Archive for December, 2011

2011 summary

31 Dec

I’ve never really got to the end of a year and looked back on it. I used to be a great believer in the ‘why wait for a new year to make changes’ train of thought. I always had my goals regardless of time of year and assessed them regularly.

I’ve never particularly liked new years eve but as my family is Scottish, Hogmanay was always a big thing when I was growing up. My new years eve experiences haven’t been great as an adult (from sleeping in a car in minus 5 to being the sober one around drunks – neither are my idea of fun!!) and so over the past few years, I generally just went with the flow and chilled out.

This year I am staying in on my own. I have spent the past 7 days at my mums house with my brother and his family over from America (his wife and my 2 nieces who are 5 and 15 months). I really struggled initially and this week has been difficult but I’ve achieved a lot! I think seeing my nieces live in the moment helped me and I managed:

– to get up every day (hard not to when my bed was the sofa & I had my niece jumping on me at 7am!!)

– to go for a 3 mile walk round a reservoir that has meaning for me

– to go for a walk along the coast

– to have 2 personal training sessions

– to set some goals

That is a lot from my perspective and I am proud of myself for making those steps.

2011 for me has been a tough year. It started with me admitting I needed help to my GP when the flashbacks etc from when I was raped just got too much to handle. From there I was sent for a lot of mental health assessments and eventually landed in hospital after a suicide attempt. I was treated by the crisis team for about 6 weeks and then assigned my care coordinator at the CMHT (community mental health team).

I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD and tried a lot of different medications to help with flashbacks and sleep – none of which helped and so am ending the year medication free.

There were another couple of suicide attempts over the year, the last one being in December on the anniversary of the rape. There have been many times over the past 12 months that I didn’t think I’d ever see the end of the year. Who knows what 2012 will bring, but if I got through 2011 then maybe I can do the same in the next year!!

I also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to some people who don’t know me in real life but have taken time out of their day to email or tweet me and have really been a rock for me!! I won’t mention names in case they don’t want me to, but you know who you are and thank you so much!!


Rape Anniversary and Effects

27 Dec

Warning – might be triggering!!

I’ve not been able to write a post for a while as I have had a lot to deal with and not really been able to find many words to describe what went on!

The Friday before last (16th) was the anniversary of when I was kidnapped and raped. The month leading up to this date was one that brought a lot of flashbacks and I found I was struggling to cope with all the emotions. So I did what I always do in situations I can’t cope well with – I isolate myself and try to shut the world out until I am in a place where I can deal with it!

I did however tell my care co-ordinator (cc) and therapist that I was finding things tough and was having a lot of suicidal thoughts. It was starting to really annoy me that anytime I felt low I automatically turned to suicidal thoughts but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else.

On thursday I actually tried calling my cc as I didn’t feel I could keep myself safe on the Friday but for one reason or another she didn’t get back to me that day and I ended up taking an overdose. It’s not something I am proud of but before I did it, I honestly thought this would be it. I made preparations in the days leading up eg what I wanted to happen when I died and moved money to pay for it. So why did I end up in hospital being treated and made sure I didn’t die? I have no clue, I don’t know what made me seek help at the last minute. Maybe this is something I need to realise so I can use again if I feel that way.

My experience at a&e was mixed from some amazing staff who understood that to end up in that place, I must be quite tormented, to one doctor in particular who made me feel I was a piece of shit on his shoe!! He was just down right rude and nasty. He asked what I’d taken and I told him, but I had got the name slightly wrong and he said I had to sit and think about it and when I felt like wasting more of his time then to call a nurse. Luckily I had the empty packet on me so gave him that and off he went. Then he came back and asked why I’d done it. Through tears I told him about it being an anniversary and he said there was no point crying over something that happened 2 years ago.

He carried on like that every time he came in and ever since I’ve been trying to see from his perspective. Yes, it was self inflicted and so did I not deserve treatment? Is that why I was wasting his time? But what about the drunk guy opposite who he was laughing and joking with – was that not also self inflicted? I know one thing though, I would never go to a&e if I was feeling suicidal (I.e hadn’t done anything) because of how I was made to feel that night!!

It seems to me that there is very little understanding in the medical world over mental illness unless they are actually in that field of work. I know that’s a huge generalisation and as mentioned earlier some staff were great but it only takes one when you are feeling so vulnerable and have very little self worth anyway.

After an ECG and blood tests I was admitted and moved to the medical assessment unit. This was now around 3am and I was on frequent observations (blood pressure and temperature) and then another doctor visited me and thinks where I freaked out slightly.

It was dark in the ward, he drew my curtains and put the bed light on, but there was noone with him. Just me and him behind this curtain – it was horrible. I know he was a professional but being alone with a man in the dark was really triggering for me – especially when he listened to my chest. So I asked to be discharged. He said he strongly advised against it as medically I was still at high risk of heart failure after the tablets I’d taken. I told him I wasn’t bothered about that and to please just let me go home to safety of own room. He asked me what I was going to do there and I told him I just wanted to sleep.

The doctor managed to persuade me to stay until morning rounds and a psyche consult but by 5.30am I was so anxious I asked again to self discharge. Again he advised me of the risks and that I was going against medical advice but then let me sign and go.

So the a&e doctor was correct – I had just wasted everyone’s time!!

I saw my cc on the Tuesday after that and told her what had happened. I also told her that I needed to shelf the notion that suicide was the answer for me. I didn’t want it to be an option anymore and it surprised me that she didn’t think this was a step forward.

She explained that she didn’t think I could just turn those feelings on and off and that she thinks it’s a good coping strategy for me as I still feel in some control.

I could waffle for ages about the after effects but I’ve found writing this difficult so am going to leave that for another day!


Relationship with my dad

24 Dec

I rarely mention relationships within my family as it’s something I don’t feel the need to mention. However, this has happened today and I just need to get it off my chest!!

My relationship with my dad is practically non-existant. There was domestic abuse in my childhood and when my parents divorced he chose not to really have much to do with me (he did my brother just not me). This has caused me a lot of questioning of my self worth over the years – mainly along the vain of well if someone who is supposed to love me unconditionally doesn’t then what is wrong with me??

Anyway, it’s a long story so to cut it very short, I told him a few years ago that there was no room in my life for him and he said I was his daughter and he didn’t want to loose me. I told him I wasn’t going to go out of my way and he would have to prove things to me. Surprise surprise he didn’t and when he missed my 30th I decided that was it.

When my brother comes over from America at Christmas I always take him and his family to my dads but this year I decided I didn’t want to see him because it always leaves me feeling bad and I couldn’t cope with that this year – I had to think of myself for once!!

Which brings me to today. I had a call from my dad saying he had presents for my nieces and where did my mum live so he could drop them off. As you can imagine my mum didn’t want this and my brother was out so it has been left to me to go and meet him to pick them up. I’m so angry that the 1 year I decided to look out for myself and I’m now sat waiting for him. I know it will bring up emotions I don’t want to/ can’t deal with at the minute but what choice did I have!!

Ok that’s my rant over – I started a post about what happened last week but couldn’t find the words so will go back and finish once I can and update.


Another time..

08 Dec

I’ve ummed and ahhed about writing this post for a few days. It is extremely personal and to be honest quite a scary thing that totally freaked me out and one I know I will struggle to write about. However, I have decided to go ahead with it for 2 reasons:

1 – Selfishly if anyone else has experienced this then I would really appreciate you telling me (either post a comment and ask for it not to be published if you don’t want it to or email me through the contact form).

2 – If anyone else has been through this and it has freaked them out like me, then know you are not alone in it

Ok, so here goes. A few times over the past couple of weeks I’ve experienced what I can only describe as being in a different time. I go back to before I was assaulted and stay in that period for quite a while (was nearly 2 days last time). The thing is, now I am in the correct year, I know that it wasn’t real but in that period I knew it was 2009. I had absolutely no recollection of any assault and I actually had a debate with my cc and therapist in that time that I was right and got angry that they were trying to say otherwise. They pointed out that all diaries, newspapers and internet said 2011 so why was I so resolute that it was 2009. I couldn’t answer them but just knew I was right. I don’t remember going ‘into’ or ‘out’ of this year except flashbacks started again when I am in the real now.

The only thing I can try to explain this is it is the anniversary coming up and I know I am becoming extremely anxious about it. I just don’t know if this is ‘normal’ and is kind of scaring me. Everytime I ‘remember’ again, it is like going through it all again. If anyone can shed any light on this I would be extremely grateful!!! Also a quick mention to @aclolitac on twitter for listening to this when I first realised and was freaking out!!


A Few Explanations

03 Dec

On my last post, it was brought to my attention (thanks Mike) that some things I mention, I assume everyone knows what they are and also that I have referred to something a few times but never actual explained. So this post is just a brief explanation of some things:

I use cc a lot – for those that don’t know (and I never did), this is my care co-ordinator. She works for the community mental health team and is a social worker. She is like my point of contact for any issues and is the one who referred me to psychotherapy (CBT and EMDR) and has access to a number of other services that my GP doesn’t. I see her once a week and has been amazing.

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – a type of therapy that I have discussed on here in the past

EMDR – Eye Movement De-Realisation – all I really know about this is that it is based on how the brain processes memories. Apparently, in the rem stage of sleep, normal memories are dealt with but with a traumatic event, the memory never truly gets processed and so flashbacks etc happen. EMDR is supposed to mimic the eye movement of rem and therefore process the memory properly. I’ve probably got that completely wrong, but that’s what I believe it is!

NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – this is using language to understand how we work. It is hard to explain what it is and I’m actually very dubious about the true NLP. I generally take from it what I like and leave the rest behind. It is also about using modalities (eg visual, audio, kinesthetic) to change memories. It plays on the fact that you are the director of your own movies and so if for example you are thinking of a happy time – you are supposed to think how it looks, feels (eg, is the image in 3rd or first person, is there sound, is it black and white or colour etc). These are called sub-modalities and you use these to transfer to a bad memory and you can’t attach the same emotion to it. I know I’ve not done a very good job at explaining it but it is difficult without waffling on for a long time!!


Self Destruct

03 Dec

When I write this blog, I literally type my thoughts out and click publish. I don’t check through for spelling or grammar mistakes (you can probably tell by some of my mistakes) and I never go back to re-read what I have put. I am sure I will one day, but for now it is purely a place for me to let my feelings out and not feel like I am going round and round in circles in my own head!

What I do know though, is that recently my posts have been very doom and gloom – I have noticed I have gone downhill to a place that I didn’t know existed to the extent I have recently felt. Part of me feels guilty for writing in this way – I feel like I should be witty and put a front on this blog like I do in other areas of my life. But that is not the point, I have to do this for me and so I make no apologies for the content being pretty dreary and samey.

I had another CBT session last Tuesday and spoke honestly about how I felt I didn’t like it – I didn’t like the process driven nature of it and wasn’t doing the ‘homework’ set because I didn’t want to. My other concern  was with the actual therapist herself. The 3 people I have let in to help me are my gp, psychiatrist and cc. All 3 have the same no-nonsense approach. Don’t get me wrong, they are all very caring but there is no bullshit with them – they say it as it is and that’s what I like. That’s my nature too, I generally say things as they are and if anyone asks an opinion will always be honest. The therapist on the other hand is what I think of a stereotypical counsellor – very softly spoken and talks around something, doesn’t just say it as it is. She is a really nice woman, but I just struggle to be myself with her.

Anyway, I decided to be honest and tell her this (in a nice way) about CBT and my worry of not being able to open up fully. We decided that we were going to move straight on to EMDR in the next session and in terms of opening up to her, that as long as I could discuss how the memory made me feel, then that would be enough.

I should have felt happy about all this, but I came home and felt low. I am not sure if it was because I expected CBT to ‘cure’ me or at least have some impact on me but apparently because I have done NLP in the past and a lot of reading around it, I understand the thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours thing and that’s all I would have done in the short space of time she had alloted.

Normally, I look into topics, research and try to understand before I embark on any new thing. I decided against this for EMDR. I didn’t want my view to be tainted in either way and wanted to give it the best go possible.

In the meantime, my mood got progressively worse and I took to my bed continuously and I started with suicidal thoughts again. Wednesday night was horrible. I seemed to be having flashback after flashback and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about things that had happened. I promised myself I wouldn’t have another night like that and as soon as the office opened I called my cc. I told her that I was scared I couldn’t keep myself safe and she asked if I wanted to be referred to the crisis team – I said no. I hated them when I had them involved at the beginning of the year and they aren’t for me. I did however, agree to go to the crisis accommodation run by the charity Mind. As the first availability was 5th december, we worked on how to keep me safe until then.

The plan was to see her the next day (friday) and monday. Then EMDR on Tuesday, my GP on Weds and her again on Thurs. And then Sunday happened, and all over the media was about suicide and the tragic death of Gary Speed. This had a much greater impact on me than I thought it would and if I am honest, part of me thought, if he can do it then why can’t I.

When I saw my cc on Monday, we spoke about this and also how my thoughts were and that I was finding things so difficult. I also said because I feel on such a knife edge, is now the best time for me to be doing EMDR? I had been told, by both her and my therapist, that I would likely feel worse before better. I explained I was worried if I felt any worse I would definitely kill myself. She agreed that now might not be the best time and she is happy to work with me for another couple of months preparing for it and stabilising my mood. Ultimately though, she said it was something I needed to speak to the therapist about and come to a decision with her.

To cut a long story short, the therapist understood but decided to go ahead and just go at a pace I felt was ok. In the session I was feeling extremely detached (and told her this) and I had no emotion whatsoever. Things that should have had me angry, sad, tearful or whatever was instead just a blank space. We spoke about a safe place that I could go to in my mind (which I had used in NLP so already had one) and she used the moving finger thing that I had to follow.

I have no idea why or how but it made me really upset. It turned out because I’d used it as a safe place for dealing with childhood issues, by using it again here – it had triggered those memories. She apologised and said she should have asked in what circumstances I had used that before. The whole thing left me feeling horrible and dredged up things that I thought I had completely dealt with.

I saw my GP as planned on the Weds and told her I felt at the end of my tether and she suggested that I get daily medication so as to not have any at home – this made me feel a complete failure – not even trusted to hold a weeks supply of tablets!! And so since weds night I have shut myself away and locked the world out. Apart from twitter (and thank you so much to those who have helped me through things on there!) I have spoken to no-one and not left my bed. I know my cc tried calling on Thurs as she left a message and then on Fri, I had 4 voicemails from who I assume is the duty worker – but I just don’t want to speak to anyone.

And that brings me to today. I don’t know how I am going to get out of this place I am in. I know it will take effort on my part, but I have nothing to give at the moment to make that effort. I know I have totally isolated myself, but in the past that’s how I have dealt with things, knowing that I will be ok. This time I just don’t know – I’ve not been like this for the amount of time – it’s usually a couple of days and then the mood lifts ever so slightly, but this has now been over a week.

I suppose the only thing I can do is wait it out but it is so damn difficult especially when I feel I have pressed my own self destruct button!!