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Update on PTSD App

20 May

I wanted to write this post to update people about the ptsd app that I have been developing. 

It has been such a stressful ride getting to this point, I have had to change to 3 different developers for multiple reasons and each time I have been promised the world and unfortunately they have not delivered. 

The last developer got both the android and iOS versions of the app to quite an advanced point. There was literally 2 issues that needed to be resolved and then it was good to go. However, he has completely disappeared and I have had no contact from him for weeks now. I have tried every single thing I can but then had to take the decision to end the project. 

It makes sense that all I’d need to do is find a developer to fix these two issues and then be ready to launch. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Without getting techy, I don’t have access to the source code and without this, it is extremely difficult to do anything. Therefore I’ve been left with a difficult decision to make. 

Do I a) try and find someone who can do this. It isn’t guaranteed and I could be throwing more money away to be left in the same situation I am in now. Or b) start the whole process from scratch? 

I must admit, this whole thing has left me thinking about my own abilities. It’s left me questioning whether anyone would even want to see the app, whether it’s going to be any use to anyone. Why would anything I do, be helpful to others? It’s really stressed me out and without a few really close people to me, it would have sent me downwards. 

However, I’ve always wanted to help other people with ptsd and I believe this will do that. I have to keep this belief or I wouldn’t be able to continue, financially or emotionally with pushing it forward. 

I just wanted to put this update out there to show those who have supported this project that it is still ongoing and I haven’t given up. 

If anyone has any advice or knowledge of app development, please feel free to get in touch. 

Obviously with all the different developers etc, this has cost me money that in the main has come from my own personal pocket. If anyone can help in that aspect of things, again I’d be eternally grateful. You can see the gofundme page here http://www.gofundme.com/ptsdapp

Thanks to everyone’s support along his journey, I appreciate it so much! 

 
 

Personal Health Budgets for Mental Health – Part 3

24 Mar

It has been a while since I last posted about the Personal Health Budget (PHB) that I was applying for. To recap, there was a new mental health scheme in my area that was looking to give individualised budgets to help reduce a patients overall cost to the NHS (including things such as a&e visits and inpatient stays). After lots of different consultations with different professionals (my care coordinator, therapist, a person from the local commissioning group and a budget broker), a support plan was put together. This included having extra support around my therapy sessions so that I could go ahead with trauma work and also having a personal trainer so that I could restart my healthy ways in a safe environment (he works out of his own private studio so I wouldn’t have to go to a gym which is an issue).

In my original assessment, it was worked out that I had cost the NHS around £17,000 in the last financial year and so the budget set was 15% of this (£2,550 for a year). The aim of spending this money was to reduce the £17k cost and the plan we put together was an excellent one to reduce this. The problem was, it was going to cost around £8,000.

The application is taken to the local CCG funding panel (they agree local spending within the health budget) and the actual plan we had put together was agreed. The problem was the shortfall between the £2,550 and the £8k that was needed. Because of this, it was taken to a second panel and today I found out the results. They have rejected the difference and just given the £2,550.

I am extremely disappointed for a number of reasons. Firstly, this whole process has been going on since August. My therapy has been put on hold until this support had been put in place and so now I am 7 months behind. I don’t know what my therapist is going to say as she wanted the plan in place before she began the work. With £2,550, we can’t even put that support bit in place – they might as well have given a zero budget for the use it can be. And so I am left with the question, will my therapy be cancelled?

Secondly, I feel that the CCG have no real concept of the problems that people with mental health issues have and therefore are not willing to spend the money on us to give us a brighter future. I understand there are cuts everywhere right now, but by spending £8k, they would essentially be saving £9,000 in the year.

The measurable outcomes set against the budget were given as follows:

  • reduction in care co-ordinator contacts
  • reduction in home treatment team contacts
  • reduction in incidents of self harm
  • reduction in a&e attendances
  • reduction in acute in-patient bed days
  • positive changes in body mass index (BMI)
  • improvement in ability to carry out everyday activities and to go outside more
  • time spent per week doing changes in physical activity

Are they really serious? They expect all this on the measly sum of £2550? Do they truly understand the issues here, I don’t think so!

I don’t actually know what is next on my journey, I am having to sit with this for a while to digest it. We have spent 7 months saying this is the answer and it being a light at the end of the tunnel. It now feels like the light has gone out.

 
 

PTSD, Police and Dissociation

12 Nov

**TW – TALK OF SUICIDE METHOD**

And so it happened again. On Tuesday I started to believe that I had to go to a parallel universe, one where my trauma didn’t happen. I cancelled my therapy appointment for the next day and also my prescriptions, as in my head, I didn’t need these things where I was going. It was a call to my doctors that sparked off the concern though and a GP from the surgery called me to ask why I’d cancelled the prescriptions. When I believe that I have to go to another universe, I can’t understand why others don’t see it and am very open about my thoughts. I told the GP about them and she rang the community mental health team (cmht). My care coordinator was off on holiday so it went to a duty worker who then called me. The same conversation ensued that I’d had with the GP and when I put the phone down, I thought that was it. 

It wasn’t. My mum called me a few minutes later, the duty worker at cmht had breached confidentiality (even though I’ve specifically said in the past never to contact my mum), and called her and told her about my parallel universe thoughts and what that meant. I was so angry! I felt betrayed and hurt by everyone, my mum included, and told her I didn’t want to speak to her and to leave me alone. This pushed me even further in to knowing I had to leave this universe to get away from all the crap that was going on. 

I waited until about 10.30pm as I wanted the roads to be quiet and I planned to jump from a motorway bridge. When I got there, I just stood watching, mesmerised by the headlights going by, but by actually not being able to do anything other than that. It was raining and I was getting cold and wet and so I decided to get back in my car and call a crisis line. I still don’t know why I did this. In my mind I was adamant all I had to do was die and I’d be in the parallel universe. So why would I want help to stay alive at this point? I have since been told it was my subconscious mechanism kicking in and I was looking for help. Anyway, over a period of about 90 mins I kept trying this number but there was no one free, I tried 14 times in all. To me, that was just an extra sign then to go ahead with what I needed to do and so I went back on to the bridge (I’d been in my car calling the crisis line). 

The next thing I knew (I’m not sure how long I’d been there for), two policemen were running towards me and grabbed an arm each and twisted them. I was on the correct side of the bridge still with a railing in between me and the ledge. I asked them to let me go as they were hurting me and one said no, not until you’re in the van and proceeded to frogmarch me to the back of a police van and put me in there (in the cage bit). They shut the door on me and locked me in. The next thing I knew they’d started the engine and began to move off. I shouted through asking where we were going and he said the hospital. I said I didn’t want to go there and this was against my will. He said “I’m not standing around in the pissing rain talking about it. If you don’t want to go I’ll section you and make you go”. I felt so helpless and all of this triggered offa flashback  whilst I was in the back and the next thing I knew, the door was being opened again at hospital. 

We were met by a further two police officers, one female, and once they booked me in to a&e, took me to a room to search me. I was totally overwhelmed by everything that had happened and then the female officer started to search me with the other 3 male officers stood watching. I felt so violated and uneasy I couldn’t stop shaking. This was all too close to my original trauma. I was in a total mess. They obviously found nothing and the two that had met us there left. 

Next I was called in to triage and I felt like a criminal being escorted everywhere by two police officers. I could see the looks from other patients, I was so embarrassed. I still didn’t understand why I was at a&e, to me the logic was there and why was no one else seeing it? The triage nurse said if I tried to leave she would be calling the police again, but the original two officers weren’t going anywhere. 

I was moved to the mental health room (soft chairs and a panic button), and sat with the officers for a while whilst waiting to be seen by the psychiatric liaison nurse. I took the opportunity to explain my situation to the police and to tell them how their handling of the situation had provoked a flashback for me and how I felt it had all been dealt with really badly. They seemed to understand and apologised. It just showed me though how far there is to go so that public services understand more about mental health. I know the police shouldn’t be the front line of mental health services but whilst they are, more awareness needs to exist. 

When I was seen by the psychiatric nurse, he was extremely concerned and said I had ticked a lot of tick boxes that made someone high risk. He said he’d put the facts to the on call consultant psychiatrist and see what they said. It came back that he wanted me in hospital, either informally or he’d instigate a mental health act assessment and have me sectioned. The nurse said he recommended just going informal as then I had the upper hand – they had to prove I was a risk to keep me as opposed to having sectioned me and able to keep me for 28 days and everything moving a lot slower. I know this particular nurse and had some trust with him and so agreed to go in as long as I was reviewed later that day. 

The next problem was of course the fact there was no beds. I ended up in the female lounge on two chairs pushed together. Needless to say, zero sleep was had that night. I was also still soaking wet and was extremely uncomfortable in wet jeans but no one was bothered about this. 

My experience on the ward is another post in itself but I needed to write down what had happened as ever since I’ve been unable to stop thinking about it. The way the police handled me has been whirring around my brain and so it’s obvious to me I’ve not processed it properly. I’m hoping by writing this out, it might help me do exactly that. 

I also don’t know the answer to what happens when I dissociate like this. It’s actually scaring me quite a lot right now. 

 
 

Memories

11 Oct

Ok, this is a bit of a weird post to write and so I’ve no idea how it’ll come out in words, but let me try!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood recently for some reason and with this, the concept of memories. I guess what I want to know is how does a memory happen for you? 

For example, I can be reminded of something that happened when I was younger and it’s like looking at a picture of it. It happened, I know it did but I have no emotion attached to it at all – is this how others recall memories? 

Some timeframes are completely forgotten about, like I don’t remember birthdays but I know after a certain age that they were ok so it’s not just about hiding bad emotions. I don’t connect with good emotions either. I’m not sure I’m explaining this very well. 

Some memories I know happened as I can recall them (and no one else had told me them), but I don’t actually have the full recollection, as in I can’t fill in any surrounding details, I just know it happened (this is usually around bad memories). 

I just assumed that this is how everyone remembers things but is it?

 
 

Dissociation and PTSD 

02 Sep

The past few days have been very strange and I’m not too sure what to make of them yet and to be honest, they have been extremely worrying. 
It started with a call from duty at my community mental health team (cmht). My therapist had been in touch and had been worried about me in the session. That would be fine but I have no recollection of being at therapy, getting there or coming home. 

Then things become a bit more blurred. Somewhere over the next day, I’d decided that 2 universes existed, the one we are in and another one that for me would be a better place where no trauma had occurred. Cmht called me again yesterday to follow up after the therapy incident and the two universes was brought up in conversation as I felt I’d had an epiphany of sorts. 

In my head, I had to get over to this other universe and then everything would be ok. But that could only happen if I was unconscious in this world. Duty asked me to let them know when I would try to do this crossover and when I asked why, was told so they could make it safer. This all made sense in my head, that I would call and tell someone, I’d make myself unconscious and then be in the other universe – straight forward right??

Well, I’d been thinking it was very simple and had such clarity about what had to happen. What I didn’t envision was 4 policemen and 2 paramedics arriving at my door and looking at me very strangely when I tried to tell them this. I explained I was ok and there was nothing for them to be concerned about but they called the psychiatric liaison team at my local hospital who wanted me to come in and be seen by them. 

After talking to the team at the hospital for well over an hour, they both agreed that I wasn’t safe to go home but if I’d agree to go in to hospital until later that day (it was now 3am), then I could see my psychiatrist and sort it from there. I declined and they said there would have to be a mental health act assessment done then as they didn’t think I was ok. I was adamant that everything was fine and they actually said my matter of factness is what was one of the most worrying signs. I then agreed as I didn’t want an assessment and if I went in on my own, it was literally for a few hours. I got to the ward, took some chlorpromazine and got my head down. 

When I woke up a few hours later, I felt like everything had been a dream and if it wasn’t for the fact I wasn’t in my own bed, I would have assumed it had been. I started to think that maybe I couldn’t cross over to the other universe as I initially thought I could and that maybe there was something not quite right with my thinking. I saw my psychiatrist who said she believes I was in a dissociative state and that something must have triggered it off earlier in the week, but I have no recollection of that period of time so I’ve no idea. She said that my thinking had become a bit ‘off’ but part of me must have known that as I told people about it. 

I’ll be honest, it’s really scared me. I was willing to stop living in this world, thinking there was another one to go to. What if I hadn’t told anyone? What if it happens again and I actually do something to myself believing it to be the answer? I’m having trouble digesting this latest thing, was it really a dissociative state? Will I be ok? 

 
 

SUICIDE 

02 Jul

** TRIGGER WARNING – A LOT OF TALK ABOUT SUICIDE**

I’ve thought long and hard about posting this today. As always, when I’m in turmoil about whether to post something, I often think that it’s exactly these topics that people don’t talk about. And so, here I am – putting my heart out there again in the hope that others don’t feel they are on their own. 

This post is about the grisly topic of suicide. I’ll admit to it now, I’ve told my care coordinator that I have a set date and a plan. She knows roughly the timescale but no one knows the actual date except me (and won’t do either). This then brings about the response from her that she can’t support a plan of suicide and so I’ve said that’s fine, I’ll go alone now. 

I totally understand that her duty of care means she can’t go down that route with me but if I’m honest, I did expect some kind of trying to talk me out of it or similar. Not just the dismissive “it’s your choice”. On the other hand though, what exactly can she do! I guess I’ve caught her between a rock and a hard place and apart from telling me she is there if I want to get back in touch, there is nothing else left in her role. 

So here I find myself, alone with my thoughts (she also withdrew the home treatment team that I’d been seeing for the past ten days or so) and thinking no one is willing to fight for me – even when they are paid to do that. 

I don’t need the ‘think about your friends and family’ talk. I think about them all the time and truly believe that without me, their lives would be better off. As one psychiatrist asked me to do, I asked my family what it would mean if I wasn’t around – only 1 person replied – says it all really doesn’t it? 

Anyway, I don’t know the actual point of this post now I’m writing it, but than I guess to say I’m ok with my decision and that in itself is ok. 

If by some miracle between now and my date, I change my mind, that too is ok. I need to remind myself I won’t be a failure by turning for help if it doesn’t feel right. I’m usually of the mindset that the gauntlet has been set, I’ve tried to garner help from services and so now I HAVE to follow it through or it’d seem that a) I’m weak and b) like it was more attention seeking and trust me it definitely isn’t that. So to remind myself and others that to change your mind is equally as brave is something I definitely need to do!

 
 

New diagnosis

04 Mar

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here and that’s been mainly for two reasons: 

1) so much has been going on but with family that I can’t blog about and 

2) I kinda lost my writing mojo

But this week has been a tough one and I’ve thought long and hard about if I want to go in to why. But I started this blog to chart my journey and I believe this is part of it. 

As I think I’ve documented elsewhere, my pre-trauma life was one filled with a lot of activity and exercise and I considered myself to be pretty healthy. I needed to lose some weight but I was playing football every week and training the rest of the time so it gives you some insight in to what I was like. 

When I was diagnosed with PTSD, they put me on quetiapine which is quite notorious for putting weight on. For me, it was about 3 stone in as many months. That made me feel hideous and led to me not wanting to go out in case people I knew saw me. The spiral continued and I began using food as a crutch and binge eating as well. My weight just kept going up and up. Add that to the fact I wasn’t going out and took to my bed most days, you can see how my lifestyle had changed dramatically and how unhealthy I had become. 

This week I got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and to be honest, I was totally shocked by my reaction. I felt unclean, like I had something wrong inside me that I just want to get out. I felt angry, that a) I’d let myself reach this point and b) that I also blamed the gang for taking something else from me. I’m not sure I’m explaining it very well. I’m not shifting responsibility, it was me who ate unhealthily and put myself in this position – but would it have happened if I didn’t suffer the multiple traumas? I honestly don’t believe it would have done. 

I’m really struggling to come to terms with this new diagnosis but I’m hoping that I can reverse it and am starting myself on quite a severe plan in order to do this. I know I need to get over it and then get on with it, but it’s just been another reminder of how my life has drastically changed and something else to deal with. 

 
 

Hope

23 Oct

I’m currently two weeks into a six week therapy assessment to see which type of therapy is right for me. During this time my therapist asked me to think of something that signifies hope growing over the period. We talked about a plant but I knew I’d kill it (not exactly green fingered) and then maybe something like a circle that was added to to make a swirl by the end. Anyway it turned out my homework was for me to think of something. 

One night I was feeling pretty low and put my ‘dark’ music on that makes me feel anger and hatred and that’s when I decided to do a hope playlist. My therapist loved the idea and I’ve been thinking ever since. Here is my list so far, what would be on your list?

Pink – try

Rachel Platten – My fight song

Josh Groben – Raise me up

Il Divo – Mama

R Kelly – Worlds greatest

Bill Withers – Lean on me

Labi Siffre – Something inside so strong

S club 7 – bring it all back

S club 7 – reach for the stars

Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston – when you believe

The fray – how to save a life 

Pink – just give me a reason 

R kelly – I believe I can fly

Mariah Carey – hero

Bon jovi – living on a prayer

Toploader – just hold on 

Christina Aguilera – beautiful 

Bon jovi – living on a prayer

Simon & Garfunkel – bridge over troubled water

The Journey – Don’t stop believing

Eminen – lose yourself

Gerry and the Pacemakers – You’ll never walk alone

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

Everybody hurts – REM 

Eminem- not afraid

Ben e king – stand by me 

Michael Jackson – man in the mirror 

 
 

Going Away

25 Jun

**TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDAL THOUGHTS**

I’m sat here on a deck in gorgeous weather overlooking a lake surrounded by all my family and yet I’m feeling suicidal. Why does this happen? Surely I should be at my happiest right now?

  
I’ve already had thoughts of jumping out of a boat in the middle of the lake without a life jacket on and just drowning and even as far as jumping in to the fire we had one night – so much so that I had to come inside because the urges were so overwhelming. 

I’ve forgotten to bring my medications up to the house on the lake and so maybe that’s why I’ve gone downhill so quickly but I wouldn’t have thought being off them for 5 days would have such a dramatic effect. 

I leave on Tuesday to come home to having no family (except my grandma who I have to look after) so I should be making the most of this trip, right?

My sleep is so disturbed, I’m sleeping in the sunroom (living room without blinds) and everyone has to go through to get to the bathroom and as soon as the sun rises it shines right on to my bed so I’m awake. I know how petty and whiny this sounds but I’m just trying to understand why I’m so suicidal when I should be happy 🙁

 
 

Update

15 Jun

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last blogged. So much has happened since and yet nothing much at all. 

I’ve finished dbt and 2 months later have just received a copy of the one page post therapy report. It basically says I need to consolidate my skills from dbt and I’m not stable enough for any trauma work yet. If not now, then when? I feel this past year in dbt has been a waste of time as I was supposed to be doing trauma work alongside the group skills sessions. 

In terms of where I’m at right now, I’ve very dissociative and my cc believes this is due to my impending trip to America, which I am going alone and isn’t sure it’s the best idea. But as the stubborn person I am, I’m going to prove people wrong and do what I need to – it’s for my mum after all. 

I know this is a short update but hopefully I’ll blog when I’m back from America with more about how I am and fingers crossed more about therapy.