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Posts Tagged ‘art

A long week…

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A lot has happened in the past week. I kept meaning to write, but time got away from me.

I saw Dr G last Tuesday and was disappointed. It was a fairly pointless appointment. I did mention my dip in mood in the weeks prior to seeing her, but she didn’t have much to say. She increased the Lamotrigine again by the minute amount of 25mg, so I’m now up to 125mg b.d. She asked me about the hand over to the NHS. She seems ready to hand me over and doesn’t seem to want me to continue seeing her once I’m in the hands of the NHS. She thinks it will complicate things, which it would, but I trust her a lot more than I trust the NHS and I appreciate the constant input. I’m worried about the frequency I will be seeing the NHS psychiatrist. Talking about this with my social worker today, she said that if people are “stable” they will only see the psychiatrist every 6 months, even if that stability isn’t a particularly nice state to be stable in. She said I may see them a little more often at first, but even then it may only be every 3 months or so. This terrifies me. At the moment I always have that “if I can get through the next fortnight until I see Dr G, things may be okay”. This can keep me going. Knowing I’m on my own for months may be enough to make me give up again. I know I can ask for a rapid access appointment if things get scary, bad, but I’m not sure that’s enough and I can’t be asking for one every month or so!

On Tuesday night I learnt the bad side of knowing lots of people with mental health issues. One of my friends who I met in The Priory texted me to thank me for being her friend and to apologise for the fact she was going to kill herself that evening. I didn’t know what to do as I felt powerless to intervene and hypocritical for wanting to do so. She had been a long-stay patient in hospital and I believe was on overnight leave at the time. In the end I contacted the hospital she had been at and told them what she’d said. They wouldn’t discuss it with me due to patient confidentiality or even acknowledge what I had said, but I hope it alerted them and was of some help. They told me to call the police instead as they would have the power to intervene, but I didn’t want to do that. She tried to call me a couple of times in the evening but I missed the calls and when I called her back she didn’t pick up. I was worried but I did what I could. I was relieved when she later texted to say she had been picked up by the police, although worried for her. The hospital she had been in have chucked her out, presumably for breaking the rules of her overnight leave. I’m shocked and appalled by this decision as she’s at her most vulnerable at the moment. The people who are meant to be caring for her have dumped her when she needs them most and she is now alone and extremely ill. Last I heard she was staying with some friends and I just hope they can keep her safe.

This whole thing was triggering for me. I wanted to help her and intervene with her decision, yet I myself wanted to do exactly what she was doing. I was jealous of her at the same time as worried for her. I was angry at myself for being so hypocritical. I knew that if I was in her position I’d have been frustrated if she had intervened, but then I still wanted to do something. I couldn’t just stand by and let a friend die. I was comforted by the fact that she had contacted me. It suggested to me that she wanted someone to do something. She’d have gone alone and quietly if she was completely determined to succeed.

Wednesday started with a trip to Dr N so he could steal my blood for the mood disorder research. He struggled to get anything out of me. Spent ages trying to find veins in my arms and used my wrists in the end. The first attempt failed and has left me with terrible bruising and some wrist pain. The second attempt was eventually successful, but painful as he pushed the needle around in my wrist. We got there though in the end.

After this it was a trip to my office. My work laptop was due to be upgraded so I had to go drop it in to the IT department. It was weird to be in my old work environment. It made me realise that I really missed it. I wish I could just go back and do my job.

I had Creative Remedies in the afternoon. It was visual arts this time, which boils down to painting. I was disappointed by the class as it is restrictive. We had to start with a “colour wheel”, which made me feel I was in primary school. I know very well which colours mix together and what primary and secondary colours are. For our first project we have to choose images from a selection of Japanese, Egyptian and Art-Deco pictures and use these as inspiration. It feels very much like art at school, which is frustrating as I’d rather paint whatever I liked. I was impressed with the materials on offer though. We get a portfolio folder and sketchbook, access to good quality acrylics, watercolours and gouache paints and canvasses to work on. It’s all free so I can’t really complain. The teacher does seem to be experienced and the outreach workers are the same as on Monday’s session, so we should be able to develop a good relationship with them. I’ve been getting on well with one of them in particular already. It is basically just an art class though and not art therapy at all and although it gets me out of the house and doing something it doesn’t seem therapeutic. I miss the emotional freedom of art therapy at The Priory and the therapists there.

Wednesday evening saw us heading over to Snowdonia for a few days camping. My parents and grandparents had rented a cottage over there for a week, so we joined them for a couple of days. It was nice to get away for a few days, but I was feeling a bit flat a lot of the time. A good campsite near Beddgelert, we enjoyed nice food at The Goat Hotel on Wednesday evening.

The highlight of Thursday was a trip to Harlech castle, but a further reminder of my illness. Disabled admission was one such reminder. A bonus in that it was free, but even still I feel weird asking for it. I find it hard to think of myself as disabled. The second reminder came from climbing the towers. I felt uncomfortable at those heights. I am not scared of heights in any way, but I wanted to jump. If my parents and partner weren’t with me it would have been a huge temptation. I don’t think I could do that in front of them though. The image of my fall would haunt them for too long. Aside from this though it was good. I’ve never been such a big fan of ruined castles, but the views were fantastic.

Friday brought beautiful weather and a trip to the beach. We struggled to find one where our dog was welcome, but eventually stumbled across a beautiful little cove, with golden sands and shallow water. The beach was almost deserted with just one other couple there most of the time. We went for a swim, which was of course cold, but good. It was lovely to see our puppy swimming properly for the first time. I felt like a proud parent. There were also lots of little silver fish swimming around, which was unusual but made me a little squeamish.

We came home on Saturday, amidst drizzle and murkiness. A real downer after the lovely day on Friday. Our tent was soggy and I hate packing at the best of times, so I felt pretty awful. I’ve just felt pretty low all weekend and have had little motivation to do anything. I just want to hibernate really.

The highlight of today was another trip to Creative Remedies. I have enjoyed it and I think I will continue to, but I am still unsure of the therapeutic benefit. I wonder whether the vast amount of money that is being spent on this should be put to better use elsewhere, especially in reducing the waiting lists for other therapy.

My social worker came over today to check up on me before we both go and see the NHS psychiatrist tomorrow. She had some paper work to read and sign – mainly my risk assessment and enhanced CPA. It was weird to read a catalogued list of risks and declarations of my suicidal thoughts. She asked me what I wanted from the appointment tomorrow and tried to set some expectations. It seems that we will go over history and recent mood. It is apparently unlikely that the psychiatrist will change my medication on the first meeting and it is likely that I won’t see them again for a while. I don’t see the point in just going over my history and not actually doing anything. He can find the history in my notes and I’d rather use this appointment to make some changes that may help me to recover. We will see though. Wish me luck. I really fear I am going to need it.

Or perhaps it does…

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I last wrote that nothing changes. No sooner than I say that, things seem to be shifting. Things have changed, but I’m not sure that it’s a good thing. Coming off the Depakote and increasing the Lamotrigine appears to have given me loads of energy and is doing something to my mood. Over the past week I have felt this happening and have not known how to stop it and slow things down. I’m now agitated to the point of hypomania, yet still suicidally depressed and I know this is a risky place to be. I’m in the land of agitated depression. My thoughts race, but are largely negative, suicidal and destructive.

My sleep is bad. I think I’m getting a couple of hours at most. At 3.30am last night, I hadn’t slept a wink. I just seem to spend all night tossing and turning, feeling restless and unable to settle with thoughts racing through my head at a million miles an hour.

I’ve ended up seeing Dr G twice this week. I saw her on Tuesday with my partner. This was similar to the last appointment when he came, in that I felt unable to speak and extremely anxious. I become restless and fidgety, which doesn’t help as afterwards my bloke was moaning that I was rude and didn’t seem like I was listening. I was doing my best, but it is hard to follow things when you’re so anxious and your head is doing its best to distract you.

Generally I wasn’t able to be honest with her about how I was feeling and although I mentioned the agitation, I didn’t warn her how destructive I’ve felt. I was quiet and had little to say.

We talked about how I hadn’t heard from the CMHT yet. Dr G said that she still hadn’t spoke to Dr B, but she thinks she knew which psychiatrist it was and she was happy to pass my care onto her. Dr G also said that she hoped to set up a CPA meeting with everyone involved including the CMHT, so we shall see if that ever materialises. She also asked me to give the Allocation team a call to see if they knew what was happening. I did afterwards and it seems I’m being allocated to team this week, so should hear from them soon.

I can’t really remember what else was discussed except the inevitable increase in Lamotrigine. I knew it was coming really.

Yesterday, I saw my GP, Dr N to get my prescriptions and to sort out my sick notes. He was lovely as always and listened to my honest assessment of how things are. He was concerned and tried to get me to promise to use the crisis team if I need it. I just don’t know if I can. My last experience of them was terrible and I just don’t have the self confidence to call them, especially when I’m in a crisis!

Today I had a support group at The Priory and was really agitated and struggling to control the racing thoughts. I managed to be quite honest about how I’ve been feeling, which only caused worry. The therapist, D was doing her best to get me to agree to keep myself safe and to find ways to look after myself. She tried to get me to ask to see Dr G today instead of waiting until next week, but I really didn’t want to do that. She tried to get me to tell my bloke not to go out and leave me alone this evening, but I really didn’t want to do that either.

Following the session, D came over to me and said she’d talked to Dr G. Next thing I knew, Dr G was asking me up to her room. I was able to be more honest with her, although I had to be knowing that the therapist had already filled her in on the basics. I was honest about the agitation and the fact I could feel my mood was shifting. I told her I feel like I’m on the edge and that I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know I can be impulsive when I’m like this and I have all the energy I need to act on these thoughts, something I’ve not had recently. I told her that my partner was out for a few hours this evening and I was scared that I’d take the opportunity whilst it presented itself. Even as I write this, my head is telling me I should be making the most of the opportunity because I might not get another for a while.

Dr G said that she thinks I need medication to help bring things back under control. She wanted me to up the Lamotrigine again and talked about introducing Lithium when I next see her. This change in mood is only making it more obvious that Bipolar is the right diagnosis. She also wanted to give me some short term medication to bring things under control whilst the other meds are titrated up to a therapeutic dose. She wrote me a note for some Diazepam and a few days of Haloperidol. The idea was I’d get a prescription from my doctor this afternoon and then dose myself up so I couldn’t do anything this evening. Unfortunately getting a script today was impossible as Dr N wasn’t working and the stupid receptionist would not agree that it was urgent so wouldn’t push the prescription through as an emergency. Her argument was that the specialist would have given me the medication if she wanted me to start immediately. She wouldn’t listen to the fact that The Priory only issue medication on the ward, don’t have a pharmacy service and didn’t issue me a private script as that would cost me a fortune.

I was glad I got pushed into seeing Dr G as it was a good appointment for once. I was pretty honest and managed to speak up that I needed help. She was concerned, but I think she was pleased that I was able to say something, even if I wasn’t given any choice in the matter by D.

I see her again sometime next week and we’ll discuss the Lithium again. I don’t really know what I think about it. Lithium brings the reality of my diagnosis to the forefront of my mind. I am not too bothered about the blood tests, but I worry about side effects. Mainly I just hope that it works. It’s always been seen as the last option for me and now Dr G is reaching for it. I wonder what happens if it isn’t the drug for me. Do we persevere with the Lamotrigine and hope that can handle things on its own? Do we give up on drugs all together? I don’t know. I guess these are questions for the qualified, questions for the psychiatrist to answer.

Anyway, the evening has come and I’m on my own. I’m trying to keep myself distracted and to keep things under control. I was going to do some painting but I keep staring at my paints and canvases and don’t know what to do.

Instead, I just sit here, unable to stay still and trying to write. I am finding it hard to extract my entry from the muddle of thoughts and words that are in my head, but am doing my best. It is taking longer to write than normal even though everything is going so fast. I think I could stay here rambling for hours, but I am sure it will get boring for everyone and I doubt I’ll make much sense. I’m surprised that what I’ve written so far seems to be half coherent. It doesn’t feel very coherent in my head.

I can feel the agitation on the increase. Things calmed down a bit this afternoon, but I am back up again. I don’t have long left on my own, so I think I can get through it. I hope tonight that I can get some sleep and that things slow down soon, but I don’t know that they will. It only feels that things will get faster and faster at the moment until I fall over the edge or crash into something. Hopefully the medication will settle things down if I can eventually get some tomorrow.