Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Breakup

My last appointment with the mental health nurse was this week, and it didn't go as well as it could've.

Long story short, about 15 minutes in, we'd been chit-chatting about small stuff, and she asks about osteoporosis, and if my GP and dietician had agreed on what supplements I need to take yet (which they haven't).
"I wonder what foods are the highest in calcium... it's probably bloody impossible to eat all you need anyway."
"No, most people can get enough through food, I just can't."
"...ohh, because of the Anorexia? I thought you were managing that."

And that's when it all came crashing down. Granted, I don't talk to her about ED stuff. The dietician's the only one I trust enough. But I didn't take it well. I could feel a meltdown coming on, and I left crying
"I might as well just die now, I'm just a worthless, fat piece of shit."

I haven't walked out of an appointment like that in months. And I had to do it at my last appointment. We were barely a quarter through.

Out to the car, full-scale breakdown in the car park. I was so upset, I wanted to tear my skin off.
Mum went back in and talked to her, and they both came out to the car.

I felt awful. She kept apologizing, saying she stuffed up and didn't mean it that way at all. But I felt so low, I was spiralling.
"I'm not managing it, I'm not managing it at all, I don't talk to you about it but that doesn't mean I'm managing it, but obviously I am because I'm such a fucking fatass."

It was the first time any of my team have seen me in full breakdown mode. With the MHN, crying has usually involved sitting bolt upright with my jaw clenched, trying my hardest now to crack. Now I was curled up in a ball, crying harder than any of them have seen me, repeating that I can't do this, I can't do this, oh god, I fucked up.
I heard her ask mum something about if this sort of breakdown was out of the ordinary, but unfortunately it's not.

"It was my last appointment and I fucked up and now I can't see you any more and I fucked it up."

She'd called the home phone that morning, and offered to drop by, but having people over panics me, so mum just put it on speaker so I could listen. Although she can't keep me on long term, she offered to see me once more to catch up when she gets back from her holidays in a month, and to come to the first few appointments with the new MHN.

Since she'll have finished her current job, she'd said we could either meet at her office in town or my house or meet at a park or for coffee, but all of them terrified me. I told her I can't go out to town, or anywhere public in my city, and having people over to the house scares me even more. So she said she could even come for a drive and we can talk in the car, which is sadly probably the safest bet.

I'm just hating myself for it. I needed that appointment so badly and I wasn't even in there half an hour. I needed it so badly that I'd tried to get a second appointment the day before. But I fucked it up. I can't even feel sad about it, because I fucked it up. I want to tear my skin apart.

I fucked it up.
And I deserve to feel as bad as I do.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

What a week

So I saw the mental health nurse for the second-last time on Wednesday. It sucked. Every second of the appointment felt like time going down the drain. Every second felt urgent. I was acutely aware of the short time left with her - two hours, now one.

Apparently she'd spoken to this other MHN from my past, who immediately remembered me (I'm always doubtful when healthcare professionals say that). She didn't have any of her cards, so she tore out the one taped to her folder and gave it to me.

When I saw the GP the next day, she said she wants to wait a while before putting in the referral to the new MHN, so I can 'adjust and recover' first. I'm not too sure how I'm supposed to feel any better without anyone to help, but whatever. Who knows, maybe it's a good thing, maybe not. I was hoping she'd write the referral then so I didn't have a gap. I just didn't feel like I could speak up. I know it sounds pathetic and takes away any right to complain, but my head just screams 'why bother'.

Anyway, back to the MHN. She talked a lot about Immersion Therapy. She thinks it'd be good for me if I had the right support. Basically it's doing what scares you but doing it in a safe way. My agoraphobia challenge/resolution would be a similar concept, I guess. But to be honest, I think I really need something safer fist.

She told me this story of a girl, and basically she could've been me. Abuse, anxiety, unable to go into town because of the intense fear of seeing this one person in a city of 215,000. She did Immersion Therapy, and slowly worked towards going into town, first in very safe and supported situations, and gradually taking away those safe elements. She pointed out how unlikely it'd be that this girl would ever see their abuser, and that she had not seen him, like it was never a rational fear.

"Because, really, what's the worst that could happen? A panic attack?"
I wanted to yell "No, you bitch, maybe my worst nightmares will come true the next time I see Him? I used to see Him at least once a year up until the point I stopped going in."

But I didn't. I just shook my head, frustrated beyond belief.
"What, then?"
"I have similar reasons for not going into town, and a lot worse could happen."
There's a reason why all of my outings are a fair drive away.
I was obviously upset, and she started probing. Trauma was the last thing I wanted to talk about when I already felt so low.
What scares you?
Who scares you?"

I just wanted to scream. I just wanted her to stop talking about it. It's too painful and too hard and I can't talk about it. Besides, she'll be gone next week, so why should I put myself through it?

"I just don't know what to do any more."
She said that doctors, therapists etc. shouldn't always just tell people what to do. It's better to provide them with the information and resources and let them come to their own conclusions. Not to mention that a lot of people go out there and do the exact opposite

"How would you feel if I said - Bella, you have to...?"
"Like someone wants to help."
"So what if I suggested Equine therapy?" (which we'd been talking about earlier)
"I can't."
"Why not?"
"Agoraphobia... anxiety... groups of people... unsafe places... unsafe people..."

I just feel stuck. They keep suggesting people I should see and things I should do, and I just can't.

"Besides, I don't mean like what type of therapy I should try. I mean I don't know what to do today, this week, next week. I'm just so lost. So stuck. Getting through each day is so hard right now. I just don't know what to do with myself. I can't do anything."

"There's gotta be something out there that can help you... obviously it's not medication."
Obviously! At least I laughed. But you can't blame me for being desperate and still hoping and trying.

She also gave me a couple of relaxation CDs, which are along the same lines as mindfulness and hypnosis, but potentially more appropriate for me than the actual mindfulness CD. I'm just trying to grab as many CDs and pieces of paper as I can. I think I've been hesitating on the mindfulness one because the track we kept listening to asked you to focus on an uncomfortable emotion and identify how it feels in different body parts. And I just can't do that right now. I need things that are more like the 'do one thing at a time, list all the sounds you can hear' kind of mindfulness.

The last few weeks haven't been so great. I feel like I'm on autopilot, just getting through each day.

When I'm not a total wreck or staring blankly into space, I've been spending a lot of time gaming (Heroes of Might & Magic II, currently). A lot. It seems to be my default at the moment. I'm watching too many movies and TV shows. I've watched more Dr Phil episodes in the last week than I probably have in my entire life. Last night I stayed up until 4:30am, just watching Dr Phil episodes on YouTube for 8+ hours.

Anything I can try to immerse myself in. It zones me out so I don't have to think, so I don't have to be in the world. At that moment my existence consists of lying on the couch, chain smoking in the dark, cracking a new can of Coke Zero every two hours.

In other news, the dietician is thankfully back this Tuesday. I've missed her a lot. I'm really not ready to start seeing her less often. I can't even remember the last time we've had three weeks between appointments. She's really so good to me with not missing appointments - most of the time, she'll come in just for my early-bird appointment even if she has to dash off somewhere else. So I'm certainly not complaining that she's had some much-deserved time off.

Then on Wednesday I have my last ever appointment with the mental health nurse. So... yeah.

I feel like I'm so behind on things I should be doing. Including emails and comments, sorry guys, I'm trying to catch up. I'm just not doing things. The days keep disappearing and I've done nothing.

And just as a quick note, this Tuesday 20th marked two years since our beautiful girl Silky passed away. I'll never forget that day, how quickly she was gone, or seeing the moment the light left her eyes. But I'll also never forget her.

This is Billy and Silky, back in 2004.
I found these photos just this week.



Sunday, 18 January 2015

Not a Hope in Hell

I saw the mental health nurse on Wednesday. I went in a total wreck. The breakdown had started at 7:30am, and continued through until the appointment at 3:30.

I was wearing pyjamas - a nightie with a cardigan and trackies thrown on. My hair was soaked and my clothes stuck to me, drenched with sweat and tears. I looked like I'd been beaten up. I was just a mess. So embarrassed. I was freaking out sitting in the waiting room, even though it wasn't overly busy, but thankfully the girls at the desk always find an empty office for me to hide in.

One of the first things she said to me was that there's "not a hope in hell" of her staying. But hey, at least she's honest.

All she can really do is try to transition people to new therapists, unless they're ready to be discharged, but it's hard when I won't see a psych.
"I can't. That was the whole point of seeing you instead in the first place."

"What did your GP suggest?"
"Nothing, really; except writing a letter."
She laughed "Yeah, it's a bit cute, a bit naïve."

I'm still going to try writing the letter though. I don't want her to leave, and I have to be able to say I tried, and my GP's still putting it together anyway. But at the end of the day it's a business decision. She said her colleague already tried talking to The Powers That Be, and nothing.

By the way, have I told you guys how amazing you are recently? Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your advice on my last post! I think I understand what sorta things I should write now. I need to set aside some time to write it, but thinking about it just makes my heart sink. I'll post what I'm writing, after my head can put it all together. I'd be so lost, in every way, without you wonderful people. This community never ceases to amaze me. So much love.

I slipped off my shoes and curled my knees up in front of me when she asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about.
"I just don't have anything to say any more."

She told me a lot of the back-story on why she was getting transferred to a different team. Admittedly I zoned out for a lot of it, but when she was talking about the system at large, she in passing mentioned the name of a different mental health nurse I used to see, and the conversation side-tracked.
"She was my case manager when I was like 15 or 16, after my first psych inpatient admission... She left..."
It was my first experience with the public system, and she left. My MHN is the only person on my team in the public system, and look where that got me...

Anyway, it turns out she went back to university, is now a Nurse Practitioner, and works privately at this other clinic one day a week. She can even write scripts, so maybe that'd take some of the pressure off seeing an actual psych. My GP wanted to refer me to the Psychiatrist on the Side (who my team gets advice from, knows my case well, and has ruling say on my meds) this month so I could start seeing her mid-year. But that was before we knew my MHN was leaving, so now I really don't expect it to happen that soon.

Why was it so hard to find another Mental Health nurse in the first place?! They just kept suggesting psychiatrists and psychologists. She said she could've sworn she'd mentioned this other MHN's name to me before.

Unfortunately the other MHN is at a different clinic. I mean, it's not impossible for me to get there, but the thought of having to do it on a regular basis?!

The other downside is that now I feel there's a lot of pressure to succeed. That I'm expected to get along with her and be able to talk with her, even though this was 6+ years ago that I last saw her. I don't remember if I opened up to her or if she helped me or not. My memory is very fuzzy, but I don't really remember ever talking to anyone before my current team.

And it doesn't help how I'm feeling now. I still don't want my MHN to go, I still feel like I'm being dropped off a cliff face, I still can't stop breaking down and crying. I don't feel any better at all.

Honestly? I think I've cried more over this therapist-breakup than I did when I broke up with my ex (the breakup that made me start blogging). At least then I didn't feel so void of hope.

My GP said no one was going to leave...
How can I believe that any more?

The past week or so has been a mess. Tears, self-harm, losing days to 12-hour breakdowns. Trying to keep myself distracted the rest of the time, when I really don't want to do anything at all. It took me three days to even write about the appointment in my journal. I played through Terranigma in a week, straight after finishing it the previous time, because I know it inside-out and it's a nostalgic favourite. Simple, braindead, couch potato things to suck the hours away. I just don't know what to do with myself.

And I mean it, you guys are amazing and I'd be utterly lost without you all. You get me through.


Saturday, 10 January 2015

18 Days

The Mental Health Nurse is leaving.

She told me that she's being moved to another team, and she's finishing at the end of February. But she already has holidays booked for February, so really it's the end of January.
Queue tears. But I can't say I wasn't expecting it.

I don't think I've cried during a therapist breakup before.
Yes, I'm frustrated that everything seems so aimless and I take so little away from each appointment, but it seems like I'd only just reached a point where I could say "this isn't helping, this is what I need you to help me with" when she first told me she'd be leaving. And I actually get along with her and can talk to her on some level. Not about problems or things that are bothering me, but I can hold a conversation with her about light subjects. As stupid as that sounds, I've never had that before.

"It's jut a shame that we've only had such a short time together. If I'd met you three years ago, then we would've had three years together and things might be different."

She said that normally at this point, they'd either look at discharge or referring me on to someone else, but they can't really do either with me because I'm so terrified of psychs... and getting past those issues was the whole point of working with a MH nurse first, but yeah, well... I just can't do it, the fear is so great. And it can't be out of the clinic, because it's one of my few safe spaces. There's no one else who fits the criteria of a) not being a psych (-ologist or -iatrist), and b) can work from my clinic.

There's no help and nothing I can do.

I didn't know if I should bother making another appointment, especially if it was just the one more. It would just be dragging out a painful process. I didn't even want to go to this appointment because I didn't want to face it to be honest. But then I remembered that my dietician is now away for the next few weeks, and I would be totally without support, so she made me three more weekly Wednesday appointments. The last day I see her is the 28th, the day after the dietician gets back.

I saw my GP the next day, and she's upset about it too. She's asking everyone to write a letter, myself included, that she'll send to The Powers That Be. It doesn't have to be long, even just a paragraph about what I hoped the MH nurse would help me with and why I need her. 

I'm a bit clueless as to where to even start. I feel like whatever I even start to write down is wrong.
I think it's got something do with agoraphobia, because she's the only mental health professional at my clinic. There's the issue of trust and consistency, that she's the first MH help I've had in years, the fact I can't just go see a psych. I don't know. Is any of it even relevant? What the hell am I supposed to write?

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated because the whole thing's just too much to process right now. The only option left is if The Powers That Be decide to listen to this letter my GP is putting together, and even then I don't have much hope.

Everything's changing and I don't like it. I'm just so lost. So stuck. I don't know what to do.

I'm sorry I've been so bad with updating this week. This year went to shit really fast and the last few days I haven't been functioning at all. I'm either breaking down in a blur of tears and self-harm or I'm sitting staring at the wall because I don't know what to do with myself..

To top things off, my phone screen broke this week, so reading and typing has been frustratingly slow so I haven't been able to get around to commenting as much as usual, but I just wanted to say thank you to you all for your support and kind messages. You guys are my lifeline. I honestly don't know what I'd do, or if I'd still even be here, if I didn't have this little blogosphere.

Oh, and I'm on my first round of antibiotics for my chest in 2015 already. Fan-fucking-tastic.

My new keychain, supporting The Butterfly Foundation.
It's about the only 'hope' I've got right now.

Even my strawberries have died.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Reflection and Resolutions

The New Year is here. I was asleep at midnight after one Black Russian, and spent the night writing up my new intake and smoking notebooks for the year and finishing up the old ones.

I don't normally have New Years resolutions. In fact, I'm pretty sure last year was the first year I set a resolution. Last year I decided to set myself the challenge of getting out of the house once a month, excluding appointments. Overall I had nine outings, and missed four months.

In January I went out to pick up a new electric blanket do a little shopping.
In February I did a short walk at the You Yangs.

March, I finally got my second nipple piercing after being asymmetrical for the last three years.
Nothing in April, although I turned 21.
In May we went to the cheese factory in Warrnambool, and bought 8kg of cheese.

I didn't go out for a few months after that. In June I was admitted to hospital for a COPD exacerbation. It was my second admission for COPD, and I was there for eleven days.

There were quite a few experiences during this admission.
I had my first anesthesia. The Lung Doctor Man decided a bronchoscopy was necessary to take biospsies, after the first few days of the tests and treatments weren't doing anything.
I had two nurses and a doctor try to unscrew the balls on my nipple piercings for an x-ray because I hadn't taken them out before (leaving one in had been fine in the past).
And an arterial blood gas test to get a super accurate reading of my oxygen levels (this involved being stabbed in the wrist with a needle and blood spurting all over the bed and the doctor).

I had to remove all of my piercings for the tests
I've been on antibiotics more often than not this year. It's hard for me to define when infections begin and end, which isn't helped by their frequency. I'm never 100% sure if I'm actually sick until I see a doctor, or if it's just in my head.

I didn't go out again until the last day of August when we did another walk at the You Yangs.

I didn't go out in September.
Then in October I went out for dinner at an Indian restaurant with my mum, brother, and his fiance.
November we went back to Warrnambool to do some shopping, and of course stop at the cheese factory (add another 5kg of cheese).
And in December I tried-and-failed to go Christmas shopping, and also went out to dinner again at the same Indian restaurant.

This year my resolutions are to continue with my once-a-month agoraphobia challenge. I'm also going to try to save some money from each pay, which I've always been shocking at. I bought myself a lock-box a few weeks ago, and hopefully saving paper money will be more successful than banking it.

Last year my GP finally got me to see a mental health nurse, who I met in May. This was a huge step because I've been actively running from anyone from the mental health field for years, but my GP didn't give me much choice. Unfortunately, her job is now most likely disappearing early this year. I don't even know what to say here. It just all sucks.

I did a little bit of sewing last year. I made a couple of pin cushions, a couple of skirts, and the Tatters and Rags skirt, as well as starting a reproduction 1880s outfit, plus a few little secret projects I can't tell y'all about just yet. I'm trying to get back into it, but everything's just so hard.

As for my weight, I can't say for sure. In January I weighed in at 43.7kg, which was the last time I weighed myself at home. I know I've gone up and down a few kilos, but the dietician seems to think I'm still maintaining in the big picture.
I actually had a nightmare last week that I gained 15kg and she didn't tell me. But I trust her, and she's always said she'll tell me when patterns start forming.

I think that's about it. It's been a pretty hard year. Worse than some, but not as hard as others. Like every year, I'm glad to see this one go but dreading the next one.

I wasn't too sure how to go about writing this post, as writing concisely about how I've been doing through the year and my mental health seems impossible, and I find myself getting confused about what belongs in this post and what doesn't.

I hope you all survived the holidays intact. I'm finding it hard to be optimistic, but at least the hardest part of the season is over.

Please note: I probably got very confused between this/next/last year, and I couldn't seem to write it chronologically, which kills me, but hopefully it was still comprehensible.