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Admitted to a Psychiatric Ward

On Tuesday I had an appointment with my care coordinator that didn’t go very well. I explained I’d been having suicidal thoughts and was having a tough time, but this period had been going on for about 3 or 4 weeks and didn’t show any sign of letting up. To be honest, I’d hit a slump after trying to take my own life on my birthday (in August) and which my cc has since told me was an extremely serious attempt (well the plan wasn’t to be here so I wasn’t exactly playing at it!!)

All I wanted was to be left alone. I know how I work, I go very insular and once I’ve dealt with things in my own way, I come out ready to face the world again. I explained this to my cc and that I’d be in touch when I was ready for an appointment next week.

Not an hour had passed after she left when I got a voicemail from her to say my psychiatrist wanted to see me on Thursday (yesterday) in clinic. I’ll admit that I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to go but was worried that they’d come round to my place and that would be 100 times worse and so I decided I’d show I was making an effort and go along.

I was with my psychiatrist and my cc for well over an hour. We discussed my meds, my lack of sleep and how that was having such a negative impact on things, my suicidal thoughts and any plans I had. After all this she said she thinks that I need to go on the ward as they can keep me safe and sort meds out so hopefully my lack of sleep never reaches these proportions again.

I obviously refused. My experience of a ward isn’t good at all and I really struggle and to be honest I’d take not sleeping any day of the week over being in there. And the came the magic words, “you can come in informally or I’ll request a mental health act assessment and we will detain you, it’s your choice”. Well no, actually, there’s no choice there at all!! When I said this, they said that they believe that choice needed to be taken away from me as I wasn’t seeing things properly at the moment and couldn’t see this was for the best.

So backed in to a corner, I agreed to go in as an informal patient as I wanted to try and keep both my psychiatrist and cc on side in some small way. And so here I am, sat on my bed (at least it’s in a private room), writing this post and not wanting to be here and here are a couple of reasons why:

1) It’s a mixed ward. Whilst there is a female only area, in order to get to the meds room, dining room, nurses station or lounge, I have to walk through the male section. I’m terrified, just thinking about it panics me so much and there is nothing I can do about it!

2) I have ptsd. I’m jumpy. There are so many noises and voices all the time, never mind when the alarm goes off for a difficult patient (talking of which, off it goes right now). I can’t settle, my brain won’t switch off. This is all the more apparent that even after a strong sleeping tablet last night, I only managed 2 hours sleep.

This is not the environment for someone with my symptoms and I’ve no idea how long I’m going to be in here for. I am trying to see it from their perspective, they don’t feel they could have left me the way I was and taken the risk, but it’s not even been 24hrs and already I want to go home!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Sleep

This is a conversation between me and duty worker whilst my care coordinator is off:

Duty: are you not eating as a form of self harm?
Me: no, I haven’t slept and so feel that sickly feeling you get and no appetite
Duty: are you not taking your meds as a form of self harm?
Me: no, I’m so exhausted, getting out of bed and going to the chemist feels a million miles away
Duty: you don’t sound very motivated in your intonation today
Me: no, I haven’t slept, I’m exhausted

I won’t bore you but this went on for quite a few questions – which bit of this is so hard to understand; I haven’t slept!!!

We are continually told how sleep is so integral to mental health, for anyone! When you are used to a certain number of hours sleep and then don’t get them, everything suffers the next day and that’s just after one night! I am hitting the week mark now where I have slept no more than 6 hours in total.

I gave in to my stubborn nature and finally asked for help with it by asking duty to speak to my psychiatrist about prescribing two nights sleeping meds. It took overnight to hear back, but it was a no. When I asked why, I was told because we are worried about you; you seem to be going through a bad patch and so we will come out and see you next week and devise a plan then. (Oh yeah, stupid me, I forgot I’m only allowed to have an issue 9-5 Monday to Friday!!)

I have racked my brains and I can not come up with one good reason why they said no, I even said I’d have just one nights if it was because there were concerns over taking more than I should – still a no. Can anyone provide me with a legitimate reason why I’m being declined this help?

So now, with no other choice, I’m left to try my own methods and just going to get completely drunk and hope I pass out – what else am I meant to do (and yes, I’ve tried all the sleep hygiene stuff, all the teas and even over the counter sleeping meds I had)!!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Tough Week in PTSD Land

Since my last post, I have been in a pretty bad state. I’ll be honest and am still struggling to see things any differently to how I did in my previous post, but this is a quick update on what’s happened since.

In terms of services, I had been avoiding my care co-ordinator in the run up to my attempt. This was for two reasons; firstly I am very honest with her and I knew that if she asked me anything about suicidal thoughts etc, then I would have been honest and told her, thus defeating the point of my plans. Secondly, I was still so in the air after the therapy decision that I truly didn’t know what she could do for me anymore.

So whilst I had been avoiding her, my cc had tried to get in touch via mail and on my bday she was on weekend duty and left me a voicemail wishing me a happy birthday. And then when I checked my mail on the day after I got out of hospital, she had also sent me a birthday card (yes I know how lucky I am to have the cc I do!). However, all in all, I had avoided her for about two weeks and so when I called last Tuesday to speak to her and she wasn’t in, I asked duty to leave her a message to call me as soon as she could. Just so you know, I never say as soon as possible – I figure that she knows I need calling back and has her own triage system so by me saying that, it was showing the urgency.

Luckily, she phoned first thing weds morning and arranged to come straight out. It went as well as it could have done. We spoke about me feeling I had no support in the two weeks that they knew were my worse and she explained her point of view. That in the past, I have taken to bed, hidden under the covers and when things have passed, I’ve got back in touch. She explained that she was trying to respect that and not hound me, but yet know she was there by sending letters etc. I understood her point and realised that plus avoiding her for the above reasons, I had to take a huge part of the responsibility of why I had no support.

I told her how I was currently feeling, and she said she couldn’t leave me knowing I was still suicidal but I explained that I didn’t have any means and I was in such a mess that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. That I trusted myself. We put a huge emphasis on my word as I always keep it and she knows that. And so she left but arranged to come back on Friday.

To be honest, nothing had really changed in those two days. I’d managed a shower, which was huge, but I was still very reflective and still physically not feeling great. We discussed my options as she was due annual leave for two weeks. She explained that if I had spoken to her earlier than Wednesday I’d be in hospital now but she’s hoping we just need to ride the wave, in the community, and then try and move forward. I told her I was never going back to hospital and if she says that then it just pushes me to put my wall up if feeling that way. She said that on that statement alone, she didn’t feel she could just leave me to stay under my duvet in the future and if I didn’t answer her calls, she’d be knocking on the door with a warrant. I explained I didn’t mean it that way and she knew that I didn’t, that honesty is important to me and will continue to have my word.

Anyway, after going back and forth with the options available (home treatment team, duty etc), we decided on a colleague of hers stepping in to her shoes for the two weeks and doing visits etc and also being a point of call if I needed it.

And that brings me pretty much to this week. Since seeing her on Friday, I haven’t been out of bed except for a quick 4am visit to the supermarket and a few 5 or 10 min episodes on the sofa. I haven’t showered and not eaten much or drank much. Stupidly, I think if I don’t drink then that means I don’t need to get up for the toilet. I’ve not slept for longer than 25 mins a handful of times since last Tuesday. My mum has been back from holiday since Friday and I haven’t seen her since then and I cancelled the appointment with my cc’s colleague. I know I’m isolating myself, but right now I just can’t be bothered. Whilst some see it as negative, it also means that whilst I can’t be bothered to get up, I also can’t be bothered to do anything about my suicidal thoughts!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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TW: Suicide Attempt

** TRIGGER WARNING, SUICIDE**

My head hurts from crying so much. I don’t know what else to do; I’m not supposed to be here!!

I have been planning this for two weeks, checking out the area, making sure I had everything and yet, here I am, still alive the day after I was supposed to die.

It was an important date, it was my birthday. But as I had expected, with my family deciding it’d be ok to be away for it, I was all alone and by 10.30pm when I left the house I hadn’t seen another person.

Birthdays are tough for me, they are childhood anniversary dates as well as something bad happening with the gang on one of them. I struggle, I’ve been telling my care co-ordinator that this is a tough time for me and yet I had no contact for the 10 days leading up to it. I missed an appointment two weeks ago and she took that as a sign that I needed a break from them (added to the fact I was so angry over the therapy decision) and so left me a message to call to make an appointment, I never did, I was too busy planning my suicide.

Unfortunately, the one thing I didn’t plan was a good samaritan being around and calling the police and ambulance (I’m not going to go in to detail as I don’t want anyone to pick up any method ideas), but the tablets I took were merely taken so that I couldn’t back out.

I was taken to hospital, the police sorted my car out and parked it at the hospital for me and made sure I was ok. The ambulance staff sat and spoke to me, treated me like a human being, even though I couldn’t stop sobbing.

I was taken straight to a bay and then from this point is I don’t remember much, the tablets were kicking in and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I do remember someone, I think it was a doctor asking me why and giving me the name of a woman whose book I should read. That she had been through similar and I might find it helpful. I asked her to write it down as I wouldn’t remember but she obviously got side tracked. I thought that was lovely though!

Before I knew it, 6 hours had passed and I vaguely remember telling a psych liaison officer that I just wanted to die. He knew who my cc and psychiatrist was and said they were sending me home in a taxi and I needed to sleep it all off but someone would call me later.

I did get a call about 5 hours later from duty as my cc isn’t in until Wednesday. I don’t remember much of the call as I was still so docile but she said she’d let me sleep and if I needed anyone then to call back and they would call again tomorrow.

It is now close enough to 24 hours since I first started the attempt and I’m only just starting to keep my eyes open for longer than 5 minutes. I feel devastated and gutted. I don’t feel happy, I don’t feel like ‘but it must have happened for a reason that you’re still here’. I feel pathetic, shameful, weak, that I can’t even do this right. I wanted to die, it was the answer to everything. Today, I don’t have it in me to make any other attempt, and so instead I sit here in the pain I was trying to escape and just cry.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Reaction to my Last Post

It surprised me how much debate and comment my last post on whether people see PTSD as a mental illness got. I like debate and having my own personal opinions questioned and either changed or cemented in their originality.

What I didn’t expect however, was people who I thought knew me as much as possible on an anonymous twitter account, becoming what I can only describe as ‘elitist’ in their comments. And by that I mean, they believe because they have a diagnosis that is a mental illness and never questioned in that respect (eg schizophrenia, bipolar etc), they thought they had the right to belittle and make others feel bad. That because they don’t see other conditions as ‘life-long’, they therefore don’t have it as ‘bad’ as them.

The fact is, regardless of diagnosis or longevity of illness, if you are in the grasp of your set of symptoms then you feel the way you do – end of! It really shocked me to see that there was this obvious hierarchy of perceived mental illness (within people with mental health issues) that to be honest I haven’t come across before. For that reason I have created the poll below. It is completely anonymous and neither I or anyone else will know who has voted so please be as honest as possible.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is PTSD a mental illness?

The subject of this blog says it all really; is PTSD a mental illness? I’ll set out by saying I’m not too sure of the answer. This morning I was adamant that my problems aren’t a mental illness (and I can only speak of my PTSD, so please don’t take offence at anything I write). However after being called obstinant and always think I’m right by my psychiatrist, I’m opening my mind to other answers.

This is my original stance. Before the 2 years of pretty much continual trauma, I was ok. I was living quite a decent life and moving in the direction I wanted to be going and then I got in with a bad bunch for people and, well, you know the rest! And then we have the after effects, the fact that I’m openly not coping very well with what happened to me and I struggle on a daily basis to even function at a low level (in terms of not going out, not seeing people, not eating properly etc). To me though, this is because of what happened and therefore is me struggling with life events, not suffering from a mental illness.

And then we have the other side of the argument. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, it’s an illness in the ICD 10 (the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organisation). As a side note, some countries use the DSM IV (or V). There is a overwhelming amount of evidence that says when you suffer from PTSD, the areas of your brain actually become more/less active than before – just like with depression. So surely with this amount of evidence, it should be easy to answer my original question and say of course it is; it’s an illness and also to do with the brain and so therefore classed as a mental illness.

The problem I have here, is one of those arguments is based in science and other in life – if I hadn’t have had my trauma, I wouldn’t be asking this question. But it’s the same with the depression element of my diagnosis. It isn’t an organic depression (ie, it’s not come about on its own), it is based on social circumstances and if I didn’t have PTSD, I wouldn’t have depression either and so it’s the same question – is that depression mental illness or just not reacting well with the way my life has gone?

I had this conversation with my care co-ordinator as she said I am poorly and if I asked 20 lay people if I had a mental illness they would say yes. And so I took to twitter and actually, some people said no, I didn’t. Which begs the next question. If PTSD is a mental illness, why don’t people recognise it as such? And these were people who have either an interest in or illnesses themselves by the way!

So is PTSD a highly stigmatised diagnosis in the mental health field? I’ve got a feeling that I’m not helping my cause by saying I’m just reacting badly to a situation and not giving my diagnosis the respect I should. But by doing that and accepting something is actually mentally wrong with me, I think I’m giving up control of something I’m not quite ready to do yet. Is this having a detrimental effect on my treatment and life? I’m really not sure!

Sorry if I’ve not expressed myself very well, as always I write as I think and don’t edit to make sure I don’t lose the point I’m trying to make.

I’d be interested to hear other viewpoints on this.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Psychiatry Appointment

Tomorrow I have my quarterly appointment with my psychiatrist. It is essentially a catch up, making sure the meds I’m on are ok and if they need any change in the dosage.

However, after last weeks therapy assessment outcome, I feel I need to get everything off my chest. I told it all to my cc but as she is off she told me she wouldn’t have chance to explain my thoughts to my psychiatrist before my appointment.

I’m ok with this, I am more than capable of expressing my thoughts and opinions to my psychiatrist. I have a lot of respect for her, we have clashed heads somewhat in the past because we both speak our minds, but I also like her for that reason. When my cc realised she was off on the day of my appointment she said she wasn’t worried as I can more than hold my own, so now I just need to!

I’m pretty nervous about it, but only because I am still so annoyed about last weeks recommendation. When I spoke to my cc about it, she said we will review it when the therapists report comes through and that it isn’t a no, but just a not today.

I asked her how the circle can be broken because from my perspective they are saying I’m too high risk, but the reason I am high risk is because of the images and thoughts that are constantly going through my head with the trauma. I don’t need emotional regulation, I need help with the flashbacks and the fact I’m scared to sleep. I’d like to see how anyone (without trauma) deals with 2 hours sleep a night – if affects the mood in a massive way.

Using an analogy, I also told my cc that I feel that I’ve gone to my GP two years ago with a sore arm (PTSD symptoms) and initially they have tried treating that, but then they’ve seen a problem with my leg (even though I’ve never had any issues with it) and they decide to concentrate on that. And last weeks assessment makes me feel like they are recommending putting my leg in plaster and I keep saying but what about my arm? That’s my problem, why can’t we treat my arm?

I’m not sure how all this will come over to my psychiatrist tomorrow, but I can only hope I fight my corner well enough!

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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