Archive for September, 2008

Political correctness gone mad – or should that be gone mentally challenged?

September 30, 2008

Now I know I posted a few weeks ago about my anger at discriminatory terms still being used to describe us nutters, but the folks over at Manchester Student Union really do appear to be quite barking at the moment. They’ve decided to de-genderise all their toilets, for the sake of an undisclosed number of transgender students, who might be insulted by the terms ”women” and ”men” or their corresponding stick figures. From now on, all toilets will have either ”toilet” or ”toilet with urinal” signs, which is probably a good thing for the female student population, who will be able to avoid the queues and nip into the mens from now on.

However, the reason for posting this link is less to do with the rights of transgendered students (or emo’s) and more to do with the hilarious quote from the wannabee grotbags woman’s officer (you’ll see what i mean) at the end of the tape. Apparantly we are no longer permitted to use the term ”Political correctness gone mad” for fear of insulting mad people. So I ask my mad friends out here in cyber space, are you offended? Or, like me, are you still laughing too hard at the video to string a coherent sentence together. ūüôā

Oh to be a student again. here’s the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7643175.stm

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Is it time to start buying tinned food and candles?

September 29, 2008

I’ll admit right now that I don’t know the first thing about stocks and shares or boom and bust. I’d quite like my bank to go bust if it means they won’t be chasing me about my overdraft anymore. The credit crunch hasn’t affected me at all yet, as I live on benefits and don’t own my own home. If anything, I’m hoping the increasing unemployment figures will prevent the government from continuing its attack on those of us who claim Incapacity Benefit. But even in my insular world, I haven’t failed to notice that something is happening out there and that it could be bad. I’ve only got to use the tag surfer, where most of the posts about depression have more to do with the world of finance than mental illness, to know that people are worried about this.

It seems crazy to me, as a crazy person lol, that life as we know it can be so affected by a group of sweaty, overpaid men, shouting and waving their arms about in various rooms across the world. It’s hard to have sympathy for someone who earns millions in bonuses every year, especially as they’ll still come out of this mess with significantly more money than the rest of us.

Think I might nip down to Lloyds TSB in the morning and withdraw the rest of my benefit. Just in case. And when the looting starts I’m going to treat myself to some goodies from M&S as opposed to my usual Netto shop lol.

Go away and come back when you’re dying.

September 26, 2008

What makes more sense? Prevention or cure?

When it comes to secondary mental health services neither seem to apply. They much prefer to wait until you deteriorate into crisis, and then use a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound. Or so it seems here in the north of England.

I met¬†a friend for coffee yesterday. When I say friend, she’s actually someone I met at the bus stop a few months ago. We mentalists seem able to recognise a kindred spirit and know who it’s safe to talk to. Or perhaps we just talk to anyone lol. Anyway, K and I soon moved past the occasional hello and finally got round to meeting up for a chat over a cheap cuppa. It had to be cheap because K is surviving on basic benefits and couldn’t even afford the bus back home. No one appears to have advised her how to claim more money and she’s not the type to ask herself, being ashamed of claiming at all.

K has spent the last couple of years recovering from a particularly nasty cancer, which has left her with a host of gynaecological problems, in addition to a worsening of her long term battle with depression. Her partner of ten years is an alcoholic depressive, recently diagnosed as suffering from psychosis. They live together in a small¬† housing association flat, quite far out of the city, in an area which has little more to offer than a small newsagents and a fish and chip shop. K is more of a full time carer than a girlfriend. They haven’t slept together in years. ¬†Her partner frequently comes off his medication and drinks to escape the voices in his head. K desperately wants to improve her life. She volunteers several times per week in a local charity shop and has admitted that it provides an escape from her homelife, which is becoming unbearable. She has wanted to leave her partner for some time now, but has nowhere to go, and would be perceived as having made herself intentionally homeless by the authorities, if she should move out.

K feels unsafe at home and has had to up her medication to treat her worsening mood. Her partner has only recently been allocated help from the crisis team, and only because he took an overdose. He refused to go to hospital and they can’t see past his alcoholism, saying that he can’t be helped until he stops drinking. He won’t stop because that is his life now. He never leaves the flat and suffers from paranoia. K knows the paranoia began long before the drinking, but can’t get the crisis team to take this on board. They will discharge him shortly and the only help then will come from a gp, who he won’t visit because he won’t leave the house. K has no idea what is happening because confidentiality rules prevent the crisis team from discussing her partners¬†case with her.

K has recently started an affair with another volunteer from the charity shop. He’s considerably younger than her and has learning difficulties. I tentatively suggested that she has swapped one dependant for another, and she agrees, but¬†explained that¬†she just needed to do something that would make her feel alive for once. As far as she is concerned, her relationship is over and the new affair is just a bit of fun, but she had tears in her eyes as she spoke to me. Indeed, during our time together yesterday, K came across as a woman on the edge, desperate for comfort and full of guilt for not being able to cope. She admitted to having frequent thoughts of suicide, due to the knowledge that she is completely stuck in her present situation.¬† It’s hard to take responsibility for your life and move on, when you only have a couple of pounds to your name and no family support.

So, on to mental health services. K sees the same consultant as me. It appears that we also share the same personality disorder label. K has repeatedly tried to get help from a social worker or community mental health nurse. As with me, the answer has always been a resounding¬† no. K feels very angry that her attempts to help herself are simply used against her as proof that she doesn’t need any help. She is utterly exhausted and close to breakdown, but knows that when she comes out the other end, nothing will have changed. All she wants right now is a break from being her partners carer. Just a few days to get her head together. The affair is her first, and not at all her usual behaviour. She has reached the stage where it makes sense to her to take an overdose now. Not to die, but to get some time on the ward away from real life. In reality it is her partner who needs to be in hospital, but he knows enough about how it works to be able to escape a section. So what else can she do?

The reason I wrote about K today is that there are so many other K’s living in this country. Not quite ill enough to be allocated a keyworker or cpn, but too ill to manage their own lives. Let down by the NHS because it is so underfunded and understaffed that it can only help the worst cases. In a few months K will probably fall into that category. At least then she will receive help. But the road back to health will be so much longer than it needed to be. It’s a shame.

A reminder that life goes on around me

September 23, 2008

When you live with mental illness, your world is small. If something doesn’t affect you directly, the chances are that you won’t care about it, or even let it register. You spend each day battling intense mood swings, chronic lack of motivation, and bone numbing fatigue. You wish people would care more for you, or at least acknowledge the pain you are in. I know that I have frequently wished a serious physical ailment on myself, just so I can point and say, ”look, this is where it hurts.”

When I think back to this time last year, my mind is almost a blank. I was spiralling into a deep depression, which resulted in a hospital stay. I see news items now, anniversaries of events from a year ago, and I wonder why I have no memory of them. But time stood still back then. I was wrapped up in my own little world, protecting myself from any more bad news.

This evening my father phoned with the latest update of his cancer battle. What was scheduled to be key hole surgery to remove his kidney has altered following an appointment with his surgeon today. The cancer appears to have spread to his lymph nodes, which will mean a bigger operation, and in the longer term, a much lower survival rate. Dad was his usual self. Not making a big deal of it. His wife was more upset and would have told me more if he hadn’t been whispering to her in the background to¬†not worry me. So the next few months will be filled with hospital visits and cancer jargon, whilst I firmly place my normal mask on my face.

And therein lies the problem. I resent having to act normal. I want to fall apart. I don’t want to be the strong one. Hello! Excuse me! Mentally ill person here! Never mind the man with cancer. Of course I care about him deep down. I was briefly in tears after I hung up the phone. But I can’t lie about this. My primary concern is for myself and how this will affect me and that’s a personality trait I can’t stand about myself.

But life doesn’t stand still just because I have chosen to. Dad has been wonderful in the past year, whilst I’ve bemoaned my life and spent time in hospital. I didn’t really stop to think how distressing it must have been for him to visit me there, especially as I’d told the staff not to tell him why I’d been admitted (overdose). He was, and still is, bewildered by his youngest child’s emotional state, and yet he calmly offers himself as a shoulder to¬†cry on any time I need it. Will I be able to do the same? I’ll certainly do my best but I know it will cost me one way or another. I feel held to ransom by his cancer. The option of ending my life, should I want to, has gone, for I could never add that stress to Dads’ life. My coping strategies will need to be secretive again. Rather than put the world on hold, I now need to put my mental illness on hold, at least until Dad is well again. It’s going to be a difficult few months for us both.

From murderous bitch to fluffy bunny, i love these pills!

September 21, 2008

Today is my third full day on Seroquel. I’m too stoned to post very much so am just checking in. I love this drug. My anxiety has disappeared for the first time in years. My face wants to smile all the time, unlike most days when random strangers usually tell me to cheer up. Why do they do that? Fortunately, I no longer feel an urge to push them down a steep hill, and am more inclined to give them a big wet kiss. This is definately not me!

The downside to numbing myself with an anti psychotic is that I am generally away with the fairies. My fingertips don’t even feel like they’re connecting with the keyboard right now. I’m sleeping most of the day and have awful stomach pains after eating. My nose is permanently blocked and I’m craving carbs when I wake up.

I was determined not to spend the day in bed and made it into town to buy a swimming costume today. I’m not going to let this pill cause any weight gain if I can help it. I just need to figure out how to stay awake in the pool lol. It’s a very strange feeling to crave food but not feel that I can be fecked to go to the shop and buy it. I haven’t binged in the last few days and not doing so hasn’t brought up the usual urge to cut.

I read the list of side effects with some dismay. Funny how the more intense a psychiatric drug is, the simpler the enclosed drug information becomes. I guess they don’t think anyone taking an anti¬†psychotic is capable of understanding words of more than two syllabuls. For example it tells you to watch out for certain symptoms, without mentioning that they are signs that you have either tardive dyskinesia or NMS. I’m surprised they don’t just use emoticons and leave it at that. This pill good ūüôā May give bad tummy ūüė¶ etc etc.

So, after nearly 20 years of various psychiatric treatments, I find myself on my first mood stabiliser. A step back or a step forward? Am I being given meds because it’s cheaper than therapy? Do I really need them at all? I’m not going to get into all that for the simple reason that last week I felt suicidal, and this week I can cope. And that’s enough for me right now.

My psychiatrist is a lovely lovely woman

September 18, 2008

How¬† BPD am I lol? I hated her this morning and now I think she’s wonderful. I told her everything, including the thoughts that everything I was saying may be a lie and an attempt at manipulating her. She didn’t rush me, in fact I was in there for ages. As a result, I’m starting on a low dose (200mg) of Seroquel as of tomorrow. Actually the first two days I’m on 50mg, then 100mg before taking the full dose. It’s a little unnerving to be prescribed an anti psychotic as I’ve only ever had the anti d’s before. I’ll continue to take the Effexor too. It feels a little like a step back, but I’d reached the point where I couldn’t face those mood swings anymore. I’m a little worried about the possible weight gain though.

I’m also being referred to something called the T Poject which basically puts nutters into voluntary work placements or helps them into paid work. I’m very anti work at the moment. I don’t need that added stress. But it can’t do any harm to go and see what they’re about.

So next stop was the blood clinic to have a fbc plus checks for diabetes and thyroid problems. I coped with that quite well as they tactfully ignored my self harm scars. I did however lose my temper in the queue at Marks and Spencers after waiting 20 minutes, whilst the numpty at the check out had a panic attack over some vouchers. Grrrrr, it’s ok though. I didn’t hit him.

Thanks for the support to those of you who have replied to my posts this week. Much appreciated. I am so looking forward to a decent nights sleep on these new magic pills.

I’m just going outside, I may be away sometime.

September 18, 2008

Hardly a polar expedition but i’m off to see the pdoc. If I’m not posting for a while, it’s because she’s over reacted and chucked me back on the ward. Actually, it’s more likely that she’ll boot me out the door and tell me never to darken it again. Jokes aside, I am nervous as hell. I’ve spent the night alternating between feeling a complete fake, to feeling suicidal. I’ve managed not to cut, but feel bad for that because it must mean I’m ok, and I don’t really want to be ok. So why am I going to ask for meds to help me get better? I’m so contradictory. I keep reminding myself that she’s not the enemy, and she can’t help me if I don’t tell her the truth. But I hate laying myself bare in front of someone who has power. I want to protect myself. For gods sake, she is not my mother. She is not going to hurt me. I need to remember that.

The usual bigoted reporting courtesy of The Sun newspaper

September 17, 2008

Damn this paper makes me so bloody angry. They never miss an opportunity to use the word nutcase or knife wielding maniac. I’m sure they won’t be happy until every mentally ill person is locked away or given a lethal injection. Bastards. And that’s as much as I can be arsed to say about them.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1699950.ece

Hallucinations or angry feelings?

September 17, 2008

Yesterday a woman walked past me at Starbucks and threw her baby off the mezzanine onto the floor below.

Well that’s what I saw. Until I blinked and saw her continue on past me, with the baby safe in her arms.¬† For a split second I felt horrified at what I’d seen, but have to admit to a nagging wish that it had been true, rather than my mind playing dirty tricks on me again.

I’ve pushed people over, stabbed pensioners in the queue in front of me at the check out, punched my father in the face, seen passing cars explode into flames. Just split second glimpses of what feels almost like a parallel world, where my anger and aggression has real consequences on those around me.

I’ve never physically hurt anyone other than myself. A lot of the cutting is to do with my guilt at these images. They’ve been part of my life for so long, since early childhood, that they are almost normal to me now. I brush them away fairly easily when they are of strangers, but the frequent thoughts and visions of killing people close to me disturbs me. I feel like I’m keeping a secret from them. Don’t they realise they have a monster in their midst?

There are different types of hallucinations too. Some seem to appear from nowhere, at a time when I don’t feel particularly stressed. Others I can very easily link to feelings of frustration or anger at those around me. I have tons of horrible thoughts about people too. And voices / thoughts out loud in my head, saying bad things about them or me.

I guess the difference between myself and someone with real hallucinations is that after that split second, I know they are my imagination. But that doesn’t make them any less unpleasant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just a tiny step away from losing my grip on reality. It would be so easy just to give into it and lose the responsibility of being well. I wish I’d been born decades earlier and could have spent my life in an institution, safe away from everyone. No need to put on this pretence of being normal. Is that just the bpd talking? I hate being so confused about who I am and what I feel. I see the pdoc tomorrow and don’t know how to explain this to her. When I asked for the referral I was agitated and hyper. This week I’ve been depressed. Previously I was detached. Now I’m anxious. I seem to go from one state of mind to another so quickly and as each one passes I discount it as a period of self indulgence.

Today I have a huge urge to self harm. However, I know that it’s down to the upcoming meeting and I am determined not to succumb to these feelings. So much is riding on this appointment. I’ve been stupid to build my hopes up like this. I’ll go in there and be all passive as usual, overawed by her authority, and agreeing with everything she sais. I won’t tell her about the visions or the voices. I never do. I need to make her understand how much I’m struggling on a day to day basis without her over reacting and not letting me leave the hospital. I can’t be sick right now. Dad needs me too much. I just need something to get me past the next few months whilst he has his op and recovers or dies. Whichever comes first.

Feeling low

September 15, 2008

I’ve been waking up depressed again, which I absolutely hate because surely it’s not too much to expect to feel refreshed after a nights sleep? I wonder if it’s the change in seasons already? I feel like I’m wading through treacle today. A letter arrived from a debt collector. Looks like Lloyds have finally sold my debt on and he wants me to phone him to arrange partial settlement, whatever that means. I can’t face it today. Lloyds ignored several of my letters where I explained my health problems and included a letter from my doctor, so I’m going to ignore this one too. I know it’s not sensible but I really can’t deal with it. I only opened the letter because it was cunningly disguised as a normal, non bill type envelope. I made arrangements to pay ¬£1 per month last year but never stuck to it. Isn’t that ridiculous? But filling out a direct debit form and posting it back is beyond me. Everytime I think about dealing with it I just curl up on the sofa and go¬†to sleep again.

Last year I tried to get help from a social worker with all this, but they said no. I suppose I could try the citizens advice bureau again but it’s on the other side of town and I can’t face sitting in their waiting room. I don’t want to be around people.

Psychiatrist appointment coming up on Thursday which may account for me wanting to put my head in the oven right now.

God this is such a pity party post. I really need to just get off my bum and open this mail. Maybe tomorrow.