I do not remember much of the day, I have been a little drowsy and more than any other thing, I feel ever so lonely. I want to leave this hospital and just go back to my home but everyone here is obsessed with safety and all that pushing to leave got me was placed on another one.
So far I have managed to avoid being sectioned, mainly this was thanks to the boy who realised the hour of no other alternative had cometh and persuaded me to go quietly.
I do not understand why it has come back. I was fine on Thursday and not all that bad on Wednesday and so why now has the depression returned. I am tearful and angry at myself for not managing to control it or keep it at bay.
The urge to hurt myself on Sunday was so absolute that no matter what I did I could not escape the feeling.
All I want to do is to go home, I am tired of being told what to do, tired of trying to get better and tired of lying in a bed that is not my own. I want to get back to work, life, my town, to get back to everything but at the same time I just want it all to stop.
I am going to stop now, I am ever so confused and have given myself one hell of a headache.
This post will not lie easily on any ears. This morning I woke up, for whatever reason, with one thing on my mind, ending it all. I was miserable and could not see a future with any happiness in it. Somewhere in my head I may have known that this was just a blip but the overriding factor was that it had returned and that I would never feel normal again.
It did not help that I kept ruminating on what an awful person I was and whether or not I would ever be able to live a normal life. I kept looking back to Friday night when we had to leave half a bottle of wine on the table because the talking got too loud. It did not help that I kept thinking of all the happy couples, friends and families we had seen going out and making merry at Manchester’s Christmas Markets.
With all the happiness I saw it made me realise m ore and more just how low I had sunk. Though I went to bed early, I dreamed only of sadness and the moment my eyes were open I knew I wanted to end it.
In the interests of the safety of others I will leave out the detail of how but suffice to say my fourth suicide attempt did not work as I am sitting here now typing this out.
I can however tell you why, at the time, it felt so important to end it all. I am frustrated by how many weeks I have lost to this illness and the fact that still, weeks later I can wake up feeling like there is no life worth living.
This is the danger of my illness, how rapidly the cycles can take me from fine and dandy to depressed and longing for death. I know that there are tons of people who are trying to get me help and make me better but yesterday I wanted nobody and would reason with no one as everyone refused to accept the fact that I wanted to either go home alone or be dead.
I became frustrated and agitated and kept trying to get past the boy to leave the house, climbing out of windows to get far from here and even searching for enough pills to overdose. This was not me though I am sure. I am not usually a deviant or dishonest person and yet the feelings of wanting to die were so strong that I was prepared to end it anyway. It kills me how rapidly this illness cycles, how much I miss out upon because it is a part of me.
I pray that you never feel this alone and so desperate for an end. Before you act, as sadly I did, try calling someone if you can. I hear the Samaritans provide an excellent service and they can be reached on 08457 909090
I had visions of how this weekend would be, of how it would all turn out, and if I am honest these visions were loosely based on the happier elements of Love Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Gone with the Wind.
The problems started on Friday when I woke to find myself a bit flat. I tried to boost myself by reading a book, washing my hair and meeting my mother dearest for a cup of tea. Sadly the lull continued and after a crowded journey on the train where people have no awareness of personal space I arrived in Manchester with a very fake grin on my face.
I was determined that everything would be perfect, that I would be the girl with who he most wanted to be. I did my hair and nails and carefully selected a pretty, bright and festive dress. It was not enough however and it did not take long before the smile started to slide.
Hoping it was just hunger the boy and I went out to eat at our favourite restaurant. At first we did well, he held my hand and distracted me with stories of naughty children and clever little lessons he has been using to teach the kids about rhythm and rhyme.
It all began to go wrong however when more people came into the restaurant. It felt awfully crowded and I was terribly conscious of how fat I looked and how boring a partner I was being by barely partaking in the conversation. Here I was trying to be the perfect girlfriend and I couldn’t even succeed in making polite candle light whispers.
I went to bed not long after the disaster but this morning I woke feeling exactly the same, depressed, useless and ugly. We tried going to town, visiting the Christmas market even, but everywhere there were crowds and my anxiety levels just kept on soaring. Everyone seemed miserable to me and I could not join in with the festive cheer, it was all too much.
Perhaps we were expecting too much from my first weekend away from the ward. The medication has again been changed and am so susceptible to sadness and misery they seem to chase me through the alleys and drainpipes of every street.
I am so mad, because I am meant to be better and the bad thoughts have come back. I do not dare to tell the boy, speaking the s word out loud would mean to fail him all over again.
In 2003 (circa) I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and my health began to go rapidly down hill. At the time I was doing a degree at Glasgow university and I had a partner who, despite not being very supportive, I loved.
At one point the Classics department sent me (and lots of other students) away with a cheque and told us to go and see some of the sites of the classical world. Since everyone else had paired up I went on my own to Italy and stayed in Rome.
I’m not really sure exactly what happened next, and I expect the memories are locked away in a part of my mind labeled ‘deal with later’. It is amazing what you remember when you’re not trying. Anyway, I remember running out of money and having my wallet stolen. As a result of this I began to experience some of the schizophrenia symptoms which I (thought I) had control over. This included, but was not limited to, voices in my head telling me to do antisocial things (like getting into fights), and seeing people who I thought I recognised when, in fact, it could not have been them and for all I know they may have been figments of my imagination. If you ever get the chance to watch A Beautiful Mind I would highly recommend it.
So, when I got home I was put into hospital, and because of this I can relate to a lot of what Ellie says about her ward. It was both comforting (a safe, easy, routine type of existence) and disturbing (when I had glimpses of how it might look to the outside world). People used to say “pull yourself together”; they may not say it any more, but many still believe it. This is unhelpful as many people with mental illnesses want nothing more than to be “together” but, owing to their condition and/or the effects of medication, they simply cannot make the leap from hospital ward to outside society.
I spent several months in different hospitals, trying new medications and building, slowly, the foundations for a new life, one in which I took care of myself and adapted to my limitations, seeking out positives whilst being realistic about negatives. As a result of such “baby steps” I have been able to finish an MA in Classics with the Open University, and in September I began a hairdressing course at Tresham college. I pride myself on the fact that I have not missed a single class and, indeed, have never been late. This, to my mind, is me controlling the illness rather than the illness controlling me. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, but I want to tell you (I know I’m sounding like an evangelist!) that there is light at the end of the tunnel and just because you cannot see it does not mean it isn’t there.
Anyway, I hope this isn’t a load of complete cods-wallop and thanks to Ellie for giving me the opportunity to sound off!
Keep calm and carry on.
It is fair to say that over the last two months the boy has played his part in this saga remarkably well. In spite of my finishing with him in my high as a kite phase and refusing to see him at all for the first week he has been a rock.
Both him and my parents have refused to give up on me and have kept coming back to see me even when I was behaving like a horrible girl.
I will never truly be able to express how grateful I am that they never gave up the ghost. It cannot have been easy for my family, friends and the boy to hear cruel words and accusations and still keep coming back for more.
They have had to know that the one they were battling to keep alive no longer wanted to live. They have seen me when I have refused food, walks, treats and even cuddled but have still brushed themselves off and tried again.
I want to be better, really I do, if only so I can be again the girl they were holding out hope for. It would have been so easy for them all to leave me in that place forever, to give up on a girl who so often refused visits and calls but they did not and neither did you and though I am not yet right I want to thank you for your love, your thoughts, your support, for getting me through the blackest of days. Thank you, all of you. Truly.
Other than feelings if extreme loneliness my first day away from the ward has gone surprisingly well.
With the help of my mother I filled morning with a meditation class which guided me into a state of extreme relaxation.
Everywhere though feels so busy after the comparative calm of the ward where there were no new faces and few surprises.
The meditation killed a couple of hours and then my mother, again to the rescue helped me out by taking photos of near on thirty dresses I have worn during my time in the ward.
I want to be me again, not a girl who worries over how she might be seen. I am struggling to handle life after the ward are it is all so busy and hectic yet also quiet and lonely.
My allocated cpn came to visit bringing me a useful tool with which to monitor my progress, a diary of moods, trigger signs and lists of medication. It will help no doubt but when I went to fill it in it made me sad to think of how flat I have become in just one day away from the safe place.
Sometimes I hate myself and all I have become. The fact that I am reliant on medication and so many other people to keep me on a level to keep me sane.
I think of all the people in the world who are living a life without assistance. These people have stresses just the same as me and more yet they cope.
The crisis team are involved again and the whole thing makes me feel like a failure especially when I remember just how long this has been going on.
I am conscious of how much my life has changed since I have been ill. Of how much more I am dependent on others to carry me through the tough times.
I think back to last year when I felt independent and in control of this illness. Those days seem to have slipped away and sanity and stability have passed me by in the night.
I rant I cry and I fall off to sleep with tears filing my eyes. I am, as I had longed to be, home at last, but I qm still not happy and though I hate to speak the words I worry that with the anti depressant removed the sadness will return.
Considering that this was meant to be a positive post much like the mood at the moment the negatives slowly seeped in. I thought I was better, that I was coping, now I am not so sure.
After a brief review in which my naughty little high moods were alluded to, the psych and the team have decided to let me free, to send me home to the big bad world. Unfortunately one of the conditions of my release is that I shall nor be allowed to drive for a maximum of three months.
Though I should be doing my best to focus on the positive, the thought of so much time away from the wheel is extremely depressing. The car has helped me to keep a long distance relationship together and has also given me the ability to fly away at a moments notice. The reason for this ruling is that sometime ago, without a warning from the trust not to drive, a girl with a mental health problem got in her car and in a horrific accident killed two people. Because if this tragedy the trust are understandably cautious about letting people drive following a period of admission.
I do feel ready to leave but my heart is full of worry about the what and ifs of the next few weeks. Will I be able to understand my illness enough to keep this from ever happening again? Will I be able to ask for help when I need it? Will the drugs agree with me?
All of these things have been on hold while I have been inside. I have had a reason for why I have been a bad daughter, partner and friend, I have been ill in hospital putting all of my energy into trying to get better.
Now though I will be in the real world where people like me are generally expected to deal. I want to get back to work, to my life to all of the things that have been on hold but I am sad to be saying goodbye to the safety of this place and the friends and nurses who have pulled me through even when I wanted nothing other than to lie in a dark corner and die.
Come tomorrow, it could be the case that the team decides I am ready to leave this place. Unlike before, when I was still on a high I am alarmingly anxious about the thought of my freedom. I have been up and down like a yo yo all week and the thought of handling this thing, this illness by myself terrifies me.
Here if I am having a bad day, if the suicidal thoughts return, at least I am in a place where I am safe. There are no stresses here, dinner is cooked and even our entertainment is provided by the ward in the form of craft lessons and more importantly hours if Wii worthy bowling competitions.
It is the loneliness that scares me most of all. In the real world people work, have children that they care for and lives which must be lived, even if I need someone will I be brave enough to call and to cry out for help.
In a lot of ways I am looking forwards to discharge, to taking a step towards living once more a normal life but equally I am scared of going to soon, of all I am capable of when the blues hir me and of how I will relate to a world without routine, structure or safe guards. I am scared. Truly I am terrified of all the Thu ha that the outside world has to offer, the things with which I fear I will fail to deal with.
I feel horribly alone and I am yet to leave the building.
A couple of weeks ago, while on a bit of a high, I had a thought that the money made from the sale of the dresses would be better spent if it was divided up between Mind and Stretton Ward. Though I was a little high when I had this idea, it cemented itself in my head and after running a post asking for your thoughts, they were by and large positive.
Many people suggested that the money would be best given to the ward as it has been a place that has been of aid to people like me. There have been many differing opinions regarding the split of the cash, with some saying that all of the money made should be given to the ward, with others saying that a fifty fifty split might be more appropriate.
The nice thing about this project is that it is my own, an original idea which was all mine. I have had help, particularly during my time inside, updating the blog with guest posts and admittedly without the kindness of dress donations it never would have worked.
This is why I am particuarly keen to get your feedback on how you think the money should be split between Mind and the ward. I am thinking that a split down the line would be the best course of action but I really want to know what you think.
The money that is given to Mind, I must admit I do not know what it will be used towards, though I do know that their recent campaign to stamp out the stigma of mental health has been a success. The charity provide great advice to people like me and their loved ones about how a mental illness can best be dealt with and they are a wonderful charity.
With Stretton Ward, at the Brandon Unit in Leicester I can tell you exactly what the money will be used towards, entertainment. The hours on the ward go extremely slow and this is not helped by the fact that there are fairly limited facilities in terms of entertainment. We have a Wii, but only one game and two remote controls. We had a TV and a DVD player but there were no DVDs to play. All of them were brought in by patients and when these inmates left the DVDs went with them.
There are games and puzzles but they are old and battered and often there will be pieces missing and boards are scraped. If the money was to be donated to Stretton Ward, be it half or even just a quarter, it could be used to buy new games for the Wii, DVDs and other equipment such as craft m, materials and even to pay people to come in and put on classes.
Please give me your feedback on all of this, I really need to make an informed decision and the more people who support this idea, the more people who donate dresses the more money that can be raised.
I look forwards to reading your comments.
Ugg boots: Perhaps the rise in wearers of the dreaded monstrosity that is the Ugg boot can be attributed to the increase in cold weather, maybe however it is a sign of the growing trend towards incarceration in institutions.
Whatever the case I could not help but notice during my few hours of freedom today, that there was far too many folk with their slippers on. In the grounds of a mental institution, where you have nobody to impress but yourself and your review panel wearing Uggs is understandable. You are a patient after all and it is therefore entirely acceptable that comfort, not fashion may be your number one priority.
I am proud to say that during my incarceration, other than those days that \I have been bound to bed, I have done my best to keep the flag flying by wearing high heels whenever possible. There are many who have chosen the Ugg but as I said, in institution, acceptable, outside institution however, it most certainly is not.
The truth of the matter is that there really is no excuse for it, its like smoking except that it doesn’t make you look cool. One of the worse things about this growing trend is that it makes the whole country look bad.
While European women are wandering around in beautiful collections from Manolo, Louis and Kurt, we are allowing our standards to slip by stepping out in this ugly monstrosity.
The worse thing about them is that they smell funny because people who see them as the equivalent of a baby blanket refuse to take them off through the day and sweat into their sheep skin lining. It is the sheep I feel sorry for, there they are freezing to death in some far away field hoping their loss is at the gain of fashion. Just think how they would feel if they knew the use to which the makers were putting their coat, it’s inhumane and far more worrying than the popularity of the fur trade.
It is time I think that we act by putting our best foot forwards this season and all wearing some sparkle, some shine and more importantly something that is not hospital appropriate. We need to wear heels girls, or at least a nice pair of leather riding boots. We need to not go around looking slouchy and adolescent or the country will become even more depressed.
I am a fan of Glee as you will know and Sue Sylvester has inspired me to take a more militant approach to the Ugg factor. When a friend steps out in these monstrosities take them to one side and explain that you feel it best if they walk one slipper clad foot in front. Alternatively frog march them to the nearest New Look where you can show them all the things that they are missing.
It makes me sad to think of all the beautiful shoes that are not being worn because the owners have been cursed by the bug of Ugg. do not let your feet be ugly this christmas, give up on this dreadful trend and banish them to the back of your wardrobe, to Narnia if possible.
We must take a stand before more damage is done to our national psych. Make today your throw a Ugg boot away day. If we all unite we can rid our shores of this curse forever.