Tag: suicidal thoughts

Losing Lily

TRIGGER WARNING for discussion of suicide, of deaths of people suffering mental health conditions, and of failings in mental health care. If you are in mental distress, caution is advised in reading this post.

A NOTE: This post mentions anonymously the death of a person who had recently left the care of a service I worked in. There was an investigation into the circumstances of the person’s death and the investigation has now concluded. I want to make clear that this post discusses solely my experience from my point of view and my knowledge of the situation, my thoughts and feelings. It does not reflect the position of the service I worked in, or of any other person or team involved in the person’s care.

During the time I worked in a specialist community and inpatient mental health service 7 or 8 years ago, two of our patients died. One lady had moved away to a different part of the country so hadn’t been in our service for a couple of years when she tragically died from an overdose. The other lady had just left our inpatient ward (as far as I know against doctors’ advice but assessed as having capacity to make her own decision in this regard) and gone to live independently, but deteriorated rapidly within weeks and died 4 months later. I’ll call her Lily*.

At any one time we were working with several other patients in my eyes dangerously close to death – because of their drive to harm themselves (by overdose and substance use and so on), because of their suicidal intentions, and/or because their organs were so damaged physically by the effects of their mental health conditions (starvation and other eating disorder or self-neglect symptoms leading to heart failure or diabetic coma, for example).

We were working constantly short staffed, physically and mentally unwell ourselves because of the workload and emotions and conflicts and fear of making mistakes, within constraints of time and policy that often felt out of our hands, trying to provide a service fair and the best for everyone, but knowing we could not give enough.

Lily has never left me. She’s come to my mind every week or so since the winter she died. I was a secretary, not a clinician. I didn’t know Lily as much as I got to know some of our other patients. She was intelligent and wanted to do well and was very driven for her goals. She made close friendships with a couple of people on the ward. Yet, she really needed love which I think she often didn’t find where she may have most expected it. She really did start to get better but something very painful remained impossible to reach. Sometimes I wonder if she was hurting so much she’d had enough. If everything was so locked in and disconnected from the people she needed and wanted to trust, that in her pain it felt like time to go – if she didn’t choose exactly when but she did know she’d quietly slip away.

We didn’t reach her. Even as she got a little better, we couldn’t reach through her pain. We didn’t catch her. We didn’t keep her safe when she was slipping. We lost her.

There was an investigation – many investigations – after Lily’s death. The final investigation ruled that the harm she suffered, and her death, were avoidable. I just now read the start of the report of the last investigation and horror and panic and confusion took over. The room swayed and spun and I couldn’t breathe. I’m still freezing cold.

Her life is on my hands. Not mine alone, and not the service I worked in alone because several other services were involved – but I was there.

Of course we had not wished to reject her or abandon her or disown her or her care. One of the worst things is that a lot of what was judged harmful in the report, were either actions in line with procedures we were taught to follow to give safe and fair and consistent care to every patient in the service, or matters that within the constraints we faced, we could not personally control. But whichever, it wasn’t right or safe for Lily. Consistency and guidelines and constraints are one thing but every individual patient is in very individual circumstances at very individual risk. Procedure under huge constraints imposed from outside, doesn’t make account of that.

What do we do when the steps that were supposed to have been good or safest or standard, or following established guidelines, or the best we could give, or taken in faith in the decisions of those we work for and trust, were actually steps that led to a death?

Personally, what should I have done and what do I do now? My heart is screaming at me, you did not speak up, you did not speak when you had concerns at what you heard, you did not act, you did not follow your gut – you followed instructions instead, and you know this wasn’t the only time.

Good intentions or having tried to follow what was supposed to be good enough, or even best, count for nothing now.

I’m reminded of my mother and her care and deterioration; how we were locked in an agonising cycle of her discharge, the same crises repeating, her deterioration and readmission, worse and worse every time, all of us knowing what would happen but all held powerless by legislation that didn’t allow us to put in place a few simple steps that would have kept her safe. Ultimately an adult judged to have capacity to make a decision is allowed to make a decision that will harm herself, allowed to cut herself off from sources of help, allowed to deceive everyone who wants to help. Even when those decisions and actions are the work of a delusion founded in deep-rooted, severe psychosis. My mother couldn’t be more different from Lily but I see similarities in how the hands of those who wanted to help were rendered powerless.

In my head when Lily stares at me, slowly fading, I don’t know what to say, and everything I should have said back then echoes around me.

(*not her real name. Again please note that the opinions and thoughts and experiences mentioned in this article are mine alone.)

Ginny xxx

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How do you love someone who is hurting his/herself when it feels you can only watch?

WARNING: this post mentions self-harm and suicide and the point of view of carers of people who are struggling.

How do you love someone who is slowly hurting his/herself – and you wonder if actually, they’re taking their life gradually – when it feels like you can only watch?

I don’t mean how do you feel love. That’s not in question. It’s your love that aches and burns and cries inside you.

But how do you give love?

When it seems you can only watch. Watch, wish, long, weep, beg, scream, shake (you – and them?), speak but only shout into the distance, only shout up against a rubber wall that bounces your words of concern and pain and fear and help and whatever it may be right back at your heart – where they metaphorically stab you and mock you with their futility.

And the love you want to give is lost somewhere.

Your loved one get relentlessly weaker with irresistible self-consuming power. And you are powerless. Love does not force or fight and does not demand to control another person’s choices. Love can not force another person to choose the healing of their body or to choose life. The pain-and-longing part of your heart, when you love someone who’s breaking, might for a time wish it could force it, but the very centre of love knows really that it cannot be forced.

And then you cry.

Even if you cannot and do not want to make them choose, you wish you could at least penetrate the rubber wall, so that love could be heard for a little while.

****

I’m in this situation right now, actually with two people dear to me, and I don’t know how to give love.

Ginny xxx

Please plan your crisis 24 hours in advance…?!

WARNING – discussion of suicide, suicidal thoughts, emergency services

Am I expecting too much? I don’t think I am. Yet again I and my friend are being bounced around from service to service when he/we are most in need and so many opportunities for giving help missed. But I’ve certainly been made to feel I am asking too much and am a nasty person and more importantly, yet again my friend is left in avoidable danger.

In my local area, there is a specialist phone line for people in a mental health crisis, accessible via 111. This is a pilot, I believe, which may be rolled out in the rest of the country. According to information published about this crisis line, it is for patients, family, carers, friends and professionals, you can get an assessment of your needs, help, advice and visits, it is available 24/7, every day of the year. It is supposed to help you get more specialist help more quickly than if you have to go to A&E.

I phoned this line today because my friend is suicidal and today is a very “risky” day for him. He has specific plans and whilst there does seem to be a part of him that wants to keep going and not end it today, and I think it’s possible he will get through, I’m very worried about him. He was promised to get help from the crisis home treatment team, but he had one phonecall in which they told him to phone services if he felt worse. They have not assessed him or visited. The community service he was seeing haven’t put anything in place.

I wanted to get advice what to do and how to help my friend. I wanted to raise the alarm that he hadn’t had the agreed support and I was apparently the only person who is going to be with him today. I needed to ask some advice for me on how to cope because I’m getting very near another complete breakdown myself. I don’t know how to avoid me losing it and flipping out again when I want to be helping him.

So I phoned this line. First I was told nobody was available but brief details were taken and I was told I’d be phoned back in a few minutes. 1 hour 20 minutes later, having heard nothing, I phoned again. There was no record of my previous call. “You didn’t speak to me before, how would I know the details?” asked the operator. I went through everything again (painstakingly  spelling every name and number about 6 times…) I was told that I had not been told I would be called back today. Er, yes I was, I was told I would be called back in a few minutes. “Oh no, we have 24 hours to respond.”

But we’re talking about someone potentially about to end their life here. Don’t you think that might necessitate an urgent, even immediate, response?! Isn’t this a crisis line?!

They made no assessment of the situation, would not listen when I tried to tell them the home treatment team input had not been delivered as agreed, gave no advice except for if he attempts to end his life, call an ambulance. What about any support that might stop him getting to that point? What about any professionals putting help in place? At the very least, any advice to me? At the moment I seem to be the only person doing anything today to keep him safe. I have no training, I do not know how to help him, I am ill myself and close to breaking point. I am terrified what is going to happen and whether he’ll still be here in the morning.

I tried to impress the urgency of the situation and that a call at some point within the next 24 hours was not soon enough seeing as he planned to end his life today. The so called crisis line told me that I simply had to calm down, that I had to realise they have plenty of other referrals to deal with, that they are very busy and it is not very nice for me to suggest they aren’t doing anything (not sure how I did that?), and when I insisted on speaking to a manager she continously talked over me and threatened to end the call. I was told that they had told me about plenty of other ways to get support. They had not suggested one single thing.

I would expect more from a crisis line. I would expect immediate response when someone is suicidal. How can it possibly be okay for them to say, sorry we’re too busy? I would expect the promises in their literature about getting assessed, supported and visited by mental health professionals to be fulfilled. There is no mention in the literature that they may do nothing for 24 hours. I would expect professionals to be ensuring my friend’s safety today, not me. I want to be there for him, I want to listen, be a friend, offer comfort and encouragement. I am happy to stay with him when that helps, as I will today. But I should not be the only one doing something to stop him ending his life. Is it really too much to ask? I don’t think so. He has asked for help and so often been turned away. This has been a pattern for him just as it was for me in my care. If harm comes to him today in my opinion it will have been completely preventable. That is not to blame services for the state he is in, but they have failed to provide support they agreed to, could have and should have.

I don’t know why I keep on having some hope in services that they’ll do what they promise. I’ve had enough demonstrations to the contrary. I’ve given up on help for me but I don’t give up so easily for a friend. I suppose it’s natural to have some trust in those we believe are there to help and protect us and that instinct doesn’t disappear quickly even when it’s proven wrong. If I could expect the total absence of support it wouldn’t be so distressing. I’m not looking for sympathy though it probably comes over that way. Just very angry, bitter, lost and scared.

Ginny xxx

Unenchanted April

I have wanted to post but not been able to find what to write. I’m sorry it has been nearly a month. Even this post I started nearly a week ago. I don’t know quite what’s making it so hard to express how I really am.

My friend’s health continued to deteriorate. I was fighting desperately to get him help as the danger he was in increased. Everyone in a position to keep him safe seemed oblivious to tune dangers and I could see how close he was to the edge but with no professional’s help I could not do anything more than what I can as a friend and that is not enough. It’s terrifying to be the only one knowing and believing the risk and I know that sounds like I am very arrogant thinking I know better than the doctors, but time and time again now I’ve known what’s happening or going to happen, the doctors have done nothing, refused even to listen to my concerns, and the thing I’ve known will happen, happens. The toll is greater each time. He has liver damage, blood clots, he’s starving himself, he is barely even drinking anything, there’s much more I wish I could write but it’s too personal to him for me to feel I can share here.

I don’t know how to carry this knowing.

I cannot save him alone. What someone else can give you, or trying to carry on for someone else, will not ultimately be enough to keep you safe or even alive. (I know this from my own darkest times, when I’ve been irretrievably low, hurting myself and planning to end my life, and someone close to me – who didn’t know the half of it – screamed at me, look what everyone is doing for you – why isn’t this enough for you? The answer is a post for another time but I know if he continues it must not be for me, not just for me in any case, so I alone cannot save him.

I can pray. I can try to give comfort. I can try to give compassion. I can try to show I love him and that he’s a good person not as he sees a problem, a burden, someone who frightens people, is bad, is not wanted, is no good. I can try to help him find some ways to build a safe, stable home and life. We can find short times of hope, happiness and laughter together. He has an immense capacity to love others, care for them and about them, to rejoice when they are happy, to fight to help them when they are hurting and share their pain. But none of that can he do towards himself.

He may die. He may end his life. I don’t know how to hold this knowledge and all the feelings that come with it.

****

I have been in crisis myself in the last few weeks and was in hospital for a couple of days. Then I had help from the crisis team at home for a week. When crises come I still flip out and instinctive reactions and thoughts take over along with the hallucinations just as much as they ever did before I had therapy. My “little child” gets out and she really isn’t very nice sometimes. It’s scary. I feel like a failure.

***

I’m realising that my mobility has got a lot worse in the last year. I’m particularly weak physically at the moment. I was diagnosed with POTS a little while ago (a heart, blood pressure and autonomic nervous system disorder). I’ve a lot to learn on how to manage the symptoms. Being very faint, muscle spasms, digestive problems and poor circulation have been hard to deal with this month. I’m now very fortunate to be in touch with a pain clinic at the hospital and there are some good possibilities from what they can offer, so I must be hopeful.

I really will try to post more regularly again and share happier news next time.

God bless you.

Ginny xxx

 

Saying a last goodbye to my dear friend

Saying a last goodbye to my dear friend

The dear friend I wrote of in my last post, Father S, passed away last Saturday, a day after I had last visited him. Today was his funeral. It was a very hard but beautiful goodbye.

Father S was a Priest at my friend’s church. He was long retired however continued to serve and minister to his congregation – and to so many more, such as me. I came to know him through another good friend (the same who initially brought me to the faith); I have never lived in his Parish however he took such care of me and I know he prayed for me daily.  I can only imagine how much he is missed by those who knew him longer and more than I did.

Father S was an extremely humble, quiet and private person. He drew no importance or attention to himself. He worked, prayed, cared and gave of himself generously, not seeking recognition, never appearing discouraged, astoundingly giving continually even when there came nothing tangible in return. I think, indeed the Priest who gave the homily at the funeral said, that Father S has no doubt reached and helped far more people than we yet know or than he himself even knew.

I do not think his path was ever smooth. He moved between continents. He converted between churches and subsequently felt the call to become a Priest and dared to answer. I do not think he had many people to care for him in his early life, and he has lost and left behind many family members since. He suffered greatly, physically, mentally and emotionally, throughout I believe, the majority of his life, particularly in his later years. He faced intense physical pain and weakness, major health problems, increasing fatigue, struggles to get around. He suffered not only the mental cost and hurt of those things, but also deep distress, fear and sadness. Through all this, he continued to work and to give so much in friendship.

Only very occasionally did he brush the surface of what he went through, physically and psychologically. I knew and gathered a little from prayer, conversations and letters exchanged with him, and learned more today at the funeral. Though he did not make much of his suffering, he did not sugar coat things either. He did not pretend everything was fine, or not to care, or that he did not struggle, or that he had all the answers, or that we must be strong and healthy, or that all is happiness when we walk in the way of Our Lord. He lived and gave in every moment, acknowledging what exactly it brought, never turning his gaze away from Jesus and never fleeing. He taught me to begin to hold fast to Our Lord of love – seek Him in whatever is happening right now and hold fast (rather than running in fear from an image of a God I have created from all my fears and the torment going on in my head in my illness).

When I visited him the day before he died, all the more than ever, I sensed that he was very close to God. He had become much sicker very quickly at the end. On the way to see him that last day, primarily I was desperately hoping I would be in time. I was not afraid, but I did feel some uncertainty and anxiety as well as the sadness. How would I find him and what would be the right things to do? I have sat with the dying before, having worked in a hospice and having lost other elderly friends at a nursing home I used to volunteer at. Time somehow seems to change; it is not a bad thing, but indescribable; perhaps it is a result of so much that can pose a barrier to communicating, giving and loving, being stripped away. We are left bare and vulnerable faced with the finality of the separation of death. It need not be all sad. Somehow, in precious time like that, what we cannot express as we may wish to in words, can perhaps be communicated between our souls as we are held together by the Love that encompasses all of us. In our defencelessness, the stronger hold the love of God has.

In that visit as I talked with Father S, knelt and prayed with him, I felt I knew heaven was near and Mother Mary’s arms were around us. Kneeling beside him I told him some of the truest things I have been so afraid to admit. I thanked him as I should have thanked him much, much earlier and more often. Father S is one of the people whose encouragement, prayer and friendship has held me up when I have been at the very darkest times and he has played no small part in saving my life when I was at a point that I was going to try to end it. Kneeling beside his bed I prayed as I have not been able to pray for many long months. I felt that already, in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus, Father S was drawing me after him, just as Jesus draws us after Him. In his prayer and his life that he had offered totally to God, he was drawing me out of fear to learn to know, perhaps for the first time, a God of love.

There was no ceremony, no astounding event in the moment when Father S passed. There were no visions, no glorious rays of light, no voice from heaven, no odour of roses. There was quiet, and love, and friendship, and hearts reaching out in prayer and thanksgiving to God alone. In the same way as he lived, he died, quietly, with those who loved Him, everything offered and united to the God of love He told us so plainly about in his words and his life. He died on the feast of St John Paul II (whom he loved), just before 3.00pm, the same hour at which Our Lord Jesus died. I feel that Our Lady and St John Paul came to carry him to Jesus.

I pray that now he knows in heaven the fullness of joy with the Lord he has reached out for, for so long; that he also now sees all the good he has done, especially that which remained hidden whilst he was on earth. I know so many hearts here below are full of thanks for him.

May the choirs of angels come to greet you,

May they speed you to paradise;

May the Lord enfold you in His mercy,

May you find eternal life.

(From Song of Farewell, by Ernest Sands)

Image thanks to pixabay.com – https://pixabay.com/en/banner-header-christmas-candles-880323/

Losing her

Warning: this post contains one very brief mention of suicidal thoughts and overdose.

(Also I’ve a feeling it’s a load of rambling junk. Sorry.)

I’ve lost my friend. It really feels like a loss and hurts like she’s gone away, disappeared, except it’s worse because it’s entirely because of me that she’s chosen to go. She doesn’t want to be close anymore, she said; not close like she says she tried to be or like she says I wanted us to be. My personality disorder, me, my thoughts and needs, have made our relationship something stressful she doesn’t want.

I really care for her, I still do. My feelings for her haven’t changed. I still love her as a friend, want to thank her for all the times she has been there, want to do something to make right the hurt I caused, want to be able to be there for her when she wants or needs me – except she didn’t and doesn’t.

I don’t know exactly how long she’d been feeling she didn’t want to be close anymore before she told me. I’d suspected it for a long time. I really hate what I’ve done to her and that I’ve stressed her and been no good to her. I hate that my illness, essentially, me (my thought, my feelings, my needs, my actions) have been too much. Another person has gone away. Another relationship has gone. I’ve hurt someone else.

You can read a bit morehere (around paragraphs 5, 6, 7) and  here and here about some of the history of what happened with N. Our contact had been strained for several months.

After another period of not hearing from her following my last letter, call and texts, last week before my operation I decided to be more open than usual. I sent N an email, thanking her for forgiving me and explaining I was still really worried about the hurt and upset if caused her, and saying that as I wasn’t hearing from her and she hadn’t said anything beyond that she forgave me,  I was not sure if she wanted to stay in touch. The way I see it, N forgiving me for the hurt I caused did not have to mean she wanted to have contact with me going forward. I directly said I wasn’t sure what she wanted, and asked her.

Also, I took quite a risk and explained to her some of the thought process I talked about in my last post on this topic. I explained how when I don’t hear back from someone I really care about, when they stop communicating, or cancel plans, or don’t show without making any contact,  my thoughts are instantly either: that this proves how they can’t possibly want me around really (who would?) and as soon as I start trusting they leave because all along they knew I’m an evil fake really;  or that they are seriously hurt, or ill,  or got in an accident, and it’s my fault. Often both one after the other. Usually I never admit to these thoughts. I know it’s crazy. I know it’s weird. I know it doesn’t make sense I have these thoughts then get angry with people. I don’t want my friends to feel obliged to take into consideration my weird ill thought processes and make allowances for them in what they do. For example, I don’t want them to feel they have to be more careful what they say to me or to keep in touch more regularly with me than they would with another friend. (Paradoxically I don’t know if, in the way I think and what I need, I do require of people an abnormal level of contact. I’m diagnosed Borderline but I think I have features of dependent personality disorder too!) However things had reached such a point with N that I felt I had to be explicit about what I was feeling and why I had found it so hard to cope when over a few months she stopped keeping in touch and seemed to be restricting contact and canceled or altered several plans to meet (this was one of the things we first fell out over a few weeks ago).

I explained all this as well, as my hesitancy to explain it because I didn’t want to pressure her. I said I know that I make it too complicated and I need too much and my illness makes it too hard to be friends. That I really wanted to be there for her but it was clear I totally failed at that and it’s my fault there’s nothing good for her in the relationship. I said I’d rather know straight if it would be better for her not to be in touch with me.

I’ve never been that open with someone about my thought processes about my relationship with them, outside of my therapy group.

N wrote back a few days later. She was empathic – she said she is sorry there is so much distress going on for me. She said she doesn’t keep in touch regularly across the board when she’s busy. She said it’s stressful for both of us to communicate, when there is so much meaning for me in each interaction. She thinks it’s too distressing for me to cope with the likelihood of her changing plans. She said she can’t be as close a friend as she tried to be or as I want her to be. She offered that we can still meet sometimes or email – which surprised me, actually.

I know it isn’t a total end of the relationship. I’m hoping we can in some way keep in touch and I can remember she doesn’t want to be as close. I hope I can do that and not need too much. But I always need too much. Maybe this whole thing wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t. Never would have happened if I didn’t.

One of the things that hurts the most is that I can never now make right the hurt I’ve caused N. I have made her and needed her to be closer than she wanted to be. I have made her stressed and upset when she’s done so much for me. It has been as I feared. I was too much, yet again;  I needed too much, asked too much, my thoughts and my behaviour made everything too much for the other person.

I told N some of that briefly too, and I thanked her for telling me honestly. I tried to tell her I’m sorry and thank you. I fear it appears it has little meaning now. I really meant it. I need to thank her for so much over the years I’ve known her. I don’t know if she knows. It seems to me all I’ve done is stress her. I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been making her be closer than she wanted. She doesn’t know it but she has possibly literally saved my life. One night I was on the brink of a massive overdose. She happened to call me at that time and as we spoke, she and her husband gave me some hope back and pulled me back from the edge. She knew I was distressed but not how close to ending it I was. I didn’t tell her explicitly at the time or afterwards, because I didn’t want to scare her or make her feel responsible for keeping me safe from that in the future if she knew how unstable I was and the potential influence ordinarily insignificant interactions and events could have on me. Now I wish I had told her.

Some while ago someone I care about told me, “look at what your friends do for you, why isn’t it enough for you? It’s nobody else’s responsibility to make you feel better,” and they told me I have to be more together so my emotions don’t dominate everything. Yet again I’ve acted on the basis of my weird thoughts, I’ve needed other people to do more than they wanted to, more than normal, and I’ve needed them to make it better.

I’m going to stop now. This post is a mess. I’m feeling so empty, hurting for losing N, hurting and angry for the harm I’ve done her, desperate because of how my PD and just …me….wrecks relationships and makes me too much.

Ginny xxx

 

What do you do to stay safe?

Today I’m going to the hospital again for another meeting with the CPN. I’m very scared of going after I lost it there on Tuesday. I think I’m scared what will happen, scared of losing it again, ashamed about what happened and still feeling very out of it, although not in the way I usually am when I dissociate. That gives some kind of protection. This is raw at the same time as shaken and disconnected.

Also I’ve got an inescapable question that has been in my mind for several weeks. I’m not at all stable or safe at the moment. I want to continue with therapy. I committed to the group that I’d do it and not give up. I promised to God and Mother Mary in prayer. I’ve made quite a few sacrifices for it – I don’t think I’d have had to leave my last job if it weren’t, at least in part, for my therapy appointments (though my last employer were definitely at fault too, in my opinion). I’ve seen the therapy as the only hope of learning how to get better and manage my condition. I’m privileged to live somewhere MBT is actually available (there aren’t specific PD services in all areas of the UK). I really don’t want to have to stop therapy.

However, at the moment I’m actually more unstable, at least in part because of the therapy and the emotions, memories and questions that it raises. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Other people tell me they can see positive changes in me, for example communicating more clearly about emotions and things that happened to me in my childhood, none of which I can yet see for myself. However I trust the people who tell me this and think it has to be a good thing. It’s another thing I don’t want to waste.

So the big question is, what to do.  I can’t keep myself safe at the moment. For example I’m “coping” by cutting, taking overdoses or higher than prescribed doses of medication, drinking* (and this really isn’t me, I do not enjoy drinking in this way), escaping from daily life by ignoring letters, calls, etc and not able to keep on top of the basics of looking after my home and myself (cleaning, cooking etc). I’m more unstable in my moods, especially anger, and I’m struggling more to hide everything to try to participate in daily life by eg going to work. Things like hallucinations or paranoid thoughts or feeling dissociated are pushing their way more into the working day.

I don’t know what to do to change this.

I’ve some hope that medication changes could help and I’m seeing the psychiatrist on Friday. But I doubt that’s going to be the only answer. I’ve tried to exhaustion (both daily and when in crisis moments like the extreme distress or wanting to end everything) the techniques I know like distraction and grounding and self care / self soothing (this latter is very hard for me to do when I feel as I do about myself). It isn’t working. And I feel that the things other people could do to keep me safe, many of which are on my crisis plan, are not happening or not working either. I’m experiencing more and more let downs where xyz help is promised then doesn’t materialise (appointments canceled, calls not returned, planned sources of support withdrawn, mistake after mistake, discharge plan not followed). Or I’m told that the help I want to keep safe doesn’t exist or I don’t qualify. What is offered – and don’t get me wrong I’m grateful that it is offered and I know it’s more than many other services provide – is not enough to keep me safe. For example when I’m suicidal a 5 minute telephone call may calm me a bit for a few minutes but an hour later in usually feeling worse than before and – this is key I think – still on my own trying to cope.

What do I do in this position? Are there other techniques I can learn to cope better? Are there other or higher doses of medications? When I so so much feel I am not safe on my own and really need someone with me (especially when I’m really distressed but also day to day because the slightest thing, as little as a letter that makes me panic or a canceled appointment,  can thrown me into extreme distress, self harm etc) what can I do? The PD service are adamant I mustn’t be admitted and don’t qualify for any carer help and ongoing support in person isn’t possible. I haven’t any other way of getting that kind of support. I live alone, my dad and step mum live hours away and I don’t have friends very locally or whom I see regularly.

So how do I do my therapy and stay safe as well? How do I either answer this need not to be on my own when I’m so much at risk and unstable, or what solution do I have to learn instead?

What do you do to stay safe between therapy appointments or between times you can access support?

I know this probably sounds silly and I do get a lot more support than most people and all I’m talking about coping with is simple daily life. Right now this is where I am.

Ginny xxx

*just to be clear, I’m not diagnosed with any alcohol problem and I’m not comparing my struggle with that of someone who is struggling with alcohol or other substance use. That is a much more painful place. I sometimes use what is probably an objectively average amount of alcohol taken with my tablets to make myself fall asleep when I can’t cope. Not a great thing to do but I’m not trying to compare the two.

Punished for hope

Go on then. Smash me into the ground and kick me as hard as you can.

That’s what they do to me.

I was promised “victim support” when I went to the police about the abuse. I was promised support from the victim support team’s specialist CPN and to finally get help with the trauma, flashbacks and PTSD. A phonecall with the CPN was booked in for today by the support team. The police officer who took my statement knew.

I got the call from the CPN who told me she is employed by the same mental health trust as the hospital I’m seen at for my personality disorder. Oh good,  I thought, that should help, shouldn’t it? She’ll know my mental health background and have my records. Wrong! She said that she’d organise support for people who aren’t currently seen in the mental health trust and get them therapy to help them deal with the trauma of what they’d had done to them but because I’m seen in the personality disorder service I’m “already in the most appropriate pathway” and she can’t help me.

But the personality disorder service specifically don’t address trauma and PTSD. The therapy I have there doesn’t deal with flashbacks, memories, hallucinations etc.  It deals with here and now. Which is great and important but leaves all the trauma untouched. I need help with that.

Why am I not allowed that because I have personality disorder, when a victim who does not have personality disorder, would be allowed to access it? Why am I denied help with one condition because I also have another diagnosis? You wouldn’t say to someone who had been in a car accident and fractured their leg as well as aggravating a pre existing back injury, “oh sorry we aren’t going to get a surgeon to set your leg to heal because you’re already being seen in the spine clinic.” So why is it deemed okay to deny me victim support because I have BPD?

The CPN said I should make a list of all my unmet needs and take it to my appointment with the psychiatrist next week. Oh my days have I not already begged for help with all the “unmet needs”! She just didn’t seem to grasp that the personality disorder service simply do not address the PTSD area. Which in itself is fair enough, it’s a specialist PD service – but it’s not okay if you’re denied access to other specialist services!

Why was I promised psychological help from this victim support team and this CPN if this is the outcome?! Everyone knew I am being seen in the PD service.

Then the CPN said oh they just don’t offer this help in the community teams. Yes and don’t you think I know, after fighting for 15 years plus. … and that’s why it’s speed to be coming from her!

This is yet another kick and yet another betrayal. Yet another thing I held on to snatched away. Yet another desperate hope gone. Yet another trick, this time effectively from the police, it feels like, though it isn’t the officer’s fault, he was nothing but supportive and this victim support team is separate…. but this is the last hope of people believing me and allowing me any help. And it’s now gone.

It’s absolutely proved everything my mother threatened. People would think the fault was hers, if they ever found out, and they’d take her away. Nobody would imagine a child could do all this. But really she’d know and I’d know that it was my fault all along, and what I’d done (and how evil I am, the voices add). I told. They found out. They think the fault is hers. But I must remember, the voices say, really it’s me all along, really I don’t deserve anything because I’m so evil. It’s confirmed it. 

It’s the hardest kick and tightest grip of the terror and memories again.

I was promised support when I went ahead to make the statement. Now I’m left and left more raw than before. I don’t regret doing it but can’t cope and I’m not okay and I’m not safe.

To top it all off I called the personality disorder service to be told there are no calls back today because the team have gone on an away day. Shame the voices and flashbacks haven’t gone on an away day. Shame the planning for how much hurt I can cause myself hasn’t.

 

Utter betrayal and a sick joke

TRIGGER WARNING FAIRLY MASSIVE I GUESS

My friend has left me. Hates me and thinks I’m a selfish demanding b*tch making drama over nothing.

My PD service have basically chucked me. They’ve been playing a cruel game for a while. I beggedand begged them for help again today. I am not safe. I cannot go on. I’m cutting daily and overdosing more than every week. I cannot get a single simple little thing promised to help me even a phonecall. The game of deceiving me and shoving me nearer the edge has gone on for a while now and thoroughly broken me and ripped the wounds apart.

Now I’m utterly unable to go on and falling over the edge they will not catch me just watch me fall and laugh. I begged and begged for help. I won’t detail everything here because it would cause distress but I made it clear if I do not get help – and I need hospital or someone with me all the time now – I will seriously harm myself as much as I can and can’t be sure I won’t harm others because I’m utterly out of control.

It became crystal clear they don’t believe me and think I’m a liar and a fake and doing it for attention and don’t need help and don’t really feel these things. That was the final twist of the knife. I had known all along they thought that really but today was the ultimate proof. Nobody thinks you need hospital, they said. It’s fine for you to go. Let’s leave it there. No help. .. I want you to ring me when you get home when you’re going to take the overdose, he said. Why on earth would I do that? I had spent 2 hours telling them that’s what I’m going to do and begging for help and they didn’t help me and sent me off alone. Why on earth would I phone them to go through all that again?

Do they literally just not believe me and think I’m faking or do they think I’m such an evil bitch that I deserve this punishment and pain and they hope I do it, hope I die?

When I tell them what it’s really like and beg for the help I need they think I’m a fake. So that’s the truth. I’m evil sh*t and I do deserve hell.

WHY. (This ends tonight.)

I have been wondering for a couple of days whether to post about this or not, considering various thoughts about whether this would be too triggering or disturbing and whether potential dangers would outweigh the benefits.

However, I think this is so personally specific that I hope it isn’t triggering, if you see what I mean. Also I’m bearing in mind the advice that acknowledging and talking and asking about suicidal feelings doesn’t cause people to become suicidal.

Something else prompted me to post this tonight, which I’ll explain momentarily.

This post attempts to describe a tiny bit of what I was feeling on Saturday when I overdosed and why I did.

Someone I know has just essentially described my overdose as drama because of a cancelled coffee date. This is so incredibly far from the truth of what led to my overdose and what I felt. It was massively painful to realise that is what it was for her. She is not by nature a judgemental person. She has herself suffered with mental health problems. She is highly intelligent. She is medically trained.

I’m not posting this to tell her she’s hurt me. I don’t understand how she could possibly think that’s why I overdosed.  Perhaps my “why” is equally incomprehensible to her. I do wonder if anyone wanting to understand more about why people overdose or attempt suicide may be interested to read this. But as I said, it’s only very personal to me. Every person’s story and pain is different.

I want to be very clear I am not glorifying overdose or self harm – I am describing what I felt. I am not describing a solution. At the bottom of this article I’ve listed a couple of details of organisations that I think can help towards getting support.

In italics below I’ve tried to describe some of what happened to me in the days and minutes before I overdosed. Though factors and thoughts had been multiplying over days and weeks and months, the actual “1000th last straw” kind of feeling and the final loss of control and “snap” came very suddenly that night.

I guess this comes against a background of mounting external stresses – numerous cancelled appointments, lost support, lost relationships, lost job, financial hardship, threats from my landlord, debt, endless difficulties with numerous benefits and being stuck in hopeless inextricable messes with error after error on the authorities’ part despite my best efforts, poor physical health and constant pain – as well as the internal stresses of my mental health like hallucinations, flashbacks, reexperiencing, voices in my head, memory gaps and dissociation.

Because:

Because everything is utter pain and nothing else exists. All of me is lost outside it. Because nothing, no cutting, no purging, no screaming voices or obedience to their call, is enough to rid the sick evil inside me.

Everyone knows I’m a fake, a liar, foul, ugly, greedy, everyone knows what I’m really like. But I can never stop the evil.

Because the voices do not stop and I so badly need to sleep.

No matter how much more you say, just one more day, one more hour, there really is a limit somewhere, don’t they see? And I know it’s weak but I passed it long ago. It’s true when I say in tired. Let me sleep.

Because I’m screaming, crying, and no one ever came and no one hears today either.

Cruellest – every person has left me when I was most raw. They tricked me to trust, they got at the most bad and vulnerable – then they left. [Like my abuser.] First this hurts with utter fear. Utter loss yet again of all I am. Loss of any hope.

Then rising anger boils and it is just one sick joke or cruel game too many, where they delight in punishing me, I can never win, tricked and tricked again, delighting in hurting me – like HER abuser] – and God delights in my downfall and hurt and he has crushed me to the ground and taken all of me.

No good is visible, no hope exists; no caring is possible, only no more; no more; only sleep.

Then in one moment, comes blinding rage and tears. From numb, dissociated, to intolerable existence to exploding anger, cutting and smashing, no hurt enough. Fears of this exploding monster turning outward now, to someone else, no longer just assuredly to me?

This is all now. ..

In some vague place in another part of my mind, knowing and hoping my heart will stop now I’ve taken the pills.

Running.

Blank.

Slowing.

Tired and the screaming pain is silenced and the voices gone. I can sense my heart, my breathing high and caught and slow but rising. ..

So. This is it now. After that unbearable state consuming – …. the end seems very simple.

 

Of course, it is not at all simple. One most bitter thought in my mind right now, after the comment that it is drama over a minor thing and can’t be dealt with, is that having reached this absolute end point of not being able to go on, even in this I am causing anger and harm and manipulating without wanting to, because to others it’s not real, just drama, trouble, unnecessary, manipulative, can’t be dealt with. I cannot go on and I cannot even stop. Twisted, but definitive, proof ending it isn’t the solution.

FOR HELP, THE FOLLOWING NUMBERS AND SITES COULD BE OF USE:

Samaritans, call for help 24 hours – 08457 90 90 90

http://www.stopsuicidepledge.org

http://www.mind.org.uk

http://www.b-eat.co.uk (eating disorders support)

Ginny xxx