“You have the power to say ‘this is not how my story will end’”
So yet again I have to apologise for my considerably long absence. Things have been incredibly hectic and despite thinking to myself at least twice a week that I need to write a post, I either haven’t had the time or I have not had the energy.
I think my last blog post was “A day in the life of an Anorexic” back in January 2019. I hope you found it both informative and interesting.
This blog post is probably going to be a bit of a mess structure wise and definitely all over the place. I want to do an update so I will briefly go into the events of last year and then continue on from there to now. I will try and keep this as short and as concise as possible, but then again we all know how long my blog posts end up being!
I actually don’t think I have written a personal post for a long time. And I’m not going to trail all the way through to 2017 as it isn’t really necessary and has little effect on the here and now. But I will say this, I ended 2017 in a pretty good place. It had been a very up and down year with my self-harm but I was in supported accommodation and any admissions I had to general or psychiatric hospitals were brief. A few times my self-harm got so bad I needed blood transfusions and there were some very close calls when I was in serious danger. At times I wasn’t sure whether my supported accommodation would take me back due to my risk. However, looking on the year as a whole, it wasn’t one of my worst years. I entered 2018 pretty happy and despite having to drop out of university again, I had come to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t ready. In 2017 I went on holiday to Majorca and had a road trip around England with my father. I was in therapy and fighting hard to get better.
Predictably, in January 2018 I ended up back in hospital for what was going to be a very long 8 months. I say predictably because there seems to be a trend that my Mental Health plummets after New Year and tends to result in an admission to a psychiatric ward (there are reasons for this involving trauma). The basis for detaining me was due to the severity and increase frequency of my self-harm. I was needing blood transfusions more and more and staff were regularly phoning ambulances and finding me in my room which they said “looked like a murder scene”. Yet I must say this, for support workers that were not trained as medical professionals, they were incredible. They kept calm and rational despite the knowledge that this could be the time I might not make it. The reason for such a lengthy admission was not because I constantly proved to be high risk, but because my supported accommodation had decide that they could not take me back. And I did not blame them in the slightest. I was upset and angry, but only with myself.
Naturally this created a problem. Where would I live now? Ideas were thrown around like frisbies and no-one had the faintest idea what was going to happen. One moment I was going into another supported accommodation, next I was going to a long term rehabilitation ward after that I was going to live independently. So after months of debate it was decided I would live alone and be closely monitored. By this point I was allowed to leave the ward for full days at a time as well as having overnight passes back to my parents’ home in Edinburgh. I was singing in my choir and going to groups. I was even allowed to go on holiday abroad for ten days and come back. Effectively I was living independently, I just had to go back to the ward at night. By the time October came I was so excited for discharge. I felt confident in my ability to function in the community. I moved into my flat and all seemed well. But that week was incredibly difficult. I guess this is because, despite barely being on the ward in the weeks prior to my discharge, staying in the ward I had the comfort of knowing there were people to help me through the night. But on my own, I had no-one. The next few months from October through to December were pretty stable. Of course things weren’t perfect, but whose life is? But I was coping well. I had a truly lovely Christmas and saw in the New Year with some of my closest and most supportive friends.
I started the year in a good place. I had finally got all my old belongings into my new flat and I was starting to really enjoy my freedom. Against the odds (including getting through the festive period) I managed all the way to March doing group therapy and, for the most part, staying out of hospitals.
But from the beginning of February I had started to experience severe dissociative symptoms. I have always suffered with dissociation to some degree. It used to primarily be de-realisation – where I felt the world around me was fake and I did not exist. I would wander slowly through streets and stare at every person feeling so disconnected that it was like watching a film I wasn’t in. I often turned to self-harm by cutting or overdosing just to feel alive or “more real”. I was losing time more and more often which was something that had only rarely happened previously. I had gaps in my memory and would often end up in dangerous situations without knowing what I was doing or where I was. During March and April things didn’t improve. I decided I wasn’t stable enough for therapy and began to hurt myself more often. I would overdose and not tell anyone. I would cut and not get stitches. Most of the time I was hurting myself I had dissociated and it took a while for me to “come to” and realise what I had done. I was so scared. Particularly because I now knew what I was capable of.
This fear of being out of control coupled with the feeling that no-one had any answers to my memory gaps or any suggestions of how to manage it led me to decide to take matters into my own hands and attempt suicide. It was a very bad incident and the fact I survived was sheer luck. I was discharged into the care of my father who was staying with me at the time, but the next day he felt he could not cope and asked me to go into hospital. So against every bone in my body and every thought in my head I agreed.
And this is where we are now. I find myself, yet again, in a psychiatric ward completely confused as to what to do. I am not used to voluntary admissions and I am desperate to discharge myself. I know hospital does not help me and they are limited in what they can offer me. I feel we have hit a dead end with treatment options and we are going to fall into symptom management. I now have an intense fear of my own thoughts. They are very overpowering and controlling which leaves me feeling powerless. So I am not in a very good headspace at the moment.
As I suspected this post has been incredibly long and detailed and I apologise for that. It is probably not very coherent or easy to read. So I hope you can forgive me.
Despite my situation, I want you all to know that I have not given up. I am trying to hang in there and I hope that you all are too.
I would also like to ask if there are any topics you would like me to cover. If you have any ideas please comment below and I’ll see what I can do.
Take care guys