*TRIGGER WARNING THROUGHOUT*
Admitting that you are feeling unwell is for many exceptionally hard and many of us with a mental health illness have had the choice to seek treatment taken out of our hands. Then there are assessments and more assessments. More strangers to have to explain how you are feeling inside whilst all the time thinking how pathetic you are, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat and feeling more and more wretched than you did before. They give you meds and wait to tell you what your diagnosis is. For me this came in the form of a letter from the psychiatrist with no warning or explanation for what the hell this was. I did what most people do these days; I googled it!
Dr Google came up with loads of sites and I read loads, hoping to find one that would make some sense to me. None of them did except tell me that my illness was something I really didn’t want to have. It sounded complicated and confusing and now I knew for certain that I was without any doubt a fruitloop.
My psychiatrist saw me in September last year and told me she want me to attend group therapy especially for borderline personality disorder (BPD). This therapy is called STEPPS and the best way of describing it is to say that it’s perhaps a combination of CBT, DBT, mindfulness and common sense with some small explanations for what BPD feels like to other sufferers. It is actually a really good course and had I have been in a different place I think I would probably have gained far more.
Each time I have seen my psychiatrist she harps on at me about using the skills. Well, I do my best, but my head is not quite that simple and my general mental health seems to be pretty chaotic. I don’t know what I am thinking half the time and my moods are so erratic that I know I would hate to live with me.
I have tried to be as honest and open as I possibly can be with those working with me, but there are times when this is hard and my mistrust of people is far greater than my need to share. A couple of weeks ago I went to see both my psychiatrist and care co-ordinator in order to get some support. I felt like everything was just coming in on me again and I was really losing grip with myself and with reality. I was not just scaring people who are my friends but also scaring myself by how drastic some of my thoughts were becoming. The things I wanted to do and was willing to do.
They were useless that day and I came away feeling angry, really, really angry before it was replaced by a sense of not being worthy enough of their time and help. It was like they just said we gave you the skills now use them….I did, I have been. I try every single day to use them. I stopped taking zopiclone, I haven’t cut badly for almost 3 months…I have been taking my meds, trying to behave with co-codamol and do everything that I have ever been told. The biggest thing is that I am in counselling which is really, really hard work and I do struggle every time I go. There is nothing in my life that holds no pain. Everything somewhere has something attached to it which triggers something else. It’s why so far we have just been jumping around the place and when I go tomorrow we are going to start from the beginning and work through things a bit at a time. It’s going to be hard work, it’s going to trigger and upset me, but I know that I have to do this if I am to get well.
On Monday this week I saw my psychiatrist again. This time I was not the docile Lib with whom she has got to know. I was angry and already in a stinking mood and I chose not to mince my words, not to get pushed around. She promised me that she would help me if I got of zopiclone and I did. I did because if I didn’t I knew that I may never stabilise and that my sleep would be an issue which in turn would mean day-to-day living remained as hard as it is now. I can’t live like this any more. I don’t want to live like this and I desperately need someone to fight with me. I am doing everything they have asked of me and the small things that they say they can do if I do this they have just ignore.
So I got pissed off with her and told her how angry and frustrated I was. She seemed surprised with me because I am generally calm and tearful with her, never aggressive. I was aggressive. But I am angry. We discussed thing and once again she brought up STEPPS and also said that she didn’t really understand why this had happened now…Well, I’m sorry if this fucks up your plans, but to be quite frank I didn’t do this deliberately and I would do anything not to feel paranoid all the time, to get anxious about the smallest of things. To have panic attacks in the fucking shower or in the car. I would like to be able to get on a bus or train. I truly don’t remember the last time I did either by myself. A bus is not as long ago, but a train…Think I was in my early 20’s.
Looking back on my life the reason I have managed is because I have hidden it away. I have put things off and with two small children at home it was easier to hide it. I didn’t always do a great job of it, but there was always a bottle of something to drown my sorrows in or there was someway to hurt myself that no one would notice. I have avoided going out for more than a decade and so many more things. Looking back, its obvious. But because I never told anyone how bad I was feeling, how out of control I felt no one could do anything.
The psychiatrist also said that she didn’t quite understand how the I was not doing better with the meds I am on and the STEPPS skills. Well, I am now in counselling and we are unpicking things, some of which are so deeply buried that it’s having an impact on me, my marriage is unstable and I have few friends I can talk to about things. I told her that I think that I did the STEPPS course too soon. I had only just been diagnosed and nothing which bothers me has been dealt with yet. It is only just starting. If I had started with counselling and then done STEPPS I can see that it would have really helped. But it was too soon. It made her shut up, especially when I practically shouted at her about what I see at night, why I get scared, why I can’t sleep, can’t close my eyes. I also told her that I am bisexual and that I have been aware of this for a long time but wasn’t sure if it was because of the abuse when I was younger which she seemed to get. I disclosed to her about the woman who I like. Not in great detail but enough for her to understand. It’s actually the first time she seems to have taken me seriously. She prescribed me an anti-psychotic finally and is seeing me again sooner than she has done since June.
I feel that I need more support right now than I have ever needed it. I feel suicidal most days and I do have voices in my head that tell me to just take all of the meds, I will feel so much better if I do that. Other voices tell me that I am a loser, that my husband hates me and that the kids would be better off without me. I have self harm urges and fight these as hard as I can.
I self harmed this week because I have been so angry with myself. I am struggling more than I ever have to maintain any sort of mood. I myself have no idea how I am going to feel or react from one minute to the next. Noise just makes my head feel like its going to explode, the demands of the children make my skin feel like all the nerves are on fire and nothing I do makes it stop. So I reach for those tablets that I have become so addicted to. I take two, then three….I have OD’ed more in the past three weeks than I would like to admit. I have had my meds fucked up too by my GP. I have been on Venlafaxine since March this year. It was prescribed as instant release, but the GP messed up and I have been taking modified-release ones. I am also on citalopram but initially only 10mg. I am now on the instant release and 20mg of citalopram. I have been on these for about 3 weeks approx. Chances are that some of my mood could be attributed to the meds. I really hope this is the case, because I feel shit. Deep, deep down I don’t want to kill myself. I know that, but the fact that I keep starting the process, the fact that I see things so clearly really scares me.
Today I crashed my car. No one was hurt, the car I hit was empty and parked. BUT I accelerated at it…fast and hard. The sound I can still hear and the look on my daughter’s face is etched in my head. I feel sick and still shaken. I can see it happening in fast play shouting at myself to fucking break. And then I can see it in slow motion and I am scared of where I was and what I was thinking. Its like I wasn’t in the car, like I wasn’t me. I was willing myself to hit the car….but I was shouting at myself to break….I really can’t explain it and I don’t understand it. BUT it has scared me.
Yesterday I planned to shut down my Twitter account for some personal reasons. I got a firm talking to by my friend and support from another and encouraged to keep it open. I feel like I am a danger to myself and right now to others. Yesterday I got a call from social services saying that they had been called by my psychiatrist. I felt betrayed, she could have warned me this is what she planned on doing. Then there were other things which just all got too much. I truly feel like I am going completely insane. I feel totally lost. I don’t even know my own head any more. I love Twitter and know that I owe my life to many people who have talked to me just as I was ready to do something stupid. I have had friends talk me down from cutting myself. BUT right now, I am scared that I am worrying more people than I want to, that I am going to trigger others and that I am going to lose the people who have come to mean the most to me.
Fighting this battle on my own is hard enough but to then have to fight to get the support I need is more exhausting than it needs to be, it shouldn’t have to be this hard, should it?