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Archive for October, 2011

Phonecall

27 Oct

**Potentially triggering – about suicidal thoughts**

Yesterday, my cc had to cancel my appointment half an hour before she was due because something urgent came up. I am 100% ok with this, if someone is in need, they need the service more than me at that time. She said she would call me today to reschedule and has just done so.

As many of you might know, I have had a very bad week this week. I don’t know why, the flashbacks and nightmares have been no worse so I can’t understand (sometimes though there is no reason, it is just as is).

I have been battling with suicidal thoughts all week and have not made it out of bed since Sunday knowing that whilst I am in here I can keep myself relatively safe. In a past post I mentioned that I think there is a difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live and previously I had come to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live (but I didn’t want to die either).

Again, I don’t know why, but there has been a shift in my thinking and I really started to believe that death was a better option than wasting a life and mentally beating myself up every day. I also started to think about how, when and where I would do it and had a pretty good idea on all three. Before yesterday and my cc cancelling, I was actually on the verge of not answering the door to her anyway. I didn’t want anyone to stop my plans.

And then she called today. Asked if she could come tomorrow, Normally I would agree but before I knew it I’d said no I was going away. She said, “ok, how about next week” and again I said no, I wouldn’t be here. In my head, this meant I was going away for a week or two but obviously it didn’t sound like that because she said,” x, are you telling me you are going to kill yourself”. I didn’t know how to answer. The fact is, no I wasn’t saying that, I just didn’t want to see her as I knew she would see the state I have let myself get into (unkempt) and know something was wrong and I couldn’t be bothered with all the questioning it would bring.

I explained I was in a shit place and just wanted to be left alone and yes I was having suicidal thoughts but that I wasn’t saying I was going to kill myself. She asked me to put myself in her position and would I just hang up the phone without an appointment on someone who was feeling suicidal. And I get that. I understand her position and what she is legally obliged to do.

She told me I had to let them in (metaphorically) as for whatever reason, even if subconciously, I had made it known I was suicidal and therefore at some level must want some help. She told me that I needed to let them help me to get me out of this cycle I was in and start to move forward. I got the impression she was getting a bit pissed off with me (but that could just be the state of mind I am in right now).

I explaiend that I had let her in more than anyone else in my life and she said she knew that and was glad we were moving forward but then this happens and feels like we are going backwards. This may be the case, but right now I don’t feel this is something I am able to control. I am being asked to move forward when in reality I have no real support system. Ok, I have the cmht and my gp but in terms of therapy I am still on the waiting list – so is it so wrong that I am struggling to move forward when I can’t let out my innermost thoughts and feelings of being ashamed and disgusted by who I am?

 
 

My fault…

25 Oct

I am not sure why but I have been having a tough time over past couple of days. I’m not sure if it is because I am not sleeping or if I’m not sleeping because of some underlying reason which is causing me to feel low (catch 22 maybe?!).

I decided to speak to someone who is close to me and tentatively approach the subject of rape as I have been feeling extremely alone in things lately & feel I need more support than I have in order to get through this. I only mentioned that I had been attacked (didn’t even mention it being sexual) and the comment I got was “You are an idiot for going anywhere near them”.

This made me think – was it my fault? All the times I’ve seen my cc and things I’ve said to her – the time I have sat and sobbed has been when she has said to me. “It is not your fault”. I have always felt to blame for it and I can’t really put in to words why I feel this way. If I look from an outsiders point of view, as if it happened to someone else, I can say it wasn’t their fault and yet put me back in that situation and it is.

To hear a friend say I was an idiot leads me to believe that it really was my fault. I don’t quite know how to deal with these overwhelming feelings right now. I have my cc coming around tomorrow and I haven’t showered since sat as I have no motivation. I know if she sees me like this it will just bring more crap that I can’t deal with so I am thinking of just not answering – if it was my fault, do I really deserve the help anyway?!?

 
 

A rose by any other name…

21 Oct

Random ramblings alert!! Brief background – 1 month ago I hurt my hand (see pic below for how it looked). I went to a&e as thought it was broken, had x-ray and told it wasn’t and was just ligament damage. I was pleased and off I went.

Fast forward to today when I was seeing my GP and I mentioned it was still sore (and swollen) and I’ve been struggling to grip anything. She looked on the system for x-ray notes and said, “Yeah it will be sore because it’s broken!”. I don’t know how the system works but she said it had only been last week that this new note had been put on saying it was broke (head of 3rd metacarpal if anyone is interested!!). So she strapped it up tp finger next to it.

Now this is the interesting part (for me anyway). Obviously it had been sore or I wouldn’t have mentioned it today but it was merely irritating as a pain, unless I used it in a certain way. But after the appointment this morning, and being told it was broken, I have been in a lot of pain. So my question is, does the diagnosis make you think things are worse than actually are. My point being, if my GP had said today that it was just muscular and normal within healing time, then I doubt I’d be in the pain I think I’ve been in today – is there an aspect of psychosomatic pain in there (if that’s the correct term!)

I think the answer is yes!!

Which brings me round to my mental health. Lately I have been told so many different labels for what is wrong with me and I have been feeling terrible. Don’t get me wrong a lot of them I think don’t come under this but if I hadn’t been given a diagnosis with x amount of symptoms, would I have had those symptoms?! I honestly don’t know the answer to this, but it has made me think!! Hence the title of the post (which is from Romeo and Juliet ‘A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet’). Basically, I don’t need a label to define who I am, I have a collection of symptoms and if the psychiatric community need to put those together to treat me, it doesn’t mean I should feel any different or maybe start experiencing symptoms I didn’t have just because they are part of a general diagnosis.

On to the reason I went to see GP – my medication. After having a chat we decided I should go back on them but maybe not on as high a dose – so instead of 200mg, I am going on 100mg but need to start on 50mg and increase after 1 week. I know the first time I started these tablets I had a lot of side effects and I just hoping this won’t be the case again!! A bit fed up of still having weekly scripts but I guess they can’t give me any different at the min!

 
 

Can’t sleep

21 Oct

This post is only happening as I can’t sleep and need something to take my mind off things!!

I’ve got an appointment with my GP tomorrow (well today) and I’m a bit nervous about it. I need to decide what to do medication wise. Here is where I am at so far on the decision:

Since stopping them of my own accord I have noticed a difference but more in how I feel feelings. When I am ok, I feel that and seem to be able to do some tasks and move forward. However, when I am feeling low, I go very low and have lost days just being in bed.

I guess the decision I have to make is do I want to feel numb to my emotions and hopefully be able to move forward or do I not go back on them and really feel the lows and highs (although I wouldn’t call them highs, just not low if that makes any sense!!). At this moment in time, I really have no clue.

I also need to give my GP the letter from the SARC from last week and so am worried that will all be brought up. I know I am very much burying my head in the sand right now, but is that a bad thing?

On a slightly lighter note, I had my personal training session today. One word sums it up – OUCH!!! Every part of my body is aching but I did enjoy the feeling again of being pushed to my limit – even if my limit is now a lot less than it was! My session consisted of squats (using a suspension trainer), body row, devils chair (knees at 90 degree angle with back against the wall, so like you are sitting on an imaginary chair and hold it – legs shake and burn very quickly!!) Do 3 sets of those 3 exercises. Next was romanian deadlifts, press ups and prone bridge as fast as possible – again 3 sets of those and then finish with gar hammers, plank and sit ups with punches – yup you guessed it, 3 sets of those as well!! I know it doesn’t sound much but trust me, when you are using weights, it does you in!!

I’m really not looking forward to saturday when a) the aching will be at its worst and b) I’m supposes to do another workout – hmmmm, let’s see how I feel eh!!

Ok, well it’s 3.15am and I’m nowhere near tired but need to at least go to bed to see if can doze off!

 

 
 

Goal Setting

19 Oct

This week has been a roller coaster for me but I think in a good way!

I went to a low place but due to this I wrote a 10 step plan for any suicidal feelings so to make sure I kept safe at those times – I have used this once and got to number 7 before thoughts had passed so it is definitely a thing I can work with!

The biggest thing for me in this whole thing is feeling like I’ve lost my sense of identity. The person I was before has gone and I have become someone I really don’t like in regards to my ambition, motivation and general want in life. I have really struggled with this and have pushed everyone around me away and lead a very lonely existence.

Today though, I decided I was going to look at my goals for the future to give me something to concentrate on and work towards. This isn’t something new for me, I had a 5 year plan before what happened which was broken down to weekly tasks and things were going well so I know goal setting is a really important thing!

The first area I wanted to look at was my health. Since what happened I have stopped all exercise and binge ate to deal with emotions. I know this has made my self-image even worse and that vicious circle starts of hating self so eating and then putting weight on and therefore hating self!! To give you an idea, this was my exercise schedule before:

  • 2 personal training sessions a week and one extra gym (weights session) on my own
  • 2 bootcamps a week
  • A 2 hour football training
  • 90 min football game
  • some weeks I fitted in an interval session as well (eg bike or jog)

So as you can see, exercise really was a huge thing for me and decided this would be a good place to start. Today I booked a training session for tomorrow (at home) and decided to go to a football training session tonight. The training wasn’t my best idea – apart from being so unfit I struggled with just the warm up, I had quite a bad flashback there which led to an asthma attack (I really don’t have asthma issues and never had attacks before the assault). However, I did it – and I think that is more important and outweighs the negatives. It isn’t something I will be doing again anytime soon, but it got me out there with people I used to have a lot of banter with – and glad to say still do (interpret as just having the p*ss taken out of me – in a good way!!!)

On to my goal, there is a 5km run with an obstacle course at the end of november and so this is something I want to take part in. Apart from the exercise to build up so I can do it, a big thing will me be actually going to it – I struggle to leave my house as it is and definitely to go to a strange park. But I have just under 6 weeks – is this possible? Who knows, but if I never try I will never know!!!

 

 
 

Forensic Examination

18 Oct

Since I made a comment on twitter about having a forensic examination, I have had quite a few messages about it and so I have decided to write this. Just in case someone who might happen across this page needs it.

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to put much emotion in to it – I think it will be more of a narrative of what happened as I’m still going through emotions.

I haven’t put this anywhere as I haven’t felt up to it but one of the people who originally attacked me did so again last week. It was my fault, I was naive in my actions of actually speaking to him again and so can’t really say anymore than that.

The one thing I have slight regret over the initial attack was that I never had any proof of it. In retrospect, I think I would have done the same thing in that particular scenario (just due to some other factors) but it has always been a niggle at the back of my mind. So when this happened, I did pretty much the opposite.

Firstly, once I had composed myself (took a good few hours), I called a local sexual assault referral centre (SARC) and said I had been attacked and didn’t know what to do. It was late at night and the woman who answered was very nice and said there was a crisis worker there but she was just with someone but would call me back as soon as she could.

Within 10 minutes, I got a call back and again the woman was very nice and explained my options and asked what I wanted to do:

  1. I could go in around 2am and see a doctor for an examination
  2. I could wait until the morning and make an appointment for the next day
  3. I could go to a local a&e
  4. I could go to my GP the next day

Personally, I knew I wouldn’t get any sleep and also wanted to go somewhere specialist to try to keep the pain (emotionally) to a minimum and so I decided to take the middle of night appointment.

When I arrived, I was met by the woman I spoke on the phone to. She was very calming and gentle and non-intrusive. She took me in to a nondescript room with some chairs and a table and we went through a form she had to fill in. This was just basics like name, gp name, any disabilities etc – I did mention at this point about the PTSD and my involvement with the cmht (didn’t see any point in withholding this info).

Once she had done that, she explained she was going to get the doctor who would want to ask a few more questions and explain what they could do.

The doctor was really nice as well and her opening words were ‘i’m sorry we are meeting under these circumstances’. Now I know this is probably something they are taught but it did make me feel like I wasn’t being patronised. She explained to me about the confidentiality and that if she thought someone or myself was at risk, then she would have to tell the relevant people – but she would inform me of this first.

Then the Dr. asked a few of the same questions as before but asked for a bit more detail (eg about my ptsd). She kept asking if I was ok and if at any point I wanted a break to just tell them. I was shivering (even though it was really warm in the room) and she said it looked a bit like shock. And then once the easy questions were out the way, the bit I had been dreading…….”so in your own time tell me what brought you here tonight”. She prompted me for certain information telling me that it was needed because if she was going to examine me, she would be able to be guided.

It was incredibly difficult and I actually surprised myself at how little I remembered – I felt a complete failure for this – how could I have forgotten??? She assured me it was normal and not to worry.

Next came the options of what I wanted to happen next:

  1. Have an examination to make sure everything was ok (both externally and internally)
  2. Access the after care support system, and leave with the morning after pill but no examination
  3. A full forensic examination – this would consist of a top to toe external exam and an internal

I honestly didn’t know what to choose. I really didn’t feel in a place where I could make a sound decision and so went for option 3 based on the logic that I could decide never to use that evidence but if I didn’t have it then the option was gone completely (ok, so it was logical in my head). I was assured it was a good decision but never once was I felt pushed or coerced in to it, it was all me!

The Dr then went away to prepare the room and I sat with the crisis worker for a few minutes. She asked if I was ok, that she couldn’t offer me a drink but if I needed anything else to ask. I told her that I felt bad that I hadn’t sat crying when I was asked about it and felt guilty that I wasn’t in pieces (like you see on tv programs). She said it was one of the biggest myths that people come in like that and she saw more people like me and there wasn’t a right or wrong way to react and so shouldn’t feel guilty over that.

Then the Dr came in to say she was ready. And this was the clinical part – we went in to the room with the examination bed, curtain, light and other medical stuff. I immediately tensed up and thought what am I doing here, putting myself through this after what has happened. I was asked to strip to my underwear and put the paper gown on (this was behind the curtain not in front of them) and then given a blanket to wrap around me as well.

And then the methodical examination started. 2 swabs were taken in my mouth (with like a large cotton bud, nothing to be worried about) and then I was asked to take 2 saline solutions in my mouth, gargle and spit it back in to a container. Next it was my scalp and head that was examined and then I had an injury on my neck which was measured and again 2 swabs taken of the area (also of the other side of my neck where there was no injury so it could be compared)

Then I was asked to take one arm out of the gown at a time and any marks were noted, measured and swabbed. Then my back, legs, and tummy. It was all done in a very humane way – in that my dignity was being preserved in as much as is possible in the situation.

The next part was the bit I had obviously been dreading, the internal. I was asked if I wanted to take a break, but I just wanted it over and done with. The crisis worker moved to the top of the bed and asked if I wanted to hold her hand – I said no thanks. The Dr. explained everything she was doing and said it was just like a smear but as soon as it started I just started to cry. It was over very quickly and both of them were extremely encouraging and nice about everything.

And that was it. All in all, the examination part took around 20 mins. I could get dressed and they got me a glass of water (apparently I wasn’t allowed to drink in case it contaminated anything in my mouth). I then sat with the doctor again who explained what would happen with the samples (they would literally just be stored and not allowed to be used without my consent for around 7 years and then they would be destroyed). I was also given the morning after pill and told that due to my ptsd background and the fact I lived alone, she was going to notify the safeguarding team about me. I had no idea what that is and at that point didn’t really care – I just wanted to get home. (I spoke to my cc about it today and she said she would get a call from them and not to worry, she would deal with it – it’s not something I am willing to engage in and so why she has never mentioned it to me before now).

Overall I was there for about 2 hours and I was given names and number of helplines and sti clinics and told someone would call me within the next week to see if I wanted to access the counselling services but in the meantime if I needed anything to call them.

I guess the point of this post (because trust me, it hasn’t been an easy one to write) is to say there really isn’t anything scary about going for a forensic examination – they treat you with a lot of respect, never question you in terms of belief and make you feel as at ease as possible given the circumstances which you are there. So please, I really hope you don’t find yourself in this position – but if you do, go a long and get the help that is available!!

If this helps just one person, then it is worth the pain of writing it!!

 

 
 

Today was difficult…

17 Oct

Today I had an appointment with my care co-ordinator (cc) and had been thinking for a few days about how I could try to move forward in my head. There was a couple of things I decided I wanted to do and we only got to do the first one.

I wanted to walk past where I was attacked. I know that might sound like a silly idea but it is quite local to me and is a route I took all the time to go on a run or to the shop etc. Since it happened I’ve not been able to go anywhere near and something over the last couple of days has made me want to more and more. I thought the best thing was to go with someone else rather than attempt it on my own (learning from my past mistakes) and I’m glad I waited.

I knew it would be difficult but I think I underplayed how hard it would be. As soon as I started walking down the stairs of my building, I could feel my breath getting quicker and more shallow. My cc was great, asked if I was sure and if I wanted to turn back at any point, just to do so and don’t try to be the tough one like I always do.

The feeling of going nearby was horrible (that word doesn’t do it justice!) and I really struggled to catch my breath. I asked to turn around before it got too much but I was totally overwhelmed – crying, struggling to stand up straight (I just wanted to curl up in a corner somewhere!). My cc kept telling me I was safe and nothing was happening right now and just try to take long breaths but I just wanted to get home.

Once I had calmed down, I seemed ok – and was even laughing and joking with her about other things. But now, now I am sat on my own with no-one around me but a lot of memories I am really struggling. I don’t know if this I can do this anymore. I want to be strong, I want to get through it but there are just so many things against me right now. I just can’t see any end to this black hole and if there is no end, why stay around and feel like this unnecessarily?

I have sat for the past few hours playing music – trying to shift the mood, and now I am writing this – anything to distract myself from suicidal thoughts but I am finding it incredibly hard!

 
 

Was it the right decision?

14 Oct

Last week I started to think about the medication I was taking (maximum daily dose of sertraline – 200mg). I have never liked taking medication, even for things like a headache I’d rather just ride it out. I’d kind of just accepted that I would take this tablet and magically I would feel better and go back to being who I was before.

Unrealistic expectations? Yeah, I think so!

So after taking this particular type for approx 6 months, I had a routine appointment with my GP to get my prescription (they won’t give me more than one weeks tablets at a time as they see me as a suicide risk). In this appointment I asked if there was any point being on them as I really wasn’t feeling any benefit and thought I had given them long enough to work. My GP said she would speak to my psychiatrist to see if maybe there might be an alternative that we could try. She gave me 1 weeks prescription and said if nothing needs to be changed there will be another prescription post dated waiting for me (which was usual) and if changed then it would show on this script. She also said not to just stop them as I wouldn’t feel very well and I’d need to taper off them.

I left with the intention of carrying the tablets on as prescribed and got my weeks worth. Then I had the horrible trip to the gum clinic and I went really inside myself for a few days and completely forgot to take them. It was only when I felt a bit ill that I remembered. It was at this point that I questioned just staying off them. I had already missed about 3 days and so it was an ideal time to do it.

Just as a side note, the outcome of my GP asking my psychiatrist was to keep me on those ones because the only tablets left available were toxic on overdose so they wouldn’t even consider them.

Anyway, my decision in the end was to just not take anymore and see what happened. This is where I need to ask myself some questions. I can understand my rational behind wanting to see if they actually made a difference but why did I just stop them when my GP already said it would make me ill? It is as if I am trying to punish myself for something (just typing thoughts out loud here so apologies if making no sense!!)

And that brings me to now – I can definitely notice a difference but I am not sure if it is bad or good. I can actually feel my emotions again and whilst this is good for when I feel in a half decent mood, it is bad for when I am feeling on a low one which has hit me today. I can’t explain why, I haven’t had any particularly different experiences – I haven’t been out today and so nothing could have subconsciously affected me – I just can’t pinpoint anything.

However today I did something I have not mentioned on the blog before as I haven’t done it in such a long time it wasn’t worth talking about in my journey. But today I cut myself. I have no idea why, all of a sudden I felt the need to do it, but I did and now I feel ashamed of it. I feel like I have pressed a self destruct button somehow – from stopping the tablets to cutting again – but why, that is something I don’t know the answer to!

 
 

What will today bring?

13 Oct

One of the things that I currently struggle is how one day literally merges in to another. If it wasn’t for the day and date on my phone I’d have no idea where I was up to. As soon as I get an appointment it goes straight in to my calendar or I would totally forget.

With all that in mind I am going to try and make some small steps over the next few days. I wear a ring with the saying on it “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and so maybe today I look to take that small step.

Ideas I have are:
– some kind of exercise
– get in touch with a friend to see how they are (maybe via txt)
– watch tv (haven’t seen any for a long time) or pick up a book

I can’t think of anything else so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to let me know!!

 
 

Twitter

11 Oct

I have finally done it! After much thought and consideration about whether to share this blog with anyone, I have tweeted a number of people/organisations on twitter asking for a retweet.

It feels really strange to know that people I don’t know are reading my innermost thoughts that absolutely no one in the real world are aware of. It’s quite nerve racking actually. However, I am anonymous (and will remain so) and this gives me some sort of shelter to hide behind!

I guess we all want some kind of approval and none more so that someone who has been through the things I have. The one thing that has surprised me though is in such a short space of time how many people have been in touch. It is so obviously a huge area that means something to people and I hope by sharing my journey it gives some insight into it all.

Any questions or comments just leave it below. I have to approve every comment so if you don’t want it published just say so and I will respect that.

Thanks for all the support so far!