Monday, 27 June 2016

Still Alive

2016 is not a good year as far as health and hospital goes.

I've lost count of how many ambulances and trips to A&E I've had, but it's definitely a new record. 

Six months ago, the closest I'd been to an ambulance was patient transport and a couple of paramedic call-outs that didn't require transport. In previous emergencies, it's been quicker to drive the 5 minutes to hospital than to wait for overworked, understaffed paramedics. But between seizures and self-harm and smoking and starving, I've had at least 6 emergency ambulance rides this year, with two in the past three days.

The first was on Friday. I'd been messing with my meds and literally attacking - not just self-harming - myself with steak knives. Mum went for a walk, and as soon as she left, I deadbolted the doors and grabbed a knife and my stash of razors and tore my arms to shreds, stabbing, slashing, slicing, and emptied the medicine cabinet. I don't think I've used knives before, but it seems to be my current weapon of choice.

The whole day was just a mess. I pretty much had to beg mum to call someone since I can't talk on the phone and I needed to see my GP. I texted the dietician saying I was mid-crisis and asking if she could please contact my GP to phone mum. Mum wanted to call either an ambulance or her psych, but no one for me. When I told her I'd texted the dietician, she called my GP herself, and I went in to get my wounds dressed and have a chat.

It was only the day before I had to get dressings for more self-harm. On Friday, I saw her around 11am, and she gave me extra meds to replace what I'd taken, but they didn't last the day. I actually asked if she could give me any sort of sedative just so I wouldn't do more harm and wouldn't be so distressed, but there wasn't anything she could give me. 

At home, the day just kept escalating. I was cutting and hitting myself more and more, absolutely hysterical, crying and screaming. Not my finest moment, by far. Two knives snapped clean off their handles. Mum got tired of putting up with me so she went out for a drive.

I locked the doors, wrote a short note (in case of emergency) and emptied the (sparse) medicine cabinet. 

I'm still on daily dispensing, but I ended up taking two days of lorazepam, oxazepam and seroquel, plus a couple of day's worth of leftovers I hadn't taken this week because I'd been smoking and sleeping so much. I also took random painkillers (ibuprofen and 500/30 Panadeine) and leftover cold & flu meds just because I wanted to hurt myself. I've not used painkillers or codeine for self-harm in a long time, and I have to say, it scared me. I was also supposed to have my MRI later that day, but obviously it didn't happen. Partially because my GP gave me an extra 3mg lorazepam for it, but I'd scoffed them down as well. 

Around midday, mum and I started seriously clashing. By 1pm, I'd taken nearly a whole week's worth of meds. This was the third day in a row I'd overdosed to some extent. I had too many leftovers I didn't take from daily dispensing. We don't keep much in the house, for obvious reasons. Even basic painkillers are kept hidden from me. 

Mum got home and saw the carnage.
"Oh, Jesus!"

She called my GP straight away. She suggested calling an ambulance, and since I was so distressed and actively self-harming, it's protocol for the police to come too. 

Next thing I know, the house was invaded with not one, not two, but seven strangers - 3 or 4 cops and 3 ambos. It was absolutely terrifying. Obviously lunchtime during the week isn't an overly busy time. I should note: guests stopped being welcome after a particularly horrific assessment by the emergency mental health team several years ago. That was the final trigger, and I've barely let anyone in the house since.

I hid in the garage, in the car, with all four doors locked. Head in my hands, eyes closed, crying, I just kept saying "Please just leave me alone." 

The police all had cans of mace in their hands, ready to go. Given some of the shit I've done over the years, this was actually my first encounter on the other side of the police.

In the end, I had no choice. I could either go willingly with the paramedics, or go in the police car. I told them I wasn't harming myself anymore (true) and just wanted to lie down and cry. Since when is depression a crime?

"Well, we can do this the easy way or the hard way."

In the ambulance, I mentioned my GP, who shares a first name with the Horrible Psychiatrist. The ambo with me asked "do you mean the Horrible Psychiatrist?" and I totally freaked. But it turns out he no longer works in A&E, which takes a lot if the fear out of the public emergency room (the private hospital, where I go for COPD exacerbations, doesn't do psych). 

At the hospital, I turned out my pockets before going inside. I'd accidentally left a razor in my pocket, and sliced the tip of my finger. I spent from about 1-4pm in A&E, but ultimately left without a fuss. I'm not quite sure how I managed to escape even just a 72-hour hold after pressing a knife to my throat twice in three days. Probably only because I'm meeting this new psych soon, and have regular appointments with my GP and dietician.

At home I had a little bit of chicken and rice and polished off my last bottle of red, knowing it'd be coming back up anyway and desperate to get out of my head. Today's the first day I haven't thrown up everything I tried to eat as soon as I swallowed it. It's like my body knew I was poisoning it, just from that one lungful of smoke. 

Saturday was probably the worst day in my head, although it didn't last long, and I managed to avoid the emergency room. 

I had a big mess this morning. You know how I smoke those legal synthetic cannabinoids**? Never ever again. I scraped down all of my containers to find traces of powder for one tiny smoke that morning, since I had no actual meds left and was desperate. I either mixed the wrong trace chemicals or plastic/metal scrapings or something, because within a minute I'd fallen over and dropped everything I was carrying. 

Mum found me sat on the kitchen floor with my trackies around my ankles, talking utter nonsense. I didn't know where I was or what was going on. She asked me something, and I told her to check with J (my non-abusive ex). This was bizarre. Mum screamed "That was over four years ago!"

Thankfully it doesn't last long before it starts to wear off, so I avoided mum calling another ambulance, and was back in my head within 15-30 minutes. But I'm never touching those chemicals again. I've said that before, and they've nearly killed me before, but I think this is it for good.

I went to the bathroom and turned the cold tap on full blast, folded up my towel to give me some padding to sit on, and emptied all of the ice cubes from the freezer into the tub. I sat clothed in the bath until it was about halfway full when mum convinced me to get out. Then I went into the kitchen and pulled the bottom three drawers out of our upright freezer, then sat in and pulled the door shut with about an inch open. That's also a new one. 

I'm also getting scarily good at suddenly turning cold and saying calmly to mum "Oh, but I'm fine!" with a shit-eating grin. She did call for help, but my creepy calmness meant there was little they could do. 

Yesterday (Sunday) involved more police and paramedics, and was probably a worse situation than Friday.

The morning went okay. At midday, I asked mum if I could please have privacy to eat my 170-cal cheese & Vegemite sandwich, as the lounge is the only room I eat in. I spent 25 minutes nibbling  at it, trying not to throw up, and it was over. Mum came back in, because I had apparently had more than enough time, but I'd not even made it through the third quarter. 

I lost it. I was darting around the house screaming
"You don't want me to eat, you just want me to die and then you'll be happy."

I threw out most of my food and semi-trashed the kitchen. 

I locked the back door with the only key, threw it into the garden, and gussied up all of my strength to drag the heavy chimenea in front of the side gate to stop anyone coming through.

I gave Billy a hug and cried "I'm sorry, I can't do this, I love you."

Next thing I know, I've got three cops staring out the kitchen window at me, then coming around the side gate with the paramedics. Three of them watch and try to talk to me while the rest scour the yard for the key (the only key). 

They ask if I have blades or knives. I say I do, and reach for one to give up, and he grabs my arm. I try to stand up to get my purse of razors from behind my armchair cushion. And he grabs my arm again. 

The other day, they just asked me for my sharps and turned out my pockets. This time, although I was much calmer, I got a full bloody frisk for the first time in my life. I wasn't even allowed the safety pin to hold up my trackies, or the disposable chopstick holding up my hair.

I kept telling them I'm fine, I just want to be alone, I just wanted to eat my sandwich in peace, I'll be fine, just please leave me alone and tell her to let me eat my sandwich.

It's scary how strongly I believe I have a right to self-harm or die if I want to. 
My new favourite line seems to be
"It's no one's business if I want to hurt myself, it's not illegal, if I want to die, it's my body."
Then they throw the 'duty of care' line.

"I just want to be alone and lie down. I'll be fine if I can just lie down quietly."
"It's too late for that,"
Again, "we can do this the easy way or the hard way."

The policewoman held my elbow as I took the walk of shame out to the ambulance, crying with my hand covering my face. Mum says she wouldn't notice emergency vehicles parked outside houses in our neighbourhood, but I know I sure do - especially when it's an ambulance and two police cars, one of which was parked right outside the neighbour's window, and especially if it happened multiple times in a week. As if I'm not the neighbourhood freak enough as it is. This is why mum parks in the garage and I won't go out to the street to get in the car for appointments.

"I'm not a horrible person" I cry to the paramedic, trying to convince myself it's true.
In the back of the ambulance, I apologize for wasting their time and money and resources. 

I texted the dietician again from the ambulance. I told her I was sorry for texting again, but I'd fucked up again, and mum doesn't want anything to do with me and that I was just totally lost and alone. She was wonderful, and asked me to go see my GP the next day with mum to make a plan. 

I sat alone in the bare interview room of A&E crying, scared and alone with the police guarding the door, watching to make sure my multiple school friends that work there wouldn't see me in such a state.

Stomach acid and bile kept coming up. Eventually someone from the mental health team came to talk to me for an assessment. Mum never came in, and I dreaded the conversation when my brother came to get me, so I babbled randomly on the drive home to avoid a conversation I desperately didn't want to have. 

And that brings us to today. This morning was rough, with another meltdown full of self-harm and locking myself in the backyard so no one else could get to me. I got a text from the dietician first thing, again asking me to make an appointment to see my GP. When mum called to make an emergency appointment, she was booked out, and instead I saw the nurse for dressings, as they didn't do them in A&E yesterday.

When my GP came in to have a quick look, I asked if I could go on her cancellation list to possibly see her before Thursday, but she said no.
"I'll just see you on Thursday."

As soon as we reached the car, the mental health team from the hospital called for a follow-up,  and were worse than useless. For the first time ever, I'm begging, pleading to talk, but no one cares to listen. This is my comeuppance for not taking the help that was offered for so long, for keeping my mouth shut for so many years.

At home things just got worse. I needed so badly to talk to my GP, and her refusal to put me on the cancellation list drew me to the conclusion that she must want me to die so she doesn't have to deal with me any more. Took the whole day's worth of meds, slept, and here I am now. It's nearly 10pm, and I've spent most of the day writing this post.

After smoking synthetics on-and-off for a little over 6 years now, it's not the first time I've had a scare. They've nearly killed me more times than I can count. But I think this is it. I'm done. If I touch them again, I hereby give you all permission to bitchslap me until I come back to my senses. 

For the next week, I intend to do nothing but lay on the couch watching silly movies, writing in my journal and trying not to think.

Tomorrow, I see the dietician in the morning. Then on Thursday I'll see my GP, and hopefully work out where to from here.

A lot of this is very embarrassing, but I've got nothing to lose. If my experience in the last six years of synthetics hell can some day be put to good use, help legislate against them, or even just in research, I'll be happy. Nothing can make it 'worth it', but I really hope at least one of you read this and think twice before trying it just because it's not technically illegal.

Apologies for going AWOL again, especially for so long. Everything's a bit of a blur. Most days I couldn't even bring myself to open Blogger, but I think I'm all caught up now (although I haven't had the energy to send as many comments as usual). My memory of the last week is very fuzzy. I've tried to piece it together as best I can by looking at dates and times on messages I sent, notes I scribbled and asking mum questions. I've tried to post for the last few days, but more and more crises have kept popping up.

And an extra special thank you to my two lovelies who were constantly spammed with my panicked messages over the past week or two - my English Starsister and my Bahraini Sweetheart - especially at the times when my family weren't there. The dietician will be getting a massive hug tomorrow, too.

** I don't talk about my smoking a lot, mostly because it's a very complicated issue once synthetic chemicals are involved, but I did write a bit about my experiences after they gave me my first seizure

The offending cheese & Vegemite sandwich (170 cal)
I managed to eat a little less than 3/4 before the defecation hit the oscillation

Never let anyone tell you that instant coffee (black with liquid Stevia - no funny business)
doesn't add up to anything significant

Backward handwriting skills are on point, though
(Friday, before the first 000 call out)

In A&E

Sat alone in the interview room with police by the door



  1. That is a seriously rough weekend. You are such a precious person! Please don't give up!
    You are right about the sythetics. I'm starting to meet people whose lives have been ruined because of them. It's good that you're getting the word out.

  2. Bella, my heart breaks for you. I wish I had a magic wand to wave away all the horror that you are going through. Please, please message me if there's anything at all I can do to help. I'm here for you. Sending you loads of strength and hope and hugs and love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. I've no words Bella
    I'm so worried
    I'm sorry I haven't been great at staying in touch
    Work has just taken over lately
    I'll email you rather than writing here

    Just hang in there
    Please x

  4. Hi Bella, I saw your comment and I wanted to read your blog, but I never expected to find such pain in your words.
    I never went that far, thankfully, but now, knowing that someone as fragile and beautiful as you has to go through this... It's heartbreaking.
    If your body is so messed up I hope your soul to be untouched.
    Talk to me whenever you feel like it, okay?


  5. I don't know what to say, other than that this terrifies me. I'm terrified of you, and afraid Your poor Health will get the best of you one day.

    I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling, and it pains me to realize I'm more or less powerless to help. But I can try, I'm rooting for you. Whenever you need someone, don't hesitate to speak up. I'll be there.

  6. I'm sorry that that you've been having such a rough time. I wish that there was someway that I could help!
    If you ever want to talk about anything at all please don't hesitate to contact me.
    I hope that you start to feel better soon, hang in there x x

  7. I have no words. I wish I could just magic away your pain and the sheer agony of living (for I know them well).

  8. I hate that you're going through all of this.

    I feel like your doctors are mostly throwing things at your symptoms in the hopes that something sticks, but nothing is being done to fix the actual problem. Like in this country, they think they can fix everything with pills.

    I hope you can fight your way past this. There are good things to be found in life that make life worth living. You don't deserve to stay in this hell. <3

  9. All I can do is send you love and hugs. xo

  10. hey, love. as you know, i'm intensely worried for you, and i love you to bits. i'm reading this post with a heavy heart. i hate that you're struggling so badly and that things seem to be getting more hectic.

    i love you to bits and i hope that you're able to breathe more sometimes. i'm always here if you ever need me to be.

    "I actually asked if she could give me any sort of sedative just so I wouldn't do more harm and wouldn't be so distressed, but there wasn't anything she could give me." this speaks out to me as i know someone that uses sedatives so when things are too bad, she just pops one and off to bed so that she doesn't harm herself. it's unfortunate that they weren't able to give you any, but perhaps, give it another mention again? i really think that this is a better alternative than having to resorting to harming yourself to calm down. i know that you mentioned telling them to increase your medication dosage before (which i /still/ think that they should do, under the combinations that you think is best because you're the one that's benefiting from that) and i still vouch for it because i think the correct combination of things would make this a lot more bearable than it is right now. the lass i mentioned - she had a borderline diagnosis, which i think you've mentioned before?

    "I'm not quite sure how I managed to escape even just a 72-hour hold after pressing a knife to my throat twice in three days." i am surprised at this as well. this doesn't seem right at all.

    (aye, the next comment)

  11. i agree with Mich as well. i feel like they're trying to cure the symptoms but not attack the actual problem at hand. like, alright, they've gotten you stabilised at the hosp, but beyond that, i don't see what they've done extra to make sure that you'll not hurt yourself again or the like. this actually infuriates me. and i don't think it's done much for your mentality!

    i hate that you are struggling so badly, especially since you are so important to me. you are so precious. and i absolutely love you so so much and every day that you're in this hell makes me feel angry.

    "But I'm never touching those chemicals again. I've said that before, and they've nearly killed me before, but I think this is it for good." as you should honestly. these little buggers shouldn't be touched by anyone from what i've seen displayed thus far.

    i have no idea what you were attempting to do with that tub story but i'm just hoping that it's out of your head. every sentence of this post springs alarm bells to me and i just want you to know that there is a light. there is always a light. and i know it seems pitch black sometimes, but i can actually imagine a better life for you. i don't doubt it as a possibility.

    "Then they throw the 'duty of care' line." as they should, precious. you know it makes sense.

    "I'm not a horrible person" I cry to the paramedic, trying to convince myself it's true. <-- you are NOT a horrible person and that IS true.

    the GP's response makes me angry. she should've find another place for you, especially with how things have been going on for the past few days.

    "For the next week, I intend to do nothing but lay on the couch watching silly movies, writing in my journal and trying not to think." i agree with this plan and strongly advise that you continue to do so.

    aye, i'm the English Starsister, aren't i? /no, i jest./

    "Never let anyone tell you that instant coffee (black with liquid Stevia - no funny business)" oh my God. i'm dying.

    YOU ARE NOT A FUCK UP. not. never. never going to be. ever.

    i love you and take care of yourself the best you can, alright? feel free to spam me at any point in time xxxx

    hopefully i've not offended you with any of this. i've re-read it just to make sure but i'm saying this just in case. you are in such a fragile state right now and the last i'd want to do is make it worse in any way!

    -Sam Lupin

  12. Finally managed to catch up. I have no words :( I hate that you're having such a hard time, and this was heartbreaking to read. I hope you'll one day be able to love and value yourself as much as we all do. You don't deserve this.

    All my love.


  13. Damn girl, that's all so very scary. I'm glad you're still here.

    You are not a fuck up. You are not a freak. *hugs*