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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. 

 
 

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  1. Izzie

    November 13, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Sounds really tough, glad you survived, and that the police got you to safety. Sorry they were so heavy handed.
    Just a thought – could it be premenstrual psychosis? Your delusions don’t particularly sound like dissociation, though you may be dissociating to begin with, before going off into the wonky thought patterns. Guess you will know whether there is a certain timing to when it happens.
    Could also be if you are stopping / starting meds frequently and / or drinking alcohol whilst on psych meds.

     
    • Female PTSD

      November 13, 2016 at 12:17 am

      Thanks for the comment. That’s what people on dissociation forums say, so I think I’m going to ask my cpn to ask my psychiatrist (I don’t see her as an out patient) what they think is going on. I know it isn’t psychosis but not sure what else it is. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit the pattern of premenstrual, but thanks for mentioning it, it made me go and check. I had stopped my meds for about a week this time but not the other times it’s happened so I think I can rule that out and I don’t drink very often either. I’m genuinely stumped by it and feel the need to know what it actually is that’s happening.

       
  2. Audrey (DID SYSTEM)

    November 13, 2016 at 2:56 am

    My dear, I have had several experiences similar to this. The most recent one where I was man handled so badly by staff at the hospital that it left bruises on both wrists and ankles, and they overdosed me to the point that it took me 5 days to sober up.
    I have dissociative identity disorder, over 30 altars that we know of so far and I dissociate a LOT! IT IS HOW WE SURVIVED OUR TRAUMA! has anyone ever explained that to you? Because the trauma was so bad, that many would have been unable to survive. But our way of surviving was to split and go somewhere else in our head so we didn’t have to experience it fully. This is my understanding
    But dissociation worked during the trauma, and now that the danger is gone….we get stuck like a skipping record and we don’t know how to stop.
    I agree with you so much about the police being the first line…and it not being nearly good enough. Mental health care in general and trauma awareness is lacking in a major way. I have a feeling that it will be up to a portion of those of us who can recover to advocate for the rest….and get some things changed. I’m working on it sweetie…hang in there. I’m a fighter…and I’m not giving up for what it’s worth.