Monday 31 December 2018

Self Care, Distractions, and a Difficult Time of Year

(TW: Mentions of self harm, overdose, and hallucinations)

If you read my last post, you'll know that I've been through a very difficult time recently. I have struggled with Depression, distressing thoughts, panic, self harm, overdose, and hallucinations. Crisis team were lovely every time I phoned them, and I had to have two calls with them after the Community Mental Health team were unable to give me any help. CMHT just gave me advice to see my GP for a meds review, and to ring the charity numbers they had given me for bereavement and domestic violence.

I left that appointment feeling very disheartened and lost. I felt abandoned by the mental health team, and I felt there was no point in ever ringing them again. I had reached my limit for mental health care with that team, I would have to look elsewhere. I don't blame the team. They did what they could, with the very little resources the government has left them.

I rang my GP and had an urgent appointment that same day. I started to cry and panic as I explained everything, but luckily my GP was very supportive, compassionate, and a good listener. I was told to increase my dose of Pregabalin, as this can apparently help with anxiety and depression. I was also (reluctantly, but I gave good reason to ask for this) given a small prescription for Diazepam, to take on my most distressing days.

Another thing that triggered the most recent mood swings and distress was a dreaded white envelope through the post. I was to be reassessed for ESA. I thought reassessments had stopped for people with long term conditions, but maybe they have now changed those rules? I filled in what I could; using online guides and previous scans of my last ESA form. I also rang my GP today and asked for a supporting letter. She did not say what she would write on it, but she did mention something about referral letters and my notes. Hopefully this means she will attach extra evidence. Anything to back up my claims about my health is useful.

If you are to be assessed/reassessed for ESA, and have received a capability for work form, I highly recommend visiting the website Benefits and Work. This website gives a large amount of information and complete guides for filling in various benefits forms, attending assessments, appealing, and attending tribunals. I also recommend becoming a member (just £19.95 for a year) as this gives you access to much more specific information.

Today, I am struggling to fill in my form, despite the information I have to help me. Forms like this, ask you to talk about such personal information about physical and mental health that it can be quite daunting and distressing. I am focusing on all the negatives, the struggles, the pain, the mental distress etc and it is no wonder that I'm feeling all of these negatives intensely. I have been dissociating ever since I started filling in the form today.

As well as dwelling on this, I have been scrolling Facebook and feeling jealous of all the achievements my friends have completed. Whether it be a career change, travelling the world, a wedding, an engagement, an anniversary, or a birth, the world seems to be turning very quickly, and I feel as if I've been standing still. It is really hard to focus on my own achievements when, in comparison, they seem so minute. I wrote a status about this, which I will post below:

I'm trying not to compare myself to other friends who have achieved so much this year. By now, I would've loved to have got my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, be working in mental health, be married maybe with a child on the way. Instead, my illnesses persisted, and I guess the biggest thing I've achieved this year is surviving it. Shout out to everyone else with that same achievement and rest in peace to those who did not survive this year 

If you feel that you have not achieved much/anything this year, I assure you, you have. You survived this year. You got through the days, somehow. And I am so glad you got through it. You deserve to have a happy life; achieving things (no matter how small) at your own pace. You matter, you are valid, and you deserve to be happy with life regardless of what you can or cannot do. You do not need to be productive to be a human being deserving of love and respect.

I will be having a quiet New Year's Eve tonight. I will have a prosecco or two with my parents, and I will be continuing doing lots of self care to get me through.

Whatever you do, I hope your New Year's Eve is as lovely as possible, and I hope next year will be a much better year for you. Goodbye/Good Riddance to 2018, and please, 2019, be a good one!


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