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Posts Tagged ‘A&E’

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. 

 
 

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? 

 
 

It’s Been a While

17 Nov

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last blogged. So much has happened but I don’t want to bore anyone so I’ll just give a brief overview:

– I finally started grieving for my granddad (a very important man in my life) and am currently going through that process

– In terms of therapy, I have managed to work it that if I go to 1 in 3 group sessions, I can carry on my 1-1 and as long as self harm free for 8 weeks, begin working on my ptsd traumas.

– I finally allowed my care coordinator to meet with my parents. It’s something she’s been wanting to do for a while. Not to discuss what’s happened as they don’t (and won’t) know the full story, but to work out a way they can support me more. I’ll be honest, it felt like 3 against one. My coping strategy is take to bed until it passes and then come out the other side. They want me to go to my parents house and be around people. I said I’d think about it but I can’t see me doing that – just because my way currently works.

– One of the biggest things is my care coordinator has left 🙁 She has been promoted which means I’ve been handed over to a new one. I’ll be honest, I’m absolutely devastated. She always fought my corner and everyone I came across said how good she was and I was lucky to have her. I’m trying to keep an open mind for my new one and I’m having my first one to one with her on Thursday (I met her in the handover session but it was still more me and my old cc talking).

– It’s not important how but I’ve managed to get myself addicted to diazepam. Luckily it’s only been a short time but I’ve been told mentally and physically not to stop them cold turkey because of the effects. So yeah, you’ve guessed it, I’ve stopped them completely. Their plan was going to take me 5 months to get off and I’m too impatient to do that so I’m doing it my way. It’s not been the easiest so far but think it’s more psychological as I don’t expect that many physical symptoms for a few days yet (although headaches and fluey symptoms are starting). It’s going to be hard, knowing that one little pill will make me feel better but I can’t have them in my life, they aren’t good for me.

– A couple of weeks ago, I ended up taking myself to a&e after taking an overdose. That was only part of my plan but my sister in law sent me a pic of my two nieces sleeping and I just couldn’t do it. I was kept in overnight and most of the next day being observed but then saw psych, knew what to say to get home and left. Looking back, I think I should have been honest about how I was really feeling because the other night I called out of hours social worker (just to talk to someone) and had plans to take another overdose. She called an ambulance (wouldn’t let me drive or get a taxi even though I hadn’t taken anything). Anyway, it took over 4 1/2 hours to arrive (she called at 10pm and it arrived at 2.40am) and after getting to the hospital all that happened was I was asked if I could keep myself safe and then left to make my own way home with no money or anything.

– I think that’s pretty much a catch up for now, it would have been my granddads birthday on Wednesday so that’s the next big hurdle to get over and then it’s the anniversary of the major trauma one day in December and burying my granddads ashes the day after so it’s going to be tough.

 
 

Trigger Warning: My Fault

14 Feb

**Content warning for suicide and rape**

On Wednesday night I found myself at a&e after taking an overdose. This has been coming on for weeks now, I’ve felt the build up, tried to ignore it and tried to talk about it but nothing seemed to help, I wanted to die, simple.

I went through the process of having my bloods taken, and essentially in a cubicle ignored in a&e (so sad that it’s how you’re still treated) until they decided to admit me for observation and I was taken on to a medical assessment unit.

In the morning a doctor came to see me and passed me medically fit and said I just had to wait for the psychiatry liaison team to pass me mentally fit before I could go – all standard up until now.

The woman arrived after about 30 mins (which is extremely quick for them) and we found a private room so we could chat. Unfortunately I’ve been through enough of these to know the process and I was ready with the answers before the questions even started. However, this was different, she didn’t stick to the usual format.

She asked me to explain why I was there (which is normal). I told her that I didn’t want to be alive, that the pain was too much for me the day before and I just wanted it to stop. She asked what pain and I told her the pain from the trauma, mentally, that I’m reliving it so many times, how am I supposed to live this way. At this point I assumed she knew what my trauma was, after all she had come from a department with access to my notes.

She kept pressing me, asking what specifically I was struggling with and I said I really didn’t want to talk about it. At which point she started on the, ‘we’ll if you don’t tell anyone how can you be helped’ lecture. I can’t remember how, but I said something about gang rape and she said oh so that’s what happened. Realising she had no clue, I said yes I thought you’d know that much – I was gang raped/raped multiple times over a 2 year period and everyday, in one way or another, I relive that as if it was happening all over again and I’m just tired of it.

And then she asked me a question that floored me, “there must have been some consent?” I asked why she’d say that and she said that I went there at times of my own free will and therefore must have consented. I told her there was never any consent. She asked if I was seeing one of them and I told her yes, kind of and she said well there was some consent then.

I’ve always blamed myself for exactly the reasons she was saying and to hear someone else put it out there hurt so much. Everyone else in my team has always said it’s not my fault and it’s something we need to work on to get me to see it. Now I’m thinking people really think like this woman but just too kind to say it!

She asked when I left hospital what I was going to do, I said sleep as I’d been awake all night and then I couldn’t promise what I’d do then. I’ve now slept, and my urges are just as high as Wednesday night and I’m not sure what to do, maybe try and sleep again and call my cc in the morning.

 
 

How Staff Can Make All the Difference

17 Dec

**Trigger warning, talk of suicide**

Yesterday saw my main trauma anniversary and for the last couple of months has been a date in my head that I was intending to end things. I am so tired of the battle, I’m not really in agreement with the therapy treatment options that have been made available to me and just generally have a very dim view of the future.

I have been speaking to a friend about the way I’ve been feeling and I promised them that before I did anything I would seek professional help. If that didn’t work, then I’d be free to do as I wanted. Which brings me to last night.

I’d struggled all day, knowing that my plan needed the darkness, I waited, fretting over the details but feeling that actually, this was the right thing for me to do.

It got to about 9pm and I felt the time had come, but true to my promise, I called the out of hours duty social worker first. He was nice enough but told me he wanted me to go straight to a&e, that he would call ahead and let the access and liaison team know I was coming. He gave me an hour and said if I hadn’t arrived by then, he would be calling the police. He also offered to come and get me but I didn’t feel comfortable in a strangers car and so I told him I’d get there myself.

When I arrived, there were 7 ambulances queuing up and the place was packed. Those that know me, know how I struggle to go out around people and I’ll be honest, I nearly turned back right then but a timely text from a great friend gave me the courage to walk in.

The reception was right next to the waiting area so everyone can hear what you say when booking in. I took my phone out and wrote a note and handed to the receptionist, she understood and was very nice about it. She checked me in and told me to take a seat. By this time, I was sweating, my heart rate was up and I couldn’t stop shaking. I could see the looks I was getting and this was making me worse.

After about half an hour, the triage nurse called me through and straight away I just broke down in tears. He was absolutely brilliant. He told me he was an ex combat medic and had worked with people with PTSD and totally understood how I was feeling. He said I had to go back out in to the waiting room whilst the mental health nurse arrived to do a psych evaluation. I think he saw the look of horror in my eyes at that point and instead told me to wait and he’d go and sort out a side room for me.

True to his word, he took me to a quieter place and got me a drink. He told me he was incredibly proud of me for taking the step to come in and that I was safe and no one would hurt me there. In those few words, he completely got me and I can’t express my gratefulness enough towards him.

I was only left waiting another 30 mins or so and then 2 mental health nurses came in and again were so nice. He said I looked really anxious and was there anything they could do to settle me, I said no thanks, I just need to be kept safe.

We went through a psych assessment with the questions about what brought me there, how I was feeling etc and what could be done to help me. We decided they would prescribe some diazepam and I’d go home with the a&e number knowing I could call them at any point in the night, or for the rest of this week.

I don’t know the answer, but the fact I had to go through a&e to access this help, is definitely not something that should need to be done. As I said, I nearly turned around and then what? The police would have been called and that would be a total wasted resource, all because I couldn’t walk in to a room full of people. If it wasn’t for the total understanding of the triage nurse, my experience could have been totally different with me being sent back in to the busy waiting room. I honestly think if that had happened, I would have left! Again, a&e is not the place for mental health emergencies!

 
 

Police, A&E, Triage Nurse, Crisis Team & Own Team

20 Mar

This post is purely about facts – were things handled correctly, should any thing have been done differently?

I was suicidal, so I took some sleeping tablets and I was driving to the place I was going to do it so when I saw a motorway bridge and decided that’d be a good place to jump. It was midnight & so the motorway was quiet enough to have long stretches with no traffic so noone else would be involved.

I stood there, I have no idea how long for, just staring over the bridge, knowing this was it.

Then a police van turned up, asked me why I was there. I couldn’t answer through the tears and cold. They asked me if I’d be willing to sit in the van to warm up a little as I was shaking. I agreed.

They asked for my details, I gave them – no reason not to and asked if I’d been drinking – I said no. After doing a check on me and my vehicle, it was decided that it’d be best for me to go to hospital. I went in the police van and one of the policemen drove my car. Whilst he was driving, I took the rest of the tablets but he heard the packet, stopped the van and asked what I was doing – I told him they were anti-anxiety tablets and he got back in the van & continued to hospital.

When I arrived at hospital they walked me in and then left me there.

The triage nurse called me in and was lovely. She asked if I’d been drinking, I said no. She asked if I’d taken any drugs and so I showed her the packets and said whatever was missing, I had taken.

She told me the psych liaison team were in the department and she’d she if they were available. I was put in a small room and left for half an hour whilst they got ready to see me. It was the usual crisis team questions; tell me what happened in the lead up to you being here, how are you feeling now etc. I asked to go home, they accepted it and off I went.

Today I had a voicemail from my cc saying she’d seen I’d been at a&e and if I wanted to speak to her then call or speak to duty. I called her pretty much straight back (around 2.30pm) but she was busy and duty wouldn’t speak to me whilst my own cc was in the office. I left my name and number and asked for a call back, but nothing.

All in all, do you think this has all been handled correctly, anything wrong, right etc?

** UPDATE** When I originally wrote this, I wanted to see what people thought others roles were in the events that took place. Some people have asked for their response to be private so I won’t be giving specifics. But I also wanted to write it without emotion and then add this bit on to say how I felt I was handled. To say I have tweeted both the hospital and police department to say thankyou for how they helped me that night pretty much explains my point of view. The police did exactly what they needed to and never once made me feel stupid or a waste of time. The same can be said about the triage nurse and the liaison team (2 of them).

I guess the problem came with me answering their questions, they can only go on what I said and I knew the questions well enough to know what answers to give to get out of there as quickly as possible!

My cc called me back this morning and by 1pm, one of the home treatment team were here as a referral.

 
 

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!

 
 

Is suicide the answer?

12 May

I have spent the last 2 weeks taking medication that I don’t think is helping me and spending more and more time in bed. My business is beginning to fail and I don’t really care. I have no want for life at all and although I have been going out to see my GP every other week, I have pushed everyone else away in my life. No-one in my family is aware of what has happened to me as I don’t see the point in telling them. I have said I am really busy with work at the moment and this seems to keep them at arm’s length.

The same can be said about my friends. They are all based around a sport I do and since December I have stopped doing that sport and also seem to have pushed those people away as well. Why do I feel the need to press my self-destruct button? I have been through a list of people in my life and can honestly say that not one of them wouldn’t be better off if I wasn’t here.

And so I started to take tablets I had at home. Part way through, a young family member called me as she wanted to tell me about something she had done at school. She really wanted to take that time to tell me and so she must think something of me. I realised taking an overdose wasn’t my best decision and so I stopped taking the tablets. However I looked online to see if the amount I had taken so far would have done any damage and I couldn’t find an answer.

So I phoned NHS Direct to see if it was ok (the last thing I wanted was to die when I had actually decided that might not be the answer at the moment). They told me they were sending an ambulance and I would be taken to hospital. I said there would be no need for that and if they recommend I get checked out then I would make my own way there as I didn’t want to waste an ambulance. I was told no, because I lived on my own one had been called and control would be calling me and asking me some questions. I was devastated. I was brought up to respect emergency services and only call in a true emergency – which I did not believe this to be the case.

When they arrived, I apologised profusely but wasn’t made to feel like I was wasting their time (although am sure they felt it). They took me to a&e where I was admitted to the medical assessment unit and kept an eye on. I have to say I have a lot of respect for the staff on that ward. Even though they knew the reason I was there, not once did they make me feel any less of a person. After 24 hours, the on call psychiatrist was called to assess me.

He brought with him a man from the crisis team (not one that I had met) and they asked me why I had been discharged a few weeks previously. I was honest and said I found them patronising and they wanted to put me in a box that I didn’t feel I fitted in to and they didn’t know how to deal with that. The way he laughed made me realise he understood exactly where I was coming from. He however said the only way they would let me home was if I promised to give them another go for at least 1 week. I agreed and was discharged.