Sunday, 6 November 2016

So Far, So Good (?)

Where do I start... I was admitted to the Clinic on Thursday. I'm currently on Day Four, which is longer than I've ever managed to stay here before.

I had my interview on Tuesday afternoon, which went much better than the phone calls. I spoke, quietly and hesitantly, but I spoke. I answered all her questions, and tried to stay as calm and objective as I could. We spoke about why I was there, what I want to achieve. I told her I want to start talking about the childhood abuse in a safe environment.

As always, she mentioned the AN, and said that if I wanted help with that I'd need to be referred specifically to the ED ward. I told her that I really don't, that I'm working with a dietician, that whole spiel.

She asked if I self-medicate through alcohol, and I said no. Yes, I drink a couple of times a week of late, and yes, I might drink if it's been a bad day, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it self-medicating or excessive. I told her about the smoking, and that I quit synthetics a little over four months ago, although I've had a few short 'blips' with the natural stuff.

She said the psychiatrist was willing to offer me a two week admission to deal with the current crisis. She wanted to be sure I wouldn't pull the plug at 24 hours, as I've done so several times before. I told her I'd spoken to my GP about it. I told my GP I knew that nothing would change at home if I didn't see it through, and she pointed out that, more importantly, nothing would change for me. My backup plan was to see my her or my dietician for an appointment and talk it through with them first if I felt like I was going to discharge.

I had to guarantee that I won't try to commit suicide while inpatient, and told her that my thoughts of death are mostly passive, not usually 'having a plan to take action' type thoughts. She asked if I have any protective mechanisms, like “Oh, I couldn't do it to my family”. Honestly, I don't really think about the effect on others. This will sound horrible, but I don't think I really care. This world, and most of the people in it, have never treated me well, and I owe them nothing. The other thing stopping me? I just don't want to die fat.

She said she'd speak with the psychiatrist and try to call back before the end of the day. Half an hour after we got home, she called and said I'd be admitted at 10:30am on Thursday.

I spent the next day and a half packing and just trying to get everything in order. Making lists and double, triple checking my master “What to Pack for Hospital” list that I've built over the past several years.

On Thursday, I was up early, despite having had a few drinks the night before as a bit of a 'last hurrah', as I sure wouldn't be able to access substances for the next two weeks.

When we got to the Clinic, I didn't have to do the regular pre-admisson interview. I guess that was covered on the Tuesday. I just signed the paperwork. I can see why treatment can add up, particularly in places like the US. I yet again got my money's worth from my health insurance. Their fee comes to over $1,000 a day, all of which is covered by my insurance. For 14 days, that's... roughly two and a half years of what I pay in insurance.

They did an extremely thorough bag check, pulling everything out to a heap on the bed. They shortened every cable, bundling them up and fastening them with cable ties. Nothing longer than 30cm, with the exception of head phones. And they confiscated more than I imagined they would.

Starting with the obvious, I'd accidentally left a razor blade in my wallet, still wrapped and unused. I tend to stash them in random places so there's always one close by if I need it. I don't think I'll be getting that back upon discharge. They also took my shaving razor, pencil sharpeners, and hair straightener. On the less obvious end of the spectrum, they took my blunt, rounded tapestry needles, my nail file, and my tweezers.

Worst of all, they took my hot water bottle! You can burn yourself with them, you know. That thing is usually clutched to me 24/7, so they gave me a few heat packs. Thankfully, it's so warm in my room that I haven't needed them. They also initially confiscated my Fibersure, but got it back later in the day once the doctor gave me the all-clear.

They asked for a brief overview of my life history, starting with my dad dying when I was 3 years old (my very first memory is throwing sand into his grave at the funeral), all the way up to the mess I am now. Then the nurse gave me the grand tour, as it's been a while since I was here, and didn't remember where everything was.

On Day 2, I saw my psychiatrist for the first time. It was mostly a 'get to know you' session. It's been over six years since I last saw him, on my first admission here, where he diagnosed me with C-PTSD. We talked about the childhood trauma issues, how it ties in with everything else, diagnoses and medication.

His aim for this admission is crisis intervention, and to get the ball rolling on the trauma counselling. He wanted me to try to set up counselling with a specific abuse counselling service, but then said that maybe the new psychologist I met a few months back might be able to do it instead, and asked me to try to get an appointment or two while I'm still here. If I get leave to see here and come back to the Clinic – not home – that still achieves my goal of starting to talk about it in a safe environment.

They're not going to be changing my meds while I'm here, as it takes longer than two weeks to see the effects. I was really relieved to hear this, although it was one of the things my GP was looking forward to about this admission – finally having my medication properly assessed by a psychiatrist after years of her being in charge of chopping and changing them all.

I asked him about TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation, similar but different to electro-convulsive therapy), as I'm wanting to look at more options instead of just talking and medication after 12 years of it not helping. He said that even if it didn't help, there'd be no harm done, as there's no side effects like medication can have. He also agrees there's not much point in trying more antidepressants, as they obviously haven't helped me.

They gave me some information on TMS. Ultimately, I decided not to do it, not on this admission anyway. You see, it's only covered by insurance while you're in hospital, which would extend my stay to 5 or more weeks. I don't think I can do that. I might look into it at some point in the future, but for now, I just can't.

I kept up a facade for the first day. Saying that I'm okay and forcing a smile. But on day two it cracked. The nurses walk in to do checks and instantly say I look anxious.

I found out the day before I was admitted that mum was planning to go away to visit her friends for a few days, leaving the day after I was admitted to the Clinic.

When I called her on Friday to fill her in, she told me she'd be staying for a week. I can't get to see my dietician on Tuesday, and she'd apparently completely forgotten about my appointment with my GP on Thursday (which was specifically booked for then so I'd be able to see her while I'm inpatient), let alone be able to get to see my my psychologist.

No family support, no visitors. Just a scary place full of strangers by myself. Just being dropped off and abandoned, and more of her sweeping it under the rug, because obviously it's just my issue to
deal with alone. She hasn't so much as texted since.

That triggered the first breakdown, the first tears, of the admission. I buzzed a nurse and talked to her. She gave me a PRN, and asked if I'm eating enough, as she saw the AN mentioned in my notes. I told her probably not as much as I should, and she said she'd talk to my psychiatrist and see if he wants to put me on Ensure while I'm here

I was planning to text the dietician to let her know, and ask if she and/or my GP could pleasepleaseplease come visit because I can't do this alone. I wrote the text, but couldn't send it. I don't want to bother her or guilt them into visiting.

Leaving my room is still scary, but I go out for a coffee and a smoke fairly often. My room looks on to the courtyard, where I can check that it's not too busy before venturing out to my little isolated table for a smoke break.

Most of the tables sit 4-8 people, but there was a tiny round table to the side, just by my window, so I pulled a chair over and have been sitting there most of the time.

I really don't want to talk to anyone. I barely even speak to my family these days, and I feel like I'm losing my voice.

A few people have said 'hello' in passing, but I'm yet to actually have a conversation with any of them. They're all very social though. They all sit together in the courtyard and smoke and talk to each other, and I'm just this silent loner sitting at a tiny table by myself. The men scare me the most. I think this is going to be the biggest hurdle of the admission – actually talking and being social with the other patients.

The thought of groups starting tomorrow is scary. They didn't push for the first couple of days, but tomorrow is the day. I underestimated for difficult it'd be. I'm not at all used to being around people, let alone so many. I'm going to ask for a nurse to come get me and walk me to the groups, as otherwise I'll just get frozen with fear like I did on Friday.

Thankfully, the psychiatrist said he's happy for me to start with just getting out in the courtyard and being around people. When I start groups, he said it's okay to just be a wallflower and not talk, but it's still scary.

The last two days, I've woken up feeling very low. It's the weekend, and I'm alone. No visitors, no one to take me on leave.

I miss Billy. I miss Misty too, but I don't have to worry about her like I do with Bill. He must be so lonely with neither mum or I there. He's probably sitting on the couch or by the front door, whimpering and howling the house down. I guess my brother will be there for the weekend, but what about during the week? I'm worried about him. Whenever I'm away from him, I get so scared that something will happen while I'm not there. It's actually a big part of the reason I've decided not to do TMS. I can't bar to be away from Billy for 5+ weeks. One or two weeks is heartbreaking enough as it is.

I'm trying to keep a daily routine of hygiene, getting dressed, tidying my room, taking my meds notes, journaling, coffee, that whole thing. I've been waking up around 5am, unable to get back to sleep. It takes a while for the fear to pass, not that I have much reason to leave my room so early as they lock the courtyard and kitchen overnight, and I can't get a coffee until 6am.

I keep bumping into my old ED psych, which I hate.

I need to really focus on not self-harming at the moment. Even if I hit my head, I'm gonna need to be quiet about it and keep it to myself. The psychiatrist said that if I self-harm at all, I'll be asked (kindly) to leave, as I need to be able to keep myself safe while I'm here. I'm seeing him again tomorrow.

My pulse has usually been 120-130, and my O2 sats lower than usual. I'm keeping an eye on it, as a few days before admission my oxygen got down to 83%.

There's no wifi here, and with the steep prices for extra data on my phone plan, I'm going to be limited in what I can do and how often I can post, but I'm trying to keep up with at least reading everyone's posts with my morning coffee.

My little isolation table

I take my pocket scales and liquid stevia into the kitchen. I know black coffee is supposedly low in calories, but when you drink as much coffee as I do, it adds up, especially compared to my beloved espresso.
One of the safer, nicer meals I've had, although I never eat more than one egg

My favourite safe meal - Vegemite toast and strawberry yoghurt
Although I only ever eat one slice, and the yoghurt is higher in calories than my usual



  1. I am so glad you were able to go in. I have been thinking of you since your last post hoping things were going ok. I hope that the admission is helpful. I know that being around so many new people can be hard. That was my main stress last time I was inpatient. It sounds like you're doing a lot. Just going outside and talking to the nurses is a great start. Hang in there. You can do this.

  2. Hi Bella,

    That is great that they finally got you to do the interview face to face. I can imagine that it is scary to be outside your safe place and surrounded by strangers. Dealing with trauma of childhood abuse is never easy but from my experience it is worth it. The pain lessens over time and the associated guilt that comes with it.

    Be strong, I am thinking of you.

    Love Josie,

  3. I'm glad that after everything you were finally able to do an interview face to face and I hope that you benefit from your stay.


  4. I'm glad you were finally able to go in after all the drama. I hope the break from your usual routine is beneficial and helps, and well done for sticking it out for as long as you have, that's a big step.

    'I had to guarantee that I won't try to commit suicide while inpatient, and told her that my thoughts of death are mostly passive, not usually 'having a plan to take action' type thoughts. She asked if I have any protective mechanisms, like “Oh, I couldn't do it to my family”. Honestly, I don't really think about the effect on others. This will sound horrible, but I don't think I really care. This world, and most of the people in it, have never treated me well, and I owe them nothing. The other thing stopping me? I just don't want to die fat.'

    I can relate to every word of that, though I hate to admit it.

    And snap on the counting of coffee. Lol! Mine does add up!


  5. I'm glad you are safe Bella
    You have been on my mind
    And I just hope and pray some good will
    Come of this admission
    Just do what you can
    And be your lovely self

    Sending you much love
    And a huge hug

    By the way
    I had been thinking of leaving blogger
    And your comment helped me to see things a bit clearer
    So thank you for that

    Love you x

  6. Hello my lovely,
    I came back to blogging recently and I'm so so glad that you are safe. I have been keeping up with reading all of you but not as much as I'd like to. I've missed you Bella. I'm sending you all the strength I can to help you get through this, though I know for a fact you are an incredibly strong lady even though it might not feel that way for you sometimes.
    Take care and stay strong
    Amanda xx

  7. I'm glad they finally got you in Bella. I'm sending you so many hugs! You are often in my thoughts. xx