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Hello? Is Anybody Out There?

*TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDE*

I’m desperately unhappy.
When I was suicidal a few months ago the Crisis/Home Treatment Team (HTT) and Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) talked about how I’d fuck my daughter up if I killed myself, mentioned new therapies to try. I felt guilt tripped out of killing myself and was given a shred of hope. But where are these therapies? Where is the support? It was all bullshit. So now I’m left here like this, with no quality of life, when this all could have been over months ago.

I last met with anyone in a professional capacity (aka Paid To Help Me) in August. My next scheduled appointment with the CMHT is the 22nd October. I missed two recent appointments, at the beginning of September. One because I forgot (I’m increasingly frustrated with a brain that doesn’t work) and another rescheduled a few days later because I was ill (physically). So, I feel like they’re punishing me. I’ve been bumped down the list because I’m not committed enough. MrTPM has called them (I can’t use the phone, another frustration) to ask to see someone before the October date. They said they’ll get back to him.
We’re still waiting, five days later. I don’t know what to say to them now. I’m honest whenever I see them, I tell them I still think of suicide, that I’m not happy. I don’t know what else I can say to get more help.

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Doing one step at a time was fine. At my last appointment (about 20 years ago…) I was told to try planning meals and answering the phone. I’m ok for a couple of days. But I can’t manage those things AND the day to day stuff that I HAVE to do. I have to look after my daughter, keep her clean, feed her, dress her, take her to preschool, engage with her. And each one of those things is a real challenge for me. I analyse each step, each thing I have to do. And while I’m sitting there, trying to play with her, I’m thinking about how unhappy I am. I have no patience, I’m snappy, then I’m upset that I’m treating her like shit. She needs to not be near me with how I am at the moment. And that’s my everyday. I can’t achieve the small steps because I cannot focus on them.
I just need some fucking quiet. How can I get better if I can’t focus on it? And with no health care professional around to guide me?

As far as the ‘working diagnosis’ of bipolar disorder and the Lithium therapy goes, I have no idea. I’m on a trial, which indicated to me that it’d be monitored, both physiologically and psychologically. I’ve not had a blood test in weeks. I’ve had one blood test since I started taking it in June and none since the increase to 600mg. Whether it’s helping my mental state, I don’t know. I think I’m better than I was, overall, but with episodes like the one a few days ago (triggered by the letter from the CMHT), I’m not sure how effective it is. Have I got bipolar? Have I not? If I haven’t, what have I got? I’m very lost, and left to figure this stuff out on my own.

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I feel unsupported. And with that I then become disheartened. I’m struggling to not give up as it is. Is this a government thing? Lack of funding? Is this a communication issue? Are staff over stretched? Should I be thankful that I’m not ill enough to be a priority? Does a person have to be literally hanging on a rope to get a helping hand? At times, I’m concerned I’ll find out.

(Apologies if this post makes no sense, much of it is excerpts from text messages to the Samaritans.)

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Normality Is Terrifying

Good grief, I can feel the anxiety rising as I write this, but I may as well put it out there with everything else. Honesty and authenticity is important to me.

As I slowly start my ascent back up from wallowing in the absolute festering pit of despair, with the tiny blink of light and hope at the surface, a new feeling descends upon me. It’s a curious mixture of relief and sheer terror.

I’m relieved that mental health professionals are taking me seriously, that they realise this isn’t a quick fix with six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy, that actually, some if my issues are rooted deep into my childhood. The cynic in me still believes that they tell everyone they’ll get better and that I’ve heard it myself a hundred times before. But, if I just think about my therapists empathetic face, I have something to hold onto, a guide rope to assist me out of this hole.

When I think of my life when it was more ‘normal’ (or as normal as my life has ever been), I miss it for a moment. Chat with friends, play groups, walks, going to work. Just day to day things, the simple pleasures, lighting incense, sorting the recycling. I feel there’s a sort of nostalgia about it. It seems so long ago that I was building train track, trying to drink a coffee before it went cold.

And then, debilitating fear. Shit. I’m not going to wake up one morning with all this baggage gone. Baggage I’ve collected over 27 years, with a little extra acquired as I was dragged down into this current rut. It’s going to take work. Tears and time and open wounds and breathing techniques and mood diaries and medication changes. That’s not what I want. I don’t have that kind of energy. Where’s the exit? I should have got out of here while I had desperation and the enthusiasm for overdoses.

What happens when I’m through the other side of that (if I ever get there)? Life. Life is what happens. Day to day routine, a little high, a little low, normality. Every day. Every. Day. And there it is again, that heart constricting, suffocating feeling. This was a huge mistake. That life I was getting all sentimental about earlier? I don’t want it. The responsibility, of raising a human, running a home, going to work, it’s too much. I’m going back to option A, the pills and the bath tub. Cowardly? Yes.

I need the therapy to fight the depression and anxiety. Once the depression and anxiety lift, I may not feel this way. But I’m too depressed and anxious to try. These circles of torment, I’m exhausted. I’m completely overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start or how to help myself. The only positive that I can draw from my present situation is that at least I have occasional moments of wanting to get better. They’re brief, but they’re there. Sometimes, instead of death, I want ‘normality’.

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Talking Therapies Self Referral

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Apparently you can now refer yourself for talking therapies on the NHS. My doctor gave me a leaflet and form to fill out, along with my anti depressants. Seems pretty simple. The form isn’t too long winded, fortunately I’m not so insane that I’m incapable of holding a pen.

I get started. I complete my name. NHS number? That’ll take some research. Might leave it blank. I don’t have the energy to wade through paperwork mountain to find that. Tick boxes. Tick boxes are good. I can say yes to the things that are wrong with me. Simple.

Wait, what’s this? A big blank box? Ominous, somewhat intimidating. Describe the things that are causing me difficulties? Hmm. And out it pours. The lethargy, the planning of suicide, neglecting to stimulate my child, the insomnia, the anxiety attacks. There it is, all written down in block capitals. I even managed to fit it in the box.

And underneath, a question about what I hope to achieve by attending such therapies. I’ve written ‘I want to be normal’. A big ask, but I may as well put it out there.

Do I want to sign up for any group courses? Hell no. I don’t answer the phone or door, I can’t begin entertaining the idea of sitting in a room full of strangers while I rock back and forth. I think talking about how crazy I am with one person is plenty enough for now.

Done. Now just to build up the courage to post the damn thing.

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