01:15 – A temporary safety plan

26 Sep

Today I have tried my hardest to start being honest with people.

Best friend text me out of the blue last night asking how I was. I contemplated sending the “fine thanks” reply but decided that no, I would tell the truth, well mostly the truth. I text back and told her I was lonely, that I felt like I had no friends and that my mood was very low and I’m finding myself feeling triggered by the smallest of things. To my surprise she text back straight away and said she was going to come and see me in the morning and true to her word, at 11am this morning she phoned to say she was on her way.

The first thing she asked me was why I was bandaged up, had I been self harming? This was the only lie that I told her. I stuck to my story that I have told A&E and also told my Mum. But all the other stuff I was honest about. I told her I was feeling really low but that there was no one specific thing making me feel this way. I don’t know why I couldn’t be honest about all of the cutting I have been doing recently, usually I can be pretty straight to the point with her. I guess maybe I didn’t want to see the disappointment in her face, as she thinks I haven’t done it since April. That’s probably the reason why I have lied about it this time round, just to avoid dealing with that sad look in people’s faces. I told best friend I was finding it hard being on my own all of the time and that I missed her. I also never see the male friend that I used to spend a lot of time with but that is mainly because the last time we had a proper conversation a few weeks ago he asked me if we could be more than friends – of course I said no. I came up with some shit about just not wanting to be in a relationship with anyone – you know – the sort of thing you say to try and make them not take it personally. Blaming my mental health and saying I would be too much of a burden on someone right now. To a point that is true but I wouldn’t ever be more than friends with him anyway purely because there is absolutely no physical attraction there.

Anyways… back to today. After we’d sat and chatted for about an hour I realised best friend hadn’t just been too busy with her boyfriend and kids, she’s actually had some stuff going on as well that she’s been quite worried about. She had a heart murmur as a baby but it’s never really affected her, however she became quite unwell at the weekend and had to go to hospital where they found something quite abnormal on her ECG and the doctor suspects one of the valves in her heart isn’t letting oxygen in properly or something to that effect. So she is being referred to the cardiologist and is feeling quite worried about that. I then felt a bit stupid and selfish that I thought she was just too loved up to remember to text me but she did say she shouldn’t have left me for weeks with not even a text to say hello. We decided to go for a coffee before I had to go to my appointment at 2pm and I felt slightly better for spending a couple of hours with her and getting out of the house.

I then went to my appointment with my support worker from rape crisis. This is where I was properly honest. I told her about all of the self harming. I told her I’d even been having thoughts again about not wanting to be here any more. I told her about how lonely I feel. I told her about abuser cousin’s daughter having the baby. I told her about all the things that have been triggering me. I told her I wasn’t sure how safe I felt at the moment especially with my parents being away on holiday. I told her about not going to see CPN#2 yesterday and all my reasons why I find myself avoiding more and more appointments. Basically I got everything off my chest. I was talking slowly, every word felt like it was draining me but I got it all out in the end. She asked me what we could do to try and keep me safe. I told her I really didn’t know. I do know that I definitely do not want to even consider hospital, it is not an option. I don’t know that I feel suicidal as such however I did admit to having a cupboard absolutely full to the brim of a variety of medication. Some prescribed stuff and some stuff I’ve bought. I have no idea how many tablets are in there but it’s easily into the hundreds. So after a long chat I managed to identify that I am relatively low risk when it comes to trying to kill myself or taking an overdose even though I have the means to do so. However I could recognise that I am at a high risk of self harming to quite severe levels. This is when lovely support worker said we should think of a ‘temporary safety plan’.

I agreed that if I found myself in a situation where I was beginning to self harm and it was possible that it might spiral out of control then I would do my best to stop for a moment and phone/text or email her. I don’t know how realistic that is going to be should it happen… once I’m in that self harming ‘zone’ it’s very hard to stop and think, I’m too determined just to bleed out all of my pain. She said I should try and make contact with her when I’m at the ‘crazy-head-full-of-self-harm-urges’ stage rather than afterwards when the damage has already been done but that truly is easier said than done. But I will at least try. If she’s being good enough to make a point of being there for me then I should try and make use of that support.

After I left my appointment I decided to try and face A&E to get my stitches removed. As usual the two nurses on shift were nurses that I knew. I made a point of saying this hadn’t been a self harm wound and she gave me a bit of a strange look for a second. Whatever she had read from my notes appeared to say differently so clearly the doctor who put the stitches in didn’t believe my lie or at least expressed some sort of doubt about the story I gave him. She was nice enough though, removed the stitches, made some general chit chat, asked what I’d been doing with myself today so I decided fuck it, I’ll be honest with her. So whilst I stuck to the story of that particular wound not being a self harm one, I also told her I’m not finding my appointments with my CPN helpful at all and haven’t really been going to them. She suggested I mention this to my GP when I next see her to see if there is a way that I could maybe see a different CPN but I don’t know if that would even be possible due to the small amount of staff there are in the mental health team here. Plus it would mean CPN#2 finding out my feelings on how unhelpful I find her.

I also told the A&E nurse that I was experiencing a lot of urges to self harm at the moment. I don’t know if this was partly because I thought that if I told her then if I do end up self harming badly again it won’t come as too much of a surprise to them. Or maybe I just needed to be honest and stop lying. I think it was a mix of trying to reach out for some help and just wanting to tell the truth.

So all in all today wasn’t such a bad day. I talked about a lot of depressing stuff and from all that talking I managed to recognise that I don’t feel particularly safe at the moment and that my self harming behaviours are starting to get pretty bad again. But on the flip side I don’t feel as though I’ve just been left on my own to deal with it all. Even if I don’t make contact with my support worker before our appointment next week at least I know that she is there at the end of the phone or email should I need it. For now there is a temporary safety plan in place.

I am planning on spending some time at the cemetery tomorrow as the new bits and bobs for my little boy’s headstone arrived today. Usually I find it very peaceful to sit up there for a while and talk to him, admittedly I usually have a bit of a cry as well but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I will post a photo next time I write a post of his stone looking all pretty again.

There was just one last thing I wanted to ask you all before I log off (well ask my female readers!) – I got the routine letter through today saying it is time for my three yearly smear test. The actual test itself isn’t the problem. The problem is that obviously you have to remove your bottom half and my legs are a horrendous mess of deep dark scars and the scars are all over them – calf area, front of legs, thighs, all completely covered. For many many years I only ever self harmed on my arms or stomach and it’s only really been in the past few years that I started on my legs. Most of it was done in times where I was really unwell but this is going to be the first time where I will need to expose the damage. There is absolutely no hiding it. I could probably be brave enough to explain to the nurse about my self harming problem or maybe I could ask lovely GP to explain it to her. But I was just wondering really if any other ladies have had this problem and how you managed to deal with it? After my first ever smear at 20/21 coming back abnormal and needing a fair bit of treatment done I never miss them now, I know how important they are. But the idea of exposing all the damage to a stranger is starting to freak me out a bit, I have to admit.

Right I think it’s bed time now. I can feel my medication cocktail kicking in and my eyes getting heavy. I haven’t self harmed today despite the urges being there, I hope I can continue in the same way tomorrow although I do know that going up to the cemetery for a while will most likely cause me some upset. Hopefully I can be strong enough to deal with the emotions in a healthier way.

Goodnight folks.

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4 Responses to “01:15 – A temporary safety plan”

  1. zoloft life. September 26, 2013 at 02:32 #

    I have cuts and scars on my legs too – some recent which are deep and nasty, some very old. I’ve had a couple of appointments recently where I’ve had to expose my legs. I was super uncomfortable and didn’t know how to deal with it, so I totally get where you’re coming from. I don’t think this is helpful, but I just didn’t say anything. I pretended the cuts/scars weren’t there (although I was extremely tense). Think it was more uncomfortable as well because it was a male nurse. But I didn’t say anything and he didn’t say anything. I don’t know if it would’ve helped me to say something – think I would’ve been just as tense either way. I chose to ignore the situation, because that was more comfortable for me than acknowledging it/talking about it out loud. At the end of the day, I think you have to decide what will make you most comfortable in an already awkward appointment.
    Sorry for rambling..

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 26, 2013 at 11:34 #

      I think I would be even more tense around a male nurse too. The nurse who will do the test is in same building as lovely gp so when I next see lovely gp a week on Friday I think I will try to explain how uncomfortable I will find it to expose my scars and ask her to speak with the nurse beforehand on my behalf. It will still be so horrible and stressful but at least I won’t have those “I wonder what she thinks happened to me” type thoughts. Alternatively I was thinking last night I could get the test done at the sexual health clinic instead where I don’t need to worry about seeing any of them again! Argh.. it’s so hard to know what to do for the best sometimes! X

  2. Iona Nerissa September 26, 2013 at 04:00 #

    I just pretend my scars aren’t there.. most of them on my legs are fading a bit over time.. it’s been 20 years or more since I’ve cut on my legs. My arms are the worst… big ugly scars and I just pretend they don’t exist too. I only explain if someone asks or makes a comment.

  3. savemefrombpd September 26, 2013 at 04:19 #

    Good for you. You know, nothing is perfect in life and even with all of our efforts that we can put in, it doesn’t mean that things are going to be easy, and they are not. BUT, what you managed to do which you wrote about in this post are the things we need to do in order to heal and get better. So well done you!

    I’ve never had the issue concerning my thighs in this situation as I cut there long before I was hardly even a teenager! But I’ve had my sleeve pulled up on my arm plenty a time by tons of doctors and nurses to check my blood pressure or do blood tests… I just didn’t flinch or say anything. I left it to them if they wanted to say something or not, half the time they said something and half the time they didn’t. I even got stupid things said to me like ‘cool tattoos, did you do those yourself?!’ (These were when I had a lot of red coloured scarring). So I just said quite plain and simply ‘no, it’s from self-harming’ and he just said ‘oh, I’m sorry’. Whatever you know.

    Obviously the smear test you have to do is important so I say just to pretty much do the same thing and not stress yourself thinking you’ve got to pre-plan to say something. That’s my opinion anyway!!

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