Into the system…

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Posts Tagged ‘future

Social Work & Work Social…

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My social worker / care co-ordinator came to see me for the very last time on Wednesday. I wasn’t expecting to see her again at all, but she had some paperwork to give me. It was nice to get the call on Tuesday to say she was going to be popping over. I am sad to see her go. She was far better than my previous worker, J and she did restore my faith a little that there was a point in the CMHT. I am not quite sure how it is going to work without a social worker, but my psych is going to act as care co-ordinator, so it should be okay.

On Thursday I braved the work social. I wasn’t sure about going and got quite nervous about this. It was suggested I went along as a way of getting back in touch with work in an informal way. Sort of dipping my toe in. I was worried what I would say to people. I was worried what people would think and I was quite concerned about the fact I’m still on sick leave, yet I’m well enough to go out and get drunk. Would anyone understand that?

When I arrived, virtually no one was there, so I could get talking to a couple of people and break myself in gently. The person who was assigned as a sort-of mentor was there too, so she could kinda look after me. There wasn’t a big turnout at all really, so that helped as I guess I wasn’t going to burn too many bridges if I made a pigs ear of things. I didn’t really know what to say, but I ended up just being honest about being on sick leave. When we were talking about projects, when we joined and who else we knew, it would have been pretty hard to lie. I didn’t have a project and hadn’t done for almost 2 years – in which time my old project has become obsolete. I joined 3 years ago, in which time I should have been promoted. All the people I knew are now consultants or above or have left the company, so people would wonder why I didn’t know anyone else. I didn’t specify why I’d been off though. I thought about it, but it was easier to just say I’d been off for two years and that I’d spent some of the time in hospital.

In the end I coped, but I felt a little weird about it all. I kinda felt like I didn’t fit in any more. In some ways it was fine. I am still a young graduate, with the skills and knowledge to do the job and the aspirations to do well, get promoted etc. I am no different to the rest of them in that respect. I think I can still do the job, but I am not so sure about the company culture now. I used to love it, but the work hard, play hard thing may be a challenge, because I can’t really do either. To do so, would be risking further illness. Socials are built around drinking and late nights, neither of which are a great idea – alcohol is a depressant and I need routine and sleep. Success is built around how many hours you put in, never saying no, high standards and perfectionism – I guess the same is true for many jobs, but there is a huge amount of competition and one-up-man-ship. There is a constant need to prove yourself to be better than the next person. I can’t push myself to breaking point again. I have to hold back, as hard as I am going to find that. With work encouraging me to actively not hold back, that may be difficult to control. I think occupational health and HR will have a close eye on me and will do what they can to protect me from that, but I am not sure I want to be in that position. I don’t want to be left behind. It feels hard enough as it is.

At one point, one of the girls mentioned someone she had met in the company who had been an Analyst for 5 years and she was basically insulting this guy for the amount of time he had been at level. When she said this, everyone except me laughed. She suggested that he had some form of learning difficulties, which meant he didn’t get given enough responsibility to be promoted. Although this may be true, it was meant to be an insult, suggesting he was a massive failure and terribly flawed. Are people going to be saying the same things behind my back? At the end of the summer I will be entering my fourth year as an analyst. Most people are promoted in 2-3 years and many have been promoted again within 5 years total, so I’m a long way behind already. It is highly unlikely I will get promoted in the next year or so as I will not not be working full hours or full responsibilities for a long time. So I am going to become this guy – an analyst for 5 years or more and ridiculed because of it. I am scared of this.

A lot of the time I wonder if it would be easier to start again completely. A new job and a new life. My old life has left me behind and things have changed so much they will never be the same again. I am scared of going back and trying to fit in. I don’t quite know if I will fit any more. I am scared of explaining what has happened in the past two years. I want to erase the past two years, so I can just start again where I left off. I want to catch up with everyone else and I know that is impossible.

There are advantages to staying put though. My company have looked after me and I feel I owe them some loyalty for that. They are going to be flexible with my return to work and will continue to look out for me. I don’t have to learn a new job and at least I already know what to do. The company’s expectations of me have been lowered, so there is no pressure to live up to anything. I don’t need to perform at my best. I can go at 90% and hopefully that will be enough for now.

Starting again obviously has its pitfalls as well. I couldn’t start a new job. I would work too hard trying to keep my head above water, trying to be perfect, trying to impress. I would have to meet new people, with all this history and baggage behind me to try and explain or ignore. I’d have to learn how to do a new job too – new skills, tasks, routines. I am not sure I am up to learning much at the moment. My thinking still isn’t as sharp as it used to be. My memory is crap, my concentration isn’t brilliant. I would end up burning out in no time and I’d be back where I was before. More time on sick leave and another attempt to return to work. No one in their right mind would employ me now anyway, so it is not an option anyway, but I just wish that going back would be easier.

I am starting to realise that although my mood has picked up now and I feel relatively stable, there is still a very long way to go before I can say I am recovered. The future is scary. I have a lot of things ahead that will try and trip me up and I’m a little scared about embarking on this part of the journey. I don’t want to slide back down the hill, but the baggage I’ve got to carry along the way is going to make it pretty tough going.

I feel like I’m kinda rooted to the spot for now, looking up at this big hill with a feeling of trepidation. I’m also being held back by occupational health and my doctors, so I can’t even just take a big breath and have a run at it. All I can do is keep plodding though and hope that one day I’ll be able to get there.

In other news – I’m off to Glastonbury on Tuesday night, so I probably won’t blog again, even though I have two other posts in draft. They can wait though. See you all in a week or so.

p.s. I’ve updated the My Story page again. Can’t believe it didn’t even cover my admission back in January. A lot has happened in 6 months.

Good days, Bad days…

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I’ve had a lot of good days lately. My mood has picked up sufficiently that I am feeling almost “normal” at times now and certainly manageable at others. I have actually felt happiness or contentedness, something I wasn’t really sure was possible any more. My concentration has been improving and my confidence is growing.

I have started to contemplate the idea that I may finally be heading towards some form of recovery. Maybe, just maybe, we have found the drug that works, despite the problematic side effects.

I have been foolish though in thinking the bad days had passed. I had hoped that I wouldn’t feel that bad again, at least any time soon. I really didn’t feel good yesterday. I woke up feeling low and felt worse as the morning went on. For the first time in a while I felt seriously suicidal, as opposed to the passing thoughts that had been floating around, but which I could brush off relatively easily. I was having to really fight the urge to just thrown in the towel. I felt anxious and uneasy. I’ve been struggling with strange dreams and nightmares lately and they were bothering me. Everything just felt wrong somehow. I wanted to crawl back in to bed and hide there. It felt like nothing had changed. I thought I was past all that, but I was wrong.

Things did start to improve again yesterday evening, but I am feeling a little shaky still. I feel like I’ve been knocked off balance and I’m struggling to right myself.

I am trying to tell myself that this is normal, recovery isn’t a smooth process and bad days are to be expected, but it doesn’t ease the disappointment. Telling myself this didn’t make yesterday any easier.

I hope that things will pick up again, but I am worried that this will set me back. One of the things I struggle most with is the idea that I will never be completely well again and there is always a fear of relapse. A bad day is like a mini relapse and it makes me question if it is all worth it. What is the point in carrying on, if in 6 months, a year, 20 years I end up severely depressed again and try to kill myself? My thinking may be screwed up, but I just wonder if I may as well get it over with.

I had been thinking about going back to work. I do miss it and I’ve been missing it even more when I’ve felt okay. I wonder why I am not there. I know I have only just seen Occy Health and I agree that I’m probably not ready to go back just yet, but I was starting to think that I will be able to do it. Even 3 or 4 weeks ago when I was there, I doubted it would ever be possible. A run of good days has made me think it is, but this bad one has put the doubt back. I worry that it would only take a couple of bad days at work and I would be back where I was before.

I’m still really struggling with the future. I panic when I think about what lies ahead. I am scared of therapy. I am scared of going back to work. I am scared that I will relapse. I am scared of commitment in all shapes and forms. I am scared of getting married. I am scared of buying a house. I am scared of getting old.

I am frustrated, because I was meant to be seeing Dr M on Thursday and I got a phone call today to say she has cancelled. I am disappointed, as after yesterday I felt I could really do with seeing her again soon. I wanted to discuss the Reboxetine. I think it is time to increase it to the “therapeutic dose” (4mg b.d.). I hope that those extra 2mgs will be enough to stave off the bad days. I just hope it isn’t enough to tip the side effects into not-worth-it territory. She was also going to discuss what we can do to ease the side effects, particularly looking at sleep again – the insomnia is the biggest problem. I quite wanted to know what ideas she had come up with since I’d last seen her.

I now have to wait another 2 weeks. It is going to end up being 6 weeks between appointments by the time I eventually see her and we were aiming for every 2-3 weeks, so that’s not so good. It may still be better than the CMHT, but I could have done with seeing her sooner.

I guess I will just have to manage how I am. We will see what happens. I’d like some more good days.

More Evidence…

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Some of you may remember my post on Trichotillomania which I made a couple of weeks ago. In it I referred to this BBC article which mentions some research into the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for the treatment of Trich. Today I saw Dr G and towards the end of the appointment my bloke mentioned the article and I explained it to her. I couldn’t remember the name of the drug involved, so she asked me to check and let her know. She hadn’t heard the news story herself, but was interested to know more and was happy to check if it will interact with any of my other drugs before I can give it a go. Dr G is quite progressive and innovative with what she prescribes anyway. She won’t always wait for things to become proven and approved before she prescribes something. She also mentioned a new drug, for which I could spot a leaflet about on her desk, that is meant to be good for sleep, but it’s also an antidepressant and she’s scared of the effect this may have being bipolar and my past experience of antidepressants. She said research is currently being done, but this one she didn’t want to risk.

Anyway, whilst I was looking up the name of the drug concerned in this article, I did a little bit of research and stumbled over the fact it had also been connected to improving residual depression in bipolar. Someone has done a some research into this and the paper was published last September. This article sums up the findings. If this really is the case, then there are two reasons for me to be taking it. I am certainly willing to give it a go. It’s a proven drug for other things, so should be safe and even if it isn’t, do I really care? Maybe that is flippant of me and my partner will be horrified to read it, but I really don’t worry about such things anymore. I guess that is the suicidal thinking that undermines everything. I should be thinking about this positively though and my willingness to try anything is the part of me that just wants to get better and doesn’t care how I do it.

For a change, Dr G was running on time. My therapist, M however wasn’t. With that in mind, we got started and did a quick meds review initially. The expected increase in Lamotrigine happened and an increase in the Nitrazepam too. I could do this prescribing lark myself these days! In two weeks time we shall do the increase again and I will then be on the 200mg she’s aiming for.

We talked about how things over the past few weeks seem to be showing signs of stabilisation and improvement. This is true but I say it with caution. In the past three weeks I’ve gone from rapid cycling every day or two between an almost okay mood and a horrifically suicidal one. This was followed by a week of consistant suicidal depression and generally feeling awful. Then over the last couple of days I’ve kinda felt depressed but getting closer to okay mood. The suicidal thoughts are still there, they never go away, but things are quieter.

The thing is, I don’t trust the cycles to not come back. My mood sometimes settles down and then the swings come back with avengence and I am up and down like a yo-yo again.  I also don’t trust the curve on the mood graph to continue rising. It has only been a couple of days of slightly improved mood and I’ve had that before. The bubble bursts as quickly as it forms.

Dr G is hoping that things are stabilising. Last week was stable but hell. If things stick like that it just isn’t going to work. I will get frustrated and then fall off a cliff, which is similar to what happened last January/February. She knows this and I think is as worried about it as I am, but I guess neither of us knows what to do about it. We just have to try and hope that this mood holds out.

M turned up and we talked a bit about what we’d said last week. Dr G was meant to have another appointment with the four of us there last week; Her, M, my bloke and me. At least that’s what three of us thought. Dr G was at her daughter’s graduation and had somehow double booked herself. The three of us carried on and had a session anyway talking about some of the relationship issues we’ve been having and communication. It is a topic that always comes up but an issue that doesn’t go away. Again the solution seemed to be to wait a few months and try not to think about it. Easier said, but they aren’t living with the torment all the time.

The rest of the appointment consisted of lots of ums and ahs whilst I grappled for something I felt comfortable to talk about. I generally failed until the mention of that article came up.

The previous couple of days have been spent at my grandparents. I hadn’t seen them since March last year, when it was my great grandma’s funeral. It was good I guess to see them although always a bit surreal and slow. It always feels like a bit of an act at the best of times, but even more so at the moment. I also saw my two cousins on that side of the family. H, the youngest, loved our puppy. My animal-mad aunt did too for that matter.

The future holds very little at the moment. I don’t know what to do with myself and that is scary. I have a lot of uncertainties and I want answers. I see my worker on Monday and Dr G in a couple of weeks. Aside from that, who knows?

Another Bad Night…

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Last night was just another bad night of many recently. I couldn’t sleep, mainly because I felt physically awful, but also because there was a lot rolling around my mind. Little positive unfortunately.

Morning rolled around and I still felt terrible, so forcing myself out of bed really didn’t seem like a good idea. I just couldn’t face more therapy on top of the dizziness and stomach ache I was struggling with, so I decided not to head to The Priory today. Art Therapy this afternoon had been cancelled anyway as the therapist is away.

Afternoon arrived and I got up, but could only manage an hour or so before escaping back to bed. I had to get up eventually though mid-afternoon as there were things that needed doing and I had an appointment with my GP, Dr N.

The appointment was similar to usual. I wasn’t honest enough again, but I don’t know if I need to be anymore. They seem to realise that things are pretty bad. He asked me if I wanted to get better, and although I do, I confessed I sometimes find it hard. I just want everything to go away. He told me to stay safe. I wonder why they keep telling me that.

He gave me my scripts. 2 weeks this time, but he basically told me that 2 weeks of my new baby starting dose of Lamotrigine (25mg) is not enough to hurt a cat, let alone me, so told me not to bother. The silly thing is I’d already checked and knew that.

Tonight, I’ve been left alone whilst my partner is out for a few hours. I should feel the freedom and relish it, but I am just left disappointed that I feel so physically crap I can’t make the most of it. I am also bound by the dog and the fact my car is at the garage (even worse than not knowing where my keys are). I took the dog for a short walk, but didn’t feel very well doing it. My head was spinning and the strain of trying to get a 16 week old puppy to go where you want to was getting to me. I just wanted it to be over. It’s stupid that things like that left me not just wanting the walk to be over, but wanting everything to be over. That is the way things are at the moment.

Earlier this week, I had a plan for tonight. A plan I’ve not been able to realise. When asked if I was going to be safe on my own tonight I had always said yes. When asked if I had a plan and had set a date I had always said no. The truth was, I had a plan and today was the date.

All last night I was thinking about it. All last night I was thinking about whether or not it would work, whether there were any better options, whether or not I’d feel physically up to carrying it out, whether or not I’d be mentally up to it. I guess it is no wonder I didn’t sleep very well.

Today though has not gone to plan. I was missing some of the means and the physical strength to do it. I think it is hard to think about doing anything when you feel so physically crap that all you want to do is go to bed.

I am left disappointed and sad. I am left frustrated. I still wanted to do it tonight. It is too late now, but I find myself regretful. I should have done it. I should have just stuck to the plan. I feel weird. I didn’t see a future beyond today, so tomorrow will be strange. A day that I had not intended on seeing. I don’t know what to do with it.

Two Thousand and Nine…

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In about an hour the clock will roll around to midnight and it will be the start of a new year. It will be 2009. I am not sure I want to see it, but I am too late to change that now. I am trying to be hopeful that 2009 will be better than 2008. I am trying to see the positives. I have survived 2008. I am not sure I am glad about this. I know I should be, but I am not sure I feel it in my bones. I’m not sure I feel it in my heart.

I should be glad to see the back of 2008, but all I feel is dread for 2009. Dread for the future. Dread of this endless depression and pointless battle. Pointless existence. I don’t want to keep putting up with this life. I don’t want a new year if it is not going to bring about a new me, a new life, new hope. I have no hope.

I hate how fatalistic this sounds. I hate how pessimistic I have become. I hate how depression has made me. I hate it all.

I will see 2009. I will keep going. I just don’t want to.

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 1st January 2009 at 12:08 am

Quiet…

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It’s still quiet in the blogosphere. I’m not really feeling in the mood to write much myself and it seems I’m not the only one.

Last night I had a bit of a scare. My dad emailed me at work and of course my out of office is on. He saw it and questioned what it said (That I am out of the office until further notice!). F*ck! He put me on the spot so I kinda mumbled some excuse about sticking the out of office on so that I didn’t get bothered and could focus on some important work, but I’m not sure he bought it. I hate lying to him, but I didn’t know what else to do. I know I should really have taken that opportunity to be honest, but I was just too scared. Sadly, this exchange only served to make me confused, stressed and agitated, worrying endlessly about the repercussions of people knowing and the fact I don’t think I can be honest with my family ever. I struggled most of the night with recurrent thoughts that it would be just easier to not be here. The usual I guess.

Not only was that conversation still on my mind, but I was fidgety again and unable to sleep. In the end, my other half kicked me out of the bed and sent me downstairs to take my energy out on the Wii. So I was in my living room, playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympics at 2am! It didn’t really help much unfortunately, so I spent the next few hours staring out of the window again. I’m getting fed up of it. I have no idea why I seem to acquire a ton of agitated energy at 11pm every day. I guess I do need to do more in the day and try and tire myself out, but I just feel sick all the time!

This morning, I got an appointment letter through for another occupational health assessment. It’s a different doctor and this time I can’t find anything out about him, which I find a little scary. Usually when you google a doctor or surgery you can at least find out what their specialism is or something. The appointment isn’t until September either! Much longer to wait compared to last time and it scares me to think that I can’t imagine making it through the next four weeks. I find it hard to think ahead a few days, let alone a few weeks.

Today has been another mixed day. Started feeling low, followed by a short period of feeling fairly up and cheery, followed by a quick change to miserable and now headed towards agitation again. All accompanied by nausea, although it seemed a bit better during the “up” periods – probably why I was feeling okay!! The thing is, it feels like this is never going to get better. The intrusive thoughts are there pretty much constantly, even in the more up periods and I just feel physically “bleh” all the time. I’m not struggling with the real extremes of my mood, but I’m finding this constant fluctuation between varying degrees of crapness or agitation equally difficult. It somehow feels like I’ll never be able to cope with normal life again. I’m not even sure I can remember what “normal” life felt like.

Written by intothesystem

Wednesday, 13th August 2008 at 4:45 pm

Continued existence…

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I want to write, but I just don’t know how to put things into words at the moment. I am unsure of how I feel, of where I stand and of my future.

I should be working, but I guess I can award myself a lunch break. It’s not something I am used to doing though. I have always worked long hours, without breaks. I am still a workaholic. Nothing changes.

Working from home today. It feels easier. Less pressure and the option to be myself; just stare at the wall if I need to. I have got more done than yesterday, but I’m still struggling. It is a pointless, continual existence. I can carry on, but I don’t know why I am.

I feel isolated. Both my HR contacts are on holiday and there is no one to go to. I want to discuss flexible working and other options, but I don’t know who to ask. I know I should be shouting up. I know I should be telling people how I feel and asking for help, but then there is no one here to listen. My line manager is busy and has enough on her plate. She has been supportive, but I don’t want to be a burden. I’m trying to let her get on with things. Trying to support myself.

I know I should go to my GP, but I don’t trust her and can’t open up with her. I wish there was another way. Someone else to go to, but I feel so cut off. I’ve still not heard from the mental health team. I don’t know who else to ask.

Things are back to how they were when no one knew. I’ve stopped talking to people. Stopped asking for help again. Started pretending things are okay. It’s easier to just put on my happy face again and pretend everything is sorted, even though it clearly isn’t.

I can’t admit how bad I feel and how hard this is. There’s this piece of me that wants to fall apart. This self-destructive urge that wants me to go back to work and fail spectacularly, because then I can say “I told you so”. Then I could show just how hard this all is, without having to admit it. I could show that things are far worse than I make out they are. I have suggested I’m coping to those that ask, but I’m not. I am still on the edge. I’m still close to breaking down completely, holding it together for no reason that I can see.

There frustrating thing is the lack of light at the end of the tunnel. I still see no future and no point. It’s something that niggles away at me constantly. I try to pretend I’m okay and things are improving, but I know there is no point if I don’t see a future. I can carry on like this. I can keep going, keep working, keep pretending, for days, weeks or years. I could do it, but I see no point in it. Is there any point for existing for existence’s sake? Is there any point in continuing to work, continuing to live, if it is always going to be this way? It makes any kind of effort or recovery seem pointless. Impossible, even. I don’t know why I’m still here. I wish it was easier not to be.

Written by intothesystem

Friday, 1st August 2008 at 1:33 pm