Posts Tagged ‘dissociation’

PTSD, Police and Dissociation

12 Nov


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? 


Dissociation and PTSD

07 Apr

I have just come out of hospital after spending 3 days in there. The reason why is a bit more complicated so let me explain!

If you have been reading my blog, you will see that I have been under the home treatment team (old crisis team) after having a particularly bad month. I have been working with them and seeing them every other day and whilst I was having high suicidal thoughts, we were managing them quite effectively.

It started for me on easter week, when I felt like I had been losing time and when they asked me questions about what I had been doing, I honestly couldn’t remember. Have you ever felt like when you’ve gone in to a room for something and for the life of you, you can;t recall why? Well it’s that kind of feeling – no matter how hard I tried to remember, I couldn’t! They told me it was because I wasn’t doing anything in my days and so everything was just merging in to one. I didn’t really feel like it was for this but just left it as nothing anyone could do anyway.

In the past when I’ve had very bad times, I have dissociated and actually thought it was a time before my trauma and didn’t even recognise my care co-ordinator. However, she has always been ok with this as it meant I was ok – it was pre-trauma and so I was happy!

On Tuesday night, I went to bed at about midnight and the next thing I remember is it was 2 hours later and I was ‘waking’ up at the side of a local reservoir with an empty bottle of my medication. At first, I thought I was dreaming but after realising I wasn’t, I panicked! I wasn’t suicidal, I didn’t want to take too much – why had I done this without knowing it?

I called NHS Direct and tried to explain what had happened. I wasn’t aware of the effects of taking the amount I had done and didn’t want to drive home if there was a chance I could hurt someone. They told me they were sending an ambulance to where I was, but I didn’t want to waste resources and so said it’d be quicker for me to make my own way there.

I arrived at accident and emergency and was seen by triage. She took my ob’s (blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels) and picked up the phone and asked if they had a bay for me. I thought it was just in the normal bit but she told me I had to go straight to resus. My heart rate was tachycardic at 155 beats per minute (the normal is between 60-80). I was hooked up to a heart monitor and had an ECG and was really well looked after. After a few hours I was moved to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) where a doctor eventually came to see me – this was now Wednesday evening. He told me they still needed to keep me in and redo an ECG over night and hopefully discharge me on ward rounds the next morning.

At about 11.30pm they moved me up to an escalation ward. This is essentially a place they open when it is busy and use it to keep people who are close to discharge. For this reason, it is trollies and not beds that are there (it’s a day surgery unit). There is a 23 hour rile that you aren’t allowed to be on them for longer than this timeframe.

The next morning, the ward round happened and I hadn’t had another ECG so the doctor ordered it again. It was still high – 110 and so they said to have it repeated in the afternoon and go from there. It had gone up to 111.

I spoke to the doctor and asked if I could self discharge as I felt ok. I explained that I had PTSD and that being in the hospital where I was extremely anxious meant that they were never going to get a heart rate below 80. She agreed that as long as it was below 100 I could go. She said it was extremely risky that I leave and we agreed I’d stay another night and be checked the next morning. I was to be moved to a ward and given a proper bed. I was given a bed twice and each time when the nurse called to do a handover they were told it had been given to someone else and so I was told I’d be staying where I was. I asked what about the 23 hour rule and she said there was nothing that could be done. This is what I was on:

hospital trolley

I understand they have to make difficult bed decisions, but no one came to speak to me to explain this and just swept it under the carpet. There were 2 empty beds opposite me on the same ward and were eventually taken by one woman who had severe constipation and one who was withdrawing from alcohol. If mine wasn’t based on a mental health problem, would I still have been just left? I honestly don’t know the answer but it did cross my mind! I wasn’t even supposed to know about the 23 hour rule, it was only because I was speaking to the nurse on the night shift and she told me don’t worry they can’t keep you on there for longer than that.

The next morning, the doctor (who I had seen the previous day) came in and I heard her say, “what on earth is x still doing here?” She was excellent and saw me straight away and had my heart rate taken – it was 95, yay – I could go home!! Well that was after I had been referred for a psych review. 5 hours later I was seen and it was obvious it wasn’t intentional on my part and so they discharged me to see the home treatment team (htt) the next day (I was still under them anyway). All in all I was on the trolley for 39 hours!!

I am seeing my care coordinator tomorrow and will be discussing what happened but the htt said they had discussed it and think I had fallen asleep, had a nightmare and woken up in a dissociated state where suicide was the only answer. This has scared me – it’s hard enough to control those thoughts when I am aware of them, nevermind when I’m not!!


Therapy & Pushing Myself

25 Sep

A brief update after yesterday’s post about being scared for today’s therapy session and revisiting the nightmares etc. I think I’d worked myself up so much that by the time I got to therapy I was actually quite detached from everything.

We had a weekly catch up as usual and then she asked if I was ok to carry on where we left off. I told her I was scared about being there but I think we just needed to get on with it. And so for the first time since my last session, I read my nightmare over again. And this is where it got a bit strange – I felt no fear! I read it, and nothing! I’m asked to rate 0-10 what the fear factor is and I rated it zero. I thought seriously, that’s all it took, one session and I’m free to read it all.

But no, my therapist wasn’t quite so positive about it. She asked me to read it again and this time add in any extra details I’d missed out – sounds, sensations etc. Yet again, I did it with a zero rating. And then my therapist explained that she thought I’d completely detached from it and this in fact wasn’t me dealing with it but in fact the opposite, that I wasn’t ready to work through it. I was really disappointed, I wanted to fight this and have one less thing in my daily life to worry about.

My therapist suggested we do some more work on coping strategies and come back to the nightmare at a later appointment. If I’m honest, I would have gone along with this if I didn’t know she was going on leave, but as she was, I asked how I could ‘reattach’ myself to that memory – I needed to work on this today! She talked to me about recreating a certain part of the nightmare to see if that invoked any feeling but explained it wasn’t something she felt capable of doing. I suggested maybe going through a different memory and seeing if I could bring the fear back and so she agreed we could try that.

And so I did, I thought of another hot spot as they call it (when the fear is at the worst) and talked through it. It worked and yet again I found myself reaching for the tissue box as the tears just started. By this time we only had about 30 mins left of our session and so we went straight back to the nightmare. It was at this point that I wished I hadn’t pushed for me to carry on. It’s every bit as scary as I thought it would be and I found it really hard. My therapist is off next week so I’ve got 2 weeks before I see her again and this is what I was fearful of – opening this can of worms and not being able to close it when I’m on my own. I know it’s only two weeks but sometimes I just wish my stubbornness backed off and I didn’t push myself so hard!