Monday, 30 July 2012

A review of a letter.

I got a letter from my therapist.

He lied to me. I'm sure there must be some patient-therapist code of conduct whereby they're not meant to fucking lie to their patients or clients or service-users or whatever bullshit term they call us, these days. But to receive a letter written on the very day of my last appointment, the appointment where I was told I needed to move back down south, but wouldn't be discharged from the service if I did, telling me that I am in fact being discharged? I actually begged him not to discharge me, 'cause I could see where it was going, and he agreed not to. All I want is some fucking help and nobody is prepared to help me. This is what always fucking happens.

Right now he's citing the lack of stability caused by my hospitalisations. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't there some sort of connection here? Therapy/psychiatric admissions? You know, like how I'd not need so many if I had some fucking help? He cites the fact that I've had to travel down the country. Well, I'm sorry that I had nowhere to live in Essex for a month, I'm sorry that my family aren't local. But given that he told me to move permanently back down and I am doing, as soon as I can? What else could I fucking do? He cites my alcohol use, and even acknowledges that I'm ready to change that because I am fucking SICKSICKSICK of this dependency, and that I'm willing to go into hospital and do detox, if that's what the alcohol service think I ought to do, when I go see them.

The letter finishes with some sort of, what? Nicety? Bullshit about how I can go back on another 2 year waiting list and be reassessed for therapy, once all of the above is fixed?

I'd laugh if this wasn't real life, if this wasn't MY real life that everyone is fucking about with. I just want some fucking help and everyone is just passing the buck, as per. It's always bullshit about how wide my problems are, each service is never equipped to deal with them all. I bet the alcohol service tell me they can't help me. Nobody can ever fucking help me.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Permanent residence.

The NHS (National Health Service, the free healthcare system that means Britain is even worse than the USSR, yanno? ;)) isn't one body, it's a load of little, interconnected, localised bodies, and they don't all have the same specialist services. If you require a service outside of your area, then your NHS trust has to pay for you to use the service in another area. It's a weird system, so let me just give you an example... the NHS area that I live in doesn't have any specialist eating disorder service, just a general therapy thing. When I was really ill, then I had to go over to Leeds for specialist therapy. When they decided that I ought to go in as an inpatient at the facility in Leeds, then they had to apply for NHS funding from my area, despite the facility in Leeds also being an NHS one, and I'm not sure how likely it would be, but there gen was a possibility that I might not have gotten funding. There are not exactly excess funds within the NHS, to put it lightly, so the different trusts are almost petty where it comes to funding people from outside their area.

I do have a point with that little lesson, there. My hometown (holiday home? Hahaha) is Scunthorpe and my university town is Colchester. All my treatment now happens in Colchester; that's where I'm set up with my GP, psychiatrist, CPN (community psychiatric nurse), therapist etcetcetc. I've been going up and down the country this holiday for my therapy appointments, but 'cause I've not had anywhere to live in Essex (the contract on mine and Ellis' new flat starts on Wednesday, it's exciting but would be far more exciting if I didn't just have to activate my credit card to pay for it. Terrifying) over the last month, I've been to therapy but only really travelled down for that. The powers that be have found out that I'm actually livin' the northern dream right now (I make it sound so much more interesting them finding out actually was, when in fact I just, yanno, told them) and aren't dead thrilled. My CPN has dropped me and my therapist is threatening to unless I can prove that my permanent residence is in Essex; he gave me two weeks last Thursday to get my arse down there properly.

So that's what I'm off to do, early next week. I've been dreading it 'cause I really, really hate being alone and with uni being out, I'm limited to fuck for company. Ellis isn't moving into our flat until October and everyone else is scattered, although at least I'll be near Willis 'cause she's an Essex girl. I'm trying not to be too negative about it though, 'cause obvzzz sitting and feeling shit about it isn't going to change the fact that I have to do it, have to get a new CPN and see my doctors and so on and all that balls. We won't have the internet immediately and I won't be able to take down a tele on the several trains it takes for me to get down there, so that's going to make it tougher and make me feel lonelier, but I'm trying to dress it up around how good my phone and internet package is so I can still communicate and that (Facebook is malyf), and maybe it'll be good to take a break from the world, just to take a shit tonne of books and retreat.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Comparisons.

I've started this entry umpteenth times, and deleted every word, because I can't quite express what I want to say; I'm contradicting myself and putting myself across really, well, knobheady. But I need to get this out. So I'm going to give it a final hash, promise myself that there will be no totalitarian erasures of text, and accept that if this isn't exactly what I thought I wanted to say, it must be what I need to type. So if you're reading this, I kept my promise. If I break it, nobody will ever know, until I start crying hysterically in public about how many feelings I have ;).

Last week was the first of three reasonably short periods over the next year that are going to be really tough for me. Last week, all my school/college friends who went to uni, graduated. I'd have been among that number, had I not been ill and had to take the academic year 09/10 off, and start my uni a year after. The next tough one, will be when quite a significant amount of my university friends leave for their study abroad year. After not being able to be part of the first number, this was one I settled reasonably happy into; I'd have been among that number, had I not been too ill to move away from the constant care that I need. The one though that I'm dreading above all else, is this time next year where my university friends graduate. Can you guess what I'm going to say now? Had I not been ill, at least I'd have got that day, with the people I'd spent the previous few years with. That would have been my day, too. Three different groups of people- those my age, those who chose the same academic path as me, and those I began university with- are all leaving me behind. Three groups I've been part of briefly, leaving me with the illnesses that have been my only constant.

I feel somewhere between being abandoned and being a failure. The abandonment issue is obviously bullshit and wrong and unhealthy, but being left behind has been summat I've felt so often, and I suppose I confuse being left behind with being abandoned, despite one being the natural progression of other people and the other being a deliberate separation of them from me. It bothers me so much that I have such dependencies on people and things, that I can't just cut loose and run off and do what I want- where would my therapy and medication come from? Especially the medication, since they'll only give me a week's worth at once. Without a psychiatric nurse every week catching any decline, and a psychiatrist to monitor medication, a breakdown would be inevitable, and what then if I'm not settled? It's completely impossible to go away more than a week and I HATE that. I want to run. It's the feel of being tied down whilst it feels like everyone else can escape and/or grow up. I know I'm not the only one in this position, but it's very easy to be jealous of people when all you see are their Facebook updates, I suppose. I think the feeling of failure is pretty self explanatory. I know I'm intelligent, but by the same token I'll be 22 in September and in classes with 19 and 20 year olds, from October. Urgh.

I had a bit of a... not epiphany exactly, but I realised that all I'm feeling is based on comparing myself to people who have no doubt had their own shit, but haven't had to deal with all I have, or haven't been as ill as I have been. Everyone is fighting a battle, that I know, but not everybody is or has fought quite such a long, bloody one. I think this is where I start to sound a bit knobheady, but when I compare myself more reasonably with people who have been through similar to me or have been as ill, I suppose I'm in not such a terrible position. I still managed my lower qualifications (GCSEs and A-Levels) whilst very ill, so have good but not amazing grades, and have tried to work through my degree, fighting, with... mixed results. Good marks for first year, not even having completed enough work to have failed second year. I don't know.

Those were my first and second levels of thinking/comparing, but that was all wrong, I'm thinking now. Comparisons are human nature, right? Keeping up with the Joneses? I'm not interested in having the latest gadgets or best designer names, but right from childhood, being academic was all I was good at. I can't sing, dance, swim, play any sport, play any instrument... but I tend to do well academically. I used to be pretty damn great at having an eating disorder, and I'm almost always the 'most ill' mentally. But now, I'm essentially two years behind where I should be academically and was getting better on the other fronts, so WAS a bit lost and down because of not being the best at any of those three, fucked up as that sounds. And so my eating was awful last week. A mix of eating shit all, drinking too much, and then eating whilst drunk summat that I'd throw up until I saw blood- a pattern I haven't followed in so long. My mental state started to decline. And why? So I can live down, not up, to a certain role? Bugger that.

There's a Baz Luhrman song, 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)' which is based on a 1997 Chicago Tribune article. The song is brilliant, but as the original is the article, I'll link you to that and let you go find the song yourself, hahaha- http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-schmich-sunscreen-column,0,4054576.column. The paragraph, 'Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself' is my mantra now. Letting myself get more ill isn't going to hurt the people who have hurt me, it isn't going to punish the mental illnesses that have caused all these road blocks, it won't make me graduate any sooner and it sure as hell won't make me any happier. There's no race with any of the three groups I mentioned previously, and I can't have any bitterness. I'll get to where I want to be, it's just going to take a bit longer than I thought. There are demons to be fought and mountains to be leveled, obstacles most people haven't necessarily had to face. I might have to crawl over the finish line years after everyone else ran over it, but I'll get there.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Demands to a toddler.

I take trains a lot, it's rare a week goes by where I don't have to be somewhere that takes a bit of distance for whatever reason, and since I don't drive, public transport basically owns my organs. I'd say soul, but that one's long since been taken. When you're on a train for a few hours, you get to know your fellow passengers, directly or not. In the (glorious, glorious) north, you get to them directly 'cause us northerners are so damn great and friendly and nosey and would REALLY, REALLY like to hear your whole life story. In the south, you have the be a bit more secretive in your spying, but us northerners can still find everything out. It's a bit like, oh, if you're in a shop in the north and somebody is looking at a pretentious pack of teabags, it's fair game as to advising the person on the brewing time of them. In the south, it'll get your burnt at the stake. Ever told you how much better the north is? ;)

'Cause of my northern nature, I hear all sorts of bits and are told all sorts of pieces. The most obvious genre is parenting toddlers, 'cause I usually travel during the week when the older kids are at school and parents with toddlers aren't usually as subtle at they think they are. I can't say I really take notes or owt, but the way parents talk to toddlers is exactly the same way that doctors and nurses speak to mental health patients and it's a really strange feeling.

I'll be sitting there and hear a particular demand, issued in a firm, deliberate tone, and it'll take me back to one admission or another, or every admission, ever. It's so bizarre, after my first few admissions the tone of a demand to an unknown toddler could make me feel guilty, but now it sort of grates on me. Not at all because I'm judging parenting techniques, but 'cause it makes me sick that a mental patient and a child are some how held on the same level. Coincidentally, after I was hospitalised, just for the night, a week ago, my friend Ce said about how some of the staff just shouted at me and acted as if I was a naughty child. Coming from a person who is extremely used to being around children (her mum fosters), I reck that sort of, yanno, ooft... I don't know, justifies my feelings?

It irritates the balls out of me, sitting here now and thinking, but being on a train and hearing a demand, 'STOP that!' or having someone else being told to look after the child, feeling it as myself, 'make sure she can't get near that!' or whatever, that makes me stop. It's the Supernanny tone. She's got all these parents using a certain tone, one that's also used by psychiatric nurses, and it's horrific. I've seen the tele programmes and I've seen it work on kids, and I never remember enough about my admissions to know whether it works on me then, but the fact that it's all tret the same (it arses me even when they tell me that at that moment I need to go into hospital because I'm not capable of taking care of myself and keeping myself safe), just seems so damn patronising. Even when I'm ill, my intelligence doesn't disappear and my mentality doesn't become that of a naughty child. I watch it and wonder how long, really, it is until psych wards have naughty steps.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Alcohol.

I'm raw today and so I don't expect this is going to be all that eloquent. I've been so busy keeping my eating under control, trying as best I can to navigate the twists and turns of the bipolar (the term ups and downs seems so wrong in discussing bipolar. The frenzied highs are as far from my idea of a good mood as they are from the idea of a bad mood. Whatever the platonic idea of a good/bad mood is. Are? I don't even know my tenses. Tense). See, I'm already not doing very well, this doesn't make sense at all and my mind is swimming through empty analogies and I feel sick from the motion of it all. All I want to be able to do is to write, to be able to express everything in a way that doesn't involve some yet another breakdown. I won't recover from another right now, I'm weak. I can't seem to be able to do or express anything, I'm too raw and I'm not even really saying anything now.

Give me a few minutes, I need to cry.

This is pathetic.

I have an alcohol problem. Or rather... I don't know how to express this. I have a problem with pretty much every area of being human. Animal, even. The primal shit. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Interact socially. The food thing has been pretty extensively covered here, my fear of sleep I'm just able to manage right now. Socially, at the moment I manage. I'm weird and awkward and not well understood, or, probably, liked, but I have friends and we manage. But I feel on the precipice of a new wave of self destruction, one that's been a long time coming, but I've been denying the existence of, from myself, based on that final hurdle; drink. Another battle to fight and one that...

I'm not strong. I never have been, not to have ended up with all these problems. I feel pealed and pickled, raw, naked and bleeding under a thousand glaring suns. When you start cutting corners, that's when things crumble. Cutting corners off recovery, from fighting, having to save face always, rather than to admit how horribly wrong everything is. Managing to get enough calories through alcohol. Calming the intensity of my fears around sleep, by drinking until I can't feel anything. Drinking before and during every single social interaction, no matter how inappropriate, hoping that it will make me interesting. And always, through it all, drinking so I don't have to remember. I don't want to remember so much, there's so much that I wish I didn't know and I'm tired of the whole fucking mess that has been my life. Melodramatic? So it sounds. But it would be a lie to say anything else.

And drinking sort of fixes that. In the very short term. In the long run, it's ruining everything. It's controlling me and degrading me and has crept up with the familiar scent of self-destruction, a monster on my back. Maybe how people can go from abusive relationship to abusive relationship, I don't know. Waking up in a hospital bed this morning, yet again, with the tell tale bruises on my arse from sedative injections and a hangover borne from the alcohol, the medication they gave me, and the utter shame of having ended up in another hospital bed, in another state, ruining a night with a best friend and putting someone I love so much through it all. Sometimes alcohol doesn't fill the cracks and the face I present crumbles, it melts the armour away and I'm nothing more than just the mental patient who needs to be restrained and medicated for her own safety.

I need help.

Friday, 6 July 2012

On-again, off-again.

My on-again, off-again relationship with my scales (my several sets, if I'm going to be completely honest. A set for at uni, a set for at home and then extra sets so I can aggregate. God, that's both embarrassing to admit and a liiiiittle bit depresso; at one point I had more scales than, I don't know, BRAIN CELLS, and I'm sure that's not how it's meant to be), is heading towards being off-again. I need my scales to keep grounded, I'm a 1.6m long magnet for paranoia and taking away my scales gives me another thing to be paranoid about- after a few days without them, I get pretty sure that I must have gained a good load of kilo. Like my scales are the only thing keeping my weight at a certain point. You'd think a person ought to be able to tell from their reflection whether they've suddenly inflated, but I'm not the biggest fan of mine and have learnt not to spend too long dwelling on it if I want to be productive.

So that's why I keep 'em around, but the problem with that is probably quite obvious from the fact that I own so many sets- I'm not just a long magnet (long in the sense of fridge magnets, anyway. I'm not in denial about what a shortarse I am, hahaha) for paranoia, but also for obsession. So when I'm weighing myself constantly and my weight fluctuates by 100g or, God forbid, even more, as human bodies do, I then despair and it gets a bit pathetic and I'm liable to take to my bed for a few days, which is a bladddddy terrible idea 'cause then I feel even worse. There's a productive type of wallowing, you have to give yourself a few days every now and again to get it out of you system, when summat kicks you back down. As long as it's scheduled and deserved, you're reyt, hahahahahaha. But it's not justifiable for a coupla hundred grams, so I've to strike some sort of balance.

So we're going on a break. I'm not throwing them out or any of that bullshit, I'm just having a few days (I reck that's about as long as I can go before I'm convinced I weigh 100kg) off them to sort out my bloody priorities. I have a tonne of shite to sift through, but writing about being stressed is almost as tedious as being stressed. Money, uni, weight, blah. Fukmalyyyyyf.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Graduating class, 2014.

For all my previous optimism, getting an email telling me that my appeal has been denied has pretty much broken my heart. Their reasoning is pretty solid and I can't really argue- summat about the volume of work I'd have to do being virtually impossible in the time frame. They're right, I know they're right. But they're basing that on my not submitting a load of work throughout my second year, which makes me angry, because surely this could have been worked out half way through the year, when I'd submitted hardly anything. I've spent this year in and out of hospital, getting out and then having to throw myself into university work before I've been recovered. During a bout of a serious illness, one that required you to be hospitalised, there's a home recovery time. Hospitals keep you in until you're at a point where you can continue recovering at home, they don't tend to keep you there until you're 100% better. So rather than me getting out, having some time to fully recover from an episode at home, I'd had to immediately throw myself into getting caught up at uni. Which has worked about as well as a chocolate teapot, and led to a hell of a lot of mental distress and, indirectly or not, more hospital time.

Throughout the year, I've had to plead my case to stay. But it was never done in a way that had my health as the main concern. It was always how the university might look to visitors or to freshers, especially. During the last episode I had in Colchester, I was told that if any other student sees, I'd be asked to leave. Do you see what I mean? The whole thing has been a battle, and my mental state has never been anybody's priority. But had they said, say, in March or April or so, when they knew I'd missed too much, that it'd be better for me to go home, recover, then come back in October 'cause there was no way I could pass the year (even before I'd missed my exams, I'd missed a lot of coursework from the year) I could have handled that. I could have saved myself the last few months and made have put myself in a damn site better a position than I'm in now.

I think the hurt and the anger comes from what an awful year it's been. I was sectioned in the first week of term, then spent many other nights in hospital, before you even count the longer term hospitalisations I've had after I've been sectioned, a trillion times. Throughout that, they had me begging to stay and accused me of traumatising security and other students. Seriously, I had to apologise for security, because apparently some had had to have time off 'cause me having episodes 'traumatised' them. Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break. But nobody ever said to me, as they just have NOW, that it would be impossible to catch up and that I'd be best off recovering at home and starting afresh. They just do not give a flying fuck about the students, or at least not the ones with the mental health problems (being more concerned with the ones potentially 'traumatised' as a result of seeing somebody have an episode).

I'm so angry that I'm just sitting here crying. And how fucking dare they reduce me to fucking tears. The University of Essex should have to declare their complete disregard for and incompatibility with students with severe mental health problems.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Separating feelings.

I used to live in such a way that half the time I wasn't sure whether it was me or my eating disorder that felt certain things, disliked certain things and acted in certain ways. Naturally, when you live within the pocket of a particularly forceful person- as so often it felt like the disorder was; an abusive Siamese twin- you lose your sense of self and with that goes the ability to detach your feelings from theirs. Mostly now, I'm alone. I've gone through the long, painful, operation to separate myself from my conjoined twin, and I'm forever recovering, slowly getting stronger. There are some things, though, that linger, some reactions and feelings that aren't mine, but still sometimes shove their way forward, fighting any reaction that might belong to me alone.

What felt, for a bit back there, as MY first reaction to being told I had to repeat the year at uni was to kick off, to act in a particularly dramatic way and to make the black and white decisions so typical of an eating disorder. No compromise, no room for logic, just the FUCK YOU attitude which pretty much defines what was my disorder, especially from when I was 16 or 17. Before then, I was too concerned with hiding shit and making a good impression, but by the time I was 16 or 17, my world narrowed to the width of a pin and FUCK YOU was my (our?) reaction to everything and everyone. It was a protective thing which, I've slowly learnt, I don't need. It's counter-productive to everything but maintaining a severe, public (public to my world, anyway. Pretty much everyone around me knew by then) eating disorder. Still though, it lingers and like I say, it popped up again, with particular force, when I read the email telling me I was to retake.

I've appealed the decision now, and HAD made the decision that if my appeal was not successful, I'd attempt to transfer to Hull uni, 'cause then I could live at home and commute. A giant FUCK YOU to the uni I'm at now. And I felt awful. It's pretty much the reason I haven't blogged for a week, for most of it, I've been feeling horrific 'cause of the decision I thought I'd made. I've calmed down though, reclaimed my own feelings and thrown out the automatic fuck you, and now I think that even if I do have to resit, at least I have all my friends, all my healthcare, EVERYTHING down in Essex. I'd have no therapy if I moved back up north, 'cause of waiting lists, so I'd be in hospital more. I'd have to set up and get a new CPN and psychiatrist. I'd have to set up with a new student support, sort out new Disabled Students' Allowance, and so on. There's so much, and, really, I just massively can't be arsed. I don't want to have to learn my way around a new uni and city alone, I really have a hard time with being alone. I can't abide being alone. I'd rather do another year at Essex, than all of that. Besides which, my set up for next year will be diff. I'll be with my VERY EXCELLENT Ellis, in our beautiful flat, and so will be able to escape from the uni and the paranoia I constantly feel there in a way I couldn't this year, 'cause I lived on campus.

So I'm sticking with it. I hope I'll only have another year, but if I have another two, I'll survive. I'll get over it. And one day I'll look back and... shit on the uni. I don't think I'll ever look back and laugh, but I'll sure as hell shit all over the whole mess ;).