Tag Archives: lovely support worker

19:57 – Just, why?

17 Dec

** Trigger warning for talk of self harm **

Today has not been a good day at all. It started off with a battle with royal mail as I have paid to have my mail redirected for 3 months to give me enough time to work my way through all the companies I have dealings with to change my address with them. For some reason when you enter my old postcode into any address checking system on a computer it lists the flats as flat 1 to flat 12. But that isn’t how they are labeled on the doors of the flats, instead it runs like flat 0/1, 0/2, 1/1, 1/2 etc. So even after taking ID into the post office last week to prove my address does exist and asking them to enter the address manually I still got a letter from royal mail this morning with the wrong address details. Argh! So I phone them and they say they can’t override it on the system nor can the guy’s supervisor. Frustrating? Very!

So in the end I went into my local sorting office and explained it all to them and they think they have sorted it out now but can’t promise I won’t miss the odd bit of mail here and there. . . Most annoying when I’ve paid for it to be done!

That was the point where I should have known it was going to be a bad day. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but a couple of months ago my parents agreed to take out a bank loan for me and bought me a new car. It’s not brand new or anything but I have to admit I do love it, even though it’s going to take me 3 years to pay off. I haven’t even driven it that much because I’m very aware these days of not getting behind the wheel if I know I’m not in a good frame of mind but it has helped a lot with getting to a couple of new places that the agoraphobia has previously prevented me to because I trust the car to keep me safe. So today around lunchtime I decided to head out early, I had an appointment with lovely support worker at 3 so I left around 2pm so that I could get her a xmas card and some bits from the shops. But then all of a sudden I seemed to go into this weird autopilot mode and found myself standing in a paint and decorating shop. My mouth was moving and sound was coming out, I heard myself asking for a pack of the strongest stanley knife blades they had. Then I went to the pharmacy and bought some bandages yet still really didn’t know why I was doing it.

I went back to the car park and sat thinking for a little while trying to make sense of my actions. The only conclusion that I could come to was that I needed them as a safety blanket, like even though I want this new house to have all these good memories in it and to be this blank canvas, now that all of the stress of having to hold it together over the past few weeks has gone I can finally let all my crazy mixed up emotions out. I sat and smoked a cigarette and tried to get my head together, felt calmer, drove along in the direction of my appointment then realised I’d forgotten to get something at the shops. I spotted a space and slowly reversed into it but there was a stupid metal bollard in my blind spot and I reversed right into it. Heard a bit of a thud and stopped immediately, got out the car and there was glass everywhere 😦 My whole back light unit where the brake light and reverse light and an indicator are were smashed to pieces and a deep scratch on the bumper. As everyone stood and stared at me I fought back the tears and drove to the garage, all the way believing that this was my punishment for buying the blades to self harm with.

At the garage I was told the damage was too bad for them to allow me to drive it and I had to leave it there. They are going to try and get it back to me by the end of the week. Now I don’t know whether to make an insurance claim and have my premiums go up or somehow find the money to pay it myself. For the parts and labour it’s going to be around £200 so I think I’m just going to pay it although it’s going to take a while to save that much up 😦 I could really have done without this especially so close to xmas even though I think it’s xmas I’m dreading so much.

The only good part of my day was seeing lovely support worker and getting a good long chat with her as I haven’t seen her in a while. I told her about buying the blades and said I knew I would act on the urges I just didn’t know when. She tried to talk to me about how bad I always feel in the aftermath of self harming but in the end just asked me to try and be careful when I do it. I don’t know when it will happen, maybe it’ll be tonight or maybe not til next week or even longer than that…

All I know is that the urges to do it and do it bad have been very strong over these past few weeks but I couldn’t let myself give in to them when I had so much else going on and now. . . well now it feels like all that has gone and I can finally give in to them. Part of me wants to go and run a hot bath and do it there, watch all of the water turn red before pulling the plug and seeing it all disappear. Part of me wants to leave them at the back of the drawer where I’ve hidden them and try to keep plodding on until things REALLY get too much. . . cos they will, I know that much. I sit here just now looking at the mess of my arms and legs from previous self harming, so many scars I can’t even count them. One part of my head says don’t add to the mess, the other part of my head tells me “do it and do it fucking bad like you deserve”.

So yeah. . .

Shit day? Yep.

Danger to myself? Possibly.

Will it go further than cutting? Who fucking knows. . .

00:10 – ECT… has it really come to that?

31 Oct

Today I had my third appointment with new psychiatrist. I have to be honest and say I was utterly dreading it because the last two appointments with him have been extremely frustrating and of no help whatsoever. But lovely support worker came with me and when she first picked me up I was very very anxious, did not want to go, but after sitting talking to me and calming me down for about 20 minutes I finally got out of the car and went into the main hospital building.

I had gone over with her what I wanted to say to new psychiatrist today and just hoped that I’d both remember it all and get the opportunity to say it all. I can’t remember if I have already mentioned this here, but basically I had decided that if this appointment went as shite as the last two with him then I was going to ask my GP to refer me to see a different psychiatrist. I may live in the middle of nowhere with very little in the way of mental health support but I do believe there is one other psychiatrist that does cover this area.

So, bang on 2.30pm his door opens and he calls me through. I hesitantly walk through with lovely support worker behind me. We sit down and he asks how I have been since I last saw him. I took a breath and told him that my mood has remained flat the vast majority of the time, that there have been a couple and I do literally mean a couple of OK/good moments but really for… well… so long now I’ve lost count my mood is flat, I rarely find enjoyment in anything, my self harming continues, I have fleeting suicidal thoughts, my sleep is crap, even the very basics like having a shower and getting dressed and taking the dogs a walk sometimes just proves to be too much for me.

Yes, I know I went out for the first time in at least six months on Saturday night and ended up having quite a good time but I think that was mostly due to the amount of alcohol I’d consumed. I did not mention anything about the recent brief substance misuse because I don’t want that splashed onto my case notes again… and anyways… it’s over and done with now with no plans of any repeat episodes. I told him about the two visits to A&E for self harm wounds and stitches, I told him I am trying my hardest to plod on with my part time home based uni course but that I’m failing to concentrate and struggling with it massively. I told him that sometimes I hear a little niggling voice encouraging me to hurt myself but that I can tolerate it as it’s nowhere near as bad as when I was hearing several voices and hearing them constantly. In that respect I think the 750mg a day of Quetiapine (Seroquel) is still working.

He asked how I’d found the increased dose of 45mg a day Mirtazapine and again I told him that it was fine for the first couple of weeks but then I started having such severe physical symptoms of anxiety (when I truly thought my heart was about to pack in and ended up getting the ecg done) and how lovely GP had wondered if it was actually the Mirtazapine causing it as anti-depressants do take a while to build up in your system. So I told him my GP told me to go back down to 30mg a day and see if the anxiety improved and yes, the heart palpitations did stop and have continued to be minimal. But the ‘psychological’ anxiety, the constant worrying and fears are still very much present. Some days I’m so scared to even walk out my front door to cross the road and walk the dogs for ten minutes then other days I dope myself up on whatever anxiety med I can and force myself to face a potentially scary situation.

He then asked how I had found the Pregabalin (Lyrica) that he had prescribed last time I saw him as the plan was for me to use it on a long term basis for my anxiety and finally start to taper off the Diazepam seeing as I’ve been taking it daily for three years now. But I had to tell him that had been a disaster as well… that I didn’t realise it had the same/similar ingredient as Gabapentin which it appears I’m allergic to. So the two medication changes he made at our last appointment a few months ago were both unsuccessful.

This of course brought us onto the discussion of reducing my Diazepam and I firmly told new psychiatrist that yes I am willing to reduce but I am most definitely not doing it at the moment. I feel horrendous enough as it is without trying to taper off from that. To my surprise he did actually say that he agreed now was not the right time, especially not as we are fast approaching my two worst times of year – Christmas and then my little boy’s anniversary in February.

He asked what support I was getting from the mental health team and I quite honestly told him how utterly useless I find cpn#2. He asked why and I explained about her super structured way of working, her setting of agenda’s, her constant ‘positive goals’ and her reluctance to talk about anything that is making my moods low. However I did tell him that I am now top of the waiting list for psychology and have been given a provisional date of mid to late November for my first appointment. It’s the same psychologist I used to work with so in a way I am looking forward to going back to see her even if I don’t feel particularly convinced that this Compassion Focused Therapy bollocks is going to work for me.

So all in all it was actually quite a good session. I managed to get across to him that the two medication changes he proposed last time I saw him had failed, that I was not ready to taper off from the Diazepam yet, that my moods are low and flat, that I’m self harming again and having occasional suicidal thoughts, that I am generally struggling with life a lot, that I’m struggling trying to continue with my studies, that the only person who lets me vent is lovely support worker, that I find my sessions with cpn#2 useless, and some days I seriously do wish I just hadn’t woken up that morning.

His first response to all of this was to ask me if I thought I would benefit from going in as an inpatient in the bin for a while? I said no, that place makes me feel worse, trapped, none of the staff give a damn, the other patients are too stressful to be around, there are too many rules… just no.

His second response was the one that surprised and to be honest shocked me (no pun intended). He said that as he looked back over all my medication history for the past four years we have pretty much exhausted every med now. There really isn’t anything different we can try. We could maybe try new combinations of something but I have pretty much tried every anti-depressant, mood stabiliser and anti-psychotic and benzodiazapine there is. He asked if it’s my depression or my anxiety that is worse and I said both of them. The anxiety can be managed to a degree with medication, the depression is just constant, constantly ongoing flat crappy moods that for months and months and months if not closer to a year have just stayed shit. Every day is an effort, every week is an effort, some mornings I open my eyes and my first thought is “I think I might kill myself today” or “I wish I was dead”. But I don’t act on them because I don’t want to put my parents through all that heartache and frustration again. I carry on painting on these fake smiles and trying so hard to make everyone think I am coping. Although I did let slip to my Mum the other day that I had recently self harmed and had to go to A&E. The thing is I’m still self harming – first through cutting… then misusing substances… then drinking… now back to cutting again. I try to put on this persona of being someone in recovery but I’m so far from recovery it’s scary. All these people telling me how well I’m doing because they don’t fucking let me talk about how bad I feel, they insist on only talking about positives and therefore have a completely skewed picture of how my life really is.

So new psychiatrist says here is the plan of action: he will not make any medication changes at the moment (mainly because there isn’t really anything else we can try), he would give me a couple of months to start seeing the psychologist again and see if psychological input helped my mood in any way, he encouraged me to be honest with cpn#2 about what *I* need from our sessions (told him I’d already done that and got nowhere)… he asked lovely support worker if she would carry on seeing me and she said yes she would see me weekly for as long as I needed it, he encouraged me to try and open up to my family so they know I’m actually not coping that great right now and all these fake smiles are simply that: fake.

And then he hits me with it… “there is one other thing we can try but I’d like to wait at least six months before trying it as I only like to use it as a last resort… have you heard of ECT before?”

I sat there kinda shocked but nodded my head. A very lovely fellow blogger tried ECT some time ago and I read all her experiences with it with interest even though it didn’t seem to work for her. It is something that scares me a bit… I mean nobody really likes the idea of being knocked out, put into a seizure and having your brain zapped do they? It’s pretty hardcore stuff. Then add in the quite possible and quite likely short term memory loss. It’s not the most appealing of treatment options. But whilst he did reiterate that it would be a last resort I suppose it sort of shocked me that it was even suggested. He said it doesn’t work for everyone but a point has to come where we try and break this depressive and unproductive cycle once and for all… and maybe, just maybe ECT would be the thing that finally works for me. But like I say, he wants me to try a few months of psychology first and then review things again. He wanted to see me back in a couple of months but he is away for most of January so my next appointment is February 6th… five days before my little man’s anniversary so I’m bound to be in a super depressed state of mind next time I see him. Again, lovely support worker said she would come with me.

I can see that my life is not good at the moment, far from it if I’m brutally honest. Yes on the one hand I haven’t given up on the studying (yet) and yes I managed to travel to a new faraway place recently (doped up on diazepam) and yes I even managed to go for a night out on Saturday (full of alcohol). But then we look at the flip side: I’m self harming a lot although managing to keep it reasonably superficial at the moment purely to avoid having to go to A&E, I’m having lots of thoughts about ending my life, my anxiety levels are ridiculously high and out of control most of the time, other than that one night out on Saturday I have next to no social life whatsoever, no friends that I see on any kind of regular basis, a constant niggling voice giggling away in my head at how pathetic I am and fuck just a couple of weeks ago things became so desperate I put that shite back into my body for some sort of an escape. I feel unsupported apart from by lovely support worker, I feel alone, I feel miserable, I question the point of everything, I don’t cook meals or eat properly I just binge on junk food, I’m lucky if I shower a couple of times a week. Things are not good. And I can’t go on pretending that I’m OK any longer because I’m not. I didn’t want to admit it but there you go, I’ve said it. I just don’t want to worry my family so I keep it bottled up… but it’s getting really bad again.

I cancelled my appointment with cpn#2 for tomorrow because I just cannot face her “positive goal setting” bullshit… I left a message for her saying I had too much studying to do and couldn’t go and asked her to give me a call back to rearrange another appointment but to be completely honest I will probably cancel that one as well. What’s the point when I get no benefit from them? And now I know it will only be a matter of weeks until I start seeing the psychologist again maybe it’s time to just stop seeing cpn#2 because I feel like I’m getting nowhere with her and I just cannot work to her super structured approach.

Has it really come to a point where I need to give serious consideration to trying ECT? Could that be the one thing that just blasts my brain back to a state of normality so I can get on with my life in a happy and meaningful way where I actually want to be alive and enjoy my life? Could it break away from all these desperate little attempts of escapism? I don’t know… And I’m not going to give it much thought for the moment because it wouldn’t be happening for at least six months anyway. And who knows where I’ll be in six months time… Who knows if I’ll even still be here? The way I feel at the moment that is somewhat doubtful.

But if I’m totally honest with people, if I lay my cards on the table and admit to how bad I feel then I enter back into the conversations like those of today: talks of admission into the bin… talks of ECT… Do I want those conversations, or worse, for them to actually happen? No.

I just want to feel normal whatever that is. I just want to feel happy. I want to wake up and look forward to the day ahead. I want things to be easy and free and effortless.

And yet I also want to go to wherever my little boy is… wherever it is we go when our body has died and our soul has moved on… and well…. I guess I can’t really believe that I’ve ended up back in this place again. I’m scared… the feelings of things about to fall apart and hit crisis level feel imminent and I’m genuinely truly terrified of that happening to me again.

23:45 – To go or not to go…

25 Oct

I must apologise in advance if I ramble more than usual but I’ve been drinking a really classy (yes that is sarcasm) drink for the past few hours called Dragon Soop. It is £2.99 per can (crazy overpriced shit) and I’m on can number 3 at the moment. The stuff is absolutely revolting, it tastes like paint stripper and is so heavily caffeinated and full of vodka it’s making my heart do crazy palpitations. However, I don’t like to waste things so carry on drinking it I shall…

Here it is in all it’s glory… not my photo, one I ‘borrowed’ from google because it’s too much effort to take a photo with my phone and hit upload…

images

Today I had an appointment with lovely support worker and I told her the truth, the full complete absolute truth about everything. She didn’t judge me, I think she could see how genuinely regretful I am about it all. She let me talk and listened to me moan about CPN#2 and said it sounds like CPN#2 is only willing to do things her way or no way. This got me to thinking – if I’m in and out of bad head places right now and there is even the slightest possibility I am heading towards a crisis – how can we do crisis prevention if I can’t fucking talk about how I feel? *insert angry, fed up, frustrated smiley here* I apologised AGAIN to lovely support worker for her being lumbered with all my crap and us still not managing to do any of the work that I’m actually going there to do because I just cannot focus on that right now.

Then after I left my appointment something possibly good happened… I got a text message inviting me out tomorrow night to a Halloween party that’s on in one of the pubs. There are a group of girls going, some of whom I know and get on with and unfortunately a couple that I don’t get on with at all but maybe I won’t need to speak to them much. So I went off in the search for a Halloween costume to wear (always difficult finding any outfit when specific parts of my body must be covered due to excess scarring) and also hard when I’m such a fat bastard at the moment and all the nice outfits are made for tiny people. Anyways, I finally found one that both fits and covers all the bits that need covered, but once I got home and tried it on I realised I’ve actually bought it in a size too big and the woman in the shop said that none of the costumes can be returned. Argh. However, with the help of some discreetly placed safety pins I think I’ll be able to pull it in a bit. Failing that I am going to wear a onesie with my hair in pigtails and ribbons, freckles drawn on my face and a dummy around my neck… I’d look like an absolute idiot but it would be sooo comfy!

So I felt kinda psyched up and happier at the thought of going out with some girls I haven’t seen for a while (that was until I realised everyone else that was going and how many of them I don’t get on with) so now I don’t know if I want to bother going. But I know if I don’t I will sit here tomorrow night all alone and feeling miserable, especially as best friend has now splashed a message on facebook asking who is all going out next weekend! I knew she would do this, say she couldn’t even afford to go for a fucking coffee for my birthday but manage to go for a night out next weekend when it’s her other friend’s birthday. And yeah, it pisses me off because I’ve never missed any of her birthdays yet it’s a different story when it’s mine *insert another pissed off frustrated smiley here*

Right now I’m unsure whether I’ll go out tomorrow night or not. One part of me says alcohol is a depressant and I’m already feeling depressed enough without adding to it (she says as she slurps her dragon soop)… I worry that even if I enjoy myself I will come home alone and the depression will kick in along with being drunk and that will lead to me doing something stupid. And I can’t allow myself to do anything stupid because I must be able to paint on a smile and go for a nice lunch with my family on Monday. Then again I think if I do go out I might be surprised, I might get on OK with the other girls, I might actually have a good laugh (they are pretty wild!) and maybe come home with a genuine albeit drunken smile on my face, fall into bed and giggle to myself as I think about the night’s antics.

Who knows what way it will go?

The good thing is that I live within walking distance of the pub so I could always go along and if it’s crap just make up some excuse to leave and come home early rather than staying out til we get chucked out at 2am then stand around the kebab shop talking drunken shite to random people for another hour before finally staggering home. The friend who invited me along is also using the “you never know, you might find mr right on saturday night!” line … although I think I’d find it slightly disturbing if any guy found me attractive in either of the two costumes I would be wearing!

So right now I have no idea what will happen tomorrow… knowing my luck I’ll decide to just go for it then the social anxiety side of things will start to kick in and make me just want to hide in the house and too scared to go out. I find it extremely difficult to be in a group of people at the best of times but super super hard to be in a group of people where there are some I know and don’t get on with. I much prefer if I’m going out for it just to be with one or two other people.

And that’s my news for today… a good session with lovely support worker… I’m using my session with her next week with her coming with me to the dreaded appointment with the new psychiatrist that I don’t get along with as there is no chance I would go if I had to go on my own…

And decisions to make about tomorrow night… to go or not to go… that remains to be seen…

Protected: 02:38 – A bit of an explanation

24 Oct

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13:17 – Progress with CPN#2 at last?

2 Oct

So this morning I got a phone call from CPN#2 who said she was calling me for two reasons. One was to find out why I didn’t attend my appointment with her last week and the other because she had the notes from my A&E visit on Sunday night in front of her.

This is unusual for her to phone me for missing an appointment and also unusual for her to phone me because she’s seen I’d attended A&E. I couldn’t help but wonder if she had read that my support worker had taken me there at 11pm on a Sunday night and maybe the A&E nurse wrote something on the notes about how unhelpful I’m finding my appointments with CPN#2. Maybe the combination of both finally made her decide she better at least phone and appear as though she gives a shit… either way… she called.

So her first question to me was about my non-attendance of appointments. I could feel my heart suddenly beating super fast and hard in my chest, a huge wave of anxiety came over me because I knew this was my opportunity: be honest with her but not know how she’ll react – or – make some excuse up and let her carry on thinking it’s ‘me’ not ‘her’. There was a lot of noise in the background and CPN#2 said she could barely hear me so was going to move to another room and call me straight back. I used those two minutes to quickly decide whether or not to be honest with her and what the hell to say.

My phone started ringing again a few minutes later and with a deep breath I said I wanted to try and explain what was going on. I wanted to be polite about it, I knew if I started going on about all the little annoying habits she has like “setting an agenda” and the stopwatch app on her phone running all the way through our appointments I would just end up getting angry, sounding silly and not achieve anything. So instead I explained (as calmly as I could) that I felt she was only willing to discuss this Compassionate Mind therapy with me and that any time I have tried to divert away from that to talk about how I’m feeling or how my mood is, she’ll stop me in my tracks and say “this isn’t on our agenda”. I was getting the feeling she was going to start being all defensive so I added in that I *did* want to try and learn the Compassionate Mind stuff because it seemed like a positive step in the right direction… i.e. something that will help me in the future whereas going back to talking about self harming, low moods, etc seemed like a step backwards. This seemed to balance things out a bit as I came across like I was willing to take some responsibility for not opening up to her or being honest with her.

I told her about the self harming and the things that had triggered me into feeling so crappy and spoke for another few minutes about how I didn’t want to “go backwards” but equally I couldn’t ignore these low moods any longer. And to my surprise she said that yes, I *should* be able to tell her when I’m feeling low and if I wanted to put the Compassionate Mind work on hold for a couple of weeks while we look at what’s causing the dips in my mood then we could do that. I explained how I’d had to turn to my support worker at rape crisis to help keep me safe over the weekend and I think this helped her to realise that this wasn’t right… it should be her as my CPN making safety plans and monitoring my mood… that’s her job not my support worker’s. So she asked if I would go in and see her on Friday and said we could get everything out in the open and that she’d give me the time to talk about what *I* wanted to talk about during our hour and I agreed that sounded like it would be helpful and that I would attend.

So I now have my fingers crossed that she will stick to everything she said on the phone and give me some space to open up on Friday, hopefully there will be no “agenda setting” and rather than running it like a business meeting, run it like a session with a CPN should be run. I feel better for finally getting all of this out in the open and if she sticks to her end of the deal then I can maybe start getting the right support from the right people again… i.e. mental health support from CPN#2 and get back to working on the issues surrounding sexual abuse with lovely support worker.

The self harm thoughts are still very much present and my mood is still low but I do feel like I’ve got something off my chest now and I just keep telling myself that it’s Wednesday today, I only need to get through today and tomorrow and then I’ll have my CPN appointment and hopefully have a productive appointment for once. It would be nice to be able to write a bloggy post to say the appointment had gone well and that after all the moaning I have done about CPN#2, maybe now a little bit of progress could be made. I don’t know about you guys but I’m sick to death of moaning about the woman!!

So yes, I have a tiny glimmer of hope that after all of this time CPN#2 might finally be ready to listen to me rather than the other way round. I shall report back on Friday on how it went and try my hardest not to self harm again before I see her, and I guess that’s all we can do, take it one day at a time and keep on trying….

(P.S. Completely off topic – this was my 800th blog post!)

15:12 – Bad weekend, A&E, self harming and more

30 Sep

**Please note this post is (a) very long and (b) contains talk of self harm so could be triggering**

 

Since I last posted things have been shit. Beyond shit in fact. The constant urges, needs, niggling voices about self harming have been grinding me down at a super fast pace.

I don’t really know where to begin so I’ll just stick to talking about the weekend. Friday I was a mess, but a manageable mess (or so I thought) but from the moment I woke up on Saturday (at 6am) I seemed to do nothing but cry all day long. The urges to self harm were crazy strong, very very intense and I fought so hard not to act on them. I had agreed a temporary safety plan with my support worker from rape crisis and even though it was a Saturday afternoon I desperately needed someone to talk to so I sent her an email, thinking that this would both get things off my chest but that she wouldn’t get it until Monday morning, therefore I wouldn’t be disturbing her at the weekend.

However, she must still check them at the weekends as I got a reply from her about an hour or so later. She was really nice in her reply and all the bits I’d written saying things like “it’s my fault, I’m bad, there’s bad blood in me, I need to bleed it out” she replied to saying “no, you’re not bad, you’re just having a really rough time at the moment and rough times mean you are more likely to use the one coping mechanism that you’ve always turned to – i.e. self harming”. She ended the email by saying that if I wanted a chat just to text her and let her know. But I didn’t want to ruin her weekend with all my crazy head crap so I tried to plod on with things by myself. The day carried on getting worse and worse, and by the time we got to about 7pm I was totally inconsolable… crying gentle sobs, quiet tears running down my face, then hysterical crying, huge heaving sobs, my whole body shaking and still with the repetitive “just fucking cut” voice going on in my head. The next few hours after that are a bit of a blur, I took more than my prescribed dose of Diazepam just to try and get some control back by calming down a little but it didn’t really do much to help. Maybe I just needed to cry like that, it has been a long time since I last really really let go and completely broke down emotionally.

Lovely support worker text me to ask if I was OK somewhere around 10pm and I replied back honestly “no, I’m a mess” so she replied saying she was going to phone me for a little chat but I replied again saying “I don’t even know what to say, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I can’t stop crying and I don’t even know if I’ll make any sense” but about ten minutes later she phoned anyway. I answered but couldn’t talk, just sat there crying my eyes out, every time I tried to say a simple word like ‘yes’ or ‘no’ more huge sobs would start up. But she just sat there and listened, she spoke for a little while until I got it together enough to talk a little bit. She was so reassuring and kept telling me everything was going to be OK, and every time I did manage to speak and something crazy came out my mouth she would listen and then repeat it back to me with the ‘crazy’ parts removed so that she could just keep putting it to me that I was just having a really hard time right now, but that I would get through it, look at all the other things I had gotten through that I never thought I would. She told me I was strong even when I sounded like a whimpering mess, she told me it was OK to feel how I was feeling, and after maybe 20 minutes the tears subsided enough that I could speak a little more rationally.

We then had a chat for a little while longer and I told her I was sitting on my bed surrounded by my little boy’s memory boxes, I had all of his scan photos and his actual photos spread out on the bed… I was cuddling his blanket of love that he is wrapped in in the photos… I’d been reading all of the sympathy cards we got at the time and in so many of them people had written how sorry they were but how they hoped the “love we had for each other” would be strong enough to get us through such a difficult time. And it hurt me to my very core because at that time I truly believed the love that me and my (ex) fiancé had for one another would be enough to get us through it. And then at the bottom of all of the sympathy cards I found two mother’s day cards and the ex had written a little poem from our baby… the last few lines of which said:

although right now we may be apart,

know that I love you from the deepest of my heart,

thank you so much for looking after my daddy for me,

mummy, a time will come when we’ll be back together as three

And my heart felt like it broke all over again as I read those words. At first I ached as I read them and felt such sadness… but then this changed to a more angry feeling, like what my ex had written was all lies… there would never be a “three of us” now, why did he claim to love me so much yet still go and have his two affairs? I was still on the phone to my support worker at this point and saying all of these thoughts aloud through the tears but again she helped to calm me down and explain that whilst going and having his affairs was very wrong of him, at the time he wrote those words on that card he probably did mean every word of them. He wrote them long before our relationship even started to show the tiniest of cracks, when we were very much in love and when I was facing my first mother’s day but without my baby. I guess that made some sort of sense as I did begin to calm down a little bit again and put the cards back in the box and closed the lid.

So after a long chat (and it was now getting really late at night) I thanked her lots for taking time out of her Saturday night to sit and talk to me. I apologised for all the crying I’d done and felt a bit embarrassed about it… I don’t really do the whole crying in front of people thing… but again she told me not to be silly and that crying is what we do when we’re upset, it’s completely natural, and right now I have a lot of upsetting thoughts that I’m trying to deal with. She said again that she was proud of me for not giving in to the self harm urges, re-checked I’d be OK and told me to text her any time the next day if I was struggling then we said goodnight.

I lay there for hours with my head pounding from all the crying I had done and then finally fell asleep feeling a bit better for talking to someone.

But then I woke up on Sunday morning (yesterday) and my very first thoughts upon waking were “cut yourself, just do it” and I burst into tears straight away. I got up and felt determined that I was not going to listen to those thoughts nor act upon them. I tried to busy myself by having a shower, walking the dogs, trying to do some studying, but to be honest no distraction was actually distracting me. The thoughts were constant and at the very front of my mind no matter what I tried to do to block them out. So then I tried doing things the other way and allowed all of the thoughts to flood my brain, sat and cried and listened to every single reason why I should cut myself. Needless to say this approach didn’t get me very far either. I got through ’til about 5pm before I felt like I was seriously going to lose it so I sent a text to lovely support worker and said I was struggling a lot and that I didn’t think I could stop myself from self harming for much longer. She replied asking if I’d like to have a chat but I didn’t want to take up her Sunday as well so I decided to leave it for a bit before replying to see if I could calm myself down on my own.

The next few hours were an absolute nightmare, my head hasn’t felt that crazy in a long time, I tried and tried to fight back but was running out of fight. By the time it got to around 9pm I finally started to lose it big time. Now at this point I *should* have text/emailed/phoned my support worker and talked it through but I had become so focused on needing to harm myself that I couldn’t think about anything else. So I got some towels and a clean blade and then turned the light off so I was sitting on the living room floor in the dark. [Insert warning here: self harming in the dark is not a clever idea, you could easily go too deep by accident and cause nerve damage, hit a vein or worse nick an artery, you could cut at a tendon or muscle and risk permanent damage to a limb… etc etc] But yeah, I just didn’t want to see what I was doing, I just wanted to feel the pain from it and fully intended to just cut one time, sit and feel that stinging throbbing sensation and then stop. But of course, as always with self harming, it didn’t turn out that way. I made three pretty nasty cuts which didn’t look too bad when I turned the light back on, but the sight of them and the blood on the towels made me not want to stop. So I cut deeper and deeper into the three cuts I’d made until it was at the point of them all being gaping open a fair bit. When I was finally ‘finished’ it was only then I realised that I didn’t have any essential first aid stuff in the house and there was a lot of blood soaking through the towels… so I began to panic a little bit. Even though it was about 10.30pm I sent a text to lovely support worker apologising profusely and explaining what I’d done. She replied asking if I needed to go to A&E? I text back saying ‘yes probably, but I don’t want to go’ then we spent the next half an hour texting back and forth with her saying she wasn’t going to force me to do anything I didn’t want to do but that if I did need medical attention then she would come and pick me up and take me there. After a lot of thinking I finally decided that it would probably be the best move to have the cuts cleaned and treated properly.

So around 11pm she picked me up and I said I was so sorry, sorry for using up her free weekend time and sorry for wasting the time of the NHS. I was really anxious as I had a feeling it would be the same doctor on duty who stitched me up after my ‘accidental’ injury just over a week ago but thankfully it wasn’t. Support worker was great, she let me go and sit in the waiting area while she explained to the nurse what I’d done and explained on my behalf that I was feeling really anxious. As usual, it was a nurse I’ve seen a few times before but haven’t seen this particular nurse in about a year. She let my support worker come through to the treatment room with us and said I had done really well with getting my self harming ‘under control’ as she remembered a time I was in there every few days with wounds, and other than the ‘accident’ the other week, I haven’t attended A&E for self harm wounds since April this year. So yeah, she was nice about it and told me not to feel too bad for having a bit of a relapse.

I didn’t say very much at first… I hate that moment where they take off the DIY bandage you’ve made and expose the cuts. I always look away and refuse to look at the wounds until they have been treated and covered up. One of the cuts just needed glue and steri strips but the other two were quite a bit deeper. I’ve had cuts less deep than them needing proper stitches before, but the problem was that the two cuts were so close together I don’t think it would have been possible to stitch them. So she asked if I was happy to have them glued and taped together and I said yes. It looked quite neat once she was finished but the dressing I have on my leg has quite a lot of blood on it today and I’m not sure if a bit of the glue has burst. I don’t want to take the dressing pad off because I only have one spare one and so long as no new fresh blood appears then it doesn’t really matter too much if a little glue has burst, me and medical glue don’t really get along, I always seem to burst a bit of it somewhere.

Anyways, going back to what I was saying… the A&E nurse was gentle, non judgemental and kind to me. I notice if you have someone with you, especially someone they see as a supporting professional, then all of the A&E nurses and doctors tend to be a bit nicer towards you. I asked her if I could just care for the wound myself instead of the usual routine of going back after 2 days for a wound check then returning again to have the stitches or steri strips or whatever removed. She said that would be OK as she knows I know what signs to look out for regarding infection etc. I then asked her if it would be possible for them not to send over the information to the mental health team even though it is in my care plan that if I attend A&E a copy of the notes should be sent over to them. She was a bit reluctant to do that though and asked me why I didn’t want the mental health team to know. I answered as honestly as I could:

  • Nobody from the mental health team ever contacts me even when they do receive a copy of the notes from A&E
  • This in turn makes me annoyed that I stick to my end of my care plan but they don’t stick to their end to even make a quick phone call to ask if I’m OK
  • If crappy CPN#2 doesn’t even attempt to make contact with me when I didn’t attend for 10-12 weeks in a row then there isn’t much chance of her making contact following an A&E visit
  • I end up just feeling let down and like no one really cares when I know those notes have been sent over but nobody even acknowledges them

 

Adding to this I also explained that I’m not finding my current CPN very helpful at all. I told the A&E nurse I did have an appointment to see CPN#2 last week but didn’t attend it so that would be even more reason for CPN#2 to turn round and say “well you had an appointment, you could have come to see me but you chose not too” – when in fact the reality is even if I had gone to see her my ‘current mood’ is never a topic for her little agenda so in reality I wouldn’t have been able to talk about how crap I was feeling anyway. The A&E nurse said she completely understood where I was coming from but that she would feel much better for sending over the notes anyway. She said at least this way, if nobody does make contact, then I have even more ‘evidence’ that this CPN is not the right one for me. So in the end I agreed that the notes could be sent over and lovely support worker agreed I’d done the right thing.

By the time we got back to mine it was well after midnight and we sat in support worker’s car and chatted for a little while before I actually realised how late it was and thanked her very much for coming with me and for supporting me all weekend. I have an appointment to see her again tomorrow afternoon and am going to get a little thank you card for going above and beyond in helping me these past few days.

So yeah, it’s been a very difficult weekend, lots of emotions, lots of crying and another three scars to add to my already horrendous looking legs. But at the same time I was never left feeling alone with all these mixed up emotions, I felt supported and that in turn enabled me to feel like I could be honest and not have to hold back… I could just admit to what I was feeling and let people help me. I’m still not sure if the urges to self harm are out of my system but at least I no longer have to keep those thoughts to myself, I know now I have at least one person I can talk to when things get really rough who won’t judge me but simply reassure me that it’s OK to feel how I feel. It still really annoys me that support worker is having to take that role at the moment, I truly believe that it should be the job of CPN#2 to look after my “mental health needs” rather than my support worker who is there to help with my ongoing issues regarding the sexual assault in August last year and the issues I still have surrounding the childhood sexual abuse I suffered. Thankfully when it comes to the topic of self harm it is one that my support worker is quite knowledgeable about as sexual abuse and self harm often go hand in hand, but still, it would be nice to have a CPN who actually made me feel like she cared once in a while.

Sorry for over 3000 words of rambles… hope I didn’t bore you too much(!) I guess I just have to hope now that this new week is a better one… so yeah… will see how it goes…

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.

17:58 – I don’t think I fit in anymore…

7 Sep

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This picture sums up exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. My self isolating world feels black and white. I’ve lost the colour from my world. I look at the lives of my friends and family members and they all seem to have colour and happiness in their life. I feel as though I don’t fit in hence why it’s easier to stay hidden away in my little flat, telling myself that it’s better this way… is it better? I don’t know…

A week ago (last Friday) was the day I wrote about when I was in an absolute mess with the physical symptoms of anxiety. The racing and severe pounding that my heart was doing scared me so much I ran to lovely GP anxious and distressed, not to mention completely convinced that there was something very wrong with my heart. After the ECG tracing showing my heart was OK just beating far too fast I have been trying to tell myself every day since that it’s “just anxiety… get your breathing under control and you’ll be fine”. I don’t know if it was the reassurance from lovely GP or the fact that we dropped my Mirtazapine dose back down to 30mg but I seem to be managing the anxiety symptoms a little better now. The severe chest pounding has finally calmed down a bit although I’m still having the palpitations, the churning feeling in my gut and the panicky thoughts in my mind. In other words, I think I’m now back to my “normal” levels of anxiety.

I saw lovely GP again yesterday (Friday) and she said I was looking very tired. I told her my sleep isn’t great at the moment because I now lie there with the anticipation that the heart pounding could start again at any time. She said I need to get some proper sleep and gave me a few days worth of Nitrazepam which I always find help me get a decent night’s rest. I’d not fallen asleep on Thursday night until almost 4am then was back up at 7am to have a shower and get the dogs walked before my appointment at 8.30am then was up all day as I met my Mum for lunch and a wander round the shops. By 8pm I was completely shattered but wide awake at the same time. By midnight I had been in bed for an hour and was still tossing and turning. By 2am I was so fed up I took 10mg of the Nitrazepam and an hour later I was dead to the world. I didn’t wake up again until noon today so I got a full 9 or 10 hours sleep and feel a bit better for it today. Well better in the sense of not being so exhausted… I still feel pretty shit mood wise.

I also told lovely GP about the self harm urges I keep having at the moment. She said she was really proud of me for not doing it (well, not doing it bad enough to require a visit to A&E) since April. She asked me if I had told anyone else and I said yes, I had told lovely support worker from rape crisis the day before. She asked if I had told anyone from the mental health team, i.e. CPN#2 and I said no. I was supposed to see CPN#2 last Friday when I was in the massive anxious mess but had left them an answer phone message first thing that morning to say I wasn’t well and couldn’t attend. I left my phone number and a message asking CPN#2 to give me a call to arrange another appointment but I still haven’t heard from her a week later. Lovely GP said I didn’t seem very enthusiastic about my appointments with CPN#2 and I told her quite honestly that I’m not. I told her I don’t find the appointments beneficial at all and the only reason I go to them is because I hope I will get back to seeing the psychologist again quicker this way. The only appointments I get any benefit from are those with my support worker.

It’s pretty ridiculous really but sadly not uncommon – the two people connected with the mental health team that I see (new psychiatrist and CPN#2) are useless and I don’t feel supported by either of them. Sometimes they are beyond useless. Yet the two other people that I see who aren’t really connected with the mental health team (lovely GP and my support worker) offer me practical help, a place to unload all of my feelings, medication help if needed and I leave those appointments feeling like my voice has been heard and that I’ve been listened too. And I told all of this to lovely GP and she just gave me a sympathetic smile that sort of said to me that I wasn’t the first person to have said that to her.

The other thing lovely GP was asking about was how the nausea/not being able to eat was now. I told her that I am eating but only my two safe foods – bowls of porridge and bowls of soup. It’s not an intentional thing and I’m not really sure of what it is that I think will happen if I eat other foods, all I know is they seem safe because if they do need to come back up again they will be easy foods to throw up. She reminded me that this was how my agoraphobia started – by avoiding the places that made me feel anxious and panicky until my world finally became so limited there were only a few places that were/still are safe places to go to. I promised her that I would try to start eating some other things but as yet I haven’t managed to do that. So I have another appointment to see her again in two weeks time.

After my appointment I met up with my Mum for a couple of hours. Mum treated me to lunch (I had soup) and over lunch I opened up to her and told her how miserable I’ve been feeling lately. I also was honest and told her I’ve been having a lot of self harm urges but that I haven’t acted on them. Mum was pleased that I’d been honest with her and she tried to encourage me not to drop my part-time uni course as doing it offers me some sort of a distraction. She said she knows this is the time of year my mood usually begins to drop but reminded me that last year I wasn’t hospitalised at all (whereas I was hospitalised in the autumn and winter months of 2010 and 2011 as well as the very start of 2012). I told my Mum that I just didn’t know if I was going to manage doing two modules at once (each require approximately ten hours of study per week) as well as trying to learn this Compassionate Mind therapy with CPN#2 and psychologist and also the work I’m doing with my support worker at rape crisis. That’s like four pretty big things to be doing all at once and I really don’t know if I’ll manage to do it all.

My uni course starts back on Monday and I’ve enrolled on two modules but have also sent my personal tutor an email explaining that I may need to drop out of one of them if I find the workload too much but that I would try for the first few weeks to do both of them and see how I get on. She emailed me back and said that was OK so I guess I just wait and see how things go. Mum has also started a new job recently where she isn’t working such long hours any more and has three days a week off so I’m going to try and spend a few hours each week with her to get me out of the house. To be honest I think I just feel a bit lonely at the moment, even though I did see best friend a couple of times last week that was the first time I’d seen her and the kids in ages. Since she met the new boyfriend in May I’ve pretty much been forgotten about and she no longer texts or calls me. I used to wish she would stop calling and texting when I just wanted to be left alone and now I’ve got what I wanted… but it’s miserable and lonely and I only really have one friend at the moment who I see maybe once a week but he’s forever trying to hint at us being more than friends which is never going to happen. I do care for him as a friend and sometimes we have a giggle but there is no physical attraction towards him, plus, I really don’t want a relationship with anyone anyway.

So yeah… my mood isn’t great, my anxiety levels are still high and pretty much constant, my sleep is pretty disrupted, my weird anxiety surrounding foods is still present, I haven’t heard bugger all from CPN#2 and I’m constantly thinking about cutting myself again.

On the upside I’ve managed to be honest with my Mum and lovely GP and my support worker about how crap I’m feeling. I’ve half sorted my new uni modules (but still need to send the form off to apply for my part time tuition fees to be waived), I haven’t self harmed despite constantly thinking about doing so. Oh, one other nice thing was that Mum also treated me to a new purse when we went for a wander round the shops after having lunch. I didn’t desperately need it but I absolutely love Radley bags and purses but they are sooo expensive and we saw some much cheaper but almost as nice ones in a shop window so I have a nice new black leather purse with a pink doggy sewn onto it and some buttons sewn on, it looks just like a Radley one but at a third of the price!

I think that’s pretty much it from me at the moment. I was hoping the new pretty things for my little man’s headstone would have arrived today so I could have spent the afternoon making it all pretty again but they haven’t even been dispatched yet because one item was out of stock. It’s been pouring with rain all day anyway, so it’s a ‘hiding indoors’ in my pj’s day. And it is so cold all of a sudden! I can’t remember the last time I’ve had to have the heating on but it’s been on nearly constantly the past couple of days – typical Scotland!

Don’t have a clue what I’m going to do with myself tonight, I think my exciting Saturday night will be lying in front of the TV watching some of the new series of X Factor – it’s still the auditions which is really the only bit of it I like watching. I saw best friend had posted on facebook about going out with one of her other friends for a night out tonight but surprise surprise I didn’t get an invite. Not that I would have gone anyway but still… it’s nice to be asked. I barely ever go out drinking these days, it’s another environment that I just don’t fit into any more. I feel so different from everyone else… black, white and fifty shades of grey… I think I might need some colour back in my life… but… I just don’t know how to do it :/

22:02 – Friday already…

9 Aug

Wow, I can’t believe it’s Friday already. This week has gone by seriously quickly. Maybe that’s because I’ve actually gone out of the house and done things, time definitely goes slower when I’m in self isolation mode.

Yesterday I had my appointment with lovely support worker from rape crisis. It was a good session, some of it was spent with me moaning about new psychiatrist and about these Lyrica (Pregabalin) tablets. The other part of it was me trying in some round about way to explain that every time I think of sexually abusive acts that have happened in my life I always find myself somehow excusing them or looking for reasons to justify them. It’s easier, so so much easier to blame myself and hold myself responsible for them all than it is to admit to myself that several males have actually wanted and enjoyed hurting me, who got pleasure out of hurting me…. one when I was just a child. The fact it happened again in adulthood means yet again I somehow asked for it to happen and deserved it to happen. Lovely support worker tried to reason with me and told me it wasn’t my fault but… I just don’t believe her 😦

Today I went to my appointment with CPN#2 so that was our first appointment in 8, 10, 12 weeks… I don’t know, I do know it’s been quite a long time (again, my fault). So she had asked me to take my Compassionate Mind chapters in and she has said that she wants to get me to a place where I’m starting to grasp the basics and then hopefully the psychologist will be able to start offering me appointments again to do the Compassionate Mind stuff when it starts getting more in-depth. I arrived at the appointment and she said it was nice to see me and said “ok we have an hour, what would you like to use that hour to talk about?” I said I had a question: will I still continue to have CPN support when I start working with the psychologist again? Instead of answering me she wrote my question on a piece of paper. She then asked me what else I wanted to talk about and I said “I have a lot of concerns about the new psychiatrist, I don’t think the appointments have been helpful at all and I’m frustrated that after sending a long letter to him it appears to have achieved nothing”.

Again she wrote that down on a piece of paper. She asked if there was anything else I’d like to spend the appointment discussing and I said obviously I wanted to use most of the appointment to make a start on some of this Compassionate Mind stuff. Yes, she wrote that down as well.

She then turned the stopwatch on her phone on and propped it up against the window ledge so she could “make sure the appointment doesn’t overrun”. I hated it, every time I glanced at it I was getting distracted trying to work out how long we had left and the more I tried to think of the quick but concise ways to discuss my points the more I started going off at a tangent and forgetting what my point was. She said more than once “could you please stick to the point MCBL… this isn’t the question I have written down” Grrr. She annoyed me a bit today if I’m honest. She seemed to want to run the appointment as though she was following an agenda for a meeting. Once I’d finished blabbering on about my concerns of being discharged from CPN support once the psychologist returns and she repeatedly told me she didn’t know what would happen but did make sure she threw in the obligatory “we are pretty short staffed at the moment” line. She did say I wouldn’t be left completely on my own unless I made the decision to stop engaging with them. She then crossed ‘point number 1’ off the list and asked me what my concerns were regarding the new psychiatrist. I began to tell her about him wanting me to start on a drug that I really didn’t want to take and how I just can’t understand why the new psychiatrist wants to shake everything up when this is the longest I’ve gone for a while where I haven’t self harmed or been admitted to hospital. Although there’s been shitty days there have also been stable ones and I just don’t get why this new doctor is coming along and trying to change all that.

Her response was simply that I could ask for a second opinion if I wanted but that I’d probably find that all doctors are trying to get their patients off of daily benzodiazapines. I said to her I was now on a relatively low dose, I’ve been taking it every day for almost three years, I have no bad side effects, it helps me… why do they need to fix something that isn’t broken?!! So CPN#2 asked me what dose of Diazepam it is that I’m taking and I told her I was down to 16mg a day. She then tells me that this is not at all a “low dose” and even though I told her that GP had agreed it was a low-ish dose she started going on and on about 2mg or 4mg a day being a low dose and to be honest I don’t really know what else she had to say on the matter because I became distracted watching the numbers changing on the stopwatch phone app. I heard her saying something about how I could try writing him another letter but I couldn’t be doing with listening to her so I just said “lets move onto the compassionate mind stuff… I’ll leave the medication stuff to my GP when I see her next Friday” and she seemed quite happy to cross point two off her agenda.

So we move onto the Compassionate Mind printed out workbook. She has a copy and I have a copy. She asks me where I’d like to start and how much of it I’ve read. I hadn’t read any. I did plan to last night but I forgot. However she picked out an exercise – the body scan one – and asked if I’d like to do that. I actually remembered doing that one with the psychologist back in 2010/2011 when she was trying to get me to do the compassionate mind – sorry ‘Compassion Focused Therapy’ – back then. So CPN picks another bit and basically she read a couple of pages aloud and I read them in my head as she spoke. She then started talking about what ‘homework’ she could give me as she can’t see me again for almost a fortnight, so I agreed I would try and read through some of the first section of it and write down the bits I found easy to understand and what bits I struggled with. Then she got out her diary and we made an appointment for the 22nd August and I glanced at the stopwatch – it was up to 37 minutes – but apparently that is an hour in her eyes as she started getting to her feet and showing me towards the door. In honesty I found the appointment pretty useless in the end. I’m really starting to feel a bit fed up with the CMHT and it makes me not want to attend when I just feel no benefit from it.

I had a pretty quiet afternoon once I got home and have carried on having a pretty quiet evening. Tonight will be my third night on the new higher Mirtazapine dose of 45mg but I only really noticed that I had a bit of brain fog yesterday but it was less foggy today so I think my body is going to adjust to the new dose pretty quickly. Which is good, of course.

I don’t have anything planned for the weekend as yet, hoping it will stay dry so I can get out a good walk with the dogs up the hills for a while. I could do with some real proper exercise where I come home aching all over and feeling like I’ve had a good work out. Hopefully I’ll be in a mood to go be outdoors tomorrow and the fact that I’ve stayed in since 2pm today isn’t a sign I’m slipping back into self isolating mode.

We shall see……

23:02 – Another week already…

5 Aug

And so, another week has begun. It’s Monday night and I’ve had a relatively quiet day just spent indoors mostly besides a few walks with the dogs. I’ve been feeling extremely close to self harming a lot today although I’ve stayed on top of it and haven’t acted on it (yet). There’s several reasons for this but I’m not really in the mood to talk about them at the moment (a lot of them tie in with Berry whose still bursting into fits of giggles), so I’ll talk about my weekly line up instead…

Tomorrow I’m taking my Mum for a belated birthday lunch (it was her birthday last week but this is the first day she’s had off work) and I’m feeling a little bit anxious about it. I suggested going to a nice little village I’ve been to a couple of times recently with best friend. It takes about 45 minutes to get there and the scenery is absolutely beautiful but it’s a big challenge to all of the agoraphobic symptoms. Even though the rational part of my head says that I’ve done it before so I can do it again, this will be the furthest I’ve travelled with my Mum for a long time. But she has been so good to me and I’ve been saving up for a few weeks so I could take her to a really nice (but pretty expensive) restaurant that sits right next to the water. It gets excellent reviews so I’m sure the food will be lovely but again that is another big test to me – both being far away from home AND having to sit and wait until food arrives, fight the anxiety off enough so that I can get an appetite to eat, sit and make conversation for an hour or so, take a wander around the little row of shops, then finally come back home. I’m going to leave the dogs at home so that I can use them as an excuse to get back home for. I don’t like leaving them for any longer than 3 or 4 hours by themselves so that will give us enough time to get there, have our lunch, look at the shops and get home.

On Wednesday I’m going to try and get an appointment with lovely GP. That will be almost a week since seeing new psychiatrist so I’m assuming he will have got a letter to her by Wednesday stating what medication changes have to take place. Going on Wednesday means it will be exactly two weeks before I’d be due another monthly prescription so that should work out quite well – it will give me two weeks of adjusting to the higher dose of Mirtazapine as well as seeing how I tolerate the Pregabalin. Then I can go back and see her two weeks later when I’m due my monthly prescription and we can decide if I’m happy with the new med adjustments or if I want to change anything. I have to admit I’m feeling a bit very apprehensive about adding a new medication into the mix. I know I’ve chopped and changed and increased and reduced a shit load of meds over the years but I’m always a bit phobic of them to begin with, convinced they are going to give me tonnes of side effects and leave me in such a state of panic that no med in my emergency stash will be able to calm me down from. I don’t know whether to just add on the 15mg to my Mirtazapine and take the full 45mg at bedtime – I currently take the 30mg all at bedtime, and I figure that way I can hopefully sleep off any side effects. As for the Pregabalin I don’t know if I should add that into the bedtime cocktail or take it in the morning. I pretty much take all of my meds at night to try and sleep off some of the zombieness that accompanies them. I guess lovely GP can recommend the best way to take them seeing as new psychiatrist didn’t bother his arse *rolls eyes*… So anyways, that is Wednesday’s plan.

Thursday I have an appointment with lovely support worker at rape crisis and I think that now we can maybe start getting back on track and doing the ‘work’ that I’m supposed to be doing there. Due to me not getting in touch with CPN#2 for so long, some of my appointments with support worker have turned into mental health type stuff and that’s not really what I’m there to talk to her about.

But Friday I have an appointment to go back and see CPN#2 so I’m going to dig out that compassionate mind stuff she posted out to me and make sure I read at least the first chapter before our appointment so I can at least sound as though I’m trying (even if I do think it all sounds a load of bullshit deep down).

So that’s my week ahead… exciting times eh?!

I want to try and get to sleep early tonight so meds have been taken and as soon as I finish rambling on here I’m getting straight into my pyjamas. I never know which is worse – wake up early and have time to get organised, mentally prepare myself for the anxiety I know I’ll soon be feeling, take some Diazepam, take lots of deep breaths, kinda ‘psyche’ myself up to it if you like. Or is it easier when I sleep in late, have to jump up and have a shower, get dressed, dry my hair, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, run out the door chucking some Diazepam down my throat – all of which done within 30 minutes of opening my eyes. Is it easier to take the time to mentally prepare or is it easier to just throw yourself in, very much at the deep end? I don’t know which is the best method, both have been tried and failed, both have been tried and worked. Sometimes I think the best way is just not to plan anything, that way you can never be disappointed in yourself. I try and tell myself I’m just going out for a while, just going to spend time with my mum or best friend or whomever, that I’ll be back home soon, there’s no need to panic, but sometimes the panic just laughs straight in my face then sucks me in, sends me crazy, then spits me back out as a quivering anxious wreck…

OK, on that note I’ll say goodnight. Fingers crossed that tomorrow won’t be too anxiety provoking and maybe I’ll even manage to have a nice time and enjoy spending a few hours just Mum and me. I want her to have a nice day so I really need my panic to behave itself and stay well away hidden in the background if only for a few hours.

Goodnight folks! x