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Archive for August, 2013

Sleep

30 Aug

This is a conversation between me and duty worker whilst my care coordinator is off:

Duty: are you not eating as a form of self harm?
Me: no, I haven’t slept and so feel that sickly feeling you get and no appetite
Duty: are you not taking your meds as a form of self harm?
Me: no, I’m so exhausted, getting out of bed and going to the chemist feels a million miles away
Duty: you don’t sound very motivated in your intonation today
Me: no, I haven’t slept, I’m exhausted

I won’t bore you but this went on for quite a few questions – which bit of this is so hard to understand; I haven’t slept!!!

We are continually told how sleep is so integral to mental health, for anyone! When you are used to a certain number of hours sleep and then don’t get them, everything suffers the next day and that’s just after one night! I am hitting the week mark now where I have slept no more than 6 hours in total.

I gave in to my stubborn nature and finally asked for help with it by asking duty to speak to my psychiatrist about prescribing two nights sleeping meds. It took overnight to hear back, but it was a no. When I asked why, I was told because we are worried about you; you seem to be going through a bad patch and so we will come out and see you next week and devise a plan then. (Oh yeah, stupid me, I forgot I’m only allowed to have an issue 9-5 Monday to Friday!!)

I have racked my brains and I can not come up with one good reason why they said no, I even said I’d have just one nights if it was because there were concerns over taking more than I should – still a no. Can anyone provide me with a legitimate reason why I’m being declined this help?

So now, with no other choice, I’m left to try my own methods and just going to get completely drunk and hope I pass out – what else am I meant to do (and yes, I’ve tried all the sleep hygiene stuff, all the teas and even over the counter sleeping meds I had)!!

 
 

Tough Week in PTSD Land

29 Aug

Since my last post, I have been in a pretty bad state. I’ll be honest and am still struggling to see things any differently to how I did in my previous post, but this is a quick update on what’s happened since.

In terms of services, I had been avoiding my care co-ordinator in the run up to my attempt. This was for two reasons; firstly I am very honest with her and I knew that if she asked me anything about suicidal thoughts etc, then I would have been honest and told her, thus defeating the point of my plans. Secondly, I was still so in the air after the therapy decision that I truly didn’t know what she could do for me anymore.

So whilst I had been avoiding her, my cc had tried to get in touch via mail and on my bday she was on weekend duty and left me a voicemail wishing me a happy birthday. And then when I checked my mail on the day after I got out of hospital, she had also sent me a birthday card (yes I know how lucky I am to have the cc I do!). However, all in all, I had avoided her for about two weeks and so when I called last Tuesday to speak to her and she wasn’t in, I asked duty to leave her a message to call me as soon as she could. Just so you know, I never say as soon as possible – I figure that she knows I need calling back and has her own triage system so by me saying that, it was showing the urgency.

Luckily, she phoned first thing weds morning and arranged to come straight out. It went as well as it could have done. We spoke about me feeling I had no support in the two weeks that they knew were my worse and she explained her point of view. That in the past, I have taken to bed, hidden under the covers and when things have passed, I’ve got back in touch. She explained that she was trying to respect that and not hound me, but yet know she was there by sending letters etc. I understood her point and realised that plus avoiding her for the above reasons, I had to take a huge part of the responsibility of why I had no support.

I told her how I was currently feeling, and she said she couldn’t leave me knowing I was still suicidal but I explained that I didn’t have any means and I was in such a mess that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. That I trusted myself. We put a huge emphasis on my word as I always keep it and she knows that. And so she left but arranged to come back on Friday.

To be honest, nothing had really changed in those two days. I’d managed a shower, which was huge, but I was still very reflective and still physically not feeling great. We discussed my options as she was due annual leave for two weeks. She explained that if I had spoken to her earlier than Wednesday I’d be in hospital now but she’s hoping we just need to ride the wave, in the community, and then try and move forward. I told her I was never going back to hospital and if she says that then it just pushes me to put my wall up if feeling that way. She said that on that statement alone, she didn’t feel she could just leave me to stay under my duvet in the future and if I didn’t answer her calls, she’d be knocking on the door with a warrant. I explained I didn’t mean it that way and she knew that I didn’t, that honesty is important to me and will continue to have my word.

Anyway, after going back and forth with the options available (home treatment team, duty etc), we decided on a colleague of hers stepping in to her shoes for the two weeks and doing visits etc and also being a point of call if I needed it.

And that brings me pretty much to this week. Since seeing her on Friday, I haven’t been out of bed except for a quick 4am visit to the supermarket and a few 5 or 10 min episodes on the sofa. I haven’t showered and not eaten much or drank much. Stupidly, I think if I don’t drink then that means I don’t need to get up for the toilet. I’ve not slept for longer than 25 mins a handful of times since last Tuesday. My mum has been back from holiday since Friday and I haven’t seen her since then and I cancelled the appointment with my cc’s colleague. I know I’m isolating myself, but right now I just can’t be bothered. Whilst some see it as negative, it also means that whilst I can’t be bothered to get up, I also can’t be bothered to do anything about my suicidal thoughts!

 
 

TW: Suicide Attempt

19 Aug

** TRIGGER WARNING, SUICIDE**

My head hurts from crying so much. I don’t know what else to do; I’m not supposed to be here!!

I have been planning this for two weeks, checking out the area, making sure I had everything and yet, here I am, still alive the day after I was supposed to die.

It was an important date, it was my birthday. But as I had expected, with my family deciding it’d be ok to be away for it, I was all alone and by 10.30pm when I left the house I hadn’t seen another person.

Birthdays are tough for me, they are childhood anniversary dates as well as something bad happening with the gang on one of them. I struggle, I’ve been telling my care co-ordinator that this is a tough time for me and yet I had no contact for the 10 days leading up to it. I missed an appointment two weeks ago and she took that as a sign that I needed a break from them (added to the fact I was so angry over the therapy decision) and so left me a message to call to make an appointment, I never did, I was too busy planning my suicide.

Unfortunately, the one thing I didn’t plan was a good samaritan being around and calling the police and ambulance (I’m not going to go in to detail as I don’t want anyone to pick up any method ideas), but the tablets I took were merely taken so that I couldn’t back out.

I was taken to hospital, the police sorted my car out and parked it at the hospital for me and made sure I was ok. The ambulance staff sat and spoke to me, treated me like a human being, even though I couldn’t stop sobbing.

I was taken straight to a bay and then from this point is I don’t remember much, the tablets were kicking in and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I do remember someone, I think it was a doctor asking me why and giving me the name of a woman whose book I should read. That she had been through similar and I might find it helpful. I asked her to write it down as I wouldn’t remember but she obviously got side tracked. I thought that was lovely though!

Before I knew it, 6 hours had passed and I vaguely remember telling a psych liaison officer that I just wanted to die. He knew who my cc and psychiatrist was and said they were sending me home in a taxi and I needed to sleep it all off but someone would call me later.

I did get a call about 5 hours later from duty as my cc isn’t in until Wednesday. I don’t remember much of the call as I was still so docile but she said she’d let me sleep and if I needed anyone then to call back and they would call again tomorrow.

It is now close enough to 24 hours since I first started the attempt and I’m only just starting to keep my eyes open for longer than 5 minutes. I feel devastated and gutted. I don’t feel happy, I don’t feel like ‘but it must have happened for a reason that you’re still here’. I feel pathetic, shameful, weak, that I can’t even do this right. I wanted to die, it was the answer to everything. Today, I don’t have it in me to make any other attempt, and so instead I sit here in the pain I was trying to escape and just cry.

 
 

Reaction to my Last Post

11 Aug

It surprised me how much debate and comment my last post on whether people see PTSD as a mental illness got. I like debate and having my own personal opinions questioned and either changed or cemented in their originality.

What I didn’t expect however, was people who I thought knew me as much as possible on an anonymous twitter account, becoming what I can only describe as ‘elitist’ in their comments. And by that I mean, they believe because they have a diagnosis that is a mental illness and never questioned in that respect (eg schizophrenia, bipolar etc), they thought they had the right to belittle and make others feel bad. That because they don’t see other conditions as ‘life-long’, they therefore don’t have it as ‘bad’ as them.

The fact is, regardless of diagnosis or longevity of illness, if you are in the grasp of your set of symptoms then you feel the way you do – end of! It really shocked me to see that there was this obvious hierarchy of perceived mental illness (within people with mental health issues) that to be honest I haven’t come across before. For that reason I have created the poll below. It is completely anonymous and neither I or anyone else will know who has voted so please be as honest as possible.

 
 

Is PTSD a mental illness?

02 Aug

The subject of this blog says it all really; is PTSD a mental illness? I’ll set out by saying I’m not too sure of the answer. This morning I was adamant that my problems aren’t a mental illness (and I can only speak of my PTSD, so please don’t take offence at anything I write). However after being called obstinant and always think I’m right by my psychiatrist, I’m opening my mind to other answers.

This is my original stance. Before the 2 years of pretty much continual trauma, I was ok. I was living quite a decent life and moving in the direction I wanted to be going and then I got in with a bad bunch for people and, well, you know the rest! And then we have the after effects, the fact that I’m openly not coping very well with what happened to me and I struggle on a daily basis to even function at a low level (in terms of not going out, not seeing people, not eating properly etc). To me though, this is because of what happened and therefore is me struggling with life events, not suffering from a mental illness.

And then we have the other side of the argument. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, it’s an illness in the ICD 10 (the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organisation). As a side note, some countries use the DSM IV (or V). There is a overwhelming amount of evidence that says when you suffer from PTSD, the areas of your brain actually become more/less active than before – just like with depression. So surely with this amount of evidence, it should be easy to answer my original question and say of course it is; it’s an illness and also to do with the brain and so therefore classed as a mental illness.

The problem I have here, is one of those arguments is based in science and other in life – if I hadn’t have had my trauma, I wouldn’t be asking this question. But it’s the same with the depression element of my diagnosis. It isn’t an organic depression (ie, it’s not come about on its own), it is based on social circumstances and if I didn’t have PTSD, I wouldn’t have depression either and so it’s the same question – is that depression mental illness or just not reacting well with the way my life has gone?

I had this conversation with my care co-ordinator as she said I am poorly and if I asked 20 lay people if I had a mental illness they would say yes. And so I took to twitter and actually, some people said no, I didn’t. Which begs the next question. If PTSD is a mental illness, why don’t people recognise it as such? And these were people who have either an interest in or illnesses themselves by the way!

So is PTSD a highly stigmatised diagnosis in the mental health field? I’ve got a feeling that I’m not helping my cause by saying I’m just reacting badly to a situation and not giving my diagnosis the respect I should. But by doing that and accepting something is actually mentally wrong with me, I think I’m giving up control of something I’m not quite ready to do yet. Is this having a detrimental effect on my treatment and life? I’m really not sure!

Sorry if I’ve not expressed myself very well, as always I write as I think and don’t edit to make sure I don’t lose the point I’m trying to make.

I’d be interested to hear other viewpoints on this.