner’s Court

Last night when I was struggling to sleep I decided to write down things that were on my mind. I also decided I was going to share the things on this list with my care coordinator in our appointment today.

Most of our appointments so far have been a bit of a battle in terms of me and my stubbornness. I’ve mentioned before how I feel I should be able to cope with all of this alone and yet I know I can’t do it alone. This has been my own internal battle and depending on which side is winning when I see my cc, depends on how successful that visit is.

Obviously this can’t go on, and so last night one of the things I wrote down was parts integration. I’ll explain briefly what I mean by that. Basically, as just mentioned, there are two parts of me battling with each other; the one wanting help and the one saying I can help myself and do this alone. Parts integration is a process to find out what they have in common. So I kept asking ‘why?’. Why do I feel I should do it alone versus why should others help me as an example.

What happens is that eventually you get to the purpose of each side which turn out to be the same. So the purpose of both sides is to change things as they are now, and it’s just the ‘how’ of changing that is different.

So today, I spoke to my cc about this and the fact that I do want to change my life but the 2 options were just different ways of doing this. When I do it myself, the answer I come up with is suicide as I can’t see a different route. When the other option is explored, it’s about going through a process that the NHS has in place i.e. medication, therapy, social help etc. My point today was that as they are both options, both can be explored and whichever one wins, then the purpose (which is the same) has been achieved.

We spoke in a very blunt way (I prefer this as you know where you stand and my cc understands this), and she explained her side. One of the things the trust is run with in mind is money and if I died and they were proven to be negligent, it would cost them money. And so a number of systems and processes are in place to stop this from happening (there is obviously duty of care etc but we were talking in more resolute terms).

So far in my case, I have been allowed to keep control even though they know I am high risk. This is because my cc thinks we (as in her, myself and psychiatrist) can manage this risk and work through the suicidal thoughts. However, she said if I did kill myself, the coroner’s court would see it from a completely different perspective. They would look at my case notes and see that I had been honest with them about my suicidal thoughts and ask why I was left alone to kill myself. My cc had mentioned that before to me briefly but not the next bit. She said from a personal perspective, she would be shown to have been negligent as she has had so many opportunities to use the mental health act (she’s an amhp) and also to break my confidence and inform my nearest relative, and basically has never done any of these.

I am eternally grateful she hasn’t because I don’t think either of those things would be of any use to me – in fact I think it would make things worse. I believe both her and my psychiatrist can see that and agree and that’s why they’ve stuck with it so far.

Today she explained they are already over muddy waters in terms of me and my risk. She mentioned if I say I’m pursuing both options at the same time (like I spoke about earlier) then they need to look at if they are doing the right thing.

I think it’s left me feeling a couple of things. Firstly, I totally understand where she is coming from and in no way would I want her or my psychiatrist to take any grief for my actions. In my eyes they have done everything they should have and treated me with respect. However, the fact that if I carry on saying how I really feel might leave me vulnerable to them having to do things differently, makes me think I need to keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to go in to hospital. I don’t think it would do me any good.

I’m feeling very confused as anyone who knows anything about me (just from twitter and this blog), I am a very honest person and so if I’m asking myself not to be honest in my feelings when I see not only my cc but also my therapist, then I might as well not be in the service at all. I feel that we are at a point in my care where what would happen at the coroner’s court is guiding where it goes from here!

Any advice appreciated!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Psychiatrist and Therapy

The past three days have seen me have quite intensive support. Monday I met with my care co-ordinator. It was a brief chat just to make sure I’d gotten through the weekend ok.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my consultant psychiatrist for a medical review. Basically in December, my medication was stopped due to me taking more than I should and so because I was using the meds in a different way than it was prescribed, they saw themselves as being negligent. I could see their point and so never really argued a case on it.

However, since December my cc has said she has noticed my mood go drastically downwards and so wanted me to see the psychiatrist to discuss if I should go back on medication. I was quite anxious about going – I hadn’t seen her since some time in September but know she had had a lot of meetings with my cc about what to do. I got there and she was running behind and it took every bit of me (thanks @theWriteRach) not to leave. Instead I waited outside as I didn’t like it in the waiting room.

I knew it would be a short appointment as it was one that had been added on to the end of the day at short notice. As usual, she asked a lot of questions about suicide and whether I thought home was the best place for me right now (it is as it’s where I feel the safest). I struggled to answer her questions as I just couldn’t articulate my thoughts and she was really rushing me. She told me it’s ok not to know, but I said I do know, I just can’t be bothered to explain.

The outcome was that I was prescribed trazodone, an anti-depressant with sedative effects. She said that it’s not something she normally prescribes so couldn’t really give me the reality of side effects. I’ve just picked them up from the pharmacy and so I hope tonight I might get some sleep!!

Today brought about my next appointment which was my weekly therapy one. She explained that today she wanted to look at support and how maybe we can look at what I used to be like and how I am now and then try to improve one area so that we can start doing actual therapy and I will be able to use something I enjoy to support me through the difficult times. I was all up for that. I have noticed I have opened up a lot more to the idea of therapy and am letting her do her job and just doing as she asks (a new one for me!!).

So we began with work and what my work life was like before and what it is like now and then carried on through social, family, exercise etc. It kind of backfired though. Seeing it written down in black and white made me realise how much my life has actually changed and how far away I am from the person I used to be. I explained this to my therapist and she said she didn’t think about that aspect and only thought this could really motivate me. I told her that I thought I was exaggerating a lot in my mind how bad things have got (as you do) but now seeing it down on paper it made me even more want to just throw the towel in.

I know I’ve been in a black hole type place this week – I think it has been apparent from both my blog posts and tweets and as it stands now, I feel like I’m free-falling and not sure when I’m going to land at the bottom of the hole. At least if I get there I know it won’t get worse and I can start to clamber back out – but just falling down is something I’m not coping well with.

Here’s hoping the new medication allows me a nights sleep as I think that’s a starting place and the free-falling might just slow down a touch!!

tomorrow I am seeing my cc again – this really does feel like a full time job!!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Blue Monday

I am in a bad place which means I might be a touch more sensitive than I normally am but one thing is really getting to me today. This whole concept of blue Monday. I saw a headline “Today is Blue Monday for Depressed Brits” and think that sums up the ignorance attached to depression. It’s also all over the social media “tips for the depressed to get through blue Monday”.

So here is my issue; feeling low because of ‘normal’ life stresses is NOT depression. I do not choose what day of the week or year I feel like I’m in a black hole. This whole concept only strengthens the stigma attached to mental health that people should just ‘get on with it’ and cheer up.

Today I feel like I don’t have a way out. I feel like there is no end to what is happening to me. I feel that the only choice I have is which method I die by in order to stop this pain. I don’t feel this way because it is the 3rd Monday in January!!!

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Housing Benefit Changes

Today I received a letter in the post informing me that because I am under 35 and living alone, I am no longer entitled to the one bedroom rate, but has been decreased to the shared room rate. I am absolutely livid.

The shared room rate is £57.69 per week and one bedroom rate is £86.54 – a difference of 28.85 per week or £125.02 per month. Due to the fact I am already in receipt of this benefit, the letter says I will be moved to the shared rate on the anniversary date of my claim. It says I made the claim in June and so my anniversary is March? How does that make any sense whatsoever? I know they are on a different planet, but does that planet have a different meaning of a year as well?

A bit of background to my own case. I am self-employed and was trying to build a business that would hopefully be able to employ people – that was always my goal. I actually worked out my hourly rate based on the hours I worked and the income I had and it was less that £1 an hour. I gave up things I enjoyed when employed like holidays, a nice car, weekends away and that was my decision and my choice. I hoped that in the long-term I would build a business that meant I could have all those things again but all from my own work and that was a lot more satisfying to me.

So I am not, like the media make every one of us out to be, an idle, lazy, benefit scrounger. I am someone who worked hard to try to make my way in life. And then this illness struck – something I couldn’t plan or expect to happen and my business took a nose dive. I had no motivation to get new clients and I was starting to annoy the ones I did have because of my lack of availability and unreliability. I managed to hold on to a few and when I applied for housing benefit, that meant I could just about survive. And I mean literally cover my essential bills and petrol. Any food I buy is bought with my overdraft and I haven’t bought anything for ‘me’ since this all began.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, I am currently under the crisis team as I am in a bad way mentally and concentrating on purely keeping myself alive. So for this to land on my doorstep today is really the worst time it could happen. Maybe that would be good for them though – if I successfully committed suicide then they wouldn’t have to pay anything out – that would be a result for the government then wouldn’t it!!!!

So now I am left with the issue of how I am supposed to find an extra £125 a month? I am not in any fit state to look for more work in my business nevermind even think about getting an employed job (not that there is any of those either). I honestly have no idea what to do and thing this whole thing is absolutely disgusting!!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Therapy

**TRIGGER WARNING – I AM WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED TO ME AND SO PLEASE DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU FEEL SAFE TO DO SO**

Today I went to therapy for the first time since before Christmas. I was extremely anxious about it as not only did I not turn up last week, but also a lot has happened since then and I didn’t know what she would or wouldn’t be aware of.

I’ve mentioned previously about how I think a lot – sometimes probably too much and especially since my suicide attempt, I have thought a lot about why and which particular thing made me want to die. I haven’t come up with an answer to that yet but this one thing has always been at the back of my mind and always pops up when I feel at my lowest.

I’ve never really gone in to any detail of what happened to me and I’m not sure I ever will. Maybe I will drop bits in here and there but I don’t feel the need (at the minute) to document it all in a timeline kind of way. I guess the only way I can write the next bit, is to just do it, so excuse the removal of any emotion…

During the time I was kept at a house (I can only call it a house in structure – more like a crack house!), I was tied up and gagged for a quite a while. I couldn’t hear anything, so I can only conclude no-one else was there, until this female came in to the room I was in and prepared and injected what I assumed to be heroin. For a while, I just thought she was ‘in the experience’ but it became apparent that she had od’d. The image in my head has haunted me since – why didn’t I do anything (I couldn’t I know, but still?)

I can’t really write much more about what actually happened, but I said it out loud for the first time at therapy today. We talked about it for a while and asked the usual ‘put someone else in that situation and would you judge them’ question. The thing is, logically I know there was absolutely nothing I could do. I know it was her decision and every time she injected, she ran the risk of od’ing and yet still something in me feels responsible for it and its something I just can’t shake.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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