Tuesday 6 January 2015

I lied, I'm not coping.

I'm trying to be a better writer, but this post will be a sort of rambly journal entry I'm afraid.

(TW: Suicide mention)

I seem to be struggling more than usual at the moment (mental health & physical health-wise). Maybe it's the colder weather or the time of year or something (it's been a lot worse since December, so maybe the Christmas period/New Year?).

The colder weather has definitely made my symptoms flare up; pain more than anything else. My legs hurt a lot more than usual & it's really affecting my mobility. I don't have a wheelchair, so I'm leaving the house even less now. On the subject of wheelchairs, when getting the last bits of food shopping for Christmas last month, my parents and I visited a supermarket that'd recently opened. It had lots of facilities, large car park etc, and it also had spare wheelchairs. I was really struggling with pain & was considering using one. There was only one left though, so I tried to just carry on walking. I thought that if I took the last one, then there might be someone who needed it more who then didn't have one to use. I guess I also thought, for some reason, that someone would say I didn't really need it (internalised ableism of course). After a couple of minutes though, I realised there was just no way I could carry on in so much pain. Even though I was still exhausted and in pain, using the wheelchair was definitely a better idea than not using one. It also turned out that when I did decide to get one, another one was free so at least there was still a spare one for someone to use.

I've been trying so hard to keep a smile on my face and not worry my family. It's hard to be totally honest with them, about how I've been feeling. I'm constantly teetering on the edge of a mental health crisis, but there's nowhere to turn. I feel like I need some immediate help, but I can't even attempt to get any unless I know what specific help I need, and there just doesn't seem to be any available regardless. I don't want to worry my family; partly because I don't like worrying/bringing down people, partly because there's nothing they could do anyway. I need to make an appointment with my GP soon (and I so wish the surgery had an online booking system) to remind her about me needing my vitamin d, b12, & folates checking, (& also about the fact that my knee and shoulders still like to sublux, although I doubt this will be listened to at all, so it's probably a waste of time even mentioning it). I also feel like I should talk about my mental health more. I've run out of the Diazepam now. I tried to make it last as long as possible, but honestly I think I need to be on it fairly regularly for now. It seems to be the only thing that helps calm me down a little. I'm nervous about asking for it specifically though; because doctors always seem to mention that it can be addictive. My one-off Psychiatrist appointment is next month, but I'm finding it so hard to cope at the moment, that I feel as if I need something to last until then at least.

I'm getting more mood swings at the moment. I can go from really low, to paranoid, to snappy, random days when I want to do everything (but chronic illness means I can't) to panicky & agitated, and then feel completely numb the next day. I'm also having days where I get this real urge to confess every bad thing I ever said or did. It's as if I think of myself as this absolutely horrible person, who is putting on a show of being nice, and sooner or later people will realise what I'm *really* like.

I've had very vivid dreams recently. I won't say what they've been about, but last night's was horrible, really messed up. I've had very intrusive thoughts that I've found almost impossible to ignore. I was sure other people could read my thoughts, so I've been really awkward and edgy round my parents in particular. It's like I need to get away from everyone, so they don't have to deal with me anymore.

I had some strong suicidal urges earlier. I couldn't distract myself & there were times I really thought I'd have carried through with the urges. Again, I won't give details.

I did want to sleep a lot better tonight, but with so much on my mind, I think I'm just going to have to try and distract myself as much as possible, and hope I'll wear myself out enough to sleep soon.

Thursday 1 January 2015

A Mental Health Emergency is still an Emergency

I've been reading through this Guardian article today. The title was originally "Mental Health 'emergencies' expected to reach highest figures this winter" but was quickly changed to "Mental Health patient admissions to A&E set to reach record levels" after complaints on Twitter.

Not much better is it?

I'd love to know why they felt they had to put "emergencies" in single quotation marks. It feels as if they believe Mental Health emergencies are not real emergencies. If that is the case, then clearly they need to start listening more. Just looking through the Twitter hashtags #mentalwish  and #crisisteamfail would be a start.

I've been tempted to add "what if physical illnesses were treated like mental illnesses" but the fact is we shouldn't have to compare this in order for people to care enough to make mental health a priority.

"emergency doctors warned that overstretched A&E departments are the wrong place for people in mental distress." I agree that A&E is an extremely poorly designed place for people going through mental health crises, but it is actually where we are advised to go. Often, it's the only option available when someone is in crisis. From my own experiences, every medical professional (who I have been in contact with about my mental health) has told me to go to A&E if I feel I am at risk of harming myself, or have already harmed myself. The option of contacting Crisis Team is still there, but I have to be referred to them (through my GP, a psychotherapist etc) and I don't know about anyone else, but my crises don't always like to happen within office hours.

I've written more information about my own experiences (when in crisis) in my posts Last Night and Crisis (Trigger Warning for details of self harm and suicide in both posts)

I don't have all the answers (believe me, I'd be shouting them from the rooftops if I did!) but something needs to be done. A lot more funding, better education and training, some service that a person can access directly and quickly with well trained staff, more accessible and flexible services. The list goes on.