Into the system…

blogging, work, mental health, therapy, disability, benefits and more…

Posts Tagged ‘swimming

A long week…

with 8 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August/September: New GP, New Meds…

with one comment

Late August: New GP & Citalopram

After weeks of frustration with my previous GP, Dr L, I finally plucked up the courage to see a new doctor at the practice. Thankfully, Dr L went on holiday so I had a perfect excuse to try someone else. I booked an appointment with one of the two new doctors, Dr N. He was fantastic and it was so good to see someone who actually listened, didn’t patronise me in any way and didn’t try to rush me out of his room the second I arrived. More importantly, he agreed that the Fluoxetine had been doing me no favours. He took me off the Fluoxetine and then started me on Citalopram 20mg. The Citalopram eased the nausea situation and didn’t seem to have any awkward side effects, although it didn’t appear to be doing much, if anything to ease my mood.

Late August/Early September:

Things pretty much continued as before with me spending time at home, feeling terrible. I was becoming increasingly suicidal, struggling with self harm and unable to see any hope for change. The Citalopram did not seem to be helping to lift my mood at all. My partner tried to get me to keep busy, setting me lists of chores and I also spent a lot of time baking and swimming to try and distract myself, but it wasn’t helping. I was doing all the right things: exercising, trying to think positive, seeing Dr N regularly, taking the pills etc.,etc., but my mood continued to plunge, which made me feel more and more frustrated and upset.

Written by intothesystem

Monday, 17th November 2008 at 7:39 pm

into the present…

with 4 comments

Moving away from the topic of work for a minute and thinking about how I am right this moment is not all that easy. Many of the thoughts about when I might return to work and if I’m actually any better are still on my mind, but there are other things too, alongside a fairly high presence of suicidal thoughts. I guess my slight improvement was fairly short-lived, although I’m not quite in the same place that I was on Friday morning.

I think I’m going to take a break from my laptop for a few hours and see if that brings about any improvement. Finding the energy and motivation to do anything is not easy though. I guess I still need to pay my daily trip the pool, but the thought is tiring in itself. My partner has also set me a challenge – one that I’d usually relish (it involves web design, proper WordPress and other joys like that), but right now it’s not really something I fancy (oh, it’s that age old thing of not wanting to do the things you love again!).

I have the doctors tomorrow. I’m going to ask for the meds. I think that in itself tells a story. I’m scared though. What if they don’t work? I read this somewhere the other day, as justification for not wanting to take meds and I agree. It was comforting to have this last-ditch option available to me, so I’m scared that I’m now having to use it. Where would I be if they don’t work and what if I have to rely on meds forever? I’m scared at the prospect, but I suppose I need to do something. I guess we shall see what happens.

I do just wish this would all go away. I just wish *I* could go away, but maybe that isn’t the answer either? *sigh*

Written by intothesystem

Wednesday, 16th July 2008 at 2:09 pm

improving a little…

with 5 comments

I feel a little better. I think.

Even only a couple days later, I find it hard to remember quite how low I was. Reading back what I wrote on Friday is slightly worrying, because it is weird to think when you feel a little better, that only a couple days ago you wanted to kill yourself.

On Friday afternoon I did eventually make it to the pool and spent a couple hours faking normalcy, but I retained an unhealthy obsession over suicide for much of the day. Somehow I retained the little scrap of fight though, enough to keep me here at least.

I woke up still feeling low on Saturday, but ready to switch into normal-everything-is-ok-mode, as my sister was due to arrive at lunchtime. She was coming to visit for the weekend and as she doesn’t know anything about what has happened and I don’t intend for my family to find out, I had no choice but to spend a weekend pretending I felt fine. Pretending you are okay when you’re really feeling awful is difficult, but I’m well practised. Even still, by Saturday night I had a splitting headache and had had enough.

Sunday was a lazy morning. My sister tends to get up late, so it was a good excuse for me to be lazy too. In the afternoon we went to see Antony Gormley’s, Another Place at Crosby Beach. I was still in a weird mood and was preoccupied by the idea that the figures were wandering out to sea to their deaths, wishing I could just join them, but knowing my partner and sister were with me it was pointless thinking like that. Our visit was only short – we were going to stay out longer, but had forgotten suncream and got hideously muddy in the quick-sand. I guess by pretending to feel normal, it was becoming easier to believe it really. I guess my mood did start to improve a little and the gorgeous weather was definitely helping.

This morning I don’t know how I feel. I feel better, but I think I’ve only returned to that numb state of being able to function, but not feeling all that great. I’m not desperately suicidal right now, but I still feel low.. I wouldn’t mind that much if I died, but am not in a position to DIY.

What is strange with all this, is how these awful, crushing, suicidal lows can be so fleeting. I find myself wondering why I drop to such lows so quickly, but then come back up to this moderately-depressed state just as quick as I’d fallen. It scares me that one day I won’t come back up. I also find myself frustrated as I don’t know what to do with myself when I fall down there. What happens if I do give up the fight and give in to the thoughts? All I might have needed is a couple more days and I might have come back up again. What is frustrating is I won’t remember all of this next time I fall. I will feel completely overwhelmed and unable to cope, just as I have time and time again before.

Aside from that, I wonder if this nothingness, moderate depression is the best I can hope for. It seems to be my normal state these days – so maybe that is normal? I know I haven’t tried medication and that might be what I need to push this to normal, normal, but then I wonder if it will really help, or if I am naturally like this. Maybe I’m not meant to feel anything. Maybe a low mood is normal? What would I know? I’ve nothing to compare it to.

The other thing I wonder is, when is it okay to ask for help? How do I take myself seriously when I know that it might pass, but then again, what happens if a) it doesn’t or b) it’s too late. I don’t know if to tell my GP about the mood I crashed into at the end of last week or not. Does she need to know, or is it more important that I’m feeling a little better now? I don’t want her to keep me off work any longer than I have to, so I am reluctant to let her know I had a relapse, yet I also don’t want to keep relapsing. I just don’t know what to think any more.

Written by intothesystem

Monday, 14th July 2008 at 5:05 pm

no interest in life…

with 2 comments

I’m feeling low this morning. I’ve woken up with a headache and can’t find any motivation to move. I managed to grab my laptop from under the bed and that’s as far as I’ve got.

Wednesday was a nothing day. I didn’t make it to the pool. Ben folds was more than disappointing (sound quality was so bad we left before he finished). Thursday was better in the morning, descending to rubbish in the evening. I made it to the pool first thing, as I had to give my bloke a lift to work. Swimming does help, albeit temporarily, but it can still be so difficult to motivate myself to go. In the evening, I was meeting a friend for dinner and a catch-up. It was difficult. I wasn’t feeling very sociable and conversation was fairly awkward. Had dinner, dropped him back at his and then left early. The rainbows were beautiful though. My drive back was probably not all that safe. I felt terrible and wasn’t concentrating properly. I couldn’t see any point in making it home and was tempted to just keep driving, driving up the motorway, past junction 7 and not stopping until I reached the sea. I didn’t and I made it home safely, although I think this was more autopilot than will. I do scare myself sometimes. I wonder if I should be allowed to drive when I’m at my worst. I’m not sure I would if people knew what I was thinking.

I still want to run away. I think about driving off somewhere, just driving and seeing where I end up, seeing what happened. The thing is, in this state of mind I suspect the result wouldn’t be pretty. I wouldn’t want to bring anyone else down with me and I wouldn’t want to bring out the wombles (reference to Top Gear), so I tell myself not to. I think about just taking a train instead, but wonder if it really is possible to just disappear and start again. I suspect it wouldn’t be any easier. At least if I was dead, I wouldn’t have to live with the consequences. It would be the easier option, but still not easy. I know that. I’m not sure I can do it, but I wish I had the courage. As I’ve said before, a failed attempt would be worse than just carrying on, so it makes things harder, but then what if I could ensure it wouldn’t fail? Would I be able to then? It’s all fantasy, but it’s one that I find myself obsessing over. I have a plan and means, but no time frame at the moment. I have no stress, nothing to trigger that “I must do it now” moment, but I wonder if I’m losing the need for that trigger. Work used to be my trigger – something went wrong and I wanted to do it there and then, but at that point I rarely had the means.

I find myself thinking about the future and being scared that I don’t see one. My friend last night was talking about how things will probably change dramatically in the next five years and he could see himself finding someone, getting married and having kids. I don’t see any of that. I’m engaged, but I can’t imagine making it to a wedding, certainly not my own. My sister keeps asking me to start planning – sending me links to possible venues and dresses and I have no interest, none at all. I wish she’d shut up and leave me alone, as she doesn’t know she is only making me more desperate for the nonsense to stop. A friend of mine just had a scare – an ectopic pregnancy, resulting in emergency surgery. She is okay and I’m glad. She didn’t want a child and didn’t even know she was pregnant, but I think it has shaken her up. It shook me up too. I can’t imagine having children. I don’t feel capable of making babies, but that was a reminder that I am. I don’t want that reminder. I couldn’t be a mother, not like this, although I know my partner wants them and not even far off in the future, but in the next few years. I can’t do that. I think about my return to work, my career and I can’t even imagine that at the moment. I love my job, but I can’t face it. I see the emails about work and it makes me want to cry. Worse, the thought of going back and dealing with them makes me want to die.

I really do see no future. I see no point in carrying on with this endless battle. I don’t want to fight.

Part of me of course does want to fight. I wouldn’t write here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t have seen my GP 4 weeks ago or whenever it was. The thing is, that part isn’t strong enough. I know I should go back to my GP now and tell her all of this, but I can’t. I know I should give in and accept medication, but I can’t. I know I should get out of bed right now and go to the pool and feel better, but I can’t. I will. I will do it, but I don’t know where the fight will come from.

My partner forces me to fight. I complain when he tells me to do chores and stop wasting my life, but ultimately my fear of making him angry and disappointed does tug on a little bit of me and make me do things. I don’t want to and sometimes the stress of my failure makes me worse, but when I’m less bad it helps. I’m not sure how long though I can put up with this and I’m not sure how long this will help. It’s getting harder to find the courage and motivation to do things. I’m finding it harder to listen to him, because all I want to do is be alone and escape, but I still find myself putting on the washing or tidying up. It’s like there’s this bit of me that carries on regardless of how the rest of my brain is screaming to stop. I have this autopilot that operates and keeps me alive and I wonder if I can stop it. On the outside, I maintain composure and no one knows that all of this is going on. No one knows how hard I am fighting to stop and how hard I am fighting to carry on. I suspect I will find myself at the swimming pool in the next couple of hours, ploughing up and down, doing my fifty lengths, but I don’t want to. I want to give in. I want to stop.

I’m going mad. I’m on the verge of tears. I don’t cry anymore. I don’t know what I want to do, but all I know is I can’t carry on like this.

I look up at what I’ve written and I wonder where the articulacy comes from. I don’t feel articulate, I don’t feel capable of writing, I don’t feel capable of living, yet I continue. I wonder what will happen if I lose that capability. I wonder what happens next.

Written by intothesystem

Friday, 11th July 2008 at 12:23 pm

another day, still no time…

leave a comment »

This is getting ridiculous now. I need to find a way out. I need an escape. I just want some time to myself. Surely that is not too much to ask for? I just want time where I don’t have to have achieved something, time where it is mine to squander as I please!

Today I woke up late. I intended on getting up at about 9 and going straight to the pool, but I fell asleep after my bloke left for work and didn’t wake until after ten. My sleep has gone the other way lately. It used to be insomnia. Now it’s just too much. I seem to get a minimum of 10 hours at the moment, when I am usually quite happy with 6.

Anyway, I got up slowly and made it to the pool shortly after 11. Swam my fifty lengths. It was harder today than yesterday – arms aching a little from the shock of having to do something, but still not bad. By the time I got to thirty it was getting much easier again and I probably would have kept going a while longer if I wasn’t turning into a prune. It’s funny though. I was probably the fattest person in the pool, but I was still lapping everyone. I was lapping some of the old people at a rate of three lengths to their one. Most of the women at the pool are Cheshire-housewife-types, in designer swimwear and perma-tans. I get a look of disapproval as I enter the pool – I’m definitely not one of them! It makes me a little uncomfortable, but at least I have the satisfaction that I’m a better swimmer. I might not have their figures, their tans or their money, but I’m not sure I’d want them anyway.

After that, I just went around a couple of the retail parks in town, trying to find accessories to go with my dress and a swimming costume. I finally succeeded on the swimming costume front, although I failed on all other counts. Will have to try it in the pool though – the only real test!

Got home and just talked to my other half and he had the cheek to have a go at me for not achieving more today. This is getting me down. I was actually feeling fairly satisfied that at least I’d stayed out of the house and didn’t come online until this afternoon. He then goes and takes that away by moaning at me for not doing enough. He tells me that I’ve got “two weeks free holiday” and that I shouldn’t waste it by doing nothing. I don’t think he understands that part of what made me ill was doing too much. I can’t explain and I can’t deal with it.

There is more I need to do today. I need to tidy the study and more pressingly, I’m on cooking duty. I hate cooking. I can do it, but I just never want to eat what I’ve cooked after I’ve bothered. He expects dinner on the table when he returns from work though. I am not a bloody housewife, but he still demands it of me. I try to argue, but I know I don’t have a leg to stand on. I never cook and it is my turn, but I just can’t face it. Is it ridiculous that I’m feeling the pressure just thinking about this. I should have had it on half an hour ago and I haven’t because I was catching up on my blogroll and writing here. Now I feel stressed that I need to rush to complete it on time. Stress makes me want to hurt myself. I’m not getting any better. That I can see now.

How can I explain all this to him? He doesn’t understand. He still calls me lazy. I’m starting to wonder if I can carry on like this. I’d rather be at work than have to play merry housewife. argh! Why does this make me feel like this? I’m all worked up over nothing and feel like shit. When will this feeling go away?

I need an escape.

Written by intothesystem

Tuesday, 8th July 2008 at 5:08 pm

Short days…

with one comment

The days feel so short now. When I was at work I did long hours. Often twelve or thirteen hour shifts. Now I’m at home, I’m getting up late, very late even (any time from 9am – 1pm, rather than 6.45am) and the days just disappear. My partner comes home a lot earlier than I used to, so he’s around most of the day and I don’t get much time for myself anymore.

I went for a swim today. It might have taken me until 3pm to motivate myself enough to get dressed, but I made it. Resorted to my emergency swimming costume as I still haven’t found one I’m satisfied with. It’s rubbish and needs knots tied in the straps as it’s too big, but it does the job I guess. I did 50 lengths too (23m pool), which I was quite pleased with considering I haven’t swam lengths for about a year. I used to do that much almost daily, but I’m surprised I could just do that straight off. I am a little tired now though.

Tonight I’m meeting a friend from work. I told her why I was off the other day and she suggested we caught up for dinner and a chat, which was lovely of her. I’m looking forward to it. I miss my work friends. I’m scared too though. I’m not feeling all that great after pushing myself with the swimming and I’m tired. Hope I can keep my mood up enough over the next few hours.

The nothingness still continues really. I just feel like I’m in limbo. That so-so mood between feeling ok and not – I guess the same one Seaneen describes at the start of her post.

Tomorrow I hope to find more time to write – time to write a proper post, rather than this dull description of life. I can dream, I guess?

Written by intothesystem

Monday, 7th July 2008 at 5:47 pm