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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

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? 

 
 

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. 

 
 

It’s Not Depression

23 Jul

This is going to be a rambling post, I have no idea what I’m going to say and so I apologise in advance. However, one of the reasons I started this blog was to use writing as a therapeutic tool and so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve come to a bit of a realisation this week but I’m not sure how to convey it – let me try! I know how depression feels, one of my diagnoses is major depressive disorder and to have that empty, hopeless feeling that hurts like a physical pain. But this is different, it’s not depression, it’s an acceptance that things won’t get better and that brings about the same empty feeling – making any sense?

It’s as if the symptoms are the same but there is just something different, maybe it doesn’t hurt, it’s just there. I don’t see the future, I know it will end but this isn’t because of an illness, it’s just because it is.

I seem to be on total auto pilot, but doing nothing with myself at the same time.

I’m going to leave this one quite short as I’m not expressing myself very well – if anyone else thinks they understand please feel free to comment, maybe it’s not just me.

 
 

The Answer Was Yes!

15 May

On Tuesday I wrote a blog post called is it time for hospital? Well, it was and here I am blogging from my room in my local psychiatric ward.

I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed at the minute so I’ll keep this short.

I saw the home treatment team this morning who again reiterated the fact there was a bed available for me and asked me a question is never thought of before. If I was to stay out, what was the worst that could happen? And if I went in, what was the worst that could happen? She left me to think about it and after an honest conversation with a friend, I decided to call up and accept the bed.

It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. On my other admissions I’ve had no real choice, it was go in voluntarily or be assessed under the mental health act. I just didn’t see myself being able to keep safe for another night on my own and that was the deciding factor.

I feel like a total failure though. That first of all I allowed the initial trauma to happen and then to let it affect me the way it has for me to be in this situation once again where I’m on a psychiatric ward. I just feel I’m at fault in all this. If I had the coping techniques they keep talking to me about then I’d be better at dealing with it and wouldn’t be here. Just splurging my thoughts out here so feel free to ignore them!!

For now ill sign out but expect more shortish posts from me as I try and distract in a place where there is nothing to do.

 
 

Is It Time For Hospital?

13 May

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SUICIDAL ISSUES

So here I am again. Back in this empty, black hole where it feels there are no other options to get out than one; suicide. It just doesn’t feel that I can go through this cycle one more time of being at the bottom and battling to get up again.

This time I’m being honest with my care coordinator (cc) and therapist and trying to get help through it. I have had the home treatment team (htt) in for the past week but it’s been a series of new people which has made me go over everything from scratch and therefore no help at all. The main advice was listen to music to distract, that’s not really going to have that big of an impact!

Yesterday was a review meeting with my cc and htt and I’d had enough – I couldn’t see the point of working with them and told them so. It was suggested I wasn’t leaving much option but a mental health act assessment (to section me and go in to hospital). We eventually negotiated that if I went to my therapy appointment today, and called my cc afterwards then we could work with that.

So today I went as promised, but couldn’t see any difference. I sobbed my way through 40 mins without actually saying anything and my therapist called my cc whilst I was there to ask what was best.

The problem I felt I had was if I carried on being honest, which is in my nature, then I would probably end up in hospital. But should I go against my ethics and morals just to avoid this? I decided to carry on being honest but trying to work with a community plan to avoid hospital.

So here I am, waiting for the htt to come for a visit, which they will do everyday until Monday when it will be reviewed. I’m still in the mindset that I don’t know what the point is and I have given myself a deadline to try and make it until, which is quickly arriving. Then when the time arrives I’ll decide if I live or not – does that mean I need hospital or is it fair enough given my circumstances and cycle I’m seemingly in.

 
 

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!

 
 

What are the most common symptoms of PTSD?

20 Nov

A couple of weeks ago, I put a post up asking for people to fill in a questionnaire for me (seen here). I’m not sure if anyone would be interested but this is the responses from 65 people on their most common symptoms – remember you are not alone in this!

PTSD symptoms

 
 

Therapy Options

20 Nov

My cc has been round today and after meeting the head of psychology, two options have been suggested:

Option 1: one to one art psychotherapy for approx. 6 months and then straight in to a democratic therapeutic community (DTC) with a commitment period of 1day a week for 1 year and then less often for another year.

Option 2: DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) which is 1 one to one session per week, 1 group session of 2 1/2 hours and telephone support.

To be honest, I didn’t like the fact I was being offered therapy for what seemed like bpd when I’ve made it more than clear in this blog that I don’t agree with that diagnosis.

However, my cc said there are two parts to my issues; one being the PTSD and trauma and the other being social problems (i.e. being isolated, anxious and depressed). The thought process of the psychology department is that these two options deal with both parts. Option one is one after the other and option two is at the same time.

I really had no clue which one to chose but purely through the process of elimination, I have chosen option 2. This is because I really dislike the sound of dtc and I don’t think it’s for me at all. Option 2 is also shorter and I hope I’ll be out of services not long after completion.

I should be feeling happy and glad that something is finally happening and yet I can’t help but still have this bone of contention over my diagnosis and to be honest, i’m feeling very scared of finally looking my traumas in the face and trying to overcome them!