Archive for suicide

A Time of Not Being Suicidal?

Posted in Context with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, 19 January, 2010 by Pandora

In the last post, the lovely Karita who blogs at If Narky, Feed Profusely commented that she had never felt suicidal.  This got me thinking.  Was there a time when I didn’t?

I have had a fixation with death and dying from as far back as I can remember.  My mother was disturbed when as a four year old, I told her I wanted to be a forensic pathologist when I grew up (seriously).  Although I didn’t fulfill that dream, I did academically pursue what I thought would be a related discipline, the most interesting aspects of it being those that discussed death – including, indeed, a quite in-depth exploration of suicide in a sociology class.

I cannot say whether or not I actually wanted to die myself when I was four, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

It was certainly the case in my later childhood.  I first tried to kill myself when I was about nine or 10.  I have a very vivid memory of it; I tried to strangle myself behind the closed door of my bedroom.  Clearly this was a ludicrous attempt, but an attempt it was nevertheless, and I remember the despair and frustration I felt when it became evident that my actions would fail to bring about their intended result.  I was distraught at the prospect of my life continuing.

Since then, I’ve tried walking in front of vehicles, taken two overdoses (which saw me hospitalised), tried to slit my wrists*, ankles and elbows, hanging myself and suffocation.  I think that’s it.  (* Including, of course, the incident from Friday).

I know what you’re thinking.  Anyone who’s serious about committing suicide wouldn’t have such a number of silly attempts under their belt; they plan their death, and that’s that.  Fair enough.  I can only defend myself by saying that in most of the cases, the most serious ones at least, the desire to not exist felt serious.  The most serious attempt was a massive overdose when I was about 16, which did nearly kill me.  A couple of these attempts were gestures or based on circumstantial factors, I admit – but mostly they weren’t.

When I wasn’t actually actively trying to top myself, I was probably thinking about it.  I can honestly say that I’ve almost certainly fantasised and/or ‘planned’ my suicide for every day of my adult and adolescent life, and a lot of my late childhood too.  This even includes periods of mania and contentment.

In short, this is how I perceive normality – to all intents and purposes, I have never known anything else.  I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to imagine what it’s like to not feel suididal, and it’s just beyond the bounds of my imagination.

Well, there’s more proof – as if it were needed – that I’m a headbin 😉

Tomorrow is my first appointment with NewVCB, about which I will blog as soon as I can.  I don’t know whether to be amused or incredulous by the fact that my first appointment with this woman will be in the wake of a suicide attempt.  And then I have to face C on Thursday, and that will not be fun in the least.  Alas.

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Suicide Attempt Epic Fail

Posted in Moods, Triggers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Sunday, 17 January, 2010 by Pandora

*** STANDARD TRIGGER WARNING: POSSIBLY TRIGGERING MATERIAL IS UPCOMING; I HEREBY ADVISE YOU AGAINST READING IT IF YOU FEEL THAT IT MAY SET YOU OFF…BUT I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO READ IT ANYWAY, SO THAT’S A BIT POINTLESS, BUT I PROBABLY LIKE YOU BECAUSE I LIKE EVERYONE THAT I KNOW READS THIS DRIVEL, SO PLEASE DON’T HURT YOURSELF.  NOT BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE LITTLE ME ANYWAY.  IF YOU DO SO I WILL HAVE TO COME ROUND TO YOUR HOUSE AND SHOUT AT YOU AND/OR KILL KITTENS AND/OR CLUB BABY SEALS AND/OR SLEEP WITH RICK MAYALL.  NOW YOU WOULDN’T WANT THAT WOULD YOU, SO EITHER DON’T READ THIS SHIT OR A LEAST MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY MENTAL AT THE TIME OF DOING SO.  OK?  OK.  THNXBAI. ***

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with what I did on Friday night(well, technically, Saturday morning) given my bizarre running commentary on same on Twitter.  Of course, not everyone who reads this blog uses Twitter, but nevertheless, you can derive the basics from the title of this post.

It wasn’t a “cry for help” or some sort of silly borderline strop.  It was an absolutely pathetic attempt, I will admit that, but it was a nonetheless serious attempt.  I genuinely wanted to die.  I did.  No bullshit, straight up – death, not attention, was what I sought.

Nothing especially bad had happened on Friday – I was just miserable for most of the day.  I met A for dinner and a few drinks, which was pleasant actually, and when we got home, we listened to some music and were generally rather contented.  But I kept thinking how much easier things would be if I wasn’t in existence.  Not just for me – although I admit that was a major motivating factor – but for everyone.  I add nothing to anyone’s life.  A million people could tell me otherwise, but I’d never believe them.  I am a worthless, useless slut of sheer, unadulterated and fetid disgustingness.  Or at least that’s what I thought then.

So when A went to bed, circa 1.15am, I laid into myself with the scalpel.  Few parts of my body are unaffected – self-harm is strongly in evidence on ankles, arms, abdomen (there words there, just slashes elsewhere), elbows – the works really.  As I was doing it, I thought that I might as well go one step further and slit my wrists, the hopeful and intended result being my bleeding to death.

Now, people could say, “but a serious suicide attempt requires planning, and this was an impulsive act.”  I do accept that, and can see why it looks like nothing more than a pathetic gesture.  All I can say to convince people otherwise is that it felt absolutely and completely genuine at the time.  I wanted to die.  I really did.  I always remember (or rather don’t) the nothing that I experienced under general anaesthesia when I had an operation a while back.  I longed so fervently for that nothing again – and for it to be a permanent state.

So, I took a few minutes to write a note to my mother and A, with acknowledgements of a few friends, then went in search of an analgesic spray that I keep for sprains and the like.  An attempted suicide is not like self-harm; it’s not performed in the pursuit of pain.  No, pain was not a commodity that I lacked, so I sought to minimise more of it.

I’ve read this on the suicide newsgroups, but I was nevertheless surprised (or at least I am retrospectively) by how calm and contented I felt having made the decision to kill myself.  It was reassuring and comforting to know that I would not have to continue with this sorry excuse for a life, that there would soon be nothing.  Nothing was all I wanted.

I cut my left wrist first.  I tried to cut deep, but my skin was ungraciously unco-operative, refusing to slit to any meaningful degree.  This irritated me considerably, but I let it pass and decided to return to it.  So off I moved to my right wrist, which curiously proved considerably easier.  I’m generally right handed, so wielding a scalpel with my left hand would not be the most obviously effective way to garner a major life-threatening wound.  But initially, I thought I’d spotted success.

I was captivated by the blood.  It was the most blood I have ever seen from a deliberate act of self-harm.  Dark, and think, and oozing, and beautiful.  It completely mesmerised me, and I could almost feel my life ebbing away with it.  That was an eminent comfort to me, and I felt moved and calmed, yet slightly euphoric.  God, what a beautiful and welcoming thing death seemed to be!

But wait.  The blood was oozing, not spurting.  That meant that I had failed to sever a major artery, and rationality came flooding back: if one is going to off themselves by cutting, they really should cut vertically on their arms, not horizontally as I had done.  Vein cuts generally won’t lead to a successful suicide, and indeed artery ones don’t always either. Plus such wounds can lead to nerve damage in one’s hands if they fail to bring about death.  This was the shittest suicide attempt in the world!

I was filled with self-disgust, but even more than that, irri-fucking-tation.  Not anger or fury, but irritation.  I was irritated that my peaceful comfort in an imminent death had been shattered.  For fuck’s sake, I can’t even kill myself with any fucking gusto!

I sought advice on Twitter (that well-known bastion of medical knowledge), still watching the blood ooze heavily from my wrist.  The consensus was that it wouldn’t off me, but that I should go to Accident and Emergency nevertheless and get the thing stitched.

I considered this.  The thing wasn’t going to kill me, self-evidently, but it may have led to nerve damage.  If I was, however unfortunately, going to remain alive, then I might as well do so with a functioning right hand.  I rang a taxi to take me to the hospital, which is less than five minutes’ drive away.

Whilst waiting for it, I cleaned both wounds up a bit (although superficial, the left one was bleeding satisfactorily) and bandaged the right one as best I could.  The bleeding was still very heavy though, and before the taxi even arrived, it needed changed.

I called up the stairs to A to tell him that I had been advised to go to Casualty.  He got up and told me that he was coming with me, a suggestion against which I protested, though admittedly rather mildly.

I don’t remember the taxi trip at all, and have only the vaguest recollection of checking in at the A and E reception.  I remember telling the woman that my suicide attempt was one of the most pathetic in history, and being surprised by how much data she was able to access on me from her computer (1984 is with us, readers).  I also recall that the waiting time was estimated at seven hours, but for some reason I allowed myself to believe that it would never come to that.  How absolutely and completely wrong this assumption proved to be.

To be fair to them, I was very quickly seen by a triage nurse, who opined that the slit on my right wrist probably needed stitches.  She put steri-strips on it to close it as much as possible until such times as I was seen by a doctor.  She was a young girl – I’d guess younger than I am – and was remarkably sympathetic.  I was bawling my eyes out like a bloody baby by this stage, but this girl did not try and rush me, nor patronise nor judge me.  She simply listened and tried her best to be supportive.  Alas, though, eventually I had to go back to the waiting room.

And so it began.  The mind-numbing, seemingly endless, hideously interminable wait.  It is, I imagine, exactly what the final wait on death row is like – though at least if you’re a suicidal, schizo bitch you can expect a satisfactory outcome at the end of that particular interim period.  I had no idea what to expect at the end of this one.

Wait.  Wait.  Wait.

Heat.  Heat.  Heat.

Atrophying mind.  Atrophying mind.  Atrophying mind.

If swear to God that if one wasn’t suicidal to begin with, it was enough to make them so.  I can’t describe why it was so bad, but it was.  It really was.  Thank God for Twitter (on which I will remark later) on my mobile, though of course the bloody thing’s battery packed in on me eventually, leaving me once more to the doom and nothingness that was Casualty.  Well, I know earlier I was extolling the virtues of nothingness, but that particular brand of nothingness has the decency to lack consciousness.  The A and E version does not demonstrate such wonder.

After the seven hour mark had passed, I went back to the desk and asked was I going to get seen.  By this point it was after 9am.  The woman consulted with a doctor and, interestingly, he almost immediately proceeded to take me through the double doors of doom.  I’ve said it before, but I’ve wondered are there gas chambers through there.  I felt like I was walking the plank.

I was led to a room that, aside from the lack of bars, did a wonderfully accurate impersonation of a prison cell.  It, like the waiting room, was painted (if you could call it that) in one of those bland non-colours that are designed to half-sedate people into compliance.  Just like they have in customs halls at airports.  I was utterly exhausted, mentally and physically, yet my agitation just increased more on arrival in this room.  I found myself barely able to even speak to the doctor, though he seemed like an amicable enough man.

Amicable…but competent?  I’m not sure.  He asked a few questions then went to call the liaison team from the bin, without examining my wrist.  I called him back and asked him did it not require stitches.  He looked at it, in a horribly cursory sort of way (without even removing the steri-strips), then declared that that with which it was already dressed was “quite adequate”.

Again, I’m not sure.  The cut was pretty deep and the resulting blood loss, whilst not life-threatening, had been relatively considerable.  It wasn’t as deep as the (accidental) cut to my finger a few months ago, but it wasn’t that far off it.  Lovely GP told me that I should have had that injury stitched, so I was surprised at this doctor’s belief that this one didn’t such treatment.  I was especially surprised that he didn’t remove the steri-strips to check.

Surprised, yes, but at the time I was so indescribably fed up and so unbearably consumed by exhaustion that I didn’t care.  I just wanted to go home (so any attempt to admit me to the bin would not have gone down well, not that I’m sure I’d have had the energy to fight the bastards).  I said so to the doctor, who said that he wanted the psychiatric liaison woman to see me.  I asked how soon that was anticipated.

“Oh, she’ll be over shortly,” he said nonchalantly but apparently genuinely.  Based on that premise, I agreed to stay and meet the woman in question.  I went to get A and brought him back to the cell, where at least he was able to sit in a slightly more comfortable chair.  I used much of the time between the departure of the doctor and the arrival of the mental woman to apologise to A.  I was horrified that I had put him through such trauma.  From my own perspective, I didn’t – and frankly don’t – give a toss about my suicide attempt, but I absolutely abhor myself for putting him through it.  I kept telling him that his life was better before he met me, which as far as I can tell it indubitably was.  He denied it, claiming that he had been lonely prior to the crossing of our paths.  But surely loneliness is preferable to having to tolerate a borderline freak with a scalpel fetish on a daily basis?

There was plenty of time for such apologies.  Plenty indeed.  The doctor left my cell about 9.15am, and the woman from psychiatry finally arrived just before 1pm, after three enquiries from A to staff about her whereabouts.  If anything this waiting was even worse than the seven hour one of earlier; perhaps it was because we were so completely brain-dead exhausted by then, or perhaps it was simply because the ‘examining’ physician had strongly suggested that the wait for this woman would be pretty short.  It must be that, in A and E, anything under three years is short.  Absolute fucking shit.

Anyway, eventually she did arrive, just as I had finally persuaded A to leave.  I figured there was no point in both of us losing even more of our wills to live (not that I had any in the first place, but you know what I mean), and in any case the poor cats needed fed.  So as I went to a “more private” room with the woman, off A went.

She was a nice woman, but perhaps unsurprisingly was about as useful as a rolled-up election manifesto being shoved up my arse.  We discussed what has stressed me of late (Christmas, C’s dickery, just general mentalism), self-harm in general, the history of my mentalism, my physical health, my weight (“it’s not uncommon in people who’ve been sexually abused to deliberately but unconsciously become overweight, so as they make themselves – in their eyes – less attractive to potential abusers”, apparently) and current eating habits (don’t eat – binge – throw up), and other related wank that I don’t really remember.  She did keep asking if I still wanted to die, and I kept being very careful with my response.  On the one hand, I didn’t want to lie to this woman who was being understanding and down-to-Earth with me, but on the other I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, and find myself sectioned.  I doubt that I would have been, given the low level of resources that this Trust seems to have devoted to mental health difficulties (this isn’t my usual Trust, for the record, as this all took place at A’s house and my normal Trust is based on my address at my mother’s house), but it was always a horrible possibility.  So I just said that I didn’t know.

I told her about C’s intention to cut my psychotherapy short and about VCB constantly fucking me about.  I also told her that I now have a new VCB, a woman who I am to meet for the first time on Wednesday.  The liaison woman reckoned she knows NewVCB, and says if it is indeed the same woman that she is “lovely – really bubbly and friendly.”  That’s better than her predecessor I agree, but ‘bubbly’?  How does a mental who’s just tried to catch the bus deal with someone chirping about and loving life?  Fuck.

The long and the short of it is that she is going to ring LGP, NewVCB and, crucially for me, C, tomorrow morning to report on Friday’s occurrences.  I say ‘crucially’ regarding C as I profoundly do not want him to know about this.  A and A’s best mate W (who A was keeping in touch with during this whole episode via text message) both place the blame for my suicide attempt solely at C’s door.  Naturally I have been trying to defend C.  I have my own psychological agency; he is not responsible for my actions.  A agrees, but still strongly believes that what he feels is C’s ineptitude has at least “precipitated” this.  I don’t know what I think.  I just don’t know how I am going to face the man after this.  I don’t see why I should be so mortified – after all, A, W, all my Twitter friends and now all my blog readers have been party to the most minor of details in relation to this, and C will know a mere few (unless I confide further in him, which as of this writing does not seem likely).  I suppose that I am worried that he too will think that I did what I did solely because of him, and I don’t want him thinking (knowing?) that he has that level of power over me.

Anyway, the woman told me that when I got home I was to give the scalpel and its associated blades to A.  I protested most vehemently against this.

“If I want to kill myself, I’ll find a way,” I said.  “Removing the scalpel will not prevent that, but it will prevent the only real outlet I have for calming my mentalism when it’s at its worst; non-suicidal self-harm.”

She said, “have you ever been referred to a self-harm team?”

I responded in the negative, and she said that she would, therefore, try and refer me to one.  It is difficult because I officially live with my mother, and therefore in a different Trust area – my Trust, surprise surprise, doesn’t have a self-harm team (one thing I ranted about in the advocacy letter, at C’s suggestion).  Nevertheless, she said, she will try.  So I suppose that was one positive to come out of the whole awful experience.  As I said to her, I actually don’t want to stop self-harming as things presently stand; it is the only way to cope sometimes.  What I do want, though, is to want to want to stop it.  I don’t put much faith in these self-harm team people really, but it is at least an avenue to explore.

She once again asked if I had any thoughts of going home and trying again to kill myself, and once again I made some sort of ambiguous noise.  However, she took this as a ‘yes’, and to that end took me back to the doctors’ station to seek my discharge, which was instantly given without any further examination or questioning.  I left, and walked home alone.  I had been there 12 hours, and not a thing of any use – save for the possible self-harm team referral – had occurred.

When I got home I found evidence of what happened all over the living room floor.  Mercifully, there were no blood stains on the carpet, but there were maybe eight tissues that were absolutely saturated.  Blades lay scattered everywhere, though the scalpel itself was curiously absent and has remained elusive (A swears he didn’t find it).  I tidied the place up, grateful that A had been seemingly oblivious to it all.  He had had enough trauma.

I found him in bed listening to the radio.  I crawled in beside him and begged for his forgiveness, and I am very lucky to be able to report that it was granted, on the proviso that I don’t do this again.  I promised I wouldn’t, though A wonders if that is a promise that can be kept given how strong the compulsion to die can be at times.

All I can say is that I will try my best.  I really will try my best.  To look at it from a cynical perspective, I really don’t want to have to go through 12 hours of unmitigated hospital shite like that again.  The inadequacy and comical inefficiency of the NHS never ceases to amaze me.  I mean, OK – had there been some big emergency in, I could have understood the waiting there like complete numpties for 28 years – but there wasn’t.  There were a handful of other minor injuries, so it was just complete and utter shit.

How do I feel now, about 30 hours after getting home?  I feel remarkably not-too-shit, though there seems to be a permanent, cynical sneer across my face (though that was quite possibly there long before Friday night).  I still think the world is a shithole and that my life is a mess, but I am simultaneously touched by the generosity of some people, both out there in the ether and here, in ‘real life’.  See here and here for just some examples of individuals that prove that Twitter is very, very far from the facile, meaningless shite that many in the media present it as.  I fully believe that were it not for Twitter, I may well have successfully killed myself in the last nine months – not on Friday probably, admittedly, but at some juncture.  It is the best support group that I can imagine.

W and of course, in a beyond-words sort of way, A, also prove that maybe, in the midst of all the darkness, there are some people who make this existence less shit.  I am grateful that people care.  I hate my life, very profoundly do I hate it, but in terms of having people to give a shit, I am glad to declare myself a fortunate individual.

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Remonstrations with C – Week 29

Posted in C, Everyday Life, Moods, Psychotherapy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 11 November, 2009 by Pandora

I was absolutely dreading seeing C last week, after the disaster of the previous week.  Although the rawness of my hurt and anger had abated somewhat, I still felt fucked over and undermined, and obviously had no idea what he was thinking.  In fact, I’d arrived at a position of relative indifference towards him, something I’ve never really felt during the whole time we’ve known each other.

My initial thinking was that, from a psychodynamic perspective, this was a very bad thing.  You can’t just switch transference off, not well before the relationship has fulfilled its duties anyway (which as you can tell, ours as yet has not). I mean, one is surely supposed to feel strongly – or at least not ambivalently – about the therapist in the course of this type of psychotherapy.  But perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

As I walked behind him from the waiting room to his office, I couldn’t help but observe how much his bald spot has grown since I first met him back in February.  He has lovely fluffy hair, like a man about 40 years his senior (old people always have lovely fluffy hair, don’t they?).  But now it is falling out.  By odd coincidence, I noticed my first grew hair on the evening of the disaster session that this meeting followed.  I must not allow myself to be deluded into thinking that I am encouraging or in some way perpetuating C’s hair loss.  That would be fucking stupid.

I sat down, and immediately cast my eyes downwards, so as to avoid his gaze when he sat down.  I don’t recall what he said at first – maybe he offered some salutation or asked where I wished to begin, but in any case he paused for a few minutes (during which I sat in a fiddly silence) and then told me that I “seem[ed] very agitated.”

Well, look at Dr fucking Insight. Your powers of perception astound me, C!  Well, actually, they do at times – but I think on this occasion the observations could have been made by a dead giraffe with its neck twisted in a strait jacket.

I elected to ignore him beyond a mere shrug.  ‘They’ were laughing spitefully at the back of my head and getting on my tits, though I don’t think they influenced my behaviour around C particularly. He hadn’t mentioned the previous week, and I hadn’t the balls to bring it up unsolicited, so what did I have to say to him?

Eventually, of course, he broke the silent deadlock with that perennially irritating question, “what’s going through your head as we sit here?”

As I recall, I told him that very little was going through my head.  Apart from the grammatically- and personality-challenged ‘They’, not much really was happening in my head.  It felt as if I existed in a thought vacuum.  I didn’t feel good by an stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t exactly have anything tangible to exemplify that at that particular point.

This impasse continued for a few minutes, as ‘They’ assessed C.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, their conclusion was not especially positive.

Eventually, after having ‘They’ berate C for a few minutes I took a deep breath and told him that I was seriously considering voluntary admission due to the danger posed by ‘They’.  I went ahead and explained about ‘They’ in detail.

“I don’t want to go, C, I don’t want to go,” I told him, anxiously.  “But I’m concerned that I’m in dangerous position and that I ergo have no choice.”  It’s funny; it’s the the first time I recall using his name when addressing him directly.  Not that it matters really – but it seems more personal or something.

He talked for a while about the procedure one has to follow to seek admission to an NHS psychiatric ward.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that it is as simple as it used to be.  You have to meet your GP or psychiatrist, but rather than them referring you directly, they then send you to one of those fuckwit Crisis Teams who decide how mental you are.  Based on my experience, you’d need admitted after meeting them, not that they’d realise that, because apparently a cup of tea and some meditating will cure all mental illnesses and emotional difficulties.  Yep.  That’s why people in my position are considerably more likely to end up topping themselves than the general population, you pathetic cunts.

Anyhow, I was actually reasonably impressed with C’s non-judgmental take on on both ‘They’ and my hospitalisation proposal.  It is often his wont to tell me that I can be in control of stuff like this, which to my mind is (mostly) horseshit.  Although we later discussed the possibility of exploring non-medical ways of dealing with ‘They’, certainly at this juncture, his tone was accepting, as was the content of what he said.  That was encouraging.

After the discussion around hospitalisation, I admitted to him that ‘They’ didn’t like him.

This enraged ‘They’.  “That is not what we said,” ‘They ‘ shrieked at me.  “We said he was a cunt.  Tell him.  Tell him…TELL HIM!”

For the first time, in utter frustration, I actually spoke aloud to them – or rather, I shouted at them.

“Alright, for fuck’s sake, I know!” I yelled.  I had actually been in the middle of a sentence directed at C at the time, and he must surely have been taken aback by this random outburst – but he managed not to bat an eyelid.

I don’t remember how the discussion of my anger at the previous week’s annoyances arose, but eventually arise it did.  I do remember that he said that I hadn’t commented on that, and my responding that he hadn’t asked.

Rather than express my raw hurt, I simply said, “let’s put it this way; I wasn’t in the best of moods last Thursday.”

His response surprised me slightly, though I think I hid it well.  He said, self-referentially, “what a bastard, right?”

“Um…well.  Am I allowed to say ‘yes’ to that?”

“You’re allowed to say whatever you like.”

“Then yes, exactly.”

He nodded, apparently unoffended (not that he should be given his job), then we discussed the issue in a fairly forthright and adult manner.  There’s little point in going over it, as most of my annoyances were discussed in the letter – though I didn’t give it to him as I said I would in the comments of that post.  I did tell him about it, though, and admitted to having a printed copy in my bag.

C actively encouraged me to read it to him, but I refused.  I don’t know why; I’m annoyed with myself for chickening out, but it just didn’t feel ‘right’ at the time.  I told him I would think about it, and indeed I have the letter ready to take again tomorrow.

I had made the point that I had taken an awful lot of time to prepare the stuff I’d taken to him the week before, and told him that I’d found it horribly invalidating when that work was “thrown back in my face because [he] couldn’t be arsed to read it.”

He didn’t bother to defend himself in anyway.  Instead, he went to what seemed to me to be great pains to tell me that he really did understand my upset.

“And maybe you felt rejected?” he later queried.

Rather than duck out of this, as I would normally have done, I went ahead and confirmed his suspicion.

I wasn’t overly emotional throughout this discussion (though had been a bit during the discussion of ‘They’), but I had been out the day before wearing eye make-up (and hadn’t been arsed to wash it off – I know, I know, how disgusting), and my reluctance to express myself in this fashion in front of C had more to do with the possibility of having big black mascara-streaks down my face rather than my usual ‘must-fight-against-it-it-is-evil-and-weak’ stance.  For the first time I began to get a sense that I could and should talk openly to C about things I’d deliberately avoided, and that I could maybe start to demonstrate exactly how I might feel – and if that includes crying, or ranting or kicking things, then so be it.

There was nothing clear in the discussion that led to this, but for whatever reason, I felt the dynamic had subtly changed for the better – not that it’s generally been a bad one, of course, but perhaps it took an argument for me to fully trust him not to abandon me; ie. that if he was still there, still very much part of my life – and if anything more supportive – after a major disagreement, that just maybe he could be trusted with a range of unpleasantries.  Not that I ever consciously doubted that, but I don’t know – the subconscious is a funny thing I suppose, and I’ve always been firmly of the view that one should trust no one until they have definitively proven themselves trustworthy.  And even then, the trust should be cautiously administered.

Whatever subtleties took place last week, I hope they can sustain the future of the therapy.  Far from wanting to seek an alternative therapist, as I did the day I wrote the letter, I am quietly encouraged by things with C as they stand.

But it could all change tomorrow…


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The Malice of the Voices of ‘They’

Posted in Everyday Life, Medications, Moods, psychiatry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, 10 November, 2009 by Pandora

Owing to the pain of this –

Ouchies

– I’ve been somewhat in absentia from the blogosphere recently.  Was this gash – which is actually worse than the above suggests, being as it was nearly a removed-tip-of-finger – deliberate?  Was it fuck!  I even commented on the annoying irony of this on Twitter.  On Saturday the lid to a toothpaste tube had become lodged in the sink plughole, and the only way to get it out, aside from amateur plumbing, was to edge it out at the side with a knife.  A certain angle, a lot of force, and it wasn’t just the offending lid that ended up deeply cut to pieces.

I was urged to go to A&E to get this stitched, and I should have; it’s deep, and it’s very, very open.  But I didn’t.  Inertia?  Yes.  Social phobia?  Yes.  But the fact that an XBox 360 Elite has arrived in the house didn’t help either, not that I could use this finger to use the controls.  Neither could I drive initially, nor type, so forgive my lack of posting.

I admit to some malaise re: blogging though – I can’t blame everything on my half-axed physical extremity, given as the blog has gone unwritten for just under a fortnight.  A post that I’d originally started on Wednesday afternoon was to be called ‘The Rollercoaster’, such was my mental state between the last post and then.  Most of it is faff and I could never be arsed finishing it, so I thought I’d condense (ha!) the salient points of it into this new post.

Of course, I am aware that I haven’t written about my last session with C; I shall try and rectify this tomorrow.  In short summary, we are, for now, friends again.  We discussed the previous week’s annoyances, and although I didn’t give him the letter as intended, I did tell him about it.  He actually wanted me to read it to him, but I’ll detail that later.  I was honest with him for a change, but because I’d been too lazy to wash my face from the previous day, when I had worn mascara, I refused as ever to cry in front of him.  I think I might have done, though, had I not been horrified by the thought of having black streaks down my face, so I suppose that’s progress.  A silly reason?  Well, if I was a therapist, I’d laugh at an individual in such a position, so I can’t expect C not to.  On the other hand, I’m probably just a sick fuck.

Anyway.

The main thing of interest since my last post is the development of ‘They’.

‘They’

Poor A has been doing a lot of home-based overtime recently, and the morning of Saturday 31st October saw no exception to this.  That morning, he was in the study working, whilst I was lying in bed trying to fight off the usual Saturday migraine (this used to happen when I was at work each week, but when I became a dolescum, it mostly disappeared.  In the six to eight weeks prior to this date, however, the weekly migraine has returned.  Reassuringly, A asked me to ask Lovely GP if this combined with recent hallucinatory behaviour could be symptomatic of a brain tumour.  Yippee).

For contextual reference, overnight on 26/27th October, I had been plagued by horribly frightening auditory hallucinations all night (see this tweet), indicating to me that the hallucinations had moved beyond ‘just’ Tom and the shapes.  The music was the most terrifying, for reasons I cannot really articulate.  It was only about four or five notes on what sounded like a xylophone, but it carried the same unspoken message of hostility that the shapes do.  Not that the knocking and the whimpering didn’t.

So, anyway, here I was trying to soothe this migraine by lying in the darkened bedroom, when someone who wasn’t A nor Tom told me to get up and brush my teeth.  For some reason, I acquiesced and did as I was told.

Upon completion of this, the ‘someone’ became a ‘they’ – instantaneously, yet simultaneously gradually.  I know that makes no sense.  The best way to put it, I suppose, is that it was like an operatic or orchestral crescendo.  The nebulous ‘they’ then instructed me to go to the top of the stairs.  Tom turned up and told them to leave me alone, but they laughed at them.  I (internally) enquired as to what I should do.  Tom said to go back to bed.  ‘They’ repeated their aforementioned direction.

‘They’ and Tom kept bickering about what I should do but, much as I don’t mind Tom, the collective voice of ‘They’ was so much stronger, and carried a weight I can’t explain.  It was a compulsion.  I went to the stairs.

I have fallen, and thrown myself, down the stairs at my mother’s house many a time, but the stairs there are relatively ‘safe’; they aren’t especially steep, are thickly carpeted and, until recently, had a…shall we say…deceleration zone.  This is not the case at A’s; the carpet is thin, the stairs are incredibly steep and there is maybe a foot of hallway at the bottom before you go crashing into the front door.  That’s if you don’t hit the radiator on the right.  In short, falling down A’s stairs could seriously injure me.  I doubt it would actually kill me, but it could definitely injure me.

Here I was at the top of these steep stairs.  It was almost as if they had morphed into a sheer cliff face – I mean, I didn’t see such a thing, but…I don’t know, it’s hard to describe; it just felt like that.  At this point ‘They’ started telling me that I was to throw myself down the stairs.  Tom tried to intervene, as did the voice of Me.  But ‘They’ were too strong.

When I didn’t immediately throw myself down, they became enraged and started chanting/screaming: “YOU MUST DIE!  YOU MUST DIE!  YOU MUST DIE!” followed shortly by, “THROW YOURSELF, THROW YOURSELF HARD!”.  Simultaneously, parts of ‘They’ were laughing in the manner that the dark monster’s under a child’s bed are supposed to.  Sinister.

I remember little of what was going on outside this mental cacophony, but I do recall that it was a physical effort to not throw myself down the stairs.  I have a very vivid memory of watching my bare toes teetering precariously on the edge of the step, trying – amidst this madness – to will them not to go over.

It’s funny really.  Given the almost perpetual suicidal ideation in which I engage, why not just go with the flow of ‘They’?  But I wanted to fight them.

Still ‘They’ went on, “die die die, throw yourself, throw yourself hard,” in their ritualistic chant.  Still Tom and Me tried, with considerable futility, to dissuade them that this was a desirable course of action.  But ‘They’ either just spat bile at or ignored us.  They called me (both me-me and the Voice of Me) a range of names such as “slut,” “cunt,” “bitch,” etc, but they just audibly sneered, if that’s possible, at Tom.

Somehow I sat down.  By this point, I presume in order to distract me, the amorphous ‘They’, were knocking at the side of my head, exacerbating the headache (as if their bloody noise hadn’t done enough of that).  I put my hands over my ears and started rocking back and forth, but of course that didn’t stop them.  That was a pointless gesture – they’re in my head so, how can covering my fucking ears shut them up?  But it was instinctive, I suppose.

Despite Tom’s best efforts to diffuse the situation, it wasn’t getting any better.  ‘Me’ wondered if taking my gaze away from the stairs would do anything to help things, so I lay my head down on the next step and hid under my arms.  They didn’t stop, but part of me ceased to be entirely sure of where I was, so the sheer compulsion to obey ‘They’ abated – but only slightly.

It was shortly after this that A emerged from the study and asked if I was OK.  He had been talking to himself whilst in the study and his voice had kind of morphed with that of ‘They’, so I didn’t even know if he was real.  Nevertheless, aside from Me and Tom, he was the only voice there with which I was familiar, so I told him what was happening.

A helped me down each individual step.  ‘They’ mocked him, sneered at him and wanted me to hurt him, but somehow, I managed to resist them.  When A finally managed to get me into the relative safety of the living room, he called ‘They’ “pathetic non-existent cunts” and told ‘They’ that he was going to “destroy” them.  Tom laughed agreeably and told ‘They’ to fuck themselves; ‘They’ were both insulted and incredulous.  ‘They’ called A a number of names that I no longer remember, continued to tell me to die, and although they didn’t ‘verbally’ say it, there was an intense sense in my head that ‘They’ found the notion that A could defeat ‘beings’ of such epic power an irritation and a source of amusement.

To cut what is already a very long story a wee bit shorter, eventually ‘They’ and Tom left.  A was disturbed; I was exhausted.  We were both worried about how this would turn out.

In fact, the possibility of voluntary admission was discussed.  My fear was not so much for myself – I don’t really matter to me, after all.  But ‘They’ hate A.  It turned out later that ‘They’ hate C too..  They’re more tolerant of Mum, but they still don’t like her.  ‘They’ haven’t met my friends yet, but I’m sure they’ll hate them too.  So, whilst if I want to do myself in I want it to be my decision and not theirs, and that side of things presents as an issue, my greater concern is that the complete control of ‘They’ over me would lead to harm of someone about whom I care.

I had an appointment with VCB today (more on that in a moment), and A and I both hoped that I could hold out to then before the drastic step of admission, but I did discuss that possibility with several individuals and, with a few qualifications, it was agreed amongst all that if ‘They’ returned with such hostility, that it was probably a good idea.

‘They’ did return a few days later.  ‘They’ were not demanding my death this time, nor the injury of anyone else, but they were chattering insults and laughing scornfully at a low level at the back of my head.  “Whore,” “cunt,” “slut,” “bitch” etc.  They were whispering spitefully and when A started into them again, the insults were then divided between him and me both.  But although distressing and unpleasant, there was no danger from this episode, so luckily I didn’t embark on a course to the bin.

‘They’ were there on Thursday morning when I went to see C.  This was the first time when I verbally spoke to them.  ‘They’ told me they thought he was a cunt, and I said to him, “they don’t like you.”

‘They’ got really mad at this; apparently, I was meant to tell C that he had been called a ‘cunt’ specifically.

“Tell him, tell him, tell him,” they ordered.

“Alright, for fuck’s sake, I know!” I yelled at them.  I’m not sure how C kept a straight face.

But they’ve not been there in a dangerous capacity since 31st October, thankfully, so I haven’t incarcerated myself.  As stated, I had an appointment with VCB today, which I had been anxiously waiting for thanks to ‘They’, but of which I was also simultaneously terrified, given as I am scared of VCB.

I was actually slightly surprised that she herself had the decency to see me today and not palm me off onto some minion.  Perhaps C told her about my threats of advocacy, media and contacting her boss from last time.  Anyhow, as usual I had developed my written list of symptoms from which she – unlike her stupid SHO – allowed me to work, recognising that it’s not always easy to remember everything.  She did quiz me on specifics – “what did ‘They’ say specifically?  Pretend you’re them talking,” or “what does Tom talk to you about?” – but mostly, she allowed me to speak freely about the last few weeks.

Essentially, the result of the meeting was that she wants me to decrease the Venlafaxine back to 75mg – not because of the hallucinations per se, as she actually does not seem to believe they are a side effect of it, but because being on 150mg hasn’t made any difference to the feelings of depression.  I’m not sure I like this.  I basically think Venlafaxine is crap (not to mention evil and insidious), but I’m scared of being on a low dose thereof again, and in particular I am petrified of a pseudo-discontinuation syndrome caused by a dosage reduction, despite VCB’s claims that there should not be any noticeable difference.  I am seeing LGP in the morning so will discuss this with him.

Secondly, and more helpfully, VCB says that the more recent hallucinations and delusions do represent outright psychoses.  Well, not that that in itself is nice – obviously it’s not, but it had a hopefully positive outcome.  She had been expecting to prescribe me a mood stabiliser today, but in light of the information I gave him, obviously decided that “a trial” of an anti-psychotic would be more appropriate.  I know how hideous side effects of such medications are, but frankly I’m glad because things as described above can’t go on.

She has decided upon 2.5mg of Olanzapine; she chose this drug because she thinks it’s better in terms of its secondary indication of mood stabilising than many of the other atypical anti-psychotics, despite most of the manufacturers’ claims that they all mood stabilise fabulously.  2.5mg is the lowest dose of this drug, but that’s fair enough I suppose.  VCB says it can be increased as necessary, but it is of course best to start on as low a dose as possible.  Unusually, she wants to see me in a month rather than six weeks.  Although she (obviously) didn’t bin me, this did suggest some concern on her part in my view.

I asked VCB if the revelations had any impact on my diagnoses, as I was aware that psychoses weren’t generally a feature of bipolar II, and whilst they are seen in BPD, it is usually (as far as I understand it) during episodes of considerable stress, which I hadn’t been experiencing especially during the development of ‘They’.  She said that she still felt the diagnosis was correct, as the episodes of psychosis have been transient, as is seen in borderline, rather than prolonged and sustained.  However, she did imply that she would be willing to reevaluate things in future, should the need arise.

She warned that the main side effect of Olanzapine is weight gain, which is not apparently caused just because the drug itself makes you fat, but because it increases your appetite.  She said that I have to try and develop methods of ignoring any new or unexpected bouts of hunger, which I suppose I can discuss with C.  She also recommended exercise (obviously I suppose), so when I get my windfall from work, I may rejoin the gym.  As a dolescum, I do get to use the local leisure centre for cheap, but it’s usually full of pricks all day long, whereas I know for a fact that the gym and its pool are both almost empty during the day.  In any case, I’ve lost a lot of weight recently, so whilst I don’t exactly want to regain any of it, I suppose I can deal with a little bit more whilst I try to address countering any new-found appetite.

A final side effect is strong sedation, but perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that this would be a positive thing for me.  Unfortunately, apparently that tends to wear off as one gets used to the drugs, but hopefully I’ll have the lovely Zopiclone in waiting then.

I haven’t got the pills yet; I have to take VCB’s script to the GP’s for them to load it onto the system and then prescribe and sent to the pharmacy.  Had I done so today, I would not have got them until tomorrow anyway, and since I’m seeing LGP in the morning anyway, I can just get him to prescribe them directly.

So all in all the VCB was quite useful today – I just wish she’d make that state of affairs consistent.  Perhaps the best thing about this – and I know this is really sad and childish – is that she’s defied the NICE guidelines on BPD.  I suppose she had little choice given the circumstances, but she always wanted to adhere to them insofar as was possible.  But I think NICE are useless knobs, a waste of public money who sit about saying a lot about very little, so this pleases me.

Other Events

New Friend

On Wednesday 4th, I had the pleasure of meeting K (can we call her K?  There’s no other Ks on this blog, are there?), another BPD ‘diagnosee’ that I met via Twitter.  K is also from Northern Ireland, though now lives in England (she was here on a quick visit).

We spent a couple of great hours chatting over tea – the conversation was lively and wide-ranging, but in terms of mentalism specifically, it was a relief to discuss things with someone who has direct experience of many of the same problems I have.  I’ve relied on the internet for this to date, still do and probably always will – K and I agreed the temptation to catch the bus without the support of online friends would be considerably higher than it already is – but nevertheless it’s great to actually speak to someone in person that understands.

I would normally be very nervous about meeting someone new, as you can probably imagine from earlier ramblings.  However, I actually wasn’t with K, and even had I been, her easy-going charm would have relaxed me very quickly.  So thank you, K 🙂

GA

Fucking cunt of evil bastardry aunt GA was in situ for the second time within a few months last week.  Why come across the Atlantic twice in such a short timeframe?  Last week was for my cousin’s wedding, that was only organised recently.  Needless to say, I didn’t go.  I can’t presently think of circumstances that would in any way make me tolerate seeing that woman and her shit descendants.

What pisses me off when GA is here (and even when she isn’t) is that my mother wanks on about what a poisonous twat GA is – GA knows everything, GA always thinks it’s worse for her than for others, GA must interrupt people and be the focus of the conversation, etc – yet as soon as I open my mouth to make any vaguely critical remark about the old battleaxe, Mum rages at me for being so cruel about her.

Fuck that, and fuck GA.

Meh

There was another ‘other event’ that I wanted to add but alas its exact nature has evaded me.  Another time – in any case, I think I have drivelled on for long enough as usual.

Did I say something near the start of this post about ‘condensing’ my words?!
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Reflecting on Being a Psychotic Bitch

Posted in Moods, Triggers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 14 October, 2009 by Pandora

I am sure that one does not require the IQ of Einstein or his counterparts to work out, from the last post, that bleakness, futility and utter self-disgust presently permeate my existence. There were precipitating factors, but I am not prepared to discuss them in any detail here.  I do keep this blog primarily for my own reference, but I do not need to document this incident as I will never forget the evil of which I am capable. Never.  Even as I bounce my (very metaphorical) grandchildren about on my knee (if my ‘life’ ever gets that far), my psychotic break on Friday night will never be far from the forefront of my mind.

Rationally, I can tell myself that it wasn’t me behaving in the fashion that I did.  Rationally, I can sit here and say, “well, you’re mentally ill”.  Rationally, I can (and do) accept that I was not in control.

It doesn’t matter.  It isn’t an excuse.  I wouldn’t care if it were just about me, for fuck’s sake I’d gladly do myself in if it were just about me.  But I am ruining other lives as I continue on the destructive path on which my mind seems intent on following.

I rail against the idea of being committed, and to that end have been known to be careful in what I have said to C, LGP and VCB, so as to avoid them instigating a process that would end in that result for me.  Being sectioned, or even voluntary hospitalisation, would be about the most horrendous thing I can imagine – group therapy, disillusioned and overworked (and probably incompetent) staff, being in a ward with other fucking people.  I cannot bear the idea.  It makes me feel physically ill when I even contemplate it.

But I have enough insight, shockingly, to know that this isn’t just about me.  For the sake of my friends and family, it really may be the best option if throwing me in the asylum is exactly what the three of them (or whomsoever) choose to do.

I don’t think I’m being irrational in writing this.  Granted, you (the reader) don’t know the context under which this miserable spiel of crap has been created (with one or two exceptions), but I believe my self-condemnation is wholly appropriate.

I don’t want to have this out with C tomorrow, but I’m going to have to find some way to overcome my cowardice and discuss it all with him, because I have gone too far this time and I can’t guarantee that I’ll have the level of self-control required not to go too far again. Some proponent of the newer types of therapy such as behavioural techniques might wank on about my own responsibility, and yeah, I might be abdicating from my sense of it – I don’t know.  I just know I didn’t at any point choose the behaviour that has disturbed me so profoundly.  It was almost like what I imagine stage hypnosis is; you have some level of awareness, but you are not controlling your mind or body.

This week has been fucking awful.  I would use the phrase ‘downward spiral’, but that would be bollocks, as I’m thoroughly at the bottom of the spiral.

The little social contact I’ve had – on Twitter, in the main – might represent my status this week as relatively mentally intact, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I am still a consummate actress. Thinking about it, I’m narcissistic enough (though not thin enough, admittedly) to have a very successful Hollywood career.  Though that would send me even more insane, if that’s possible.

I’m sorry for turning the comments off in the last post. I figured some well-meaning people might say, “no, you’re not fetid/disgusting/depraved/whatever,” and whilst, indubitably, I appreciate the sentiment behind such words, they are in my present-thinking false words.  I need to reflect on what I have done, even though it causes horrible pain.

I really, really am a vile human being. Well, perhaps I’m not – that’s up for debate – but this mental persona, and whatever nefarious afflictions control it, most assuredly are.


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What’s Annoying Me Today, and Ruminations on Seeing the Psychiatrist

Posted in Everyday Life, Medications, Moods, psychiatry, Triggers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, 29 September, 2009 by Pandora

Well, fuck me, but didn’t the VCB actually manage to bother her arse seeing me today.  Will wonders ever cease?!

I took my Mum with me to the horrible, dilapidated, thoroughly depressing place as I wanted VCB to see that I was nervous about seeing her.  And was I nervous, oh yes.

I had had about half an hour’s miserable sleep on the sofa so was completely mentally fucked in any case.  This made the drive to my mother’s somewhat interesting, but anyway, she drove onward from there.

I began to regret requesting my mother’s company within minutes of sitting in the waiting room.  In my attempt to not appear mental and hyperventilating, I was a bit mental and hyperventilating.  I was rocking back and forth in the chair and covering my face with my hands.  The other nutters that were there had the courtesy to pretend they didn’t notice – initially, anyway.  When my bloody mother started going on that I didn’t “look OK” (10 out of 10 for observation, Mum), then they all turned round, as if her opening her mouth gave them a Licence to Gawk.  One of them looked like a bit of a freak.  The other one looked surprisingly normal.  I didn’t.  My hair was a mess, I was wearing the same trousers that I’ve worn on and off since about Wednesday and I was deathly pale, with big black circles under my eyes.  Not to mention the odd psychomotor movements.  Yeah.  A loon.

VCB kept me waiting, as well I suspected she might do.  Every time I heard the door open, I took a deep breath and got ready to face her, yet it wasn’t her.  Needless to say, this didn’t help my levels of anxiety.

Some rough-sounding bitch came in with what was, I presume, her father.  She had evidently already been seen by someone and was waiting for them to come back, but she was bloody raging.  She called the staff “dickheads” and said that her situation was “not fucking funny at all” and that her social worker was a bitch and that she was not taking any more of her crap.

Generally, I hope I don’t behave like this in public places, though I know I do here.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel the woman’s pain; these people are arseholes, and consistently seem to let patients down.  I also envied the girl’s ballsiness, if only temporarily.  I just knew I’d end up submitting to the VCB and I so desperately didn’t want to.  I wanted to stand my ground, demand answers and get help.

Another thing – the rough bint, as stated, referred to her social worker.  You may have read my rants on Twitter on Friday (here, here and here) that there are actually two Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) at the hospital in which the VCB and C are both based.  C and VCB will, in some way, be part of those teams, but as I understand it, CMHTs also include social workers, occupational therapists, CPNs, the stupid crisis teams and ‘duty’ teams who are there when your psychologist or psychiatrist isn’t.  The social workers, CPNs etc are, as far as I understand it, there for use alongside the professionals you normally see.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that my mental health problems are the most serious in the whole vicinity.  They aren’t.  Mind you, I’m fairly sure that I’m not a million steps from sectionable behaviour, so they aren’t entirely innocuous either, are they?  So I’m wondering why it’s left to C to do all non-medical work with me.  As discussed in the comments of this post, it seems kind of odd that C is practicing psychodynamic therapy along with stupid DBT.  He is always banging on that whilst we need to tackle the underlying issues of madness, I also need practical measures to help me when I actually go mental.  I agree with him.  I just find it confusing to go from one to the other potentially several times during one 50-minute session.  bourach said to me that I should request a CPN to do all of the practical crap with me, leaving the actual ‘deep’ therapy to the psychologist.

In all honesty, I reckon a CPN or an OT or whatever would probably be shite; nevertheless, I think DBT itself is shite, so if it’s going to be insisted upon in my treatment, surely it is best served by someone specifically dealing with practical issues.

So, in short, I was very annoyed that LCP, C and VCB had failed to advise me of these CMHTs.  I did fantasise about ranting to VCB about it, but I reckoned that she’d only say it was nothing to do with her, which to be fair it isn’t especially as she is dealing with the medical side of things and fucking DBT and suchlike isn’t that by any means.  I do think I’ll have it out with C, though.  Was it his place to tell me?  I don’t know, but I do know that at least I can ask questions like this of him, whereas I’m way too scared of VCB to confront her, even if it were her domain.

OK, so that was a digression.  Sorry.  Eventually, VCB stuck her head around the door and summoned me.

Basically, the appointment was alright, but very little has changed.  Despite telling her about Tom, the voice, the delusions and paranoia, the increased mania and the stupid things I do whilst therein, and a full account of what happened on Friday, she is still not prepared to give me mood stabilisers and/or anti-psychotics (though thank Merciful Christ, she is not willing to section me either.  I think she realises that’s just about the worst thing that could happen right now).

In fairness, she has a fair rationale for not prescribing such drugs just right now.  Somewhere in this post, I outlined some of the mad things that have been happening to me since I started taking Venlafaxine – but I also drew attention to the fact that I thought it had made a very subtle improvement to my ‘base’ mood.

Encouraged by this, and at my own suggestion in fact, VCB wanted to double the dose to 150mg daily.  I begged her not to take it off me, as whilst it has a string of hideous side effects, at least it looks moderately encouraging as regards the depression side of things.

So, there are two things to consider in light of this.  The first was that she said that if I thought Venlafaxine had side-effects, then I should wait until I experienced mood stabilisers.  In fairness, she appreciated that I was probably quite aware of this, as she seems quite aware of how well informed I am about many psychiatric issues, including medication (C must have discussed this with her).  Secondly, and more pertinently from my point of view, she said that she would “never” make two medication changes at once (and by increasing the dosage of the anti-depressant, she is already making one).  She would – quite obviously, when you think about it – be unable to see what particular tablet was causing side effects or any changes in my mood if she made more than one change at the same time.

That’s fair enough, but the difficulty of this for me is that – given my original reactions to Venlafaxine – doubling the dose will probably send me utterly batshit again.  Even if it doesn’t cause me to react in such an extreme fashion, increasing the dose of this notorious drug is desperately unlikely to, in itself, stabilise my up-down moods and episodes of psychoses, is it?!  If she sees me again in six weeks, that’s probably bearable…but will she?

I actually specifically asked her this, and she said she would.  It fucking better be the case.

I also asked her, for the avoidance of doubt, if she would consider both anti-psychotics and mood stabilisers if things don’t change (which they won’t).  She said ‘yes’ to both.  I clarified that I actually quite like Tom, but that I recognised that hearing him was not normal (Obviously.  I mean…obviously!).  She agreed, but I think her greater concern (like mine) was regarding the other hallucinations, the delusions and paranoia.  Tom is benign (so far); they are not.  (Quotes to A – “why the fuck are you taking notes on me?  Are you in collusion with GCHQ?” //  “why is that sign trying to tell me something?”  //  “he [my stalker] is there, he’s fucking everywhere [he wasn’t there]”).

She did give me some fairly useful advice on dealing with the stalker. It’s nothing I didn’t really think of myself, but nevertheless it sometimes helps to have it verbalised by someone else.  I don’t think I have the balls to confront the bloke in the way she mentioned, unless I’m once more manic, and she did acknowledge that it’s easy for her to say.  Still, I have to do something about the fuckhead.  VCB said, “I’m not encouraging you to drink per se, but I do think it’s important that you retain the normal routine and do things you enjoy, such as going to your local.”  So I have to face up to him in some way.

Sensing disappointment regarding her unwillingness to prescribe additional medication, she said, “medication is not a cure, you know [no, I had no fucking idea given that I’ve been on it for 12 years.  If it was a cure I’d be cured by now, you old horse!].  The best route to recovery is via psychotherapy.  I know there’s nothing immediate happening in yours, but I spoke to C and he thinks there’s good work being done there.”

I laughed in her face.  I don’t know why; I’ve stated time and time again that I do think there’s hope with C, and my hopeless attachment to him is almost a textbook reaction to a functional therapeutic relationship.  I think I’m angry with C for fucking off for a fornight…again.  Additionally, I remember that when I told him about my planned discussion with VCB that he’d suggested an improved mood was down to him, not medication.  This is funny.  I don’t know why, but it is.

I told VCB about it.  “I’m terribly fond of him,” I admitted, “but really – any positive change like this is strongly attributable to the medication, I think.”

She didn’t seem sure about that, not entirely anyhow, but she didn’t argue either.  Her contention though was that, even though we are pretty agreed I have bipolar disorder as well as BPD, that that illness also requires psychotherapy.

Now she’s a psychiatrist and I’m not, but I always understood that any psychotherapy in bipolar was about trying to recognise triggers, managing mania and mixed states, etc.  I didn’t think there was any exploratory psychodynamnic-esque stuff within it (unless it is co-morbid, as in my case), mainly as it’s largely an organic illness, rather than one supposedly created in large part by traumatic events like BPD.

When I relayed this part of the conversation to A, he said it sounded like she hadn’t a clue what she is doing.  Hmm.  I don’t know.  I suppose research into causation of mental illness, including bipolar disorder, is still ongoing.

So, anyway, it wasn’t the most productive meeting ever, but assuming I actually do get to see her in six weeks as promised, it could have been worse.  If I don’t, well – the shit hits the fan for her crappy department.

Despite the relative non-shitness of it though, I am feeling remarkably low and unmotivated and sad today.  I didn’t get much sleep as already discussed, and even though I appreciate VCB’s reasons for not prescribing me some cocktail, I must confess to some level of disappointment in it.

I was also irrationally angry last night when A told me of a discussion he had with his friend, in which A told him I was diagnosed with clinical depression.  That’s so last decade lol!  A told him that because he (very much a layperson) wouldn’t understand the terms BPD or bipolar, but I’d have thought he’d have understood the old term ‘manic depression’ at least.  This annoyed me as any time any of that lot see me, I’m in pretty good form; thus if he believes I have ‘clinical’ depression, it looks like I’m faking this whole damn thing (plus I’ve developed a crackpot identity beyond just depression since I first realised last year that it was more than that).  This potential belief was exemplified the other day when the bloke in question asked me how work was.  I told him I’d been off and said I was dealing with some “mental health issues.”

He said, “in other words, you don’t like work.”

Jesus fucking Christ, such willful bloody ignorance.  If it were about hating work then I’d have gone and got myself another fucking job.

My annoyance was compounded by the fact that the bloke’s father has suffered from depression but hasn’t responded to treatment.  Yer man therefore opines that it could well be that his “dad is just a dick”.  This, as I saw it, is a refutation that there is anything wrong with me or anyone else that has difficulty responding to treatment.  It is also suggestive that he believes depressed people are ‘dicks’.  Maybe it isn’t, maybe that’s just paranoia, but one thing it definitely is is ignorant.  It’s not entirely his fault; it is, of course, a greater problem in society than just one man.  But this in itself makes me despair.

If this is what someone that knows and seems to like me thinks, what does the world at large believe?

So: (stress of VCB) + (complete exhaustion) + (societal denial that my illness is as real as anything physical) + (other things that I don’t want to write about that really upset me) + (worry about OH on Thursday) = NOT FUCKING HAPPY.

Still, VCB didn’t section me.  I really convinced myself during the night that she would, given some recent events, but she doesn’t think it’s at that point, so I suppose I ought to be grateful.
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Things are Bad

Posted in Everyday Life, Moods, Triggers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Saturday, 26 September, 2009 by Pandora

Things are, indeed, bad.  I seem to have got myself a stalker.  Did I write here that a few weeks ago whilst manic I went up to some bloke in the pub and started talking to him?  Well, if I didn’t chronicle it, then there you go.

A was with me, and it was all totally innocent – the man in question is a grey-haired biker git, 20 years my senior.  Not that age matters a fuck to me, but really – there was nothing sexual or romantic about this liaison in any way.  He seemed fairly genuine too, and the three of us got on well, with shared interest in music and whatnot.

Unfortunately, I shortly realised my mistake and tried to get away; I’d nothing against having a pint with this man, but I didn’t want to spend all night with him.  But it wasn’t that simple, and to my horror I found myself agreeing to exchange phone numbers with him.

He harassed me on and off a few times but whilst it was bothersome, as I despise the fucking phone, it was little more than a nuisance.  However, just before we went on holiday, he rang me and was on the bloody phone for about an hour.  Towards the end of the conversation, he made a number of sexual comments that I don’t want to even think about.  I listened in horror, unable to hang up, though I eventually managed to ‘politely’ get away.

In consequence of this conversation, I have ignored the little contact he has recently directed at me.  He seemed to have got the message.

So, A and I went to the local after dinner last night.  We scouted it out for Blokey Bloke, and he wasn’t there, so we sat down and began to engage in conversation.  After about 20 minutes, though, to my horror, I saw Fuckhead cross the path of my peripheral vision.  I pretended not to notice him at first, but he’d clearly seen us and basically pushed me out of the way to sit down with us.

I wouldn’t say that A and I encouraged the conversation particularly, but what we didn’t do was tell the miserable son of a bitch to fuck the fuck off.  No, we both chickened out.  Pathetic, miserable wusses.  Me especially, as it was my fucking irresponsibility that had got me into the damn mess in the first place.

We pretended that we had only intended to come in for one drink and promptly left, and went to the other pub in the vicinity.  But by then I was so freaked out I kept seeing yer man.  He was there, in the bar – yet he wasn’t.  Then the bloody voice started wittering on.  Then I really lost it and was crying and panicking and begging A to protect me from everything and my skull was splitting and frankly, had A been a psychiatrist I think I’d have been sent to the bin right then and there.

Perhaps needless to say, A took me home.  I think I was able to feign having calmed down to some extent, but when he fell asleep I tried to sever the arteries in my ankles.  I momentarily tried my wrists too, but decided against that as the blood would be much more visible to me, what with one’s hands being much closer to one’s eyes.  I do like watching the blood from cutting, but I understand that severed wrists when done properly are actually pretty gruesome; you can see much more than just blood.  So I abandoned that.

As you can see, this pathetic suicide attempt failed.  The agony of trying to slit my ankles was indescribable, and the cuts that are there are little more superficial than any non-suicidal self-harm cuts.

I bandaged my feet and went to bed and did sleep briefly, but only for a couple of hours.  I woke at maybe 2am and have essentially been awake since.  The cat threw up on the landing and I used the bandages of my by-that-point dry wounds to clear up the vomit – how strange and surreal.

Today I can feel a migraine coming on, and I feel guilty about the cuts because I know it’s not fair to put A through this crap, and I’ve got to see the in-laws tonight (not that that’s a bad thing, however).  I’m also aware that I can hardly ever go for a quiet drink again without whatshisface harassing me, as he frequents both our locals.  I suck so utterly profoundly.  How irresponsible and stupid!  So, life could be better.

A wants me to tell VCB about last night but I think she needs to hear the redacted version.  I really don’t think being binned would help my fragile mental health; psychiatric wards sound like places of great evil to me (group therapy?  Fuck off.  Other mentals wanting to talk to you?  Fuck off.  NHS neglect, food and general wastage?  Fuck off).  I am seeing VCB on Tuesday and am terrified, then on Thursday I’ve got to go to occupational shitting health.  So another great week awaits.

Sorry for whinging.