I’m Going home! (again)

so I’ve blogged briefly about my stays in psychiatric care, but mostly the stuff I’ve kept about my journey is all written down because I don’t necessarily know how much I want to share. I started this blog back in 2013 whilst I was going through a tough time which actually triggered the onset of my mental illness.

It was so hard to accept being diagnosed with a mental illness because like it or not there is a stigma attached to it. I’ve been called all sorts of names and been treated badly. Last year I had a relapse and when stabilised I stayed well for a year which is a long time for me. About 6 or 7 weeks ago I felt myself struggling and I was trying to “keep it together” which is so much easier said than done.

4 weeks ago I took a huge overdose which resulted in a violent seizure and me being rushed into hospital. I was then sectioned on a section 2 which is “detention for a period of up to 28 days for assessment”. I was then transferred to a private hospital in Cambridgeshire which has helped my recovery no end. I cannot even begin to describe the differences between the NHS and the private sector when it comes to psychiatric care.

In the NHS setting I’m quite used to staff with rubbish attitudes and even name calling towards patients, since I’ve been in the private hospital I have found the staff just cannot do enough for you. If you are distressed or in need they are so fast to offer a listening ear or put actions into place to keep you safe. In the NHS hospitals I have been in the staff have been very quick to restrain and even inject patients who are being disruptive due to being disturbed rather than to try to deescalate by talking which I have noticed is actually very effective.

I mean lets face it a strong cocktail of drugs injected into you is going to calm you down but its a very short term fix, you may go to sleep, or you may walk around the ward like a zombie. Either way you wont be causing the staff any grief but what does that achieve for the patient in the long term? NOTHING!

The emotional distress which caused the outburst is still present because nobody has addressed it, they’ve simply managed that situation which I guess due to all of the cutbacks and funding issues is sometimes all they can do but it doesn’t make it right. It makes the patient feel like they’ve done something wrong, like they are being punished.

update…

I started writing this entry as I was about to be discharged which was 15 days ago. I’m still at home thankfully, but I have to say a rough ride it has been. My auntie was in the final stages of lung cancer and sadly we lost her on Thursday. May she rest in peace now.

With a family bereavement comes intense emotions, stress, upset even anger and the house has been like a war zone due to the tough time we are having coupled with my recent relapse has been hell on earth. I think ( fingers crossed) we are starting to come out of the other side now.

Family friends have been a massive support as they offered me a place to stay which helped myself and my family have the breathing space from each other that we needed so desperately. Now we are all home together and stronger for it all.

Since coming home my care has of course been transferred back to the NHS which has as expected been w disaster. The home treatment team saw me once for 20 minutes and then deemed I was ok and discharged me, I then saw my CPN who couldn’t give a monkeys as usual ( I’m being polite) when my friends mum who was caring for me demanded my nurse do a home visit all she did was sit there not listening.

She couldn’t have been less interested if she had tried and admitted in the 2 years she has worked with me I haven’t had a care plan.. Her role is… ” care co ordinator”

yet there is no care plan?

That’s what we thought.

When it comes to the mental health services provided by the NHS after having the experience of private care this is my opinion.

NHS = No help sent!!

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I’m back!

So back in August 2014 I gave a very brief update that I was home from the psychiatric unit I had spent 10 and a half months in.

These days I’m a far more private person than I once was. I think my online ranting and emotionally fuelled updates were a lot to do with my mental state ( in fact I’m pretty sure it was).

Back in 2013 when I started this blog I was poorly, so poorly. But even in my darkest times writing has been a huge outlet for me.

So August 2013 what happened?

I had started a new job which I loved, I had just watched one of my best friends get married and on the face of things I looked very happy.

What goes on behind the scenes is another story, I was self harming, self starving, suffering hallucinations from severe sleep deprivation and stress. My family and the mental health services wanted me to go to hospital which I refused. When the state I was in became more apparent the police were called and they dragged me to the hospital… Kicking and screaming all the way… Literally!

The day is a bit of a blur but I remember the hospital didn’t have a bed so once the police had detained me they took me to the police station with 2 officers sat with me holding on to me for 16 hours to stop me hurting myself.

Eventually off to rochford hospital we went, I was petrified like really petrified. They took me into this side room and nurses started talking about sedating me. Before I knew it the DR agreed that was for the best and I was injected and didn’t wake up until the next morning.

And that is where my story really begins.. My first day as a psychiatric patient. That is for my next blog.

To be continued.

 

 

 

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Home!!

So I’ve been home for just over 3 weeks, I’m pretty sure anyone reading this who knows me will know I was in a psychiatric hospital for 10 and a half months following a huge breakdown. But less of that because that’s not a happy thought, and from now on all I want is happiness and happy thoughts. I promised myself in hospital round about the time I started responding well to treatment that once I got well enough to be discharged I would make a massive effort to make a better life for myself. And I am, since I’ve been home I’ve been out to dinner, to the cinema, out shopping, to the park, to a party (ann summers very fun I highly recommend them) and enjoyed lots of family time. These are all things I wanted to do whilst stuck in hadleigh unit and promised myself I would do on being discharged. So far I’ve kept my promise to myself not that it’s always easy, being a sufferer of anxiety and depression the easiest thing to want to do is lie in bed and not face the world most of the time . But in doing that I might aswell be stuck back in hadleigh with no quality of life, and I want a quality of life.. A good one. But in all honesty I love being home, it almost feels as though I never went away. My room is as I left it, my wonderful family are still wonderful, my brother still annoys my. So all is going aswell as can be expected really, so now to carry on doing normal things, trying not to dwell on the horror that was hospital and just living really .. That’s what we were all put here to do right?

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There’s something about mums and a mothers love

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 And there really is something about mums, there’s definitely something about mine. It’s 6.30 AM and I’ve been awake all night so far in pain emotionally and physically, I’ve had a replaying things night. I’ve had the bad stuff running through my head, I must admit the heat is getting to me in a big way at the moment. I have really bad aches and pains from head to toe, any muscle I touch feels rock hard from stress. Admittedly I don’t think the fact that it was my birthday yesterday and a combination of excessive heat and alcohol, resulting in me being passed out between around 8pm – 11pm is helping my lack of sleep now.

So for the best part of 6 hours I’ve remained in this bed increasingly more upset and uncomfortable by the minute, and then my mum gets up because she heard me rattling around. I started crying to her about how upset with things I am and uncomfortable, everything just seems to hurt, the effect of stress on the body generally isn’t a good one.

It’s weird how I spend 6 hours hurting inside but can’t cry, 2 minutes talking to my mum and I’m in floods of tears telling her everything that makes me sad. I was telling her everything I’m scared of and everything that hurts me, she said knowing what I have been through she would give up her life to protect me from that If she could have. She promised me I will feel better, re arranged my pillows, turned the dial up on my fan because I’m boiling, got me a cooler top, Got me some painkillers and made me a drink.

All of which I know are simple things that I could have done myself, there’s just something about a mothers ability to know what their child wants whether they’re 3 or 23! I started this blog in the early hours of this morning, slightly intoxicated from champagne rather emotional thinking about yet another big day I have tomorrow.

Yet after the love, cuddles and looking after from my mum in the early hours of this morning, I’m now enjoying the sun on the beach with my cousins visiting from London. And I’m not sure had my mum have not helped me feel better like she did that I would have even made it out of bed today, there really is something about a mothers love that’s different from anything else in this world.

Anyone could have looked after me when I was upset and distressed like I was, my dad, my brother, my sister, friends. A big wedge between myself and my ex partner was that after 7 years, he could never calm or reassure me like my mum. So it definitely is the mothers love, I believe there’s a bond between mother and child that can’t be broken. Even when we are grown ups, that doesn’t change the fact our mothers carried us for 9 months, then went through excruciating pain to bring us into this world. Looked after us, went without so we could have, stayed up with a poorly child, brought the magic of Father Christmas, tooth fairy and the Easter bunny alive.

On that basis my theory is, and I don’t claim to be a genius but is they brought us so much, love, joy, and happiness as children. When we are adults and we are sad, hurt or scared who would we turn to first? It’s obvious isn’t it. At the moment I’m going through a real career dilemma, something I want to do but so scared to do because I want it so much I’m scared of not being good enough, much like sports days as a child.

I remember being nervous before my first ever egg and spoon race, and watching my mum cheer me on. I was 5 I’m now 23 and the reason I’m applying for this career path is because my mum has cheered me on and encouraged me, much the same as she did on the school playing field when I was just 5 years old… Get my point? The love and bond between a mother and child is like nothing else on this earth.

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ISVA’S

My ISVA called for a chat and to arrange to see me, I’ve wanted to write a blog to explain to people what an ISVA is and exactly what it is they do, so as we had a chat here it is. I had never heard of an ISVA in my life before until my attack, ISVA stands for Independent sexual violence advisor.

That’s exactly what they are only their not mine is so much more than that, yes she’s independent as in she’s not family, she’s not a friend she’s not the police, yes she knows ALOT about sexual violence, and yes she gives good advice. But she also offers me support in times of need, she’s listened to me be angry, cry, comforted me, told me home truths when I’ve needed to hear them, she’s always been really good at liaising with people for me, especially the police she does that all the time for a lot of her clients.

I always remember when she first called me, I had been told about ISVA’s by the police, at that point I really hadn’t taken advantage of the support which was available. I said yes as I thought can’t do no harm but I did sort of go into the having an ISVA situation not expecting very much, as it turned out I was wrong my ISVA has been one huge support to me. I will always remember when she called me and introduced herself, I remember kind of rolling my eyes and thinking sure another empty promise from someone that they can help me.

It took one telephone conversation with her for me to realise how wrong I was, she explained to me what an ISVA is and what they do. As I’ve explained in previous blogs ISVA stands for independent sexual violence advisor, they are part of victim support but very closely linked to the police, but one thing they stress from the beginning is an ISVA is not a police officer.

With the exception of certain things I am able to tell my ISVA virtually anything in confidence, there are certain things she’s explained from the beginning if I confided something in her, which led her to believe myself or anyone else could be at risk she’s duty bound to inform the police. I accept that as it’s for the safety of myself and others, in the year she’s worked with me I have told her one thing which she has told me she would need to tell the police. And that wasn’t due to anybody being in danger it was something I remembered which was very relevant to the case, but even then she wasn’t “right I’m calling them” she let me do it and trusted me to, I called the officer and told him and then he let her know I had told him and everyone was happy.

She’s helped me through all sorts of emotions, she’s very good at explaining why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. There’s feelings I’ve gone through which I just view as totally weird, unexplained and irrational. But she doesn’t view them that way she has experience of people going through what I have, so she understands and she’s very good at explaining why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. When I had to give an ABE she came with me, an ABE is short for (Achieving best evidence), the police generally view it as their preferred method to interview a victim of sexual assault.

The reasons they’ve explained to me for this are; it’s recorded on camera you sit in a room with an officer and another officer sits in a room next door recording, they ask you to explain everything that happened from start to finish, they get very detailed. And no it’s not nice at all and I would not wish an ABE on my worst enemy, they are used as court evidence, they are played to the jury which gives the victim a much easier time in court, you’re cross examined via video link on your ABE (providing video link is granted by the court) no police officers have EVER told me of a court declining video link, and I’ve asked a lot of them. This in itself is reassuring to know that looking into the future and the ifs, buts, and maybes, you know there is protection available in court.

Knowing my ISVA was in the room next door brought me so much comfort, and I felt more in control and able to say I need a break. And when I did she came outside with me for air, she hugged me, told me I was doing really well, reassured me we were nearly there.

That helped me to go back in and finish my interview, sometimes I wonder would I have managed to give as much evidence as I did without that support. My ISVA regularly texts me to see how I am, we’ve got to know each other really well and I have ALOT of trust in her, we have regular phone calls. I’m comfortable crying to her something I’m not comfortable to do around most people, when I cry to people I tend to apologise, there are very few people I don’t feel the need to apologise to; my parents, my siblings, and my ISVA that’s the level of trust and confidence I have in her.

She comes to visit me at home, we sit and talk about how I’m feeling, how I’m coping, sometimes we get distracted and have a laugh and a joke that makes things feel less serious, she’s visited me when I’ve opened the door had my hair and make up done and a smile on my face, I’ve also opened the door in my dressing gown with tears running down my face. And she treats me just the same either way, in the whole situation I know she’s on my side and I know she doesn’t judge me at all.

To be in her line of work she would have to not be judgemental at work or she would struggle with the job, but beyond that I just look at her and know as a person job aside she doesn’t have it in her to be like that. Many police officers have mentioned to me how much they like the ISVA’s. for the simple reason of them all being so lovely, that they work so very hard to give 100% to all of their “victims” as police say, an ISVA refers to you as a client… I prefer client I have to say. And the support that an ISVA can offer really is incredible.

if you have to have a police interview, an ABE, sometimes the police like to see you on a more informal basis just to double check things to make sure everything is spot on, that I’ve made no mistakes and that they’ve made none, as let’s be honest we are all human and therefore none of us are perfect or exempt from mistakes. On other occasions if there is an update with your case and its such an important update it is deemed important enough to be given on a face to face basis ( I’ve had this happen before), or If you have to attend court. With the help and on going support I for one know I have the support of my ISVA in any of those situations. If you’re a victim of rape, sexual assault domestic violence can you imagine the comfort she has brought to me?

And if you’re not and with every part of me I hope anyone reading this never becomes victim to such a nasty crime, even so can you imagine the support, comfort and peace of mind which she has brought to me? It’s unbelievable the support she can offer, last year my boss was giving me a hard time and my ISVA contacted her and liaised with her. She explained what I was going through and she made suggestions of how my employer could help, my work life overnight became instantly easier. And that’s just one small example, an ISVA definitely isn’t a job it is a career.

They are passionate and go above and beyond to help their clients. So few people know about their existence, yet they play a vital role on a survivors (yes survivor not victims) road to recovery. In my life as I grow up through my 20’s, 30’s and beyond, when I get married and have children. The support this women has offered me will never leave me.

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Watching my dreams fade away

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It’s one of those blogs I’m afraid, one of those I’ve had a row with the police, told a detective inspector to fuck off out of sheer upset and desperation blogs. It didn’t make me feel any better I burst into tears the second I did it, he was far from happy to say I got a “telling off” is the understatement of the century, when he heard the upset in my voice he changed and was ok with me.. After asking on 3 occasions “do you understand you will never speak to me like that and get away with it” the mood I was in I felt to say I heard you the first time.. Thought better of it, he was OK with me though Good of him really could of had a jobs worth have me arrested.

Last night I felt very poorly I was awake all night long. I drifted off about 6 to be woken by the builders at 8, I was very happy by this as you can imagine. Then the phone calls from the police started, I found these particular officers unhelpful and inconsiderate to my feelings amongst other stuff. These officers weren’t SOIT officers SOIT officers just aren’t like that.

My OIC is coming to see me tomorrow, and it won’t be a right lets get this statement done. He would make sure I’m OK first, He asks how I am and to a degree I think he knows when I’m not OK, he doesn’t pressure me and he has had more information from me than any officer I’ve dealt with by far. So at least as long as I’m not feeling stressed and poorly, I will sleep tonight with the peace of mind that the officer I’m seeing tomorrow won’t upset me like today’s. I’m not saying they meant to, they have a job to do but we went around and around in circles they got me into such a state I missed my drs appointment, which I really needed to go to but they got me so worked up and crying uncontrollably I couldn’t go.

Staying up all night poorly took it out of me in a big way, as did being woken up early. So when I had to face the police conversations, asking me questions I weren’t ready to answer, and that’s something I would stress to anyone going through this. YOU have to be ready; the police, your family, any support workers can say anything but you will always know when you’re ready.

The only exception I think there is to that is the forensic exam, you know it’s going to be horrible, you’ll never be ready, I wasn’t ready I remember awkwardly smiling and nodding when they asked me if I wanted to come into the examination room. I never did work out if I was trying to convince myself or them… But the difference between statements or revisiting the crime scene etc is yes it’s better to do it quickly, but forensics is different you owe it to yourself to close your eyes, bite your lip, take deep breaths be brave, do what you have to do, I held my crisis workers hand. Then it’s over and they let you shower straight away, in my opinion the rest can wait until your ready, my forensic exam has been and gone I’m still not “ready” as such you never will be.

I think I’m so sad today aside from feeling groggy anyway I can feel my dreams slipping away from me, a few years ago I had it all, a good job, a car OK I still have the car, money, a lot of friends most of all I had my plan which now seems will never be. But it’s not necessarily what I had its what I didn’t, I had never been attacked, I was naive I guess I had no idea such evil existed I did but you read it in the paper you never think it will happen to you, then it does and your world is upside down. I had never been through video interviews, forensics, or watched my friends turn their backs one by one. When I look at pictures of me from then it’s so bittersweet.

I think of how much I’ve lost I had a very happy stable life, my life is far from that now. I have a dream of what I want in life part of that is a husband and a couple of beautiful kiddies, to buy my own home that’s all we all want when it comes down to it. But before any of that I want a career, and what I want to do as a career may now never be possible due to everything I have been through as, it is going to make it considerably harder to get into that line of work.

This makes me sad very sad, I see people achieving their dreams and I look and think, will that ever be me? when one of my friends has a success at work, gets promoted etc. I feel so happy for them then I ache inside at how what happened to me is preventing me chasing my dream, at times like today because I don’t write this blog claiming to have come through it 100% I have bad days. We all do its human, today’s one of them. But as my ISVA said once and I swear by it “what you’re feeling now you won’t feel maybe tomorrow the next day or maybe it’ll take until the day after, but it will go and you will feel happy again”… I swear by that saying.

I know I like to preach about taking advantage of your support network. Today I’ve certainly practised what I preach, I’m lucky I have people I can turn to and say you know what I feel like this, and they talk to me and give advice. My very clever cousin sent me a message midway through this blog, she has her head screwed on well and is a positive thinker it helps me she said something that gave me hope.

It’s hard I feel like this and have my birthday in 3 days, I hope I feel better I really do, but If I don’t I will paint on a smile remember there’s always someone worst off than myself, and remember what another wise cousin told me when things were rough before “worst things have happened at sea” I will also remember what my new tattoo says “C’est La Vie” French for “such is life” meaning get on with it.. Tomorrows a new day.

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Are you his princess one minute, and a stupid tart the next?

This is a leaflet that had caught my eye when I’ve been in the sexual health clinic, not my favourite of places but a  necessary place after attack. They are very helpful and caring done all my tests which luckily were normal and treated me with post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) anti HIV medication. Which is strong and whilst your on it makes you feel like you might actually die, but protected me from HIV which can actually kill you. Worth the pain? Most definitely! In the waiting room I found myself looking at all the leaflets on the wall, there’s lots some about rape which naturally I read, some about pregnancy and the importance of protection and then I noticed this one.
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“Are you his princess one minute and a stupid tart the next” this is aimed at people who are suffering domestic abuse. This massively caught my eye in spite of domestic abuse affecting me in no way, shape or form. It got me thinking how many people does it affect? How many people’s partners tell them they are everything to get what they want, and then revert back to their abusive ways, do we ever know what goes on behind closed doors? The seemingly “perfect couple” could be suffering this, is a family member suffering, a friend?, are you?.

Would you know how to get help? Could you speak out? Did you know that you can speak to a DR or nurse in complete confidence? Would you be very surprised if I told you following attack the police took me to hospital to have injuries treated, and I hadn’t told the police I had been raped. I was shocked and undecided as to whether to tell them, I confided In a nurse and whilst she desperately wanted me to tell them and encouraged me she didn’t tell them she’s not allowed due to confidentiality.

I knew this from the ambulance service, I myself have had patients confide stuff in me with police outside, and I’ve been duty bound to say nothing which I would never break. Because of my experience in the ambulance service I knew I could confide in the nurse, if you found yourself in this situation would you have told the nurse? I told her for the benefit of my health, she was visibly relieved when I did tell the police. I see a rape crisis counsellor at the Dove centre you can go there and speak to somebody confidentially, they can offer impartial advice and referrals to places that can help you, they are the experts let them help you they are all so lovely and passionate about what they do.

You can call women’s aid for confidential advice, women’s aid is primarily formed of volunteers who have suffered rape, sexual violence or domestic abuse. You can call victim support In confidence, they’re fantastic, victim support is the reason I have my ISVA. But did you know IDVA’s exist? Independent domestic violence advisor, they work in the same way as my ISVA if only you do what I did you can have the support of somebody who will come and visit you, help you where you need help, if you choose to go to the police be present at interview, IF you go as far as court your IDVA would attend.

I’ve had more support than I can even explain, she has been my lifeline this past year, sometimes I look back and wonder how I coped for the first 11 months without her. Look at the support I have and look what you could have if you take that step, yes it’s a big step its a brave step but take it and never look back, you won’t regret it. Don’t suffer in silence.

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