Survival – Knowing When You Need Help

Things aren’t going so well.
Downward spiral at breakneck speed, I feel frightened at how quickly I’ve gone from doing really well to finding myself stuck in a pattern of inward turned anger and self-harm. A few weeks and I’ve managed to undo all the hard work I’ve put in these last four years.

Realising that I’ve lost control of things I have been forced to accept that I need someone to help me, and so on Monday I called my GP to make an appointment. Couldn’t get one until Wednesday, and let me tell you, that felt like a very long way away.

These last few days have really have been rollercoaster like, oscillating between trying to stem flashbacks by using cords and scalpels and later on feeling very very angry with myself for not having been able to stop myself from going back to this very destructive behaviour. And it’s becoming increasingly erratic. This morning I woke up and immediately reached for a fresh scalpel to punish myself for having, the previous night, used a cord coiled around my neck to make myself pass out. – There’s no logic to it, and I can see that. Yet, I don’t seem able to stop myself from acting out in this way.

I’ve been trying to do things in the last few days to try to prove to myself that I’m not quite such a bad person as I sometimes think I am. To show myself that I’m not a waste of space, that I am of some sort of value to the community. But it’s hard to hold on to those thoughts when it has to come through external actions rather than from some internal place..

Saw my GP this morning. I say my GP, but really, I saw a GP. I saw Dr H., a newbie doctor, in her own words. This turned out to be a pretty good thing; she listened to me and seemed to really take in what I was telling her, in contrast to some GPs who’ll whack out the ever-so-patronising “How Depressed Are You?” multiple choice questionnaire at the earliest possible opportunity in a bid to avoid having to actually listen to the patient. Given this opportunity to be heard I tried to be as honest as I could with Dr H. It’s hard, when you’re a bit of a people-pleaser like me, and you don’t want to make the other person feel bad, but I think I did OK.

Dr H. made the decision that she didn’t just want to start me on some meds, but that I needed to be seen by the mental health crisis team. She asked me to wait in the waiting room while she sorted it all out, as she didn’t want me to leave the clinic before she knew for sure that I’d definitely be seen by the crisis team. A reassuring touch, I have to say. I’ve certainly come across doctors who say they’re going to make a referral and send you off with a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” style parting phrase.

As it turned out the crisis team wanted to see me at noon, so I essentially ended up going straight from the GP practice to the Highgate Mental Health Hospital. Felt quite anxious about going there, as I was still experiencing flashbacks and I was worried that I’d become too confused and disoriented on my way there. Also, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been several years since I’ve been in touch with any form of NHS run mental health service. A lot of my work has been aimed at getting away from this system.

Then I was thinking of the advice I would give – and have given – friends who have found themselves struggling in the way I am right now: accept any help you can get, whatever that may be. This is not a time for pride, it’s a time for survival.

Talking to two members of the crisis team I did feel a lot better. They reassured me that their aim is to support people struggling with self-harm and suicidal ideation in their homes, rather than pushing people into wards, which may not at all be the best for a person. They did – of course – make it clear that if they felt I became more destructive and posed a serious danger to myself they would have to put me on a section order, but that their aim was to find alternative ways of supporting me. They made the decision – based on my previous history – that they’ll want to see me every day for now, and also asked if I would give them permission to liaise with A. regarding what would be the best way to go about things. Initially I didn’t feel comfortable with that, but in the end I decided that maybe it could be helpful to not try to keep different parts of my life separate. As I was a little unsure of A.’s number I told them I would ask A. to call them instead.

My session with A. today was quite difficult. I was just feeling so low, so defeated at finding myself back in this very dark place. I’m finding it very hard to motivate myself to not give up, keep falling into thinking that no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I work, I will always come crashing down..

A. said a few things that made me feel a bit better, made me feel like I’m not entirely on my own. But it’s still very very hard. She also added an extra session for me this week – first thing tomorrow morning – which felt comforting. Also I have been given the number for the crisis team, which is a 24 hour care service, so I can call and talk to someone on the crisis team at any time between seeing them in person.

I hope this will help stop me falling any further. Because last time I felt the way I feel right now I drank half a litre of anti-freeze and ended up in ICU..

So, if you have any to spare, thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.


6 responses

  1. Hei!

    Jeg har fulgt med bloggen din i en stund nå – uten å kommentere – og jeg må bare si ifra hvor mye jeg beundrer styrken din så vel som dine skriveferdigheter, din evne til å beskrive ditt indre liv.

    Jeg ville bare si det er leit å høre at du opplever et tilbakefall, så å si. Ønsker deg alt godt, og jeg virkelig håper at du kommer til å bli bedre i den nærmeste fremtiden.

    Varmeste hilsener, Gitty

  2. Hej Gitty. Tack för din kommentar. Den värmer verkligen. Blir förvånad (och glad) att en helt okänd människa tar sig tid att läsa om mitt liv.

    Förhoppningsvis vänder det snart till bättre tider, men oavsett hur det går fortsätter jag dela med mig av mina upplevelser.

    Många kramar från mig

  3. Tack Ninisen.

    Känns som att ta 15 steg bakåt, men man får hoppas att det inte tar så länge att hitta vägen tillbaka. Känns tungt att behöva söka hjälp igen – men det kanske är ett friskhetstecken att man faktiskt gör det.

    Hoppas allt är bra med dig.

    Stora fång med kramar,


  4. S, my sweet, so sorry you are feeling this low. I am glad that you are following your own advise and talking to the crisis team and having them coordinate with A. This will provide you with the best care, as you know. You have got through this in the past…please just keep the hope that this too shall pass…

    I’m all ears if you need to talk…

  5. Hello, S. Thanks for your comments. Yes, I think that for now it’s the best to have the added support of the crisis team, on top of the support I get from A. It’s a bit tricky sometimes though, as the crisis team operate as a part of the NHS (National Health Service) and A. is running a private practice. The NHS mental health system tends to revolve a lot around medication and CBT as a cure for all ills, whereas I’ve spent the last several years trying to get away from that system. Anyway, I still appreciate the support I get from the crisis team – I feel better knowing that if I didn’t show up for an appointment they would make it their business to find out why that is, and to ensure that I’m safe. In essence I reckon the people working on the crisis team are really good people, and it’s good to have somewhere to call even between appointments. I just find it frustrating that the psychiatrists have such limited understanding of other types of therapy than CBT.

    Anyway, thanks for the offer of hearing me out, it’s good to know I have friends on both side of the pond who are there for me.


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