Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I got an appointment to see Mr Psychiatrist at 1.30pm and told him I had stopped taking the Amisulpride on Friday and how restless it was making me. I told him I had done some reading and either wanted to try Olanzapine (Zyprexa) or Aripiprazole (Abilify) next. We talked a bit about them both and he said he was happy to prescribe either. I said I was scared about the weight gain prospect of Olanzapine but was encouraged by the fact it seemed more likely to help me get better sleep. He gave me the whole side effect talk that I’ve had a thousand times about how every medication affecting every person differently. He also asked about how safe I was at the moment and I told him the truth that I had purchased a box of stanley knife blades in the past few days because the urges and the voices have been getting worse, louder and more commanding. He told me to get rid of them, ‘by disposing of them you are lessening the probability of using them’. Well duh of course that is true. What he doesn’t get is that by buying myself ten minutes thinking time about whether or not to actually do the act of self harming is over by the time I’ve walked to the craft shop at the top of the street and back. If you are going to do it, if the urge or voice or need is strong enough, then you’re gonna do it. End of. He doesn’t get that though, he lives in the world of taking every sharp object away from a self harmer so they can’t do it, another thing he doesn’t seem to get is that knowing I don’t have anything to harm myself with only causes me further distress and makes the urges stronger. Having them here is like a safety blanket.
He doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that our community of “mentalists” here are actually intelligent articulate people who have all been on one med or another at some point in time and that I value their input when I ask for advice about meds. He likes to think he knows best, I don’t think he appreciates it so much when I tell him I’ve gone and read proper studies which thousands of people have participated in and read all the percentages of people who have stopped that medication and their reasons why. For example a lot of studies will show the main reasons for people stopping olanzapine are weight gain and sleepiness. Aripiprazole seems more likely in some people to cause sleep disturbances.
It was a very boring session, I learned nothing new from him and I’m starting to wonder if my secret career could actually lie in pharmacy if I wasn’t utterly crap at chemistry and physics!!
Speaking of moving forwards with any kind of career, I went along for my appointment with the Rape Crisis Centre yesterday and had a long chat with the woman who runs the support worker side of things. She was totally lovely and we talked about so many things and all of the reasons why I want to become involved with their organisation. The only problem is that the next intake of volunteers isn’t going to be until February 2012 and it is going to be run in residential weekends. I’m not sure how many of them, I’m guessing about four as she said it used to be 1 day’s training a week for 10-12 weeks to become a fully qualified volunteer support worker. I also expressed my interest in the project they do which is aimed at teenagers, talks in schools and youth centre’s etc – the aim of which being to bring awareness about paedophiles on the internet, the difference between non-consensual and consensual sex, being bullied or pressurised into sex, what abuse and rape are, why what a girl wears doesn’t mean she’s ‘up for it’ etc etc.
The other problem is the fucking agoraphobia. Because the centre I am applying to work at covers a large rural county the next intake of volunteers is aimed at a town 115 miles away that is where the training is going to be held. And for a whole weekend Friday night to Sunday afternoon over several weekends. That is going to be a major challenge for me. It is on the same route as the looney bin, just a further 50 miles down the road. So really the aim is to do that 50 miles by February.
They need to do a disclosure check on all applicants before I can start to do anything for the centre. It takes roughly 4-6 weeks to process and come back. I told her about my agoraphobia and very casually mentioned that I had been in the psychiatric hospital before. I haven’t gone into every detail about my mental health yet, that will come when the time is right.
I also never mentioned anything about losing the little one, I know that sounds stupid and you might be thinking ‘well why would you? it’s not something that’s relevant’ but any time I meet a new person who has a role where I’d be working with them (any mental health support person for example) it’s always something I mention early on. Maybe in case they question my wrist tattoos. Maybe it’s something inside of me which feels like when other people talk about kids I want to say ‘I’m a mummy too’. Maybe it’s a whole mix of reasons. Had she asked me if I had children I may have mentioned it, but she didn’t and so I didn’t. In fact (and I feel almost guilty for saying this) but for that hour I was with her I was so focused on the work they do there that I didn’t even think about the little one.
So for now I need to fill out my disclosure form (it’s a background check on you for working with children or vulnerable adults) and wait for it to come back. Once it’s back I can go in and do admin stuff in the office to keep me in contact with them and let me get to know them until the training starts in February. I really want to do this, I feel really passionate about it already and whilst the work at times will be disturbing I know I can deal with it and be OK. We talked about several examples of abuse in some detail yesterday and none of it triggered me. So I think I can really offer them something (especially on the teen project) and she seemed really keen to get me involved as well as I talked about the ‘bigger picture’ and my knowledge of self harm and other things that happen as part of that bigger picture.
So by this point it was around 4 or 4.30pm and I was in a good mood. I went out to my friend’s house for half an hour and told her about it. I rushed back into town to get my new prescription before the pharmacy closed and got my first week of Olanzapine. I was chilling out but my head was pounding and I decided around 6pm to take my first tablet. Over the next couple of hours my mood seemed to lower, mainly because of the psych telling me to get rid of my blades. I kept hearing his voice over and over and thinking ‘fuck you, they are mine and I’m not throwing them away’ so I went and got them and sort of clung onto the box for a little while. And the voices started up in my head telling me specifically not to throw them away. And I was just really thinking of the day, mainly all the good positive bits, and then I remembered about not speaking about the little one and hearing the psych’s voice telling me to get rid, and hearing the head voices saying don’t get rid and before I knew it I was carving a hole into my leg.
It wasn’t one intense burst of self harm cuts it was a couple of cuts. Then I stopped. Then I went back to them and made them both deeper. Then I stopped and had a cigarette. Then I went back to them and made them deeper. Then I stopped and had a chat to my social worker on the phone for a little while. Then I went back to them and made them deeper. By the time it was around 9.30pm I knew they were too deep and I did need to go to the hospital, I pretty much had a hole in my leg by then that was not stopping bleeding no much how much pressure I put on it. But I didn’t want to go to the hospital alone, it freaks me out, but I went anyway, I knew it had gone too deep. She was a really nice nurse and even said to me she was going to be there all night and if I felt like I was going to self harm again then just to go up and if she wasn’t with a patient then I could just sit and talk to her (even though she admitted that she had very little knowledge of psych nursing). She then gave me a little pile of dressings and steri-strips saying if I did cut again and couldn’t face going back to hospital I could patch myself up. Still not too sure what I make of that, I guess it makes sense that if it’s a fairly small cut then I can just deal with it and avoid the anxiety of hospital; but equally I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr Psychiatrist would say about that. Is having them another item that ‘increases the probability’ of me self harming? I still have quite a few blades but the urge is out of my system for now. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter if I bin the lot of it as it only takes me 5 minutes to put my shoes on, walk to top of street, buy blades and be back in the house ready to do it.
Phew my fingers are getting sore, think this is the longest post I’ve written in ages. 1700 words!
So I’m starting off on a baby dose of Olanzapine just 2.5mg a day for 7 days then 5mg a day for another week and then probably 7.5mg working my way up in 2.5mg jumps until I’m at the right dose for me. He said the max dose was 20mg a day. I’m gonna give it a couple of weeks and see if I notice it doing anything to my appetite, making me eat more etc and see how it affects the voices.
And on that note I must go and get dressed and take the dogs a walk, they are sitting here with their legs crossed!