Sunshine and thunderstorms
The past week has been a whirlwind, apologies for the lack of posts.
In my last entry I was anticipating the talk I gave at my local Mental Health Trust’s event on crisis and crisis intervention within the county. I’m pleased to say that it went well. It was very daunting when it came to my turn to speak because my viewpoint was very different from those who had spoken before me and given a very positive account of the NHS crisis provision we have. Also, I knew that there were people in the audience from the teams I felt have let me down in the past and talking publicly about how I felt they had failed me was very awkward. Nevertheless, I stuck to my piece as I knew it was well thought out and measured and my opinions are just as valid as everyone else’s. I do feel that I have been treated as a label rather than a person and left to fend for myself in crises before and if I don’t stand up and say something about that then there is nothing to stop it happening to someone else too. Change doesn’t come from agreement after all. Anyway, I did receive a generous round of applause after I had spoken and several people approached me afterwards to say that they thought I was brave to say what I did and thanked me for my honesty. It was also very interesting as the speaker directly after me was from NHS England and he independently mentioned many of the points that I had touched on in my talk. That was reassuring as it made me feel like it wasn’t just me who thought crisis provision in general could be much improved. As a first experience at doing something like that in my home Trust I think I managed well. Apparently I came across as calm and confident and my inner anxiety remained hidden so that was good. Despite the difficulties, I certainly hope I get the chance to do more things like this in the future.
On another positive note, I travelled to London at the weekend so that I could attend the annual BBQ event held at the Cassel Hospital - the therapeutic community / specialist personality disorders service where I was treated until March of this year. This time last year I was a patient and had to help organise and run the whole thing so this one was very different. It is a chance for former patients and staff and friends and family to come back to the hospital and catch up for a couple of hours whilst eating too much and complaining that it is so hot! It was really nice to meet up with friends I made during my treatment and see how they were doing as well as to have a chat with some of the staff about how things have been going for me. I was highly anxious beforehand and it felt weird to be back in the vast garden that I used to walk around frequently after tough therapy sessions or when I was feeling particularly angry but I am glad I went. I think there is something special about that place that brings people together in a way that is very difficult to describe unless you have been there, so having the chance to revisit it once a year is great.
Unfortunately though, not the whole week has been positive. On Thursday I experienced by far the worst day that I have done in months and it has thrown me into a bit of a spin. I saw the psychologist for my appointment to continue mapping out my history and it didn’t go well. We were talking about the timeline of things I had mentioned and I ended up dissociating quite badly. I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the place I got stuck in my mind and consequently kept reliving things over and over. As is usual after a period of dissociation for me, I then felt exhausted and once I finally got home I fell asleep. When I woke up though, there was other stuff suddenly on my mind and everything spiralled into one big hole of distress. It was after office hours so I couldn’t call my care coordinator (although I couldn’t have called him anyway because he was on leave) and I just didn’t know what to do. The urge to self harm was massive, stronger than it has been for a very long time and I began to think that doing so was inevitable. However, a lot of tears, anger, anxiety and support (in particular from a friend who I made at the Cassel), later I eventually managed to fall asleep without having acted on the urges. I woke the next morning feeling really shaken up but so enormously grateful that I hadn’t given in to my desires the night before.
Right now I am still feeling very out of sorts and am dreading the next appointment this Thursday but I know that this has made me stronger. It is more evidence that although emotions can be incredibly intense in me because of my EUPD / BPD, I don’t have to act on them and every time that I don’t, it gives me more hope that the next time (because there will be a next time) will be easier.