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19:12 – The lid finally blew… and resulted in a trip to A&E…

17 Jan

[Warning – talk of self harm in this post]


Sorry this might be a bit of a rant and probably a really long post but my head is going crazy and I’m still shaking and crying. Today has been a day from hell and the pressure cooker lid finally blew off. It started off when I got up this morning and there was a letter there for me from the housing association from whom I rent my flat. They sent everyone a letter a couple of weeks ago saying there was evidence of dog fouling in the communal garden area and that they were going through a “process of elimination in order to find out who was responsible”. Out of the 12 flats in my block there are only four dog owners so I threw the letter in the bin and didn’t think any more about it knowing that I wasn’t responsible.

Until I got the letter this morning. The letter says:

Dear MCBL,

After a process of elimination I am led to believe that you are allowing your 2 dogs to foul in the communal areas at [my address]. Please note that dog fouling is an offence and, as a responsible owner, you can be prosecuted. The Dog Fouling Act makes it an offence for a person in charge of a dog who fails to immediately remove the faeces the dog makes guilty of an offence under the Act. The offence carries a fixed penalty fine of £40 rising to £500.

Yours sincerely,

Nasty Housing Association Woman.


I sat there reading it and burst into tears. Why the fuck am I being blamed for it? And it’s most definitely aimed at me as I’m the only person who has 2 dogs. I kept reading those words “process of elimination” and “led to believe you are…” and got so anxious. All I could think was that everyone in all the other flats must have been talking about me. Then I remembered back to a few weeks ago and all I could think about was this little ball thing that had appeared on the ceiling, just next to where the door is that opens into the communal area, I even pointed it out to my Mum and asked her what she thought it was. I said to her that I thought it was a camera spying on who was coming in and out of that door and it made me feel really paranoid every time I had to go past it to put my rubbish out. Mum said that as it was outside an elderly disabled man’s house it was maybe some sort of sensor if he had one of those personal alarm things. She told me I was just being paranoid. So I tried to believe her and then after a few days I noticed it had disappeared again so I just kinda forgot about it.

But when I got the letter today the same question kept going round and round in my mind. What was this “process of elimination” they had used? It couldn’t have been by going round and talking to each resident one by one because they never came to speak to me. And the whole thing feels horribly personal because my dogs are my babies and if anyone says anything bad about them I do get offended (and angry) 😦

So I kept thinking back to that thing on the ceiling and tried typing into google phrases like “ceiling cameras” “ball shaped cameras” etc until I finally found a whole page of what I was looking for. Dome cameras they are apparently called and they look like this:




You can see the camera inside that one but because it was on the ceiling and the ceilings are around 10 feet high it just looked like a little dark ball thing. So now I am convinced that they secretly filmed everyone coming in and out of the communal area for a while and I do use that door quite a lot because it leads to a little path that is a short cut to the shops. Have they been filming me, spying on me, watching me, talking about me? Have I been the person (with dogs) who has come in and out of that door the most? I don’t know. I took some Diazepam because I was getting myself into a real mess and then composed an email to the person who sent me the letter. This is the email that I sent:

Dear [nasty woman who made me cry]

I’ve just received your letter about dog fouling at [my address]. You say in this letter that after a “process of elimination” you believe that I am responsible for allowing my two little dogs to “foul the communal areas”. I am sitting here in tears with anger as quite simply you are putting the blame onto me for something I haven’t even done.

[A ramble about the other dog owning neighbours who could be responsible but it goes on for about 1000 words then ends with…]

I have lived in this flat for over six years and in that time there have been many letters about dog fouling, people dumping rubbish and furniture and stuff and I can assure you that I am well aware of all of the rules. I am an honest person and if I was responsible I would be emailing you just now to apologise and assure you it wouldn’t happen again. But I am not the person responsible and your letter has now made me incredibly anxious that if future dog fouling is discovered then I am going to be the person blamed. You already know from previous emails (when I was making my application for a housing transfer) that I suffer from severe mental health problems and receiving a letter telling me that I’m responsible for something that I could be prosecuted for, has left me in quite an emotional mess.

I’m sorry this email is so long but I want to know (a) how you reached the decision that I was responsible (b) if there is further dog fouling in the future will I automatically be blamed? and (c) how do I prove to you that I am not the person responsible for this?

Thank you,

So now I wait to see if she writes back and tells me they put up a hidden camera and have been watching me. I didn’t mention anything about the possible camera in my email to her because I want to see what reason they come back with to tell me how they reached the decision that I am responsible for this. I don’t think they have done anything wrong by putting a camera up to monitor who was coming in and out of that area, but it didn’t look like a camera and there was no warning notice about CCTV being used, and it was in my opinion a camera that was disguised. Again, they are probably allowed to do this as they own the building, but wouldn’t anyone who suffers from paranoia probably start freaking out a bit if they thought they had been being filmed without knowing?

So basically that was the final straw. I sent the email then kept looking at the letter over and over getting more and more wound up that everyone is talking about me behind my back; about how desperately I wanted to move out of here then became too anxious about it all and decided to redecorate to try and make this feel like some sort of home again and just as things were starting to settle a tiny little bit, here I am feeling terrified to walk out my front door in case I bump into any of my neighbours and I keep thinking what if they have all been told that they are holding me responsible for it…

By the time it got to about 3pm I was just a mess. I kept bursting into tears, cuddling my little dogs and telling them that they were still my babies even if nasty housing woman is saying bad things about them, the paranoid thoughts that they have been filming me and talking about me were spinning round and round and round…and… I just lost it.

Before I knew what I was doing I had a blade in my hand and had carved deep angry cuts into my skin. There was blood everywhere and two of the cuts were very deep and gaping open wide. I knew it had gone too far and I was going to need stitches so I just kept cutting and cutting until I finally dropped the blade, sat back and burst into tears again.

I tied a bandage around the wounds and the reality of what I’d just done began to set in. I knew that if I went up to A&E around 4pm then there would be a good chance they would phone the mental health team and I didn’t want to see any CPN’s or anything. So I waited until almost 5pm when the mental health team close and then went to the hospital. I couldn’t stop shaking as I went into A&E, scared of which nurses/doctors would be on shift yet desperately hoping it would be one of the nurses who knows me and would just treat the wound and let me go.

A man who I haven’t seen before (he turned out to be the doctor on shift) asked me to fill out a form then he took me through to the treatment room with a nurse. I have met the nurse a couple of times before and she has always been really nice and non-judgemental. The doctor was asking me what I’d done to myself to have ended up with cuts on my leg and I completely froze with anxiety. I didn’t know where to look and just wanted to run out of the door. The nurse asked me if I’d self harmed and I nodded and stared at the floor feeling so ashamed of myself. She asked me to lie up on the bed and let her have a look. I couldn’t even look as I exposed inch by inch of flesh with words written all over me with a knife… and then we got to the bandage and out the corner of my eye I watched the doctor’s face change as he saw the two worst wounds. He kept asking me questions and I just couldn’t answer him. He said he was going to phone the mental health team even though I shook my head and said no when he asked if that would be OK. But he came back five minutes later to say nobody was answering the phone at the mental health team so they left a voicemail or something instead.

He started cleaning me up and the nurse went out the room. He said he wanted to have a little chat with me whilst he stitched me up. This consisted of him asking a lot of questions and me staring at the floor and not answering. I only opened my mouth when I heard the “assessment questions” starting – “do you feel better now you’ve cut? Are you going to do it again? Do we need to keep you here to keep an eye on you? Are you feeling like you want to end your life?” etc etc etc… I shook my head and said no, I wouldn’t do it again tonight. The nurse came back and gave me 2 mg Lorazepam to calm me down a bit, even though the doctor kept saying that 2 mg would “knock me out”… Erm… No… They calm the anxiety a lot better than Diazepam but don’t make me sleepy. Anyway he gave me an appointment card to go back up to A&E on Saturday for a wound check and dressing change and then the stitches will come out in 7-10 days. He wished me good luck and reminded me I could go up there and see them if I began to feel like hurting myself again. I tried my hardest to force a little smile and say thank you.

From there it was just me and the nurse. She put some glue and steri-strips on the cuts that weren’t bad enough to need stitched and she talked and talked and talked. Maybe the doctor asked her to because I wouldn’t speak to him or maybe she was just trying to be nice. I don’t know. But I sat there in silence and she kept asking me how I was feeling, what I was going to do when I got home, was there anyone I could go and spend some time with, was there anything they could do for me and after me not replying to any of that she gave me a kinda sympathetic smile and said that she knew that I wasn’t OK and asked me if I’d like to just sit and have a chat to her. I said thank you but I’d be fine.

Then when I had all my clothes back on and was about to leave she said “are you 100% sure you don’t want a chat?” and out of nowhere my mouth opened and the words started coming out… the letter… the paranoia… the voices… the dogs and how they are my babies… the pressure cooker… the disappointment people would feel if they found out I’d cut again after all this time of not doing it… this time of year just being really hard as the weeks lead up to my little man’s anniversary…

It all poured out but quietly and with very little eye contact. Standing staring at my feet and just rambling on to her. It was only for a few minutes but then I started thinking “what the fuck am I doing?! don’t tell her about all the head crazies… just get out of here!” and so I went from rambling quietly to leaving the hospital in a bit of a hurry.

How do I feel now that the lid has finally blown and I’ve given myself another few scars to hate? I don’t know. That’s the honest answer. In one way I feel a little calmer but that could well be the Lorazepam, I still feel extremely paranoid and the head crazies are coming out with all sorts of random quotes but I’m trying really really hard to ignore them and just hope that my head can quieten down enough so that I can get through this evening with no further damage. To be honest I just feel both scared and relieved. Relieved that the lid finally blew and I got the huge urges to self harm out of my system… but scared that I’m now going to start sliding towards the slippery slope again… scared that I’m losing control… scared that I am so adamant that no one will find out about this except from my GP and CPN…

Sorry, this was one very long ramble, guess I had a lot to get off my chest. It’s now almost 7 pm and I’m going to try and just watch TV or something for a couple of hours then take my medication early and then lie down in a dark room until I finally sleep.

I hope tomorrow will be a better day but I will no doubt receive an email back from the housing association woman and regardless of what it says I know seeing the words of why she believes I am responsible are sure to upset me again.

I don’t know what else to say…

[/end of rant]



18:31 – Well I went

21 Apr


I decided to go to the A&E department and see the nurse from Tuesday. I was the only person in the department so was seen straight away. I told him I’d got my tattoo done and Satan appears happier with me. He kind of half smiled, like one of them sympathetic type smiles and says “OK mate”. I like that he calls me mate, it feels friendly without being space invasive. Then the scene kinda went like this:

I take a seat and roll up my sleeve

He stares at my arm and says “that wasn’t there on Tuesday”

I reply “it’s only a scratch”

He replies “that ‘scratch’ worries me more than the deep cuts”

I ask why

He says “you know why, it’s a pentagram”

I say “what’s wrong with that?”

He says “you know what, it’s what it means”

I say “it’s a symbol of faith”

He says “it’s double circled and I know what that means”

I just look at him blankly so he knows I’m not going to say anything else on the matter.

He took the dressings off my arm and had a look at the wounds. He was really happy with the one that was deepest as it has started healing really well. He told me he had been thinking about my arm all week and wondering if he had done the right thing just gluing and taping it and was worried he should have sutured it. But it’s all turned out OK and everything is healing well. So I have clean dressings on and he asked me to go back up to A&E on Tuesday for a final wound check.

As I was leaving I showed him my new tattoo and he said it was actually quite nice but he joked I was going to end up like something from the exorcist if I keep listening to Satan’s commands.

He reminded me as I left that they are open 24 hours a day if I need help.

I said thank you and left.

12:57 – A&E – To go or not to go

21 Apr


At some point this afternoon I have to go up to A&E to have my recent self harm wounds checked and hopefully the stitches off. These ones didn’t need suturing, he managed to use glue and steri-strip stitches. The glue is at that extremely itchy stage where I keep wanting to claw at the dressings. I can’t wait for it to all come off over the next few days. I really don’t want to go to A&E today because I actually don’t want to see the damage that lies underneath those two dressing pads. I’m sitting here in shorts and t-shirt pj’s and all I can see is scars, some neat and some so ugly. My left leg and left arm are ruined. A total mess.

So, right now it’s only coming on for 1pm and he said to me to go up anytime between 2pm and 6pm. I think it will be closer to 6pm if I actually make it up there. On saying that, at least I know if I go today then it will be the same nurse I saw on Tuesday and he is a nice guy who I can talk to without feeling judged. I have this very weird feeling that I don’t think I’ve experienced before, where I think as soon as I see what damage I have done to my arm then it might actually trigger me into wanting to do it again. Usually after I have self harmed and had it treated I will look after the wound, change the dressings, give it a little clean each day and generally see how it is healing. This time I haven’t taken the dressings off once because I’m scared to see what’s underneath. I just feel like I could be very easily triggered today but despite getting on well with the nurse I can’t tell him that. Remember on Tuesday he wanted me to speak with the doctor and I just left the hospital without telling anyone and came home, so today when he asks the obligatory question, “do you think you are going to self harm again today?” I will have no choice but to lie and say no. Because I don’t want the shit that telling the truth will bring.

If, when he asks me what I’ve been doing since Tuesday, I say “well I’ve carved the star of Satan into my arm, I’ve had a Satan style tattoo branded on me, I thought it might make the devil stop hurting me as much but so far it hasn’t worked, well it sort of has worked because he is happy with me now but with his happiness comes the demands for further tasks to be carried out to prove my loyalty to him so that he will stop controlling my thoughts and let the Lord think I am worthy of leaving Satan’s control to go back to the Lord’s control, and, well, ….”

And yes, it would come out like a big mixed up mumble jumble just like that. That is the sort of thing that will come out my mouth. And that is the kind of thing that ‘th3 normalz’ think is crazy talk, “concerning” talk, not “normal” talk. And what do they do when they think you are crazy and not normal? They put you in the bin. And I am not going in the bin thank you very much, I am staying right here at home.

/end of rant for now.

21:53 – So today went something like this…

17 Apr


I woke up and seemed to be in a pretty irritable mood. Everything was annoying me and making me restless. I took my morning medication then took the dogs a walk. By 11am my head was off in crazy land, repetitive commands and remarks from Satan, just driving me mad. So I took 10mg of Diazepam to see if that would help. It didn’t.

By 1pm I was sitting here with all equipment necessary to self harm. I needed to get the ‘crisis’ feeling out of me. One hard sharp scratch and that would be it (I made this agreement with myself beforehand). I actually cut twice but one really was just a scratch. By 2pm I am still feeling crazy but have bandaged up my arm. Then I remembered the addictions nurse was coming at 2pm and I started to feel slightly better as I’d have someone to spill all my shit out to. It got to 2.30pm and she still wasn’t here so I phoned her. It is tomorrow she is coming[!]

She said I sounded down and asked if everything was OK. I told her I’d cut myself earlier but it was nothing deep or to worry about. Then she starts saying that if I don’t go and get medical attention to it then she will phone an ambulance because I didn’t seem to know what I was going to do next. I told her that a trip to A&E would just be wasting their time and I could deal with the wound at home. She still didn’t seem happy with this and so I finally agreed I would phone my mum and get her to take me to A&E.

Well I didn’t bother to phone my Mum because I knew it was fairly superficial and I’d just be patched up and sent on my way. It was one of the nice nurses who was on, a male one, he always helps lighten the mood. So I apologised to him but told him I hadn’t wanted an ambulance phoned over it. He was nice to me and chatted a bit. He looked at the wound and said it was actually pretty deep but he’d do his best to close it with glue and steri-strips then bandage it tight. His method seems to have worked 🙂

So just as I go to leave and say thank you he asks me if I could go back to the waiting room as he wanted me to chat to the doctor. I asked him if it was so he could do his “am I going to off myself” type of questions. He confirmed this was the case. I couldn’t be fucked with being asked if I was going to cut again tonight, if I was feeling suicidal, if I was a danger to myself. So instead of walking back to the waiting room I just left the hospital and came home. The second I walked in the door I took another 10mg Diazepam, that was 3 or 4 hours ago.

But nothing calmed down.

I acquired some Zopiclone from someone and took 2 x 7.5mg tablets around 7pm. By 8pm I was getting more crazy and less calm so I took 20mg Diazepam and 15mg Zopiclone. Just before I started writing this, about 9.30pm I was feeling a teensy bit calmer but the urges to self harm started up again. I battled with those thoughts for half an hour before completely giving up, going back to my little stash and taking the same as at 8pm.

So if my maths is correct, over the course of the day I have now taken: 60mg of Diazepam and 45mg of Zopiclone. I just want to knock myself out, not die. I just want today to be over. But no medication seems to want to help me dose off and the thoughts of cutting myself to shreds only seem to be getting louder. I just need it all to switch off for now. I still have a fair few pills stashed away but will try and give it a good hour before taking anything else. Clearly nothing wants to get rid of Satan and he fucking loves it, he knows I will go to crazy lengths to satisfy him.

p.s. It has now been 12 days since my CPA meeting and as I suspected all the plans and ideas on how to help me/see me/support me, were all just words on a piece of paper. I’ve heard from no one but the addictions nurse.

13:09 – Starting Olanzapine and volunteering with Rape Crisis

27 Oct

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I got an appointment to see Mr Psychiatrist at 1.30pm and told him I had stopped taking the Amisulpride on Friday and how restless it was making me. I told him I had done some reading and either wanted to try Olanzapine (Zyprexa) or Aripiprazole (Abilify) next. We talked a bit about them both and he said he was happy to prescribe either. I said I was scared about the weight gain prospect of Olanzapine but was encouraged by the fact it seemed more likely to help me get better sleep. He gave me the whole side effect talk that I’ve had a thousand times about how every medication affecting every person differently. He also asked about how safe I was at the moment and I told him the truth that I had purchased a box of stanley knife blades in the past few days because the urges and the voices have been getting worse, louder and more commanding. He told me to get rid of them, ‘by disposing of them you are lessening the probability of using them’. Well duh of course that is true. What he doesn’t get is that by buying myself ten minutes thinking time about whether or not to actually do the act of self harming is over by the time I’ve walked to the craft shop at the top of the street and back. If you are going to do it, if the urge or voice or need is strong enough, then you’re gonna do it. End of. He doesn’t get that though, he lives in the world of taking every sharp object away from a self harmer so they can’t do it, another thing he doesn’t seem to get is that knowing I don’t have anything to harm myself with only causes me further distress and makes the urges stronger. Having them here is like a safety blanket.

He doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that our community of “mentalists” here are actually intelligent articulate people who have all been on one med or another at some point in time and that I value their input when I ask for advice about meds. He likes to think he knows best, I don’t think he appreciates it so much when I tell him I’ve gone and read proper studies which thousands of people have participated in and read all the percentages of people who have stopped that medication and their reasons why. For example a lot of studies will show the main reasons for people stopping olanzapine are weight gain and sleepiness. Aripiprazole seems more likely in some people to cause sleep disturbances.

It was a very boring session, I learned nothing new from him and I’m starting to wonder if my secret career could actually lie in pharmacy if I wasn’t utterly crap at chemistry and physics!!

Speaking of moving forwards with any kind of career, I went along for my appointment with the Rape Crisis Centre yesterday and had a long chat with the woman who runs the support worker side of things. She was totally lovely and we talked about so many things and all of the reasons why I want to become involved with their organisation. The only problem is that the next intake of volunteers isn’t going to be until February 2012 and it is going to be run in residential weekends. I’m not sure how many of them, I’m guessing about four as she said it used to be 1 day’s training a week for 10-12 weeks to become a fully qualified volunteer support worker. I also expressed my interest in the project they do which is aimed at teenagers, talks in schools and youth centre’s etc – the aim of which being to bring awareness about paedophiles on the internet, the difference between non-consensual and consensual sex, being bullied or pressurised into sex, what abuse and rape are, why what a girl wears doesn’t mean she’s ‘up for it’ etc etc.

The other problem is the fucking agoraphobia. Because the centre I am applying to work at covers a large rural county the next intake of volunteers is aimed at a town 115 miles away that is where the training is going to be held. And for a whole weekend Friday night to Sunday afternoon over several weekends. That is going to be a major challenge for me. It is on the same route as the looney bin, just a further 50 miles down the road. So really the aim is to do that 50 miles by February.

They need to do a disclosure check on all applicants before I can start to do anything for the centre. It takes roughly 4-6 weeks to process and come back. I told her about my agoraphobia and very casually mentioned that I had been in the psychiatric hospital before. I haven’t gone into every detail about my mental health yet, that will come when the time is right.

I also never mentioned anything about losing the little one, I know that sounds stupid and you might be thinking ‘well why would you? it’s not something that’s relevant’ but any time I meet a new person who has a role where I’d be working with them (any mental health support person for example) it’s always something I mention early on. Maybe in case they question my wrist tattoos. Maybe it’s something inside of me which feels like when other people talk about kids I want to say ‘I’m a mummy too’. Maybe it’s a whole mix of reasons. Had she asked me if I had children I may have mentioned it, but she didn’t and so I didn’t. In fact (and I feel almost guilty for saying this) but for that hour I was with her I was so focused on the work they do there that I didn’t even think about the little one.

So for now I need to fill out my disclosure form (it’s a background check on you for working with children or vulnerable adults) and wait for it to come back. Once it’s back I can go in and do admin stuff in the office to keep me in contact with them and let me get to know them until the training starts in February. I really want to do this, I feel really passionate about it already and whilst the work at times will be disturbing I know I can deal with it and be OK. We talked about several examples of abuse in some detail yesterday and none of it triggered me. So I think I can really offer them something (especially on the teen project) and she seemed really keen to get me involved as well as I talked about the ‘bigger picture’ and my knowledge of self harm and other things that happen as part of that bigger picture.

So by this point it was around 4 or 4.30pm and I was in a good mood. I went out to my friend’s house for half an hour and told her about it. I rushed back into town to get my new prescription before the pharmacy closed and got my first week of Olanzapine. I was chilling out but my head was pounding and I decided around 6pm to take my first tablet. Over the next couple of hours my mood seemed to lower, mainly because of the psych telling me to get rid of my blades. I kept hearing his voice over and over and thinking ‘fuck you, they are mine and I’m not throwing them away’ so I went and got them and sort of clung onto the box for a little while. And the voices started up in my head telling me specifically not to throw them away. And I was just really thinking of the day, mainly all the good positive bits, and then I remembered about not speaking about the little one and hearing the psych’s voice telling me to get rid, and hearing the head voices saying don’t get rid and before I knew it I was carving a hole into my leg.

It wasn’t one intense burst of self harm cuts it was a couple of cuts. Then I stopped. Then I went back to them and made them both deeper. Then I stopped and had a cigarette. Then I went back to them and made them deeper. Then I stopped and had a chat to my social worker on the phone for a little while. Then I went back to them and made them deeper. By the time it was around 9.30pm I knew they were too deep and I did need to go to the hospital, I pretty much had a hole in my leg by then that was not stopping bleeding no much how much pressure I put on it. But I didn’t want to go to the hospital alone, it freaks me out, but I went anyway, I knew it had gone too deep. She was a really nice nurse and even said to me she was going to be there all night and if I felt like I was going to self harm again then just to go up and if she wasn’t with a patient then I could just sit and talk to her (even though she admitted that she had very little knowledge of psych nursing). She then gave me a little pile of dressings and steri-strips saying if I did cut again and couldn’t face going back to hospital I could patch myself up. Still not too sure what I make of that, I guess it makes sense that if it’s a fairly small cut then I can just deal with it and avoid the anxiety of hospital; but equally I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr Psychiatrist would say about that. Is having them another item that ‘increases the probability’ of me self harming? I still have quite a few blades but the urge is out of my system for now. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter if I bin the lot of it as it only takes me 5 minutes to put my shoes on, walk to top of street, buy blades and be back in the house ready to do it.

Phew my fingers are getting sore, think this is the longest post I’ve written in ages. 1700 words!

So I’m starting off on a baby dose of Olanzapine just 2.5mg a day for 7 days then 5mg a day for another week and then probably 7.5mg working my way up in 2.5mg jumps until I’m at the right dose for me. He said the max dose was 20mg a day. I’m gonna give it a couple of weeks and see if I notice it doing anything to my appetite, making me eat more etc and see how it affects the voices.

And on that note I must go and get dressed and take the dogs a walk, they are sitting here with their legs crossed!