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Update (with a trigger warning)

**TRIGGER WARNING – I TALK OF SUICIDAL THOUGHTS BELOW**

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve had to concentrate on myself and getting things a bit straighter in my head before even thinking about getting it down in writing.

I’d literally just been admitted in my last post. Well, the next day, I met with my psychiatrist and although it was about 4pm on a Friday afternoon, she was willing to spend a bit of time talking to me. I told her I wanted to go home, that the ward had done its job and kept me safe and now it was time to be discharged. She obviously didn’t agree and said that no way could I have had a 180 degree shift in 24 hours. Ok, yeah, she was right but I really do hate being in hospital. We agreed that I could go out over the weekend as long as someone was with me (don’t even get me started on the whole, I’m informal, and therefore can leave whenever I want argument!!). And she also agreed to come and see me first thing Monday morning and if I still felt as I did, then I could go home. In the meantime my anti-depressant dose was doubled.

And so on Monday I was discharged. I told the psychiatrist what she needed to hear and was allowed home. Over the next few days though at home, I realised this was wrong on my part – I wasn’t feeling safe and how no idea how I was going to keep myself ok. For the first time ever, I admitted to myself that I’d asked for discharge when I really shouldn’t have done, maybe even just a couple of extra days would have been enough.

After a weekend struggling (my cc is currently off), I called duty first thing and asked to be referred to the home treatment team. I didn’t know what else to ask for because here’s the thing:

I have a rating from 0-10 on suicidal feelings. Anything below an 8 and I know it’s tough but they are just thoughts and I can deal with them myself. Above 8 and this is when I become a risk. My team know this and I’m totally honest with them if they ask. I guess in the past I’ve been a 9.5 and took action and then regretted it immediately and either hoped I hadn’t done any damage or a few times ended up in a&e.

However, my birthday attempt was a 10. I had made my peace with things and I was ready. The week before, I was happy and finally saw an end. When I woke up in hospital, I told them, “I just want to die, please just let me”. I had never felt that before. I’d always felt some kind of relief, but I was truly gutted.

I struggled for weeks with this feeling of devastation and went on to make another plan. This time however was when I ended up in the mental health unit at hospital and obviously the plan was scrapped for now.

So what next? Since last week I’ve had the home treatment team (htt) and I’ve tried to be as honest as I can with them and have been glad of the break in my days and I guess, ultimately an interruption to my ruminating thoughts when I see them. They can’t change how I feel though and to be honest, I’ve had a testing time trying to bring my number down to a manageable level.

I met again with my psychiatrist and we openly discussed things. I explained about me thinking I’d got it wrong in discharge but that it would be no use to go back in now, that my suicidal thoughts were still there but the intent was less and I could be trusted on my own. I know, and have mentioned before, that she runs a high risk management plan with me, but she does so knowing that if asked, I will be honest. (The reason I managed such a serious attempt on my bday was because I cancelled appointments so my cc couldn’t ask me.)

Anyway, in that appointment, we decided to try a new drug called abilify (new for me, not new on market). I’m kind of at the stage now where I’ll try anything and so I am taking it on a low dose this week and then having it doubled next week.

I think I will be discharged from htt next Monday as well as there isn’t anything else that can be done with them. And then it’s just a waiting game; waiting for my therapy re-assessment (that my psychiatrist said she is chasing up) and starting from there again.

Sorry, I’m aware this post is all over the place but that’s similar to my thoughts right now!

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Posted by on October 9, 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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Dissociation and PTSD

I have just come out of hospital after spending 3 days in there. The reason why is a bit more complicated so let me explain!

If you have been reading my blog, you will see that I have been under the home treatment team (old crisis team) after having a particularly bad month. I have been working with them and seeing them every other day and whilst I was having high suicidal thoughts, we were managing them quite effectively.

It started for me on easter week, when I felt like I had been losing time and when they asked me questions about what I had been doing, I honestly couldn’t remember. Have you ever felt like when you’ve gone in to a room for something and for the life of you, you can;t recall why? Well it’s that kind of feeling – no matter how hard I tried to remember, I couldn’t! They told me it was because I wasn’t doing anything in my days and so everything was just merging in to one. I didn’t really feel like it was for this but just left it as nothing anyone could do anyway.

In the past when I’ve had very bad times, I have dissociated and actually thought it was a time before my trauma and didn’t even recognise my care co-ordinator. However, she has always been ok with this as it meant I was ok – it was pre-trauma and so I was happy!

On Tuesday night, I went to bed at about midnight and the next thing I remember is it was 2 hours later and I was ‘waking’ up at the side of a local reservoir with an empty bottle of my medication. At first, I thought I was dreaming but after realising I wasn’t, I panicked! I wasn’t suicidal, I didn’t want to take too much – why had I done this without knowing it?

I called NHS Direct and tried to explain what had happened. I wasn’t aware of the effects of taking the amount I had done and didn’t want to drive home if there was a chance I could hurt someone. They told me they were sending an ambulance to where I was, but I didn’t want to waste resources and so said it’d be quicker for me to make my own way there.

I arrived at accident and emergency and was seen by triage. She took my ob’s (blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels) and picked up the phone and asked if they had a bay for me. I thought it was just in the normal bit but she told me I had to go straight to resus. My heart rate was tachycardic at 155 beats per minute (the normal is between 60-80). I was hooked up to a heart monitor and had an ECG and was really well looked after. After a few hours I was moved to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) where a doctor eventually came to see me – this was now Wednesday evening. He told me they still needed to keep me in and redo an ECG over night and hopefully discharge me on ward rounds the next morning.

At about 11.30pm they moved me up to an escalation ward. This is essentially a place they open when it is busy and use it to keep people who are close to discharge. For this reason, it is trollies and not beds that are there (it’s a day surgery unit). There is a 23 hour rile that you aren’t allowed to be on them for longer than this timeframe.

The next morning, the ward round happened and I hadn’t had another ECG so the doctor ordered it again. It was still high – 110 and so they said to have it repeated in the afternoon and go from there. It had gone up to 111.

I spoke to the doctor and asked if I could self discharge as I felt ok. I explained that I had PTSD and that being in the hospital where I was extremely anxious meant that they were never going to get a heart rate below 80. She agreed that as long as it was below 100 I could go. She said it was extremely risky that I leave and we agreed I’d stay another night and be checked the next morning. I was to be moved to a ward and given a proper bed. I was given a bed twice and each time when the nurse called to do a handover they were told it had been given to someone else and so I was told I’d be staying where I was. I asked what about the 23 hour rule and she said there was nothing that could be done. This is what I was on:

hospital trolley

I understand they have to make difficult bed decisions, but no one came to speak to me to explain this and just swept it under the carpet. There were 2 empty beds opposite me on the same ward and were eventually taken by one woman who had severe constipation and one who was withdrawing from alcohol. If mine wasn’t based on a mental health problem, would I still have been just left? I honestly don’t know the answer but it did cross my mind! I wasn’t even supposed to know about the 23 hour rule, it was only because I was speaking to the nurse on the night shift and she told me don’t worry they can’t keep you on there for longer than that.

The next morning, the doctor (who I had seen the previous day) came in and I heard her say, “what on earth is x still doing here?” She was excellent and saw me straight away and had my heart rate taken – it was 95, yay – I could go home!! Well that was after I had been referred for a psych review. 5 hours later I was seen and it was obvious it wasn’t intentional on my part and so they discharged me to see the home treatment team (htt) the next day (I was still under them anyway). All in all I was on the trolley for 39 hours!!

I am seeing my care coordinator tomorrow and will be discussing what happened but the htt said they had discussed it and think I had fallen asleep, had a nightmare and woken up in a dissociated state where suicide was the only answer. This has scared me – it’s hard enough to control those thoughts when I am aware of them, nevermind when I’m not!!

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Police, A&E, Triage Nurse, Crisis Team & Own Team

This post is purely about facts – were things handled correctly, should any thing have been done differently?

I was suicidal, so I took some sleeping tablets and I was driving to the place I was going to do it so when I saw a motorway bridge and decided that’d be a good place to jump. It was midnight & so the motorway was quiet enough to have long stretches with no traffic so noone else would be involved.

I stood there, I have no idea how long for, just staring over the bridge, knowing this was it.

Then a police van turned up, asked me why I was there. I couldn’t answer through the tears and cold. They asked me if I’d be willing to sit in the van to warm up a little as I was shaking. I agreed.

They asked for my details, I gave them – no reason not to and asked if I’d been drinking – I said no. After doing a check on me and my vehicle, it was decided that it’d be best for me to go to hospital. I went in the police van and one of the policemen drove my car. Whilst he was driving, I took the rest of the tablets but he heard the packet, stopped the van and asked what I was doing – I told him they were anti-anxiety tablets and he got back in the van & continued to hospital.

When I arrived at hospital they walked me in and then left me there.

The triage nurse called me in and was lovely. She asked if I’d been drinking, I said no. She asked if I’d taken any drugs and so I showed her the packets and said whatever was missing, I had taken.

She told me the psych liaison team were in the department and she’d she if they were available. I was put in a small room and left for half an hour whilst they got ready to see me. It was the usual crisis team questions; tell me what happened in the lead up to you being here, how are you feeling now etc. I asked to go home, they accepted it and off I went.

Today I had a voicemail from my cc saying she’d seen I’d been at a&e and if I wanted to speak to her then call or speak to duty. I called her pretty much straight back (around 2.30pm) but she was busy and duty wouldn’t speak to me whilst my own cc was in the office. I left my name and number and asked for a call back, but nothing.

All in all, do you think this has all been handled correctly, anything wrong, right etc?

** UPDATE** When I originally wrote this, I wanted to see what people thought others roles were in the events that took place. Some people have asked for their response to be private so I won’t be giving specifics. But I also wanted to write it without emotion and then add this bit on to say how I felt I was handled. To say I have tweeted both the hospital and police department to say thankyou for how they helped me that night pretty much explains my point of view. The police did exactly what they needed to and never once made me feel stupid or a waste of time. The same can be said about the triage nurse and the liaison team (2 of them).

I guess the problem came with me answering their questions, they can only go on what I said and I knew the questions well enough to know what answers to give to get out of there as quickly as possible!

My cc called me back this morning and by 1pm, one of the home treatment team were here as a referral.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Psychiatrist Appointment

Today I had my quarterly psychiatrist review to see how I am getting on and if anything can be changed with medication etc. Normally my care co-ordinator is there as well but she couldn’t make it today so it was just me and my psychiatrist. I actually get on quite well with her, I think she is fair and I know that she backs the high risk management plan my care co-ordinator uses with me and without her, I’d be in a very different place right now.

Each appointment basically takes the same brief outline with questions such as:
How are you?
Do you think you are better or worse than last time you were here?
How do you think your meds are working?
How is work?
How do you see your future?
etc…

I generally struggle with these appointments because it feels like you have to bare your soul and then just be able to switch off all emotions once you’ve done that. It was all going ok until she asked about work and I told her about recent issues with my main client and with a smaller one which has left me with little income (I’m self-employed). In response my psychiatrist said she doesn’t think I’m fit for work and I should think about stopping it altogether at the moment.

I can see where she is coming from but I also think work has given me the incentive to get up at times and taken my mind off things. It has helped with my self esteem as I’ve known whilst working, my clients see some worth in continuing with my service and therefore that I am good at something.

We also spoke about suicidal thoughts and my recent overdose. I explained that I’m currently struggling daily with thoughts but they have just been thoughts. I told her that I have the means and a plan but that’s all and the last time I seriously thought about it was this morning but my plan needed darkness so I didn’t do anything. I guess this shows me how precariously on the edge I am – if it was dark and I had those feelings would I have gone through with it? I can’t answer that right now!

My psychiatrist then told me that on Friday, her, my cc and a psychologist were going to be meeting to discuss the way forward in terms of therapy. Is this not something they think I should be involved in? I only hope they are meeting to discuss options and not to make a decision as I honestly believe I need to be part of that final choice.

The next thing we spoke about was my medication and how I was finding it. I said I felt the promazine (for night anxiety) wasn’t as effective anymore and that I’m not sure the fluoxetine (anti-depressant) has ever been much use. She explained to me that she didn’t believe I had a major depression and so didn’t think upping my anti-depressant would help. Instead she believes because I have been victim of severe abuse, this is just the reaction to that abuse.

To be honest, that has completely thrown me. When I had depression as a diagnosis, I could tell myself, it’s ok, your brain isn’t working properly and that’s ok. But now I feel like this is my fault, that it’s about my ‘reaction’ and therefore I’m in the wrong.

I always remember an equation someone taught me; e+r=o (event + response = outcome). They said that the only thing you can control in that equation is your response to change the outcome. Now all of a sudden I am being told its my response to the event that is leaving me feeling this way, and that I have full control of that response (as opposed to only some and depression the other), I feel like a complete failure.

So basically the outcome of today was that

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Suicide Attempt – PTSD

On my last post I mentioned that I was being seen by the home treatment team (htt) but I wasn’t finding them much use. They weren’t being horrible or anything, just not particularly useful and I couldn’t really see the point in seeing them. But I did, and tried to be open as much as I could with them. One session with a different cpn¬† (community psychiatric nurse) left me feeling that I really didn’t have anywhere mentally to go. I felt like she just kept asking questions that made me see how bad my life had become from what it used to be and that I had such a long journey to go on and essentially left me feeling what the hell is the point? I spent a couple of days going backwards and forwards in my own head, asking myself questions about if I could see how/if things could change – I wasn’t coming up with many answers.

On Wednesday, I decided (rationally) that I’d had enough and wasn’t willing to go on this journey anymore. Part of me however knew that maybe there was a small section of me that still wanted to live and so I decided to call the home treatment team (as I kept being told to do) and see how I felt afterwards. It was 8.30pm (they are open until 9pm), but they share a number with a community mental health team that switch their phones off at 5pm. I left a message asking for a call back, and I waited! Nothing came. I ended up taking myself to a&e after taking an overdose – I’ve no idea how that small part of me overcame the rest in order to get help but it was obviously stronger than I thought.

I arrived at hospital and sat down expecting a long wait but when I saw the triage nurse, he took me straight through to the majors unit and gave me a cup of charcoal to start drinking. I’ve never had it before and never want to again – it was disgusting, gritty and just yuck!! I was starting to drift off to sleep and the next bits are really a blur, but I remember having bloods taken and a drip put in, an ecg and blood pressure etc taken a few times. I also vaguely remember a registrar being called and some things happening but was too out of it to know what.

I was admitted and sent to an escalation ward for a bed and again had obs done a few times and still had an iv drip in. I was due to see my cc at home on thursday morning and when I didn’t answer, she left me a message to see if I was ok. I called her back and she already knew I was in hospital and told me that she wanted to be in my psych assessment that they would ask for and she’d see me later.

I saw a medical doctor (with 3 juniors) and got passed as medically fit and they would arrange the assessment with psych. I also had a nice lecture from her about the dangerous-ness of overdoses – well yeah, I kind of wanted that to be the point!! I’m over medical dr’s being able to understand mental health as I’ve yet to see any real evidence of it. The same with the nurse on the ward I was on. There was 11 patients and 2 nurses and 1 auxiliary. Apart from the auxiliary asking me if I wanted a drink, I didn’t get any communication from the nurses – every other bed did – maybe they thought I wanted to be left alone but ah well.

My cc arrived and took me in to a private room where another woman was waiting from access and liaison services and luckily my cc took the lead. She asked to explain why we were there and I told her I’d had enough and that I’d tried to call the crisis team but I didn’t get a reply and I’d spent a couple of days thinking everything over. We spoke about the fact I just wanted to go home and sleep and I had to promise I would carry on with the home treatment team if I was to be discharged. I agreed and was left to go on my way.

I then saw my cc yesterday, she wanted to check how I was and she explained that her and my psychiatrist were going with a high risk management plan with me and if she wasn’t involved in my assessment at the hospital the day before, it was likely I would have been admitted. I’m extremely glad and grateful to them for that, as I know hospital is not an option for me!

So what now? The feelings don’t just go away – it’s not like one day I am suicidal and the next, after some charcoal and fluids I’m fixed. I still don’t know how to cope with what’s going through my mind all the time. The flashbacks, the anxiety, the tiredness – I’m just feeling so weary of it all and whilst I am giving things a go with my cc and htt, I can’t promise what the future holds.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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