Uncategorized

Collateral Damage

 

Treatment of more complex disorders is expensive and patients often find they are put on a cocktail of drugs and left to it.

This is what happened to me in 2004 and it took years for me to get off all the meds they carelessly prescribed. Plus, some very dubious diagnoses were flying about when I was on a combination of behaviour and health-altering drugs.

How on earth can an accurate assessment even be made when you weigh less than seven stone because the meds have destroyed your stomach lining? Yes, I’m sure I was ‘challenging’, but I think that was due to the trauma and malnutrition I went through at the hands of services, and because of all the botched treatment along the way.

My health never truly recovered, and I remain unable to work. Here are some of the questions I’d like to put to psychiatric services:

  • Is it not much more expensive, disabling people, than providing effective long term treatment?
  • How much does it cost the UK economy, turning previously productive individuals into walking corpses with multiple health issues caused by side effects?
  • And when they are trying to slap on another label, as they are at the moment, who is that for? Me, or them?

Sometimes I feel the labels they dish out are little more than a form of scrapheaping, with no hope of recovery. Worse than this, I fear the labelling has at times been a form of institutional abuse, a means of covering up past clinical negligence by pointing the finger at the patient and their dysfunction.

Paranoid? Don’t think so. My adverse reaction to medications is clearly documented. And so are all the attempts to label me ‘hard to help’ and ‘difficult’.

I am relatively fortunate in that I am now receiving another round of NHS psychotherapy. I’m not convinced it is entirely addressing the PTSD symptoms I struggle with every day, and there aren’t what you would call any practical measures in place. I sit in a room once a week and talk about the difficulties I am going through.

Would I be better off away from this system altogether? Having just watched a programme on psychosis, I do wonder. Mental health services have certainly done immense harm in my family, and it would seem many others experience harm as well. The best input in the documentary came from patients turned academics, who were obviously best-placed to research and lecture on a condition they have experienced themselves.

I know people receive good treatment, but I haven’t, not consistently. And neither have so many other people. Lives are left blighted, and vulnerable people are shattered and left to pick up the pieces.

daily life

Sunny day

Trigger warning: I’m very depressed. If you are too, maybe read something more uplifting elsewhere. If you want to join me in my black hole, read on…

It’s beautiful outside today.

Spring is here, but I feel like I’m not invited. There have been many times I’ve emerged from winter with no enthusiasm for the sunshine or the flowers that start appearing. I see daffodils, crocuses, buds on the trees, and none of it registers.

The birds sing away, but it feels like they are singing despite my existence, and, of course, they are. The whole point of Sebastian Faulks’ bestselling novel Birdsong is that birds are oblivious and sing on through war, through birth, through death. They just sing, on and on and on, with no regard for humans or the terrible things they get up to. So I can’t hear the birds and feel like they symbolise new life or anything. I put food out for them though. On a good day, I enjoy seeing them arrive at my bird feeder. I know they aren’t my friends, but I can enjoy their pretty plumage from afar.

Spring makes people happy and I tend to go around in a daze because I can’t be happy, or share happiness.

When depression and dissociation is this bad, I wonder what can be done.

Do you keep forcing yourself to go out into the sunshine? Is there a moment when you feel the warmth move from your skin to your heart?

I’m not feeling it. I’m not feeling anything. I tend to stay inside because it’s a nothingy sort of a space, and it suits my emptiness.

You can’t force happiness. You can’t force joy.

There is, though, in everything that lives, a stubborn drive to continue, no matter what. I am reminded of a crocus that used to appear every year by our front door when I was a child.

It grew through concrete.

therapy

My double life

I worry about this double life I’m leading. I have it easier than some, in that I’m not out working and mixing with people all day, every day.

In fact, it was trying to work and function when very ill that led to me completely unravelling a couple of years ago.

But I still put on a front, a false me, in company.

False me is: cheerful, capable, talkative, smiling.
Real me is: miserable, scared, hopeless, ashamed.

Or is it the other way around? Is my current state influencing how I feel about myself, stopping me from going out and working and doing things that make me realise I don’t have to be ‘real me’ all the time?

What is real and when is it the depression talking?

In therapy, you get told to sit with your feelings rather than push them away. This week has seen me spend a lot of time in my head back in the house where I grew up, feeling how I felt as a child, connecting with a lonely little girl.

I can definitely see how taking that time makes me more aware of what I went through, and what I’ve lost. It helps me understand why I am so angry, changeable and messed up.

But getting the balance between acknowledging pain and getting on with life can be very difficult. Impossible, at the moment. I really struggle to see how I will get back to a ‘functioning me’ – whether it’s real me, false me, or a combination of the two.

I struggle to know where to even start. All I know is that writing helps, and so maybe a bit more of that before I try to get everything back.

daily life, therapy

Too many labels

The discomfort I feel at the current thinking behind my diagnosis is reaching fever pitch.

They keep trying to stick me with new labels and I keep resisting. In particular, I’m resisting Borderline Personality Disorder, because it’s such a bullshit concoction of ‘symptoms’.

Symptoms of what? It’s not an illness, is it? So what is it then? It seems to me that it’s a marker used by the medical profession to flag up difficult, volatile patients who are:

  • usually female
  • have suffered trauma
  • aren’t afraid of sticking up for themselves.

I know I have PTSD, that’s been confirmed. I am wondering about bipolar disorder, but then I think that PTSD and depression covers it just fine.

Anyway, the more I resist, the more of a tangle I get myself into.

Here’s where I’m at with my current thinking, inspired by disinterested psychiatrists and their lazy assumptions:

  • I have gone into a manic reaction (bipolar 2, cyclothymia) with rapid-cycling moods lasting several days at a time. I can’t sleep and am overthinking everything (bipolar, borderline personality disorder).
  • I feel hopeless and worthless (depression) and these feelings keep coming back (recurrent depressive disorder).
  • I have been feeling a lot worse since they started sticking new labels on me (reactive depression, generalised anxiety).
  • I got really angry at my clinic a month or so back when a psychiatrist cancelled on me, claiming I had previously said I wouldn’t see her (borderline personality disorder). I told them to go fuck themselves (borderline personality disorder).
  • Since then, I have been reluctant to engage with psychiatric services because I feel so worthless and am scared of being disliked (avoidant personality disorder).
  • I have retreated into myself and prefer the company of my imagination (schizoid personality disorder).
  • I have become quite fearful of attending my psychotherapy sessions because I’m worried about what is being said or thought about me (paranoid personality disorder).
  • I’ve had nightmares and outbursts at home, usually triggered by a remark or something on tv about abuse, and I’m totally exhausted and numb (complex ptsd).
  • I jump out of my skin when someone walks in the room (ptsd, anxiety, social anxiety) and oh yeah, I keep cleaning the kitchen (ocd, anxiety).

So, what label do you think they want to stick on me today? Therapy starts in an hour or so. Let’s see what they have to say.