After self-harming for the past twelve years – literally half my life – you start to think that you know what you're doing. If you use this tool and that technique, you think you know what the result will be. But, as I learnt last week, you can be terribly wrong.
This has been one of the hardest weeks I've had in months. Last Monday, despondent, feeling like I'll never get to the Clinic or any other help, I broke down.
I took a sizeable overdose, followed by the worst cut I've ever done. One cut. That's all it took. But I really fucked up. My skin burst open. Blood started pooling on the table at an alarming rate. I looked at my arm and freaked out. I'd never cut so deeply, and definitely never bled so much. The blood covered an area the size of at least two sheets of A4 paper, and when I changed the dressing a couple of days ago, I did measure, and it was gaping 10-11mm.
I felt like I was going to throw up. I called for help, and mum called 000. I held my arm in towels, trying to stop the bleeding. The usual entourage appeared – four paramedics and four police. Since there have been a few ambulance calls when I've still been holding knives or blades when the calls go in, it seems the police always tag along these days.
They took me into A&E until the next afternoon. Thankfully, I just barely missed a vein. Because it had stopped bleeding, they said I didn't need stitches. That said, I've had stitches in smaller cuts that had stopped bleeding too. They didn't even do steri-strips or any proper dressing – just a big pad wrapped around my wrist. Maybe they just want me to have a horrific scar as a reminder.
All in all, I had maybe 10 minutes total with the psych. It seems there is no access to help even when I'm in A&E for self-harm and an overdose. There was no follow-up or “you need to see your GP next week”. They just took out the IV, gave me my meds and a taxi voucher, and sent me on my way.
The psych had called mum in the morning, to discuss where to from here. She said she didn't know if she wanted me to come home. He gave her time to think about it, and said he'd call back in an hour. She didn't even answer the phone. After five hours, he just gave up and sent me home.
I got home, and mum had actually taken the locks off the doors so I couldn't get in. That was a really low point. She did eventually let me in. Her friend's toolbox was still right inside the door, and he came back a few hours later to put them back on, so I think she was just trying to make a statement. But still,it fucking hurt.
One small bright spot from when I was in hospital was seeing my old friend Z, who works there. He was a huge support the last time I was in there a few months ago. I saw him moving a patient and passed by my door. As I was halfway through messaging “I think I just saw you in A&E, or a very good doppelganger”, he popped his head in and talked for a couple of minutes before he had to get back to work.
Apparently he came back just after midnight when he finished work, but I was already asleep and he didn't want to wake me. He said never to hesitate to message him if I'm in a shitty place. Having been through the same system with similar issues, he actually understands. I should really try to catch up with him more often, you know, when I'm not in hospital.
A few days before, I had a breakdown in the evening. Let me preface by saying this – as much as I wanted to, I hadn't taken an overdose. I hadn't self-harmed beyond a few hits to the head. I was just crying hysterically, and had blockaded myself in the lounge room because I needed to be alone, which does happen every now and then, in one room or another.
The next thing I knew, mum was on the phone to 000. Within minutes, there were four paramedics, four police, and a mental health worker asking me to let them in. I don't mind the paramedics. I don't mind the mental health worker. But the police?! When I haven't been cutting and have no sharps? And four of them? Isn't that slight overkill?
They didn't take me in that night, but the mental health worker said she'd get the Clinic to call me the next day to arrange an interview. They did call the next day, and left a voicemail to call them back. We all know I can't talk on the phone (note to self: ask a psych about Selective Mutism next time I see one), so mum has been saying she'd at least talk to them to make an interview time. But she changed her mind, and refused to. I wallowed for days before I finally snapped, resulting in the trip to A&E on Monday.
I eventually found an online enquires form for the Clinic and explained the situation, asking if they could contact me with a time to go in for an interview, but I never heard back.
When I was in A&E, the psych also called the Clinic, but were told they'd have no beds for at least a week, and to wait for them to call back. They probably won't even take me after the 000 calls, the self-harm, the overdoses, the breakdowns. It doesn't exactly scream “able to stay safe for voluntary admission”. When I saw the psych, he said I need an advocate to talk to the Clinic and arrange the interview, but gave me no idea on how to do that.
Now, I've pretty much given up hope on the Clinic. The psych in A&E mentioned that my referral might even lapse before they admit me. I feel numb and lost, and not sure where to go from here.
Why is it that when I finally, and desperately, do want and need help, there's suddenly no way to access it?
I'm just screaming into the void.
My GP was supposed to come see me the week before last, to do a home visit and walk me to and from my appointment with the dietician. I waited for nearly two hours before she texted to say she was 'too busy' for our appointment, and rebooked it... for August 29th. That'll make it 11 long weeks between appointments. Needless to say, I was upset by this. I really needed to see them both. I book triple appointments to allow the walking time, and you can bet that she wouldn't tell a patient sitting in the waiting room that she's too busy to see them.
On the upside, I just spent a lovely, relaxed weekend with my friend R. We watched movies all day and talked and laughed and drank far too much wine. It was good to get away from the house for a bit after the recent dramas and just block out the outside world for a couple of days. Considering that after cutting off communication with A (for reasons mentioned in my last post), R is really now the only friend I ever see in real life, making these times all the more precious. It's a lonely feeling losing such a big chunk of your social life, but in the end, he can do me no good. I just wish I'd realized that earlier.