Into the system…

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Posts Tagged ‘support

Back in time…

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It felt very strange to see DP again yesterday. It was like going back in time.

On my way there I was trying to remember what he looked like, but all that came to mind was the fact he was bald. When I got to the therapy centre, it took me a minute or two to recognise the building. It kinda made me realise how fuzzy my memory is of last year. I still blame ECT.

Memories started to come back though. Silly things like waiting in the kitchen until he was ready, taking off your shoes (both of us without undoing them!) and the blue sofas lined up against the wall.

We didn’t dwell on the paperwork. CORE outcome measure form and a couple of consent forms and that was it. A pleasant contrast to last week’s 50 minute form filling marathon!

Then of course he turned to me and asked me to start. I knew he would sit there in silence for the full hour if necessary, so it didn’t take me long to get going. I had taken notes with me, hoping I could update him on the last 18 months quickly without having to say anything. Sadly he wanted me to talk over things myself. I kinda knew that was coming.

I went over the main points. Last summer, The Priory, February’s overdose, ECT, Bipolar diagnosis and since. All the stuff I’ve been over a million times now. I can’t really remember, but I don’t think he said much at this point. He never did say much. I think he was a little shocked though.

The conversation moved onto what use the sessions are going to be. He seemed doubtful as to whether there was any point in working together for only four sessions. I explained the theory – that it would give me a little support in the interim and help me identify areas to work on long-term, but I am not sure he agreed. I am wondering if he just doesn’t want to work with me again. I am worried that I might have scared him off. I don’t know. I feel quite paranoid about it all.

We talked about how things are now. He asked what the current situation was care-wise, family-wise etc. I filled in some gaps. We talked about my mood too and that being what it is at the moment we got onto the question of self-harm and suicide. I think he was a little concerned and possibly a little panicked. I do wonder if he is used to dealing with this, but then surely most people in therapy have considered such things?

He pointed out that my risk level means I am a “red flag” client and he will need to talk to the EAP about whether or not we should continue. I remembered this from last time. I was a red flag last year and I’m not sure there has been a time since when that status would have been lifted. I am wondering if he is using this as a way to escape me. The other EAP therapist didn’t bring it up, but nothing has changed really when it comes to risk levels. I pointed out that the EAP were aware of my situation when they took me on this time and I hope that means it won’t be a problem, but he said he still wanted to talk to them.

He asked me about a verbal contract too. He wanted me to give my assurance that I won’t do anything to harm myself whilst I am seeing him for therapy. A repeat of the request from the EAP counsellor really. I struggled to give it, not because I have plans to do anything, but for other reasons. I think part of the reason is not wanting the added guilt. The guilt I get from wanting to break those assurances, because the suicidal thoughts are still so strong. I feel bad for even having the thoughts. I guess my reluctance is also to do with the fact I don’t trust myself any more and don’t see the point if I can break my promise. I had given my assurance to people I wouldn’t act when I made the attempt back in February and it wasn’t enough. I have assured myself enough times that I shouldn’t act, yet it wasn’t enough in the end. There have been other times though that making a promise to someone has been enough to make me think more than twice, so maybe it is worth it.

Towards the end we talked about next steps.

He thinks I should be getting more NHS support at the moment. I think he may be right, but I wonder what support there is. What point is there in the crisis team? I’m perpetually in crisis and I don’t think it would be helpful. What point is there in contacting the CMHT or asking for a urgent psych appointment? Useless social worker, J is on holiday and Dr D didn’t know what to do with me when I saw him last month anyway. What point is there in bothering Dr N any more than I already do? He has nothing more to offer me.

As we finished up, DP told me to email or text if I need to, which I am grateful for. I guess the fact he offered that option shows he cares and is trying to help. He certainly didn’t have to.

Overall the session was hard work and quite strange, but I left feeling relieved. I think it was helpful. I don’t know though. It is hard to tell.

In other news, today I had a phone call from the therapist I saw last week wondering where I was. The EAP had forgotten to contact him to say I wouldn’t be seeing him again. I wish I’d cancelled myself now, but I just didn’t know what to say. I feel bad that he was waiting for me. I hope the EAP pay him for the mix-up!

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 10th December 2009 at 10:05 pm

Discharge…

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So it is official. I am being discharged from The Priory by Dr G. I contacted her yesterday about the outcomes of my NHS appointment and her secretary called me back to say she will sort out the discharge paperwork and copy all my notes to send over to the CMHT. I knew it was coming, but it was still a little weird to know the decision has been made and put into action.

I am really going to miss her support. In a couple of days it will be a year since I first met her and a lot has happened in that year. She has been there through everything and has done her best to help. I wouldn’t be here by now if it wasn’t for her. On many an occasion my promise to her to keep going has stopped me acting. I am not going to say I’m grateful for that, because I still wish I wasn’t here, but I am sure my family are grateful.

Mood wise I’ve come back down from last week. Things started to calm down on Friday and by the weekend I was back to numb, monotonous depression. I’m missing the buzz from last week and disappointed that the promise of hypomania hasn’t been fulfilled, but in a way I am glad it is over. Impulsivity is always a real risk when I am wired like that. The flat depression isn’t fun either though. I am so bloody bored of feeling like this. Able to function, but wishing I wasn’t. Stuck in some kinda half-existence, where I go through the motions but feel so little and care even less. In a way it is better to feel worse, because at least then you are feeling something.

Today I was interviewed for local radio. Next week they are focussing on mental health in the run up to World Mental Health day on 10th October. The BBC came to Creative Remedies this afternoon as they want to feature the scheme on one of the shows. I was a little surprised when the staff asked if they could interview me. I had no idea what I was going to say, but managed to get through it and hopefully with a little editing I will sound half-coherent. I’m not quite sure why the outreach team picked me as I’ve not been going for long, but I guess I come across as fairly confident and talkative in sessions, where as a lot of people are quiet and reserved.

The team were asking me about ideas for advertising and improving the scheme. There are a lot of things they could do with it so it will be interesting to see how things go and what suggestions get implemented. They also want to set up a website about the sessions and to have somewhere to display our work. Of course I have experience in that area, so it looks like I’m going to work on that with P, one of the outreach workers. I think the team are quite keen to make use of my skills!

Not much else to report. Life goes on.

Written by intothesystem

Wednesday, 30th September 2009 at 8:13 pm

Trying to talk…

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I have struggled to write this week. I have sat and stared at the screen many times, but failed to pull anything together.

Twice this week I’ve brought up the problems that I mentioned in this post (basically thinking about splitting up with my bloke but feeling that I can’t for various reasons) with professionals and both times I found little solace or support. I tried to convey just how much distress this is causing me, but I seemed to fail. It’s frustrating when you are expected to talk to people about things, yet when you do you get little in return. I need to work this out in my head, but feel stuck. The thoughts are feeding my feeling of hopelessness and of course that only encourages the negative thoughts. It is making me worse yet it seems to be seen as a distraction and not worth talking about.

The first person to fail to help was my CMHT worker who I saw on Monday. I tried to talk to her but found it really difficult. She kept trying to use the “think positively” stick and didn’t seem to want to listen. She also tried to explain to me the effects of mental illness a million times. As if I don’t know them already! I hate being patronised. Generally the whole conversation was awkward. I hope things improve or there’s no way I’m going to be able to work with her long term.

Then on Tuesday I saw my therapist at The Priory. She also failed to grasp how much I am struggling. It was our last session so she was keen not to talk about new topics. It didn’t seem to occur to her that I’d have liked to use the session to help rather than just talk about superficial things. I guess she didn’t want to leave me stranded if we didn’t cover everything.  I don’t know how I feel about it being our last session. I don’t know how useful the sessions have been, but it was always something in my calendar each week. A constant in a world of uncertainty.

Today has been my last day of day care at The Priory. It hasn’t hit me yet but I am going to miss it. I’ve been going for therapy there since October and it has been a big part of my life. I’ve spent over 3 months living there!. I will be back a couple of times yet to see Dr G, but other than that it’s all over. I will miss the empathy and support you get there. I will miss the time out to think. I will miss the food. It is going to be a big loss and I’m not sure how I will deal with it. I know I will have to leave sometime, but I wish I was leaving through choice and because things were on the up, not because of money and NHS politics.

I think I’m going to have to give up now. I can’t write right now. My head is in pieces.

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 16th July 2009 at 8:31 pm

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.

I'm Nervous…

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Tomorrow I have two important meetings and I have no idea what I want to say at either of them. I find myself sitting here, wanting to write, wanting to find some coherance, wanting to untangle the mess of thoughts in my head. I don’t want to go into either meeting unprepared, yet the uselessness of my brain leaves me with little choice as I sit here stuck, unable to express myself. I’m mute.

The first meeting is scaring me the most. My psychiatrist’s secretary called on Thursday to book a meeting with my partner. I was not in, so he booked the appointment. I do not know why the appointment has been requested. I didn’t request it myself, but Dr G must have. We had talked about having a joint session in the past, but only an hour before this phonecall I was talking to my therapist and she agreed that we should wait a while longer before we do. So I’m scared. I’m going into a room with both my partner and my psychiatrist and I have no idea what is going to be said by either of them and unless my head starts working any time soon, I’m not going to have any idea of what I’m going to say either. I want to know why Dr G suddenly requested this meeting. What prompted her to do so? Questions like this are floating around my head and I can’t make head nor tail of them. I just feel lost in this thought soup.

The second meeting is the most important. It is the meeting with the CMHT. The meeting I’ve been waiting weeks for. Two people will arrive at my house and expect me to recall everything that has been going on in the last few months. Hell, they’ll probably want everything that has been going on in the past year or longer! I don’t know where to start. I am preoccupied by this constant suicidal thinking. I am preoccupied by my inability to think. I am meant to try and convince these people I need support and that they can support me, yet I don’t know what will happen. I suspect I will go into automatic coping mode, pretend I’m fine and they’ll go away wondering why they’d been told to come and assess me.

I just know that tonight is going to be a long one. The anxiety is building and it makes me feel sick.

Written by intothesystem

Monday, 18th May 2009 at 5:26 pm

A Little Shaky…

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Just a short post from me today as I’m posting from my mobile.

Yesterday, I had my appointment with Dr N. Afterwards I was left more confused and clueless than beforehand. The NHS are hopefully going to provide community support and work with The Priory but at the moment nothing seems to be organised and neither party knows what the other is doing. I was left panicking that I will be left on my own with no support. There is only one possible outcome if that happens.

Today, things are more positive. I saw Dr G and she reassures me that things are in hand. She wants everyone to work together but is aware that may not be possible or straightforward. If things don’t work out as hoped she is sure something else can be arranged that will give me some support. I just hope she is right.

My past experience of NHS mental health services, or rather my trust have been shaky at best. Dr G assures me that her experiences with them have only been positive so I hope that with her on board then maybe mine will be too. Time will tell.

As for shakiness. The Depakote seems to have given me a tremor. I can’t control my hands and it is making typing this post on my phone harder than normal. I feel a little dodgy in general today. Dr G said that is to be expected as my meds are being tweaked so much, but it still sucks. I’m coming off the Duloxetine now. Still on amitriptaline. Reducing my aripiprazole and adding the Depakote. It’s no wonder is it? No other side effects seem to be a problem so far with the Depakote but it’s early days.

Aside from talking about NHS involvement, we also talked about my diagnosis and it is confirmed as Bipolar II disorder. I am glad to have Dr G agree with Dr P and make things clear for me, but it is still sinking in. I don’t really know how I feel. I need to think about it some more. The clarity is positive though. Maybe it will bring about a better route in terms of treatment. Things have to improve. They can’t continue to be as hopeless as they have been.

Anyway. I should stop rambling. More soon…

Should I go…?

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I have an appointment to see my GP later. I don’t really know why I am going. I originally made the appointment to sort out medication, but then realised I needed to get the prescription last week before my All I Can Eat Certificate expired. I managed to get that sorted out by asking one of the other doctors to do the repeat and adjust my dosage (as requested by Dr G). This means the main impetus for seeing Dr. N is gone. I do need another sick note as I forgot to get one last time I saw him and my current one is out of date, but that’s not all that important. I don’t want to feel like I am wasting his time, yet I still want to see him. Considering I’d do anything to avoid doctors appointments in the past it’s funny that today I want to go and I don’t really have a reason to be there. Yes, I am actually ill, but there’s not much he can do. It’s probably as useful as going to the doctors with a cold. I feel like I am not worthy of his time.

I don’t really know what to say. I’ve been shaky over the past few days and up and down. I was very restless and agitated on Saturday morning. My partner battled with me to try and get me to sit still and calm down, but the more he tried, the more I found myself resisting. I was giggly and unable to stay still. I just wanted to be on the go and doing things. I didn’t want to stop, as my mind was racing. This was short-lived and by evening I felt very drained. I was very low in the evening and felt withdrawn. This mood continued on Sunday, although I was a little better by afternoon. We visited my relatives (Grandma and Aunts), which was weird, as they still do not know about my illness. White lies about work were necessary to keep up the illusion and I hate it. I know I should tell them, but I don’t know where to start. This side of the family are not known for their sympathy towards depression.

So, what do I say to my GP? I wonder if I should just cancel, but I find myself not wanting to. I want to see him, although I don’t know why. I wonder if he can just give me a bit of moral support. I think I need some encouragement to get me through the next few days. I’m tired and fed up of this endless depression. I am frustrated about treatment. I think I need someone sensible to convince me things will change, although I don’t know how much use he will be. I don’t know what to say to him. I don’t know where to start.