Into the system…

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Posts Tagged ‘mental illness

Reviewing 2010…

with 5 comments

So everyone seems to be doing the New Years meme. I used to do this years ago back in the days when I wrote on Livejournal and I’ve copied the questions directly from the last time I did it on there (2007), so if it is different to the version everyone else in the madosphere has done, then that will be why. It is a bit weird to see these questions again.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?:

Take Reboxetine, Go InterRailing, Learn to Knit.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?:

I don’t usually make any and I can’t remember if I did last year. It seems unlikely because I was planning to kill myself on 7th January and any more resolutions would have been pointless. I tried and failed at that one.

This year, I haven’t set any firm resolutions, but most of my hopes evolve around recovery. I hope to get back to work full time and stay out of hospital.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?:

Not that I’m aware of!

4. Did anyone close to you die?:

Thankfully not.

5. What countries did you visit?:

Oo. I went InterRailing so I have visited a few this year! I passed through France and visited Belgium, Germany, Poland and Austria.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?:

Proper recovery – I started to recover in 2010, but there’s still a long way to go. I want my life back.

I also want to move house, so a new home is pretty high on my list.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?:

I don’t tend to remember dates very well and the only date that really comes to mind is the 7th Jan for the reason mentioned in answer to question 2.

I think the 29th July was the day that I set off for Europe, so that’s a good one too.

The week beginning the 15th November also sticks in my mind, as it was the week I started my phased return to work.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?:

Travelling around Europe for a couple of weeks on my own and getting back to work, albeit for only a few hours a week.

9. What was your biggest failure?:

I’m not sure it is a good thing that the first thing that comes to mind is my failed suicide attempt. Definitely a failure, but whether that is a good or a bad thing is up to debate depending on my mood.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?:

Mental illness never really goes away. I also battled with side-effects and tummy troubles a lot. My jaw has continued to be a problem too – I have a visit to the Dental Hospital on Monday to see the Temporomandibular Joint specialist. I had a common cold over New Years at both the start of 2010 and 2011 too.

11. What was the best thing you bought?:

Either my InterRail pass or Glastonbury Tickets. My prescription pre-payment certificate should probably be considered too.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?:

Nikki dog’s behaviour merits celebration and reprehension on a daily basis!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?:

Occasionally The Bloke’s, but like Nikki, he can merit celebration too.

Dr M made me pretty appalled at the start of the year, but I don’t mind her so much these days. I may even confess to liking her!

14. Where did most of your money go?:

The usual – rent, food etc. The dog spends a lot of it too!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?:

I don’t tend to get really excited about anything when I’m feeling low. I was quite excited about the InterRail trip, although it was such a spur-of-the-moment thing that I didn’t have much time to get excited about it beforehand. I was quite excited about Glastonbury this year too – I actually felt able to enjoy it!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2010?:

Regina Spektor – Laughing With
Lady Gaga – Just Dance – especially reminds me of watching Dancing on Ice in hospital last January.
Laura Marling – Goodbye England (covered in snow)
The XX – Intro – reminds me of the General Election coverage on the BBC mainly, but also of the start of their set at Glasto.
Marina & The Diamonds – Obsessions – and pretty much the whole album really. She was great live too.
KT Tunstall – Weirdo – and again the whole album and seeing her live.
Miike Snow – Animal – reminds me of InterRailing. They played it a lot in the hostel in Krakow.
Ellie Goulding – Your Song – and again pretty much her whole album.

It has been a good year for music. I’ve certainly listened to a lot more this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i) …happier or sadder?: I’m a million times happier than this time last year. I was on a psych ward having just failed to kill myself, so not exactly at my happiest! Compared to 6 months ago though I’d be sadder.
ii) thinner or fatter?: A lot thinner. I’ve lost over 3 stone since I came out of hospital last February.
iii) richer or poorer?: About the same I think.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?:

Working, writing, knitting, swimming, seeing friends… Lots of things really.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?:

Feeling sick, lying in bed with no motivation, seeing doctors and generally everything related to being ill. Arguing with the bloke comes a close second.

20. How will/did you spend Christmas?:

We spent it in Wolverhampton with the Bloke’s mum and sister. His aunt, uncle and cousin also came over for Christmas dinner. I saw my parents on 27th Dec and a load of friends came around for a big Christmas Dinner on 28th.

21. Has there ever been a question 21?!?

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?:

Nope. Not with anyone or anything new.

23. How many one night stands?:

Again none. A somewhat laughable question for me I think.

24. What were your favourite TV programmes?:

I’ve watched quite a lot of telly in the past year. I love Only Connect – a fiendishly hard quiz, although I have gotten more used to it over the years and it doesn’t seem quite as hard as it used to be.

I enjoyed Sky1’s Must be The Music – it’s a blatant rip off of all TV talent shows, only the people involved had raw talent, write their own stuff and there is no stupid false drama involved. Dizzee Rascal, Sharleen Spiteri and Jamie Cullum judged it and were really good too. The girl that won – Emma’s Imagination was amazing.

I enjoyed Single Father, Lip Service, Mad Men and various other things this year too.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?:

No, not really. I don’t tend to “hate” anyone. I try to avoid people I don’t like.

26. What was the best book you read?:

I read a lot more in the summer than I had in the past few years, but it has tailed off again since autumn. I read 1984 for the first time (ridiculous I know) which was awesome. I enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books (me and everyone else, then!). A Woman in Berlin was interesting too – I picked it up in the airport at Krakow and it was weird to read it only a few days after being in Berlin.

27. What were your greatest musical discoveries?:

I have listened to a lot more music than in the last few years, but I’m not sure how many of those things were new discoveries as such. I’ve enjoyed a lot of female pop and singer/songwriters this year – Ellie Goulding, Marina & The Diamonds, Laura Marling, KT Tunstall, Little Boots, Regina Spektor – although the latter few are hardly new discoveries.

28. What did you want and get?:

I guess some improvement to my mental health is the obvious thing. Getting my drivers license back is pretty good too.

29. What did you want and not get?:

A magic wand? I try not to want too much so I don’t get disappointed.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?:

I saw quite a lot of good films this year. I probably enjoyed Scott Pilgrim most. The Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest was good although I didn’t think The Girl who Played with Fire lived up to my expectations set by the book or the first film. Kick Ass, Toy Story 3 and Winters Bone are also contenders.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?:

I was 24 this year. I had only just come out of hospital. A few of my friends and two of my aunts who live locally all went out for a meal. It was really tasty.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?:

Mental Stability? – I’m surprised that this was part of my answer in 2007, which was long before I was diagnosed with any mentalism. It seems strange to me that at the end of what was a great year, I was still wishing I’d been a bit more stable and spent less time feeling low. I guess I’d somewhat forgotten that I was hardly stable before things fell apart in 2008.

I do think that being more stable and less depressed would have helped, but at least 2010 was an improvement on 200

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?:

I am not sure I do fashion concepts. I tend to wear jeans and some form of longish top or dresses over leggings/bright coloured tights. Now I’m back at work a bit I’m definitely leaning towards the tailored dress look. My suits don’t fit properly any more – too big!

34. What kept you sane?:

I think what sanity I have can be mainly put it down to one thing – Reboxetine (plus Lamotrigine perhaps – I wonder what effect taking Reboxetine on its own would have).

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?:

This always seems like a bit of a silly question to me. I don’t tend to be attracted to celebrities because I tend to need to get to know someone before they become attractive.

I also have a pretty pathetic sex drive these days.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?:

I’ve tended to try and keep a distance from most political arguments of late, mainly because the amount of mindless Tory-bashing has wound me up quite a lot this year and a lot of my friends are raving lefties. I am neither a tory, nor a lefty, but I am getting fed up of the way that people seem to choose opposition for oppositions sake, rather than looking at what is right or wrong about a policy.

I do care a lot about welfare reform and the NHS, but I’m not opposed to changes in the system in the way that some people are. I think we have to face up to the fact that the current systems don’t work and something has to be done.

37. Who did you miss?:

I miss a lot of old friends. I have lost touch with quite a lot of people over the last few years and I’m not as close to others as I used to be. A lot of my uni friends have moved away since we graduated too, so although we still see them occasionally, it’s not the same any more.

38. Who were the ‘best’ new people you met?:

I’ve met some great new friends locally over the past year or so, but I probably couldn’t think of any one person.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

Things can get better and depression may not last forever, yet recovery is not a smooth process either.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I can’t think of one in particular, especially as my year has been up and down. I may come back to this. I’m sure something will come to mind as I’m listening to music sometime this week.

Actually.. I heard You Say Party – There is XXXX (within my heart) the other day and those lyrics fit my mood over the last month or so.

When the morning comes
And the darkness presses on all sides
When the morning comes
I’ll have to fight

I will have a think to see if I can come up with anything more accurate.

_________________

So there we go. Another year, another meme. 2010 hasn’t been all that bad, although it started terribly and went down hill again a little during the last few months. 2011 hasn’t started too badly aside from the terrible cold over New Years, so fingers crossed it will be a good year.

A proper post is on its way. I am trying to get it written. Lots happening at the moment though and I can’t keep up!

Tummy Troubles…

with 14 comments

I am still struggling with the tummy troubles. I have been taking the higher dose (120mg TDS) of Alverine Citrate for a few weeks now and I do think it has helped a little, despite the fact I have also increased the Reboxetine to 8mg in that time. I was getting less cramps at least, although I was still having problems with diarrhoea or constipation all the time. My appetite had improved a little, which must suggest things have been a little better.

Unfortunately that slight improvement has been completely negated by the events of last night. A warning – this post definitely scores high on a rating of too much information!

I had been feeling fine and had enjoyed my dinner of roasted ham, mash, kale and carrots. As I was getting ready for bed and just settling down to watch Newsnight, I got a sudden shooting pain in my tummy and next thing I knew I’d had a somewhat messy accident. :S :( I was so shocked and upset, it took me a second to act and jump into the bathroom (which is within a metre of the bed), although by this point it was far too late anyway. The bloke was horrified and just shouted at me, called me disgusting and hid in the back bedroom, whilst I stripped the bed and took a shower. :( I was feeling pretty rough by this point and thought I might be sick as well, but managed to keep that end under control! The bloke eventually realised I wasn’t very well and that he was being unreasonable and he apologised and started to make the bed. I didn’t know what to do with myself. He wasn’t going to let me in the bed after that, so suggested I got the air-bed out! At least that is plastic and cleanable in case of further episodes. I didn’t expect to sleep much anyway, so decided to do this and settled down under the spare duvet on the lounge floor.

I was awake most of the night and felt pretty rough, but managed to survive without any further accidents. I’m still feeling pretty dodgy now, although by now I could just be hungry. I am too scared to eat anything though.

I don’t really know how to say this, but the poo didn’t look good at all. Very dark brown, sticky, runny and lumpy including some undigested carrots. Not nice at all. The fact it happened so suddenly suggests things aren’t very happy in there either. If I could have done anything about it, I would have. There was no warning at all, except for the shooting pain that came with the attack. It literally came out and exploded like the lid off a pop bottle that had been shaken up. bleugh. Sorry. You don’t need to know that.

The bloke wanted me to book an appointment with Dr N, so I am seeing him this afternoon. I am not sure what he can say or do. I have no idea how I am going to tell him without dying of shame. Part of the reason I am writing this, is to practice describing what happened! I am far too British and shy to talk about poo. Even with a doctor. It has been hard enough to tell him of my tummy troubles so far, but this is an extra level of embarrassment.

I wasn’t sure about writing about this here as it is so embarrassing, but it is the latest thing to happen in the whole tummy troubles saga and something so horrible seemed worthy of note. After all, this blog is an account of some of the more grim elements of mental health. Coping with the side effects of medication is a big part of dealing with mental illness, so I may as well be honest about it.

My bloke was very shocked and not very impressed. He wants me to stop taking the Reboxetine if that is what is causing this. He said he doesn’t like living with an 80 year old. I agree. I don’t enjoy feeling like one.

I had been struggling with the increase in dose aside from this. My sleep has deteriorated and I only find I can sleep properly when the dose wears off in the morning, when I should really be getting up and taking the next dose. It takes ages to get to sleep, I am waking up all the time and struggling to get back off to sleep and I am having nightmares and feeling restless. It is exhausting. I was getting palpitations at night too, immediately after the increase, although that seems to have settled down a little after a couple of weeks at the higher dose. I felt really low in the first week or so too, but that also seems to have improved over the last couple of days, so maybe it is starting to have a more positive effect now. That said, I feel crappy today after the night I’ve had!

I am too scared to stop the Reboxetine though. I don’t want to go back to how I was before. I don’t want to end up really depressed and suicidal again. The perpetual low mood and vague depression of late is draining enough, but that constant despairing depression is much, much worse. I don’t know what alternatives there are. Maybe I should just go med-free and sod all the drugs and their stupid side effects. I still wonder if my mood would have resolved itself a lot faster if I hadn’t have started taking bloody medication. Then again, it may have killed me first.

In good news. I got my driving license back!

I now have a 1 year license, so I need to stay sane over the next year or I will lose it again. Apparently, I will get a form 3 months before it expires to request a renewal. They will go through the medical enquiries again and decide if to reissue. No doubt it will take 5 months again to do that, so I will not be able to drive again for a wee while, but I guess we will see how it goes next time. If I get worse or am told by my doctors to stop driving for whatever reason, I have to let them know and presumably I will have to wait months for them to decide again, so I hope that doesn’t happen.

It is great to have my car back. I am looking forward to going places and having my independence again. I think it will make a big difference in helping my recovery. Being able to go where I want and not having to rely on public transport or lifts from the other half is going to be a massive help. I have a lot more choice about what I do with myself and will be tempted to go out more.

I had a drive on Saturday afternoon after I’d insured and taxed it and it didn’t feel too strange to be back at the wheel. The bloke went with me and we made it in one piece. My left arm has remembered where all the gears are and it felt pretty natural, so I am glad I hadn’t forgotten it all.

On Saturday night we went out in my car and got pulled over by the police! I wasn’t driving, the bloke was. It had flashed up on the policeman’s dash that the car was uninsured – obviously the database hadn’t been updated since I had only insured it that morning. I am glad I wasn’t driving or I’d have panicked. I would say I’d have shat myself, (I think I did on Saturday night!), but I’m not sure that’s appropriate now! *blush* At least we can say the police are on the ball! We were off to a beer festival and although my bloke was only going to have a pint as designated driver, we decided not to take the risk of being pulled over again later, so we left the car and got a taxi back. We went back to get it on Sunday morning and I took my first solo drive, driving my car back. I was okay, although I had forgotten which lanes I needed to be in a couple of times, so I made life harder for myself.

Anyway, I need to get ready for my doctors appointment. I haven’t got dressed yet and am just lying on the sofa with a blanket. Walking around makes me feel worse, so the temptation is to lie here all day. I have a meeting to go to this evening though, so will have to get up eventually.

Edit (3pm): Appointment with Dr N was very embarrassing and not too much help. I had been taking senna daily, plus the occasional dose of lactulose to counteract the constipation I was struggling with, but he thinks that won’t help on the maintaining control front, so I should stop that for now. If I don’t take it, I usually end up in pain and bloated from the constipation within a day. He has given me a script for something else to take if that happens, so we shall see how we go.

We talked about coming off the Reboxetine, but he didn’t think that was worth the risk at all. We don’t know if my mood picked up spontaneously or if the Reboxetine helped, but either way, my mood is a lot better and it doesn’t seem wise to mess around with it. I may have to drop the dose to 6mg if the problems persist, but I was struggling enough on that dose, so don’t suppose it makes much difference.

We talked about sleep and he asked if I wanted to try more sedatives, but neither of us really saw the point as they don’t seem to help all that much. He made the suggestion that actually getting back to work and having more brain stimulus may help, which in theory is true, but I never slept that great when I was at work. Even when I have been busy lately, it hasn’t made any difference, so I’m really not convinced by this. If anything if my brain is busy during the day, I really struggle to slow it down at night, especially if I get anxious too.

Mentioning work, I told him about seeing Dr Occy Health again on Thursday. He thinks I should push to agree a planned return to work as having a structure and plan may help give me something to aim for. I think he is right, although I am wary of the risk of too much, too fast. I told him about going in a couple of times and he agreed that was promising, although I also said that my work are very hesitant to let me rush back. They are being very cautious about how much I can do and when I can do it. I actually got told off for doing work-related activities whilst I was there the other day. We will see though.

Backlash…

with 27 comments

It has been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been popping onto twitter to write a few 140 character updates, but that’s all I’ve had time for. I think the amount of woe on there will suggest how things have been though.

Sadly there was plenty of backlash from the confession about my meds. I had feared it, but hoped it wouldn’t materialise. My bloke was upset. As is often the case when he’s angry, he ignored me and wouldn’t speak to me for a while and then he had a go at me. I know it is understandable that he was upset, but I get fed up of the same argument.

Apparently I don’t want to get better and my illness is all some “stupid teenage fantasy”. It seems I want to think that I’m ill so that I fit in with all my “whiny teenage girl internet friends”. He thinks that we all encourage each other to get worse and that we all want to be part of some stupid mental club. Basically, the argument always boils down to the same thing. Blogging is evil and that everyone that does so is a whiny, faking moron.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t exactly go down well. I try to argue back, but it’s pointless. I can say that I don’t choose this illness. I can say that I am definitely not trying to fit in, but that I appreciate knowing I’m not the only one going through this and the support helps. I can also say that not everyone who blogs is a teenager or a girl and that not every blog I read is about mental illness, but it makes no difference. His mind is set and he will never be happy about my blog.

As well as the argument, he tried to stop me coming on here for a while. He also banned me from meeting up with Em and Kate. We’d arranged to meet up when I had my appointment with DP before Christmas. Instead my bloke took the afternoon off work and drove me to and from the appointment so I couldn’t see them. I hate that he treats me like a child.

I find this so hard. I don’t know what I would do without this space and without the support of my readers, but I am fed up of the arguments. He makes it uncomfortable every time I try and come on here. He moans at me every time I open my laptop. He refers to twitter as “twatting”. He belittles the whole thing and doesn’t see or care how much it hurts me. I have always found the internet a great source of support and he seems hell bent on ruining that.

I’m not sure posting this is a good idea. It will probably only add fuel to the fire, especially so long after the event, but I’m still feeling the consequences. I feel guilty whenever I come on here. I feel like a naughty girl defying her parents, and it shouldn’t be like that. I wish it wasn’t.

I have other things to post about. My last appointment with DP, Christmas, the end of the year/decade… but I don’t suppose I’ll get much chance this week.

To illustrate the point, he just came over, looked at my laptop and saw I was writing. Then said “for crying out loud” and walked off. Just these little digs all the time are making it all harder.

*sigh*

Written by intothesystem

Wednesday, 30th December 2009 at 12:15 pm

EAP Therapy…

with 4 comments

I’m still not able to face the draft I started the other day, but here’s hoping I can try and complete a post for once.

In my last proper post I mentioned the EAP and the fact I was being referred to a therapist nearer to here. An appointment was arranged with a therapist based in Manchester and I attended last Thursday. The appointment basically consisted of CORE form filling. I knew I would have these forms to complete. I had the same forms to complete last time I used the EAP service, but I hadn’t expected them to take the whole session. I had expected the chance to at least talk a little.

The thing is, I don’t think I’d have talked given the chance anyway. I wasn’t comfortable with him and less so after completing the forms. I think he was surprised to have a client who could tick the inpatient boxes and the high risk sections. I’m not sure he knew how to deal with someone who suffers from severe mental illness as opposed to the work-place stress and occasional bereavement that he will be used to. I may have been paranoid, but it almost felt like he was scared of me. Don’t get me wrong. He seemed nice enough and I think he would have been good with his usual clients, but it just wasn’t a fit.

So. I rang back the EAP and told them I’d quite like to see someone else if possible. The original telephone counsellor had made a point of ensuring I knew I could do this before the therapist was allocated, yet I still felt like a nuisance. They got back to me though and told me they were trying someone else. The next day I had a missed call and voicemail from DP, my old EAP therapist. His number was still in my phone so I knew it was him before I’d even checked the voicemail. He had remembered me. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. I called him back and we made an appointment for Wednesday.

I am in two minds about seeing him again. I’d mentioned the other day that I was secretly hoping I’d be referred back to DP, but I’m now wondering if that is wise. I guess at least I know that I can talk to him. He knows some of my history (although an awful lot has happened since our last appointment!!).

I’m scared though too. When I last saw him, I was one of those work-place stress and bereavement cases that EAP therapists are used to. I was not the mentally ill patient, that has been through the system. Admittedly I was in denial about my mental illness back then. It was definitely there and I even started to enter the system as a result of our appointments, but I hadn’t tried to kill myself, been in hospital and the rest. Will he know how to handle someone with severe mental illness or will he be just as clueless as last week’s therapist?

I also looked back through the emails we’d exchanged last year. I remembered with horror that I’d sent him the URL to this blog! After our appointments had finished we’d been in touch a couple of times. I’d given him an update as to what had happened after seeing my GP and telling my bloke. I guess the fact I shared this blog with him, shows that I trusted him, but I had never expected to see him again. I don’t know if he’ll remember. Shortly after I emailed him this blog was found by my partner and I stopped writing for a while. I suspect if he did read he would have given up then.

I wonder if I should just remind him this blog exists, but I am a little scared about sharing it with a professional, especially one who will be in touch with my GP and CMHT. It would be easier than explaining things though. We only have three appointments (the one with the first guy still counts from my allocated four), so it will help speed things along.

I don’t know. We will see what happens tomorrow.

Written by intothesystem

Tuesday, 8th December 2009 at 3:33 pm

Waste of Time…

with 15 comments

So I saw Dr D today for the second time. My social worker came in with me, along with a junior doctor who looked about 12.

I didn’t know where to start. I had taken some notes with me which helped a little, but I’m not sure how much he actually paid attention. I ended up having to explain most of my notes when he questioned me.

It seems he doesn’t really know what to do with me. He asked about antidepressants again, but when I reeled off the list of medication I’ve tried, he said I’ve pretty much exhausted the list. He decided to just leave my meds as they are. I’m a little disappointed about this. Although my current medication regime is the best combination so far (as in I haven’t gone *completely* batshit crazy on it), it’s hardly doing the job. I was hoping he’d have a suggestion of something else we could add. It just feels that by leaving the meds as they are, nothing is being done to try and improve things.

I brought up the subject of work and when I was likely to go back. He told me I’m still very ill and that I shouldn’t try to run before I can walk. Clich├ęd I know. I still find it weird when I’m told that I’m seriously ill. I guess as much as I do know differently, I still have those niggling thoughts that mental illness isn’t real illness. Everyone else’s prejudices still rub off on your subconscious.

I tried to push the subject saying that work were interested to know when I was likely to start a return to work. He just told me not to think about work. He just said the usual things about mental illness not having any exact time-scales. Apparently the CMHT are trying to get me better as fast as they can. I’m not exactly convinced. It feels like nothing has been done to try and get me better so far.

I also brought up driving and he just reiterated the need for me to be “stable”. He didn’t give any indication of what that means, just that I am not well enough to drive at the moment. Apparently all of these things will just happen when I am well again and I shouldn’t think about them. Easier said than done.

I mentioned the EAP therapy and he agreed that it might be helpful for me to have some support whilst waiting for the Enhanced Day Therapies referral to come through. Useless social worker, J was meant to chase up my EDT referral but hasn’t, so we shall see if she does it now she’s been reminded by Dr D. I think he was quite pleased to hear this about temporary therapy because it meant he didn’t have to do anything now himself!

The appointment didn’t last long and just felt like a complete waste of time. Apparently I will see him again early next year. No doubt it will be more of the same.

Regarding the EAP service. Yesterday, I was contacted by one of their counsellors to book an appointment. Unfortunately they were based in Liverpool, which is a two hour trek by bus from here (train would cost me money, bus is free!). I contacted the EAP today to ask if there was anyone I could see in Manchester. They’d linked me to someone in Liverpool because my address comes under Warrington, but Manchester is actually much easier and closer. Unfortunately all of their counsellors in Manchester are currently unavailable, but one comes back from holiday at the end of the week so they are going to ask them then. I guess we shall have to see what happens. If they can’t do it then I will probably give the Liverpool guy a go, but I’m not sure if it will be worth it with all the travelling.

Meh. I really feel crap now. Headache is raging (come on Propanolol! Work!!) and I just feel really demoralised by the crapness of the CMHT.

Written by intothesystem

Tuesday, 24th November 2009 at 6:31 pm

Doctors and EAPs…

with 6 comments

I saw Dr N on Thursday. It was good to have him back.

I wasn’t really with it at the appointment. I couldn’t focus and didn’t know what to say. I have felt pretty numb over the past few weeks and I couldn’t convey how I felt. At one point he just said “Are you okay? Have you been sleeping? You seem like you’re on another planet”. I told him that sleeping was a silly question, which he admitted, but he was right. I was very tired and vague. The fact he’d noticed though was good. It makes a change from other doctors that clearly pay no attention to how you really are.

I explained that I’d been having problems with headaches over the past couple months. I’ve literally had a headache every day for about 3 months, sometimes incredibly intense pain, other times just a dull ache, but nearly always there in some form. Beta Blockers are meant to be effective in preventing headaches, so he was a little concerned seeing as I’m already taking propanolol (for anxiety/agitation). We’ve decided to increase the dose and also switch to the modified release version so I’m now taking 160mg daily instead of 40mg b.d. Hopefully it will have some effect.

On Friday I got a phone call from HR. I have a new HR Rep, R. She introduced herself a couple of months ago, but hasn’t been in touch since. She was meant to call me regularly but hasn’t, so it was quite a long catch up. She asked me about therapy referrals, my social worker and psychiatrist. I told her there wasn’t much to say. Therapy referrals take forever, my social worker is still useless and I don’t see my psychiatrist until tomorrow.

She asked me when my last occupational health assessment was. It was over a year ago, so she said she will look into that again. I don’t know what an OH assessment will achieve. I get the impression they only want me to go so that work can say they are doing something to help. I don’t think there will be any pressure on me to get back to work, but I may be wrong. I guess it depends on the doctor I see. I have the same fears I had about the ESA medical. Fears they will tell me that I am making it all up and should just go to work.

If I do go, I wonder if I will see the same doctor as last time. He seemed to be pretty knowledgeable when it came to mental illness and was the first medic to suggest that Bipolar Disorder was a possibility. Shame it took a further 7 months before an agreement was reached on that topic. When I’d brought up his thoughts later with other doctors they didn’t seem interested. I guess they wanted to make their own decisions.

It may be useful to discuss work though. I haven’t managed to get much of an idea from the CMHT about when they think I will be ready to go to work. I am going to try and talk about it with the psych tomorrow. Dr N keeps asking me if I’ve heard anything from HR or whatever, but there hasn’t been anything to tell. I told him about my medical result too and I think he was a little surprised I’d been placed in the support group, although I think it also told him how ill I’d been on the day of the medical. I am not sure he quite understood how bad it was when I’d told him before.

The other thing R mentioned was regarding our company Employee Assistance Programme. I was told that they had been running a CBT trial and maybe I should consider asking about it. I told her I was pretty skeptical about CBT, but it could be useful to have some contact with a therapist whilst I am waiting for the NHS to do something. I agreed I’d give them a call anyway.

I was on the phone to the EAP for ages. First of all someone took my details and asked why I was calling. I explained I’d been told about CBT by my HR rep. She explained that they only offered telephone and online CBT (I’m guessing Beating The Blues!). I told her I wasn’t sure about that, but she said she’d put me through to the counselling team for an assessment and to discuss what might be helpful.

The counsellor was lovely. I explained I’d been on long-term sick leave for mental illness and that HR had suggested I got in touch. He asked me for a potted history, which I gave him as quickly as I could manage. At the end he just kinda went “oh, blimey”. I mentioned I’d had CBT whilst at The Priory and he asked me what I thought of it. I was honest and said that I was pretty skeptical and generally thought it was common sense, useful for mild depression, but ineffective for me. He asked me why I’d even bothered calling then, which was a sensible question. I said that I guess I thought it might be useful to have some contact with therapy whilst waiting for the NHS. Apparently his assessment of CBT was similar to mine and he didn’t think online CBT was going to be much help. He explained that usually a case like mine would be too complex for them to consider, but he wanted to help. He suggested that because I am waiting for long-term support, but I’m not getting the help I need currently, he felt it might be possible to refer me to the face-to-face service temporarily. It would only be four assessment appointments, but it might help me to work out what I want to work on when my NHS referral actually comes through. I agreed that this may be helpful. He asked me more questions then. Mainly about risk and safety. He stressed that his boss wouldn’t allow him to go through with it if they felt I was at too much risk. I had to give him the assurance I would be safe for the next four weeks, which was difficult even now. I am keeping myself safe at the moment, but I don’t know if or when that will change. At the end of the call he explained he would need to ask his boss to authorise my case, but hopefully it would be okay and then he wished me luck.

I am awaiting the phone call back to arrange my first appointment. He said if his line manager had refused he would call me back straight away and I didn’t hear anything, so I’m hopeful. I do think it could be good to just see someone for a few weeks. I don’t trust my social worker and have very little other support. In some ways I’m hoping it will be the same therapist I saw through the EAP back in April/May 2008, but I don’t suppose it will be, but you never know.

I need to go now. I have more to write, but no time. My bloke is going back to work part-time and I have the psychiatrist tomorrow. I guess I will update more soon.

Assisted Suicide…

with 5 comments

Yesterday, a conversation with my sister got me thinking. She was telling me about someone she knows whose son fell several stories from a window in a tragic accident and he is now tetraplegic and currently unable to talk. We were talking about how that would leave him with no quality of life and that we’d rather be dead than be left in that situation.

The conversation then moved onto assisted suicide, because he of course is so disabled he would not be in the position to take his own life. It probably comes of no surprise that I agree with assisted suicide and would support it in this case. I think a lot of people would agree with me in this case and for other chronic physical conditions.

However, I wonder how many people will agree with me that assisted suicide is the logical outcome for someone with a severe chronic mental condition too. I feel as if I am teetering on the edge of falling into that category. I feel as if my condition is affecting my quality of life such that life is not worth living and I am potentially facing the fact that I am living with a severe and chronic condition.

I am currently holding on with the hope that my new medication might be able to help, but I have little hope. I’ve tried so many medications I’ve lost count (It’s around 20!). How is this one going to make any difference? I feel as if I wouldn’t be able to hold on if I was given the choice, but I am not.

I am still absorbing my new diagnosis. I saw Dr G today and she said that she was leaning towards the same conclusion of Dr P and is going to follow his recommendations. I am trying to hold onto the hope that this is a positive thing, because it gives me a label to understand and finally means that there will be a change of tactics in terms of treatment, but I am struggling to handle the thoughts that bipolar II means that I will be struggling with this for life. Even if we find a way to manage the condition better than we do right now and if this episode eventually passes, it is still likely that I will go through further periods of depression and will again feel as crap as I have done over the past year.

I am not being discharged for a week now. We were thinking Friday, but with a medication change, next Wednesday seems better. That is when my insurance runs out, so is the logical end for the admission. I cannot afford to self-fund any longer and I have been here so long, a full ten weeks, that I have done most of the therapy on offer here and I’m starting to get bored. It is time to move on, but preparation for discharge is difficult and stressing me out. I am anxious about leaving and entering the real world. There is a lot for me to handle out there and I’m not sure I can manage it. Time will tell.