See Me After

My Recovery Journey

The view within

I open my eyes
View through empty orbs
A dark world
Marred with hatred
Surrounded by shadows
Hurt and pain
The world is burning
Empty and scarred
Abandoned by all
Desolate, bleak
Alone in the darkness
The view within.

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Update

It’s been a long time since I posted and honestly things have been a little crazy. I finally got my life back on track after being super depressed this time last year. Everything was going so well. I was happy and work was going well then wham everything fell apart again. Almost overnight I began having thoughts put into my head telling me that the world was going to end unless I died. I was terrified and ended up in hospital as I was so scared that I would actually end my life in order to prevent this from happening. I tried to slit my wrists but it was super painful and now all I have left is the scars. I’m slipped up several times with regards to self harm which was disappointing as I had not harmed in several years. In the hospital they accused me of being manipulative and wanting to be sectioned but honestly I just wanted the world to be safe in whatever way I could. They again told me they thought I had a personality disorder but thankfully my consultant does not agree and thinks I have an unspecified mood disorder still.

I was in hospital for a week and then had to move back in with the parents for a while which was a depressing and isolating experience. I am now back in my flat with my freedom back but I have to prove to everyone that I am able to cope and look after myself. I have just started psychology and had the assessment last week after a year of waiting. I have 11 sessions remaining which I honestly don’t think is going to be enough time to address anything but I will give it my best shot.

My medication is also undergoing an overhaul. I am in the middle of coming off an antidepressant and going onto another one. The consultant has agreed to let me decrease my mood stabiliser as I don’t think it is actually doing anything at all given that I have had several episodes despite taking it religiously. We will have to see what happens. A part of me is hoping I will at least become hypomanic in order to prove I am actually bipolar as previously thought. I mainly just want to feel well though.

I am super depressed by my weight at the moment and have a goal to lose 100lbs in order to get back to my previous lowest weight. I want my thigh gap back, I want to see my collar bones again. I want to be light and not the obese blob that I currently am. I want my willpower back. That determination that allows me to go days without food and stay away from temptations. So it is back to the green tea and diet pills. I need to up my exercise also in order to tone up again. I will do this even if it kills me in the process. I don’t care if I have to resort to the negative behaviours that I have relied on in the past. I took a shit heap of laxatives last night not to lose weight but to feel empty. There will be nothing in me and I will stay pure. I will not put shit into my body anymore. It will be hard to prove I am looking after myself despite the fact I have no intention of looking after myself.

I will do this. I can succeed.

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After treading water comes the swim

It’s been a long time since I posted here and I can honestly say this is because I’ve been doing really well.

I am as well as I can ever remember being – no ups, no downs and able to deal with all the drama that goes on around me.  I am not yet abe to return to work full time but am coping well on 4 days a week.  I am beginning to get more confident in my role and I never thought I would ever be in a place where I could say I am good at my job.  I am.

 

I have also discovered part of the reason I am always so tired and perhaps also why I keep getting depressed with no external factors.  This is because my thyroid is underactive. That would explain an awful lot.  I have one more blood test to go in a month before they can treat me fot it though.

 

The down side of being well is I am now starting to think about whether I need to take the meds.  I hate taking tablets and although part of me is acceptingo f the fact I will probably be on medicaion for the rest of my life the other part wants to try without.  I think in a few months time I may broach it with the consultant.

 

In other good news I have been discharged from case- coordination as I was too well.  I think this has more to do with the mental health cuts and less staff to be allocated workers.  Either way I am quite happy with that as I don’t have to see useless nurse anymore and I now know who to contact in a crisis which is useful.  My psychology referral hasn’t come to the top of the pile yet so I am still on the pre-assessment waiting list.  There is another waiting list after the initial assessment.  It has been a long wait and by the time I get to the top I may have fixed myself.  At least that’s what I used to hope with my patients, by the time I saw them that they’d have figured out a way to solve their problems.

 

I am working in a rehab unit for elderly people who have been kicked out of the main hospital.  The people that have complicated discharges and need a lot of input and equipment.  It is challenging but I do really like my old people.  I like assessing them and getting them independent with washing and dressing and in the kitchen.  That along with the rather frequenthome  visits to deliver toilet seats.

 

So I am a work in progress at the moment.  The challenge will be when I move house in the next few months.  How I cope with that will provide a good indicator as to whether I am actualy  “in recovery” or just pretending.

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Faking it

I am now at the stage where I am beginning to reconnect with my life.  This means that I am going out a lot more with my friends.  I am not at the stage where I get full enjoyment from socializing but there are now moments where I do feel a bit more like myself again.  I spend a lot of time faking happiness and being with other requires so much effort that I don’t remember having to put in before I got unwell.  I sit and I chat and I smile and I try to feel normal.  I am hoping if I fake happiness that something in my brain will twig and it will become an automated state.

Yesterday I got my notes from when I was in the mental health unit.  Some of what I read tallied with how I felt at the time although other details made me feel a bit upset.  The opinions of the doctors in particular making judgements about me without knowing me.  They decided I had a personality disorder on day 2 and initially it was to be a one week very boundaried admission.  It ended up being two months with them managing me and trying not to let my behaviour escalate.  None of my negative behaviours were a decision on my part but the way they have written it makes it seem like I was deliberately acting for attention.  I am glad that the nursing notes were as accurate as they were and not two-faced as I feared they might be.  It has reiterated to me why I cannot go into hospital again.

On reflection although it kept me alive it perhaps didn’t help as much as I thought.  I am unsure whether things would have got so bad had I not been admitted.  Apparently I have to put in an advanced directive about how I want to be treated if I were to become unwell again.  I have no idea if I would make the same decisions again.  The Occupational Therapy reports showed that I was very cognitively impaired and unable to function so I guess the question is can I function when my brain doesn’t?  The notes constantly reiterate that I need psychology in order to not relapse and to get better but my mental health nurse still hasn’t put in a referral (I was discharged in December) and I think this is totally irresponsible and not acceptable.  I am still waiting for an appointment to see the consultant as I want my medication to be reviewed as Olanzapine was meant to be short term due to concerns about weight gain.  These concerns are forefront in my mind as I feel like a blob despite how little I eat and the amount of effort I put into exercising.

I have registered to join some courses at the “Recovery College” which will hopefully provide me with some skills to prevent a relapse, again I needed this months ago and now I will need to work it around my return to work.  The course that would be most useful (on emotional regulation) is full and will not run again until July so unless someone drops out I am not going to have access to the course.

Everything still seems very complicated and unnecessarily stressful.  I am waiting to hear the decision of the panel in my professional investigation.  I am not sure how well I will cope if I find out the investigation is escalating to the next level. I guess I just need to wait for the response and try not to worry, easier said than done.

On the positive side I am going on holiday with my parents next week to get some sunshine and have a break before I go back to work.  This will be a true test of my stamina, concentration, energy levels and general ability to cope.  I am looking forward to it but am quietly cautious as I know going away can make me disregulated.

I am having more okay days than bad days now so hopefully things have changed and I am making steps in the right direction.

 

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Ups and Downs without the ups

The past week has been a bit variable.  I had a few very bad days last week with really bad suicidal thoughts.  I didn’t call anyone.  I considered it but then realised they would not tell me to do anything other than I was already doing, apparently I am still supposed to tell them.

I have been doing a bit more but find that everything is exhausting.  A small task will lead to an hour of sleeping whereas larger tasks such as going into town or going to tai chi can lead to a good 4 hours of down time.  I visited a good friend the other week and although it was brilliant it took me a good few days to recover even though we didn’t do much more than go for walks or craft stuff.

I saw my nurse yesterday, she woke me up from a nap and has decided I am oversedated by my medication.  She says that she will get me an outpatient appointment to review my medication but I’m unsure whether she will actually book one or not.  She is a bit useless.  I am still awaiting a psychology referral which was supposed to have been completed in December when I was discharged from the hospital.  She says she wants to do it before she next sees me as there is still a waiting list but she keeps forgetting to bring the form.  I feel let down by the mental health service again.  I don’t think I expect too much just for people to do what they say they are going to do and also to actually turn up to appointments on time.

I am doing everything in my power to “recover” from this depression but still feel like I am fighting an uphill battle.  I am doing four hours of exercise a week and trying to keep on top of my house with variable results.  My GP wants me to go back to work but everyone else says I am still not ready.  This is going to cause problems when I need to get signed off again.  I don’t know who to listen to but my gut says I am not ready mainly due to stamina and concentration.

I had a flashback from my hospital admission today when the fire alarm went off during netball.  It reminded me of all the times in the ward that the fire alarm was set off by one of the patients, usually when the nurses wouldn’t let her smoke and usually during the night. I felt like I was back there it was a bit unsettling.

I am seeing my support worker tomorrow which means I will probably end up going for a coffee and a chat.  I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to do with her.  Our time feels like treading water and I feel like I waste it.  I feel like I am too well for a support worker.

I am supposed to go to the “recovery college ” to do a course in emotion management but I have found out that it is full and will not be running again for another 14 weeks by which time I will definitely be back at work. I don’t think I’ll be able to attend.  It would have been very useful back in January.

Nothing seems to be quite falling into place yet.  Need to keep trying.

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Hospital Poems

Just a few poem that I wrote whilst I was in hospital this time.

 

Little girl lost

In a sea of thoughts

That swirl and splash

Smash and crash

Insides corroded by the damage

Forever marked and shaped

The tide may go out

Tidemarks left forever

 

 

Too sad to write

Too empty to write

Too lonely to write

Too broken

Too lost

Too speechless

 

 

At first it was a dot on the wall

I paid no notice

Then a black ball of fluff on the floor

I swept it into a corner

In the corner it waited

It grew and crawled

Crept up on me

Pounced from behind

A cloak of dark over my head

I couldn’t pull it off

It smothered me.

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Doing Everything Right

I am forever being told that I am doing everything right, really trying hard to recover yet why don’t my efforts seem to be getting me anywhere?  I was told in hospital that perhaps I was trying to hard and should just let things happen without putting pressure on myself to get better.

I have taken up tai chi twice a week, been swimming and play netball twice a week but I still feel like I am not achieving anything.  Not getting any better, not feeling any happier.  If anything I am miserable.  I try going out with my friends but they tell me to cheer up.  I just about hit a friend who said “cheer up it’s me that’s supposed to be depressed” referring to her recent relationship problems.  It wasn’t her fault she just wasn’t thinking.

My weight is continuing to rise despite extra exercise which is driving me to distraction.  They said it would go down when I was more active, I am more active and at times barely eating anything but no results.  They said it would fall off once I stop taking olanzapine and mirtazapine.  I need the mirtazapine but have made a decision to stop the olanzapine and see how I get on.

Had an appointment with me CPN yesterday and after rambling on at her she finally realised she is out of her depth and agreed to put in a psychology referral.  It’s only taken them 2 years to sort this out despite it being recommended following both of my hospital admissions.  We are filling in the form in three weeks time provided she remembers to bring it.  I should also be getting a prospectus for the “recovery college” tomorrow and now that I have plans made for during the weeks I will put money on not being able to attend.

I am just so frustrated with everything, fed up of being ill, fed up constantly trying my hardest to”recover” and get back to my “normal” life.  I forget what that is sometimes as I can’t remember the last time I was truly happy and content with my life.  I tell myself getting my weight down will help with my self-esteem but I’m not sure if it will or it is just my previous eating disorder doing the talking.

The intrusive thoughts are less despite having run scissors across my arms several times on one occasion.  Not enough to do any damage.  I got angry with myself over that one though.  I did it without thinking, without realising the consequences.  I am not good at considering consequences.  I need to put some work into that one.

I was asked by my CPN if a box I decorated was going to be my “happy box”.  What is the point of putting things that make me happy and help me cope in a box?  Surely they should be out where I can actually use them.  Like having my music player in my pocket, bubble bath by the bath and ovaltine by the kettle.  It is a stupid idea.  Instead I am going to use it for my many empty note pads that I always mean to write in but never get around to.

I’m in a bit of a funny mood today.  I never managed to go swimming as planned and it has made me feel like a complete failure.  I did manage to go out for coffee though and have netball tonight but it still doesn’t feel like I am “good enough”.  I am striving for an ideal which does not exist.  I returned to bed this afternoon which has just compounded this negative feeling.

I’m doing all the right things.  I just need to “try harder.”

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The Struggle

It’s official UNISON are crap.  I have been given the run around and passed from pillar to post for the last two weeks.  I now have less than a week to respond to the investigation and no support has been provided whatsoever.  I am really, really stressed.  I pay them a fortune each month specifically to help me with things like this.  Life altering stuff in which I have no experience.

My mental health support has been decreased to fortnightly although I have a support worker that visited this morning.  All that involved was looking up on my computer things that I can do during the day.  I could have done that myself to be honest.

I am really struggling with day to day stuff and not having support during the most stressful time of my life is driving me mad.  I have already relapsed once since getting out of hospital in December and can feel myself slipping again.  I am not getting to sleep at night and sleeping most of the day.  I have no motivation for anything and my appetite is crap.  Yes I am trying to lose weight but this is not the way I want to do it.  I just don’t know what to do any more.  I am fed up of just surviving. I want to make a future for myself but as of now my future is hanging in the balance.  I’m struggling to hold on and it feels like everything I’ve worked so hard for is falling apart.

I could lose my job and my career and that’s not an overstatement. I worked really hard for five years to qualify and to have it all taken away for a three minute mistake which hurt no one seems really unfair.  I want to have a hissy fit about it.  I want to scream and cry and explode but instead I keep everything bottled up inside and I feel like I might implode at any minute.  The thoughts of self-harm are back although I have no intention of acting on them.  I want a normal life but it seems just outside of my grasp.

I bought some craft stuff today and aim to do some of it this evening as a distraction.  I don’t want to do anything though.  I just want to hide under the duvet and cry.  I can’t even cry properly.  I’m a pathetic wreck.

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At the Moment

I have been living independently in my flat for the last week and a half and I can tell you it has not been easy.  I have no one to kick me out of bed in the morning and make me do things which means some mornings I am laying in far too late.  I am struggling to form any sort of routine despite knowing how important routine is.  I am struggling with the basics; washing, dressing, getting things done.  I have a huge professional investigation looming and it is all I can do not to fall apart at the thought of it.

On the positive side eventually the mental health team returned my calls and I have a CPN who I will be seeing once a week.  Tomorrow she is bringing a support worker who she hopes will be able to get me to go out more.  My task for this week was to go for a walk and out for a coffee every day.  I managed it a couple of times although part of my excuse is the weather has been horrible.  I haven’t spoken to another person face to face since Wednesday which is a sure sign I am avoiding human contact.  I do plan on playing netball twice this week though.  I am hideously unfit so I think the game on Tuesday will be a challenge but I am willing to try 100%.

I feel like I am forever letting myself down not being able to achieve the simplest of things.  I think I also avoid a lot too which is shown by the fact I return to bed two or three times during the day.  It is my safe place where the world doesn’t see me and I don’t have to face the world.

So I am swinging between bad days and some not so bad days.  Hopefully this week will be better although I’m not sure how.  I’m sick of my own company already.  I had discussions with work about going back so at least I know now that I am returning to a job I previously held.  A job that I interviewed for the day before I was admitted and didn’t get despite no competition.  It’s a bit gutting.  I have planted the seed that I want to go to paediatric when my job is due to change in August so hopefully the boss will remember and I might have a chance.  Thankfully there is no pressure to return to work in the forseeable future so that is one good thing.

The thoughts of failing and being a bad person and the thoughts that I have done something wrong are forefront at the moment.  I tell myself that I deserve to be happy, I deserve my brilliant friends and that I deserve the help and support however I find it hard to accept any of these things right now.  I feel triggered by everything at the moment and have an overwhelming urge to cut myself however I quit that years ago.  The thoughts are still there though.

 

I am going to go to bed now as my head is swimming and I feel like I am rambling and have nothing productive or positive to say.  Things can only get better, right?

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Don’t even have a title that explains this post.

Yesterday I went with my Dad to a hospital appointment in the afternoon.  It is just down the hill from the mental health unit I was in here 2 years ago and the one I have narrowly avoided being admitted to recently.  You can see it from the front door, it is a small brown building sitting up the hill surrounded by trees, hidden if you didn’t know what it was.  Whilst my Dad went for his appointment I sat in the hospital cafe, this brought back many memories of grading my way from supervised to the cafe, meeting someone at the cafe and then going by myself.  They were neither good or bad memories.

We went for coffee in the main “town”, I’d say village but apparently it’s a town, just.  This was majorly triggering for me as it was just metres away from where I was violently restrained, cuffed and manhandled into a police car a couple of years ago. I remember it vividly and as yet am unable to blog about it because it upsets me.  I still have nerve damage in my thumb due to the restraint which has never gone away.  My Dad did not know about the restraint (he did know about the absconsion but not the apprehension) so I was unable to say anything to him.

In the evening we watched a really crappy horror/zombie film and I’ve watched many crappy films in my time.  I think they are quite funny but I need to bear in mind that my Dad believes horror films are a contributing factor in my mentalness. They’re not.

As I lay in bed last night I had a thought, bear with me, I don’t really want to die and have a lot to live for so are these suicidal thoughts mine?  I feel like maybe the thoughts are being put there and I’m being told I need to kill myself for a bigger purpose and if I don’t then something really bad is going to happen.  I don’t know who “they” are but maybe “they” are right.  I don’t know what the bad thing that might happen is. Maybe I’m changing destiny by not killing myself.  If they are not my thoughts then how do I make them go away.  Are “they” hiding in people, have they been in my house (I forgot to lock the front door last night).  Are they human, are they inside people, do they float through the air, do they even exist. It’s all a bit abstract and I’m not sure I want the answers.

Everything feels all a bit wrong and I know as I’m writing this it all sounds a bit mental.  Its is a bit mental.  I don’t know what to do.  Do I tell my care team? Will that have negative consequences, will something bad happen? Will the thoughts come back worse?

Or do I keep it to myself and just will the thoughts away.  Keep telling myself thoughts are not actions.  I am not going to act on them. I won’t.  I can’t.

Went to Ikea today for lunch.  It was busy, felt like people were looking at me.  Managed to keep myself focussed on what I was doing.  Came home and had a long sleep.   My brain hurts and I am permanently exhausted.

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