Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tag... Your it!

Raise your hand, if you have been slapped with "Borderline Personality Disorder", by a Doctor who has seen you approximately 4 times for about five minutes a pop?

Now, keep it raised, if they didn't bother to tell you that you apparently have "Borderline Personality Disorder", rather just wrote it in indelible black ink to remain a part of your medical file for the rest of your life.

I am pissed off!

It's not so much the label that bothers me, I acknowledge that I do display a few of the "cluster b' traits... I guess that's why there is the push to get BPD re-classified as CPTSD. I do not, however reach the required amount, indicated in the DSM-IV for a diagnosis... I do, however, fit the criteria for PTSD, which rates nary a mention on my chart.

What pisses me off is the stigma that I know is attached to BPD... trouble maker, attention seeker, manipulator.... (all these not necessarily true of most BPD patients). Basically it has become a waste bin diagnosis. And it is in my medical file FOREVER.... how do I know this? Well, I went to my neurologists appointment at the hospital for my epilepsy and there it was in bold print on my chart. She was actually lovely, and agreed with me that until my insomnia was better controlled there was not point messing with my anti-epileptics. BUT, she could easily have been one of those doctor's who sees the BPD diagnosis, and immediately everything you see is circumspect... which is difficult in medical settings where so much is subjective.

Anyway, long story short, when asked about the appearance of this label on my file, the team all shook their heads (we dont know who actually wrote that, BPD doesnt have the stigma it used to, we dont rely on labels...b lah blah, patronising bullshit)

I don't know where this all leaves me, but I'm feeling angry, patronised and pretty let-down, on top of already feeling pretty cruddy... (three nights in hospital to help with insomnia is pretty pointless when they put you in a double room with someone who snores like a banshee, and then goes and complains to staff when your mobile phone wakes her in THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!

Grumble, grumble... will return and post when I can do something other that rant!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The life I should have led

Things still feeling pretty crap here in crapsville. The word hospitalistion still being bandied around willy nilly. Service User (me) still being fairly resistant to the idea. I'm sure will be discussed in session tomorrow, and on phone with Case Manager. Sigh.

On other fronts, another little nasty popped its head up today. Jealousy. Yes, the little green-eyed monster is demanding her pound of flesh from me too.

See, i had a plan. Finish my degree, and then head across to the UK to teach, and travel through Europe, maybe put in a little time teaching in Japan. I would be away 2 years in all. I was saving the money, was 3/4 of the way through my degree, had spoken with recruiters...all was on track.

And then, my world came crashing down... first with the opening of the pandora's box of PTSD, and then a few months later with diagnosis of epilepsy. In the years that followed, life just seemed to boot me back down every time I seemed to be climbing my way out of the mud.... multiple hospitalisations both neurological and psychological, overdose, breakup with abusive, druggie ex, blah blah blah (insert victim mentality here)

I hope someday to still follow my plan. To visit my mum's birthplace in scotland, to see the classic architecture of rome and greece, to walk through fields of sunflowers in tuscany (insert corny travel brochure here). But it will be a while. A while before I'm up to working enough to save for the flight across the pond, a while before my degree is finished, a while before my mentalness and epilepsy are stabilised enough for me to head off to foreign lands.

Today my little sister boarded a plane for her European Tour. I am happy for her. She works hard, and she deserves this. I'm also jealous as hell....

Not to quote Shannon Noll, but "What about me?"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Following the horse in front

Today has been an odd day for me. I am getting daily calls from the acute care team atm just to make sure that I make it through this weekend. They ask the same questions, and I give them the same answers. Yes, I am still having trouble sleeping. Yes, I am having thoughts of self harm. No, I am not going to act on them, I am putting in place all sorts of distractions and diversions to make sure I am not alone long enough to get to a place where I might do something stupid. These plans are keeping me out of hospital. They would prefer to see me in hospital, err on the side of hospital, (understandable) I would prefer to try and get through this weekend with my own sense on resilience and mastery (my private therapist supports this). But measures must be put in place to ensure my safety. 1) Daily contact with the mental health team 2) access to hospitalisation if necessary and 3) not to spend any great periods of time alone.

But even when I am with someone, I am somewhat alone. See, I keep slipping in and out of the past. And the waves keep coming in, seemingly quicker and stronger. So when the call came today and they asked what I had done to distract myself, I answered that I went on a trail ride.

But what I didnt tell them is that I can't actuallly remember a whole lot of that ride.

My horse was called Max. I remember that. Max, was a stubborn bastard, who walked his own pace, despite any swats or kicks from me. Max did not deviate from the path. Max was on auto-pilot. He had done the trail 1000 times, and he was just going to follow the pack.

I sat atop Max drifting in and out of here and then, and he got me where we needed to go. Maybe Max's thoughts wandered too, as he lazily followed the horse in front.

I don't remember a lot of the ride, the beautiful scenery that I know from experience was around. But Max taught me something. Sometimes just walking the track on auto-pilot is what you need to do. Its better than standing still. So,, even if I don't exactly remember getting from a to b, I got there in the end.... and even if its on auto pilot, I'm going to keep moving forward.

Friday, September 18, 2009

made it through the day

that's the best I can say atm... might be offline for a few days, just need to retreat and lick my wounds....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jagged little pills

As I've commented... its a really rough time of year for me. And after trying to stay as clear as I could of psychiatric drugs for a while, after my recent hospitalisation, I am back on the pill express... Despite my anxieties around taking these meds (over-reliance, side-effects, the medicalisation of my condition, essentially placing me in the 'sick' role) I have to admit they are doing me some good. I'm handling this approaching anniversary a lot better than some of the previous ones.

There is one more handy little benefit to the drugs.... because I am on so many at the moment, I am constantly worried about taking the wrong one at the wrong time, or else taking too much ect. So I have bought on of those little granny pill boxes, you know the ones that you dispense all your meds in for the week... less fuss, less stress.... and when I'm actually doling out the weeks pills, kinda soothing. I guess it feeds into my slight 'control freak' tendencies. But I get to pop all the pretty little pills out of their packets and bottles, and place them all pretty and multi-coloured in the right spot. It takes quite a while... 11 tablets a night, 5 or 6 in the morning depending on the day... but buggered, if it doesn't take the edge off almost as much as taking the darn pills themselves! I wonder if this is what its like for everyone?

Got through today, reasonably well... mainly by keeping myself out of the house between GP at 8.30am and Therapy at 2pm. Just sat in cafes and the square and people watched, listened to my MP3 player, went for little walks... was around people but not interacting with them, which I guess was the safest way to go.... might try the same thing tomorrow. Case Manager also called and checked in with me twice, so felt quite contained.

Tomorrow is D-Day..... Just writing that has my heart rate racing. The plan at this stage is a morning call from Case Manager, short walk, 11 am meet with Case manager, lunch in an anonymous cafe, coffee at 1pm with a close friend (F), call to therapist between 3 and 5pm, off to friend (S) for dinner, movie and sleepover, and then horseback riding the next day. Hopefully this will be enough to contain me, keep me together and most importantly, keep me in the present.

Psych Doc has approved an immediate admission to the ward should I need it, but want to avoid that at all costs...

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Black Anniversary


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting sane is making me poor

I have whinged previously about the faults of the public health system here in Oz. And yet here I am, now an official public health 'mental service user'. The state picked up the bill for my two week hospitalisation, my weekly meets with Case Manager and my Psychiatrist. The state gives me a concesssion on my visits to the GP and even on my meds... And pays me a small, but livable stipend pension, whilst I am unable to work.... so I'm doing better than I would be in a lot of other countries.. and for that I'm grateful!

And yet... I recieved an electricity bill today, that was massive! What is the link between that and my mental health, you ask? Well, in my worse periods of depression, just being able to wash and dry clothes so I don't lie around in a stinking mess of bleurghiness (yes, that is a word...i'm making it one!) takes a huuuuuuge amount of effort. The very idea of walking to the clothesline, hanging them up, waiting for them to dry and then taking them down seems an insurmountable task. So environment be damned, I use the clothes dryer. Just one more way, that my mental illness is making me poor!

And even though, I get a concession on my GP and meds, I do still have a co-pay. And then of course there is the cost of the private therapist (though she has been great about reducing her fee) so I can have a therapy better designed for me, rather than the cookie cutter CBT that the public health would ram down my throat. And then the cost of the private health extras insurance to help with said therapy costs and all the other parts of my body that are falling apart...teeth, eyes ect.

Yes, I know, its hard to feel sorry for in a country where the taxpayers fund such things to help me stay afloat during these periods of blackness.... I kinda want to give myself a quick kick up the backside, and pull myself up by my bootstraps like my grandparents would have. But try as I might, I can't.

So instead, I'm just messed up and broke, and hoping for the day I can figure this all out, get it fixed and go back to being a productive member of society...

In the meantime.... I am going to try to stop using the damned clothes dryer!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Its a new day

Well, obviously yesterday was a bit of a downer. Today I have my first appointment back with therapist (D) since she went on holidays. It is strange how quickly you come to rely on those little weekly/bi-weekly visits to get you through, so I am quite looking forward to it. Though dreading the public transport as usual. Second, on today's agenda is a job interview. It is only some part time tutoring work but will hopefully be enoguh to keep me occupied, b rain engaged and a little extra cash won't hurt. And then thirdly, have to submit assignment, which is all done, bar the refernce page, which I am planning to compile on the train this morning.

This week is a busy one. Aside from appointments- another with therapist (d) on Thursday, one with Case Manager (M) tomorrow, and one with Doc S at some point to renew prescriptions, I have also filled the week with coffee and lucnh dates, movies, a trip to the beach, and a horse trail ride. Because the dreaded 18th is looming, and this is a traditionally bad time of year for me. Its kind of a black anniversary, if you will. So I want to pack as much as I can in around it, so I don't have time to fall apart.

In other news, little sis (A) leaves for her big European tour on Sunday, and if I am completely honest, I am jealous as hell!... She has worked very hard for it, but the truth is even if it were financially possible to go myself, I don't know how i'd fare with the crowds and the lack of routine, in adddition to the worries the epilepsy brings with it...

Well, time to get up and showered.....

Today is done
Today was fun
Tomorrow is another one
~Dr Seuss

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mad World

This is my song today...

"waiting for the day I feel good..."
-Gary Jules

Some days, I wonder at not just my own inabilty to find hope for the future, but the whole of humanity's ability to hope. Because it is indeed a mad world, and everywhere I turn I seem to be confronted with more proof that the world itself is in a downward spiral. And yet I look around, and people are positive, making plans, building futures, having babies, looking forward. So I can conclude from this, one of two things... they are all idiots and I am the only clear headed genius who can see that we are on the eve of destruction (unlikely) or, it is my depression taking over, distorting those cognitions, throwing a grey veil over my face and preventing me from looking at the world through rational eyes. In other words, I'm having a bad day..week..month..year...

Can I fix this? Maybe its not the world thats mad, maybe its just me. There are days (most days really) where I truly feel as though I'm not meant to be here at all.

Sorry, thats the best I can do for the moment, have expended my 'fake it till ya make it' quota for the week, and I think I just need to go and pull the duvet over my head and hide till tomorrow.

Tomorrow, when I'll paste that smile and half-assed can do attitude back on and start another week of trying to claw my way out of this hole.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Don't wanna break the wings of that little song bird

It is believed that mental illness can be hereditary... It can also be environmental. The hereditray theory scares the hell out of me. My PTSD was definately caused environmentally, but was my lack of resilience a result of the rampant mental illness running through my family? My biological father suffered (unspecified) mental issues...probably either Bipolar or Borderline Personality, my older sister (K) has Borderline Personality Disorder, little sister (A) is trotting along just find. My mother almost definately had Post natal depression, she had a break down after I was born, and says herself that she was mildy depressed for most of the 11 years of her second marriage. My maternal uncle tried to take his life...various family members on that side both treated and untreated for depression.

The thing is, I love kids. I'm good with kids. Other people's that is. I was a nanny for four years. Coordinator of a large Companies Children's Programs, Children's Specialist in a well known book store. I breathe in life from children. I am happiest and most relaxed in their company. But I have this fear of having my own. A) That i'll pass on these dark genes that will lead them to a life of pain B) That I wouldn't be able to protect them from a world where lots of horrible things happen, and C) (Most ashamedly) I feel I'm maybe too selfish with my own mental issues to be there in the way I would want to be for my child. An emotionally absent parent can be just as damaging.

I'm 26. I have time to sort myself out, find the right guy. But for some reason its on my mind tonight.

Probably because I was listening to this song... it talks about that isolation that gets passed on generation to generation... not a huge Dixie Chicks fans. but this one resonated

Think i Broke the wings off that little song bird
Now she's never gonna fly to the top of the world, somehow...

I don't have to answer
Any of these questions
Don't have to God
To teach me no lessons..
I come home in the evening
and sat in my chair..
One night they called me for supper
But I didn't get up
I stayed right there
(c) Dixie Chicks

I don't want to be that person

Procrastinate; to put off till another day or time; defer; delay

I should be writing an assignment

I should be writing an assignment

I have a lovely medical certificate care of my local mental unit, where I was recently discharged, that would allow me to defer doing boring and hard assignment. But I've made a promise to myself that I will never use my illness as an excuse unless absolutely necessary. And realistically, at the moment, I have the time, and with the medications, I have the concentration to do it. So its not that I can't do it... I just don't waaaaaaannnnnna! *insert whinge here* And there beside me lies the medical certificate. Calling to me.... leaaaaaave it laaaaater!

How do other people deal with the magic get out of jail free cards?

P.S. My therapist and Case Manager would both probably say that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to get back to uni straight away... but pffft... what do they know! :P

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking advice from Hugh Grant...what has my life come to?

Remember in the movie "About a Boy", Hugh Grant's character talks about breaking his day into units.... ie.. hours.... hair cut (half a unit), TV (two units). This has become my tatic for getting through the fogginess that is my life right now. Except sometimes my units are as small as five minutes. I guess, I just figure if I can concentrate on a task for a finite amount of time, then thats 5 minutes further towards getting better. Pretty dumb, huh? And my units are pretty basic things.... this evening I am cooking dinner (3 units) eating dinner (2 units), showering (5 hell with water restrictions!) painting my toenails (3 units). You get the picture? Snoooooooore! But at the moment its just five minutes at a time, a lot of the time.... thats the only way I can get through...unit by unit. Through to what, you might ask? Well, I'm asking myself the same question? Pondering the futility of trying to exist in a world that seems determined to squish you like an ant under its omnipotent shoe? (128394950038458 units...)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sneaky little bastard


It's a sneaky little bastard.... always hanging around waiting for just the right time to....POUNCE! Went to see new case manager (M) for the first time today. How are you feeling? Anxious. Why? Wel, I don't bloody know, do I? Could be any number of things... new case manager, new place, walking down the street open and vunerable, instead of cosy and safe in my bedroom. The potential of having to talk about horrible things, The potential she will dismiss horrible things and tell me to focus on the present. The world, the universe and everything! It's all anxiety provoking....sometimes mildly so, sometimes shoving the serepax and xanax as fast as it will go down my throat type. Sometimes for a reason, sometimes for no rhyme or logic. Sometimes just shakes, sometimes that horrible knot in your stomach. Sometimes racing thoughts, sometimes full-blown, impending doom, panic attacks....anxiety.... I hate that sneaky little bastard.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

People you meet on the inside

My first instinct upon being admitted into a mental health ward was to hide in my room. A) Because I was too messed up to deal with people and B) Because of that niggling belief that, whilst I am in here too, locked up for my craziness.... I'm not like THEM. I quickly realised 'they' and I had a lot in common, not just our mental health issues, but just in general as well. I've had great conversations, I've heard wonderful stories if strength and resilience, and of course heartbreaking stories of the dark side of man kind. I've met people I wanted to wrap up in cotton and keep them safe, and others I wanted to king hit on the head when staff were'nt watching. And I've laughed.....oh, I've laughed! You would be suprised how much laughter there is on a mental health ward.... there has to be....there is always a fine line between laughter and tears.

The other patients in someways, facilitated my 'recovery' process better than the doctors or nurses ever could, because they can understand what you are talking about. What it feels like. And they can respond to you as a human, without the clinical difference.

After this most recent hospitalisation, I have befriended two particular women. One was released a few days before me and we have caught up for coffee since, and the other will be released today and we will hopefully catch up for shopping and coffee on friday. These girls offer non-judgemental support, and also a way to fill those days when my 'normal' friends and family are off being productive members of society.

In-patient friendships can have their pitfalls. You have to be able to take a stand for what's best for your own recovery, and offer support within that framework. One of these woman (C) befirended another woman (M) on the ward, who, whilst on day leave, called C who was still in hospital and told her she was going to kill herself. I myself, endured a similar situation during my previous hospitalisation in 2006. I mean, wtf? I'm in a locked mental unit, how can I help you other than to notify staff. Interactions and constant dramas like that, can pull you back into your own dark place. My gran has always told me I collect strays...and I guess what she means is I like to try to help people, and sometimes I have to sit back and remember it's me that needs helping.

It's like they say on the planes, apply your own oxygen mask first!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Nest

After a major depressive episode I always seem to go into what I call my 'nesting' phase. Or what could also be referred to as the bunker mentality. It involves preparing my space for the next avalanche of darkness, whilst I have the energy.
1. Clean the room of detrius of previous episode. Likely You have not felt up to much in the way of cleaning lately. When I came home from hospital there was not even enough room to sit, let alone sleep on my bed, which was covered with books, papers and clothes I had neither the energy nor the inclination to move.
2. Spring Clean... wash the sheets, dust, consider a new duvet cover or ornament to cheer the place up. Maybe buy another plant to replace the one that died of neglect during your last lock-in!
3. My "space" that i retreat to in depressive hermit-tude is my bedroom, thus it is an all purpose space. There is a phone, laptop (wireless), TV/DVD, stereo, Big bed with lots of cushions.
4. Fill drawer with 'life-sustaining" equipment.... muslei bars, chocolate, crackers, water bottles, medications, deodorent, air freshner......
Now, your space is completely prepared for the next onslaught, and you've done it while you have the energy and frame of mind to do it! If only my room had an ensuite it would be perfect!

Boys scout motto for the mentally unwell..... be prepared!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Willl the real me please stand up?

Interesting discussion with therapist (D) today. Came skippping into her office merrily, in stark contrast to the depressed suicidal amoeba she had sitting across from her two weeks ago. And she was understandingly perplexed. As am I. Could it these new drugs are really that suuuuuuper fantastic? Is it just the sheer relief of being out of hospital? Am I 'presenting' myself in the way I think I should be preseting after the palaver of the last two weeks, and the hospital's "its your choice' CBT indoctrination shoved down my throat? I don't know.

All I know is that for today I seemed happy-ish

Scarily, today I didnt really feel I existed, it was kind of like I was just watching that happy peroson, with no connection to her.

Maybe I am still dead.

I wonder if this blathering makes sense to a single person in the world?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

10 things that have happened in the last fortnight

1. Was voluntarily hospitalised in an Acute Adult Psychiatiric Unit
2. Stayed there for fourteen days! (ho hum)
3. Got lovely new drugs that are helping me sleep all through the night
4. Started eating regular meals plus horrible "resource drinks" and have put on four kilo in two weeks
5.Started new Antidepressent- yet to notice effect, but has to be given time.
6. Met some lovely people on the ward, nurses and paitents alike
7. Met some complete douchebags!
8.Have been assigned a public health psych doc and case manager
9. Had an eeg done, and neuro appt for two months time to moniter epilepsy
10. Learnt I really can trust my therapist. She sat for hours in the ED with me, and phoned almost every day I was hospitalised. This is a big!

So thats a quick run down... will fill in the blanks over the next few days, cos its beddy bye time, on the new pill regime...

peaceful sleeps to all!