Friday 9 August 2019

A Mental Health Nightmare

(Trigger Warning: Self Harm, Suicide, Trauma, and Medication)

This is a follow on from my previous blog post

On Wednesday, I had an assessment with a nurse from CMHT. I was referred for this by my counsellor at my last session. Primary care had decided that, because of my urges to self harm, & my strong suicidal feelings, I wasn't stable enough for them.

The CMHT assessment went worse than I expected. I was assessed by a very condescending, judgmental nurse (who turned out to be the useless nurse prescriber I saw last year, who kept me on Sertraline even though it'd stopped working). She got me to fill in a very short questionnaire (something to do with how often I feel useless, demotivated etc) then told me she'd only ask me a few questions because CMHT had seen me a few times before & they knew my history.

First of all, she wanted me to tell her how I'd been feeling. I told her that primary care had sent me to CMHT because they felt that I was too unstable for them. She seemed disbelieving about that and had this smug look on her face (not a great start). I can't remember exactly what she asked me, but it wasn't much. It was mainly me telling her how I was feeling, and my worries. I was having urges to self harm badly, flashbacks about my traumas (Which I reminded her of), graphic mental images. I was even having suicidal thoughts, although I didn't think I'd carry them out because I feel stuck having my parents and Billie. They were my protective factors but without them I would definitely have attempted suicide. What I would definitely be doing though is self harming/overdosing. She still didn't seem to believe me, and asked what I wanted from CMHT. I said I felt I needed a CPN to monitor me. She said they don't do that now. I said I needed a meds review because I'm on the maximum dose of Sertraline and it seems to have stopped working. She said it was probably helping a bit so I should stay on it regardless. I said I may as well stop them, and she insisted I didn't.

I also asked whether an assessment for PTSD would lead to more help & she said no and I probably had it anyway because I had counselling for trauma and I'd been told to refer myself for Trauma Focused CBT. So I guess I have a sort of diagnosis now. I then reminded her of how much I was struggling, that I was at crisis point & I would definitely harm myself when I get home. She didn't seem to believe me and she said that I just wasn't ill enough for any help from them. She repeated it was all short term anyway, and mental health services had changed.

She then started talking as if it was a job interview. She asked me where I saw myself in 5 years. I was in no state to think about that, so I just said I don't know, I felt like I wasn't getting any better so I wouldn't know how I'd cope on my own, but I hoped I'd have moved out by then. She seemed pleased about that. She asked me about my hobbies (I talked about blogging and gaming), whether I went to any classes (I said about Slimming World), whether I worked/was intending to. I said I wanted to do something online but there wasn't much regular work online that I could do. She said that all I seem to do is go online, talk to friends and not much else. I found her very judgmental and she completely got the wrong impression of me.

There wasn't much else after that and I was crying through pretty much the entire assessment. She asked me what my plans were for that day. I scoffed and said I wanted to harm myself & that was all I planned to do. Even though I was clearly a risk to myself, she dismissed it. She'd even said at the start that she would have to tell a colleague if I was at risk! I have a feeling she didn't though. So I came out of the assessment crying and desperate to harm myself. I felt out of control! I dashed to the toilet and looked around to see if I could find anything to hurt myself with (preferably something sharp). I couldn't find anything & Dad would be there any minute, so I had to gather myself together then go out of the toilet. I told Dad what had happened and he was furious at her.

When we got home, I was in a world of my own. All I could think about was harming myself, and I spent about an hour in silence, planning what to do. I opted for overdosing. I took my chance when Mum went to the bathroom. I overdosed on Stemetil (Prochlorperazine). I only stopped when Mum came in. I told her what I'd done & she was very worried. She asked me how I was feeling, then it was only an hour or so after that I had my urgent GP appointment (mum had booked it when I told her about the assessment).

The GP appointment went much better than the CMHT assessment. He took me seriously, wrote down what I told him, and asked how I was feeling (drowsy, dizzy, nauseous). Then he faced me, took a breath, & said I needed to go to the hospital, get checked over and see Psych Liaison team. He said I was "high risk" and should get to the hospital ASAP. He also wanted to see me the next day for a follow up. Soon after that, I was at my local hospital's A&E department. I explained to the receptionist what I'd done & how I felt and I didn't have to wait long to see the triage nurse.

She was very understanding but she misunderstood when I talked about my bullying trauma shaping my personality. She thought I meant my body and started talking about weight loss, checking thyroid. That confused me for a bit. Having thin privilege, I'd never had a healthcare professional mention my weight before. Anyway, she checked on her system what needed to happen with a Prochlorperazine overdose. She booked me in for blood tests and an ECG. I had the ECG which was fine, then I was brought through to cubicles by a really nice doctor. She did my bloods & asked me questions about physical health, mental health etc. I really felt listened to, and she made sure I wanted to see Psych Liaison team. She then got a colleague to do my blood sugar (4.4, so low end of normal) and said while I wait for blood test results to come back, I should have something to eat and drink to get blood sugar up a bit. It would take an hour for results to come back.

Then came a lot of waiting. My blood results were "not worrying" but indicated I was dehydrated, so the doctor told me to get some water. She asked how I was feeling. I said I had a banging headache, and was very drowsy and dizzy. She then said she had called Psych Liaison team and they aimed to see me within the hour, but couldn't guarantee it. I was sent back to the waiting area. I got some water, went to the loo and waited. It was almost 2 hours before I was seen. The person I was due to see had finished his shift so had to spend time updating the person I was going to see instead. I actually saw two people at the same time. I think one was a psychiatrist & the other, a psychologist. They knew why I was there and had contacted my CMHT again. All they could do was advise me, as CMHT still wouldn't take me on. Apparently, even though Primary Care said I wasn't stable enough, CMHT said I was. They couldn't offer me more support but they at least explained things in a kinder way, took me seriously, and made sure I had support at home. The psychologist (?) also gave me information about classes I could join, mental health organisations etc. They also told me to see my GP about my meds.

Apparently, if the GP wasn't comfortable changing my medication, they could refer me directly to a psychiatrist! So other than that, I was to keep myself safe and distracted, with help of parents, friends, my cat, and crisis team until I have my Trauma Focused CBT. I eventually got home (after a trip to the chip shop, I was starving!) and was absolutely exhausted. It was about 10pm (I had first got to A&E just before 4pm). After food, I took a Diazepam then slept.

So since then I've been feeling like hurting myself but I don't think I'll do it, so I feel safer. I've seen the GP again and he's changed my Sertraline to Citalopram, and added a week's worth of Diazepam. He also got me to book an appointment for 2 weeks time, so he can monitor my moods, side effects etc

I feel like, even though I couldn't get more practical support from CMHT etc, at least I can refer for Trauma Focused CBT, I have a sort of diagnosis of PTSD, my meds have been reviewed, and my GP is monitoring me. So it's turned out ok, and I'm hoping I will improve. I will refer myself for Trauma Focused CBT next week, as it will be about 10 weeks before the sessions start. In the meantime, I have to be more open and honest with my loved ones, and let them look after me and keep me safe. The other day feels like a blur, a really bad dream even. I guess I'm still recovering but at least I'm in a better place now.