Day 21

Three weeks.

The last time I was an inpatient, by this time I was making visits home and getting ready for discharge.
This time, I’ve only just been taken off 10 minutes obs, given unescorted grounds leave, and the thought of leaving the hospital grounds totally freaks me out.
Still a way off. But at least this time I’m getting a lot more help in hospital.

I woke up once at 11PM, once at 1AM, and then properly at 6:45 after pretty much 12 hours of sleep.
My dreams were good. I was surrounded by my friends (including my ex), so that made it easy enough to fall back to sleep, because I miss them all so much.

When I woke, my eyes were gritty, my vision blurry, mild dizziness, my hands a bit shaky, and I just generally felt groggy. It’s my 6th day of my antipsychotic meds, and these are the reasons that I stopped taking them in the first place.
I just have to remember that the side effects are worth it to feel mentally well.

I made myself a coffee as I usually do, but this time went and drank it on a bench in the car park on my own, rather than in my room.
The weather was freezing cold, but it was good to breathe some fresh air and just look up at the sky.

I was feeling relatively good, so put my rainbow dungarees on.
As I was waiting for breakfast, I had a chat to one of the patients, and a couple of the staff.
One of them said that she’d been past my bar last night when she was out. That was a bit strange, but nice to know she was thinking of me even when she wasn’t here.
It was fast counteracted though.
I asked one of the staff how they were, and her answer was ‘I’m OK. I’ll be totally OK though once I’m out of here at the end of the day’.
Fucking ouch.
Like, I totally get it – it’s her job. But it wasn’t very helpful.
Made me feel like a burden, a chore.

It’s something I always try to be really careful about at work. I don’t like to tell our customers (even if they’re friends) that I’m having a bad day.
But, that’s one of the reasons why I ended up keeping my mental health decline from my friends.
I didn’t want for them to think that somewhere that makes them happy, somewhere they come to relax, could possibly be a source of stress. I didn’t want for them to feel as if they were inconveniencing me and adding to my problems.

I went for breakfast because it was SAUSAGE SATURDAY!

Thank you NHS!

When I got back to my room, I felt really anxious, and actually took some meds for it even though it was so early in the day.
At first, I had no idea why, but on reflection, it’s because it is the weekend. I really don’t deal very well with the weekends here.
For one thing, it’s the busiest time for us at work, so I keep thinking about that. Also, it’s the most likely time for my friends to get together and have fun. Both of those things combined just send my thoughts in to this mad spiral.
I don’t deal very well with thinking about life on the outside atm. I’m just not ready.

I finished getting ready, and did a bit of writing. Then I went for another little walk.
There’s something quite satisfying about pressing ‘Publish’, closing my laptop, and walking away.

After my walk, I still felt really anxious and paranoid, so played a bit of Risk to distract myself.
Afterwards, I didn’t feel much better, so I asked the nurse if I could have another medication that I am written up for. My thoughts would not stop racing. I felt so incredibly paranoid.
The nurse was a bit funny about it, but gave me it anyway. They’re obviously severely understaffed this weekend – only two of the staff who are on today are regular staff on this ward, the rest are all bank staff, including her.

I wasn’t really in the mood for lunch. It was corned beef pie, which sounds gross, but it was OK. I ate alone, chowed it down, and then went straight back to my room.

I started watching a bit of Drag Race (season 12!), but when I felt sleepy (which I had hoped I would) I had a bit of a nap.

When I woke up, I had hoped I would feel refreshed and like it was a new day, but I still felt the same – anxious, paranoid, thoughts racing… what if? what if? what if??

I went to the nurse again and asked if I could have more diazepam, which I can have every 4 hours, and I hadn’t had since 9AM (it was now 2PM).
She was really funny about it again, and asked if I had any more coping strategies. I said to her that I had tried to use them, but that if she knew me, and the week that I had had, she would give me the meds without question. She was still really funny about it. I explained as calmly as I could (even though I was really fucking pissed off by this point) that I take it when I can see myself heading downhill, to avoid a crisis, and that the reason I am here is to learn coping strategies, but it’s still early days.
She gave it to me, but it left me really angry.
I felt really alone on the ward, what with not knowing any of the staff.
I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could approach.

By that time, my parents had arrived for our visit. I explained to them what had happened, and told them how I was feeling today. My Dad said he could totally see that my thoughts were spiralling, and that I had done the right thing given how I was feeling. He said that eventually the doctors will probably hope that I don’t need to take any medication at all, and that I can just use the strategies that I’m going to learn – basically re-wiring my brain.
My parents likened it to breaking a leg – you don’t just start walking straight away, nor do you even begin physio straight away, you need to rest at first and take some pain relief.

They’d bought some laundry back for me, some coffee and chocolate, and some things that I’d ordered (clothes and DVDs).
I had some paperwork to complete from my solicitors, including a section about who would be residing at the property once the sale completes.
To write that it is just going to be me, that stung a bit.
BUT I also had two packages from friends – one from Chicago, and one from Sydney! (places, not people!)

From Sydney, Australia!
Dairy Milk with pineapple marshmallows in?!
The card sings James Brown too – haha!
From Chicago, USA.
She knows me so well.
And she has the other half of the BFF necklace 💕

It means so much that my friends are thinking about me, and going so far out of their way to bring a smile to my face, especially from different continents.
Every time I get something, even if it’s just a card or a bit of chocolate, it really lifts my spirits.

We decided to use my new found freedom to go for a bit of a walk around the car park (my third trip of the day!).
I showed them the bench that is now ‘my’ bench, the community garden, and my Dad kept saying ‘oh yes, that’s that building, I used to go and visit patients in there’.

When we got back to the building that my ward is in, I buzzed and buzzed, but because of the staffing situation it took ages to get back in, and there was this right weirdo hanging by the door. He had white paint all over his face (like wall paint, not face paint), he was wearing shorts, and had fur patches sellotaped to his knees. He asked if we were visiting anyone, and I was like ‘yeh, me’. He was telling me about the hospital and the wards, and I was like ‘I’ve been here two weeks mate’.
Once we got in, he came with us, and kept trying to talk to me (about my hair – he thought I should have it pink instead) while I was hugging my parents goodbye. I managed to get buzzed back into the ward, while my mum used the loo in the entrance way.
Through the glass of the ward door, I could see my Dad talking to the painted man while waiting for her to finish in the bathroom. He was standing right outside the toilet door, and it made me really anxious.
I hoped she could get out OK.
I hoped he didn’t get aggressive.
I hoped my Dad was alright just stuck talking to him.
I hoped he didn’t follow them to the car.
(told you my thoughts were spiralling)
I got so worried that I called them both to make sure that they were OK. My Dad answered, and said ‘oh yeh, we’re fine – I don’t think he remembered me!’. Turns out he was a patient my Dad had encountered before, and that apparently he’d had a different coloured face the time before.

Once they’d gone, I had a Diet Fritz (which is awesome! but a bit shit that it has to be kept at room temperature in my contraband box) and did some writing while listening to Machine Fucking Head.
I still felt really anxious and paranoid, but better for having seen my parents.

Once it was dinner time, I went to the dining room to see what was on the menu.

It was chili con carne, so I just turned around and walked straight out.

The way I had been during the day, and the way that my thoughts had been spiralling, I knew that I was way too fragile to face my ex’s favourite meal. It sounds so stupid and pathetic, but I knew that if I ate it I would just think about him the whole time.
I used to love cooking it for him, and seeing how happy it made him.

I also didn’t want it because the mince in this place is absolutely disgusting.

I had a pot noodle instead, and watched more Drag Race in bed.
Honestly, that show is saving my life right now.

I was going to go and ask if my stuff from earlier in the day had been searched yet, but I saw that one of the staff (one of my faves – the one who had found my bar the night before) had the paramedics tending to her, and they had put a screen up around her.
I really hope she’s OK.

After that, the night got a bit weird.

The woman in the room opposite me legitimately reeks, and it’s got to the point now where the smell is leaking in to the hallway. I’m really paranoid that I’m going to end up being to smell it in my room. I don’t deal very well with bad smells, and I am so so sensitive to them. I spoke to one of the nurses about it, and she said she’d broach the subject of personal hygiene with the patient.

I also did a big snitch.

The new lady – my next-door neighbour – asked me to smuggle fags in for her because they won’t let her outside, even escorted. I was like… to smoke on the ward? And she was like, yeh don’t worry – no one will know it’s you who bought them in.
I told her flat out no.
I said that I was really uncomfortable with her asking me, and that I hoped she didn’t hate me for saying no, but the reason why I am allowed out on my own is cuz I’ve built up trust with the staff, and I don’t want to ruin that. She kept saying that they wouldn’t know it was me, but I still refused, and she got a bit pissy.

So yeh, I snitched on her.

After I’d done it, I felt really paranoid that she was going to find out I’d told on her…
What if she tries to attack me?
What if she shouts at me?
What if she comes in to my room whilst I’m out, and trashes it?
What if I’m not safe here anymore?
What if it gets so unbearable that I can’t even leave my room to get meals?
What if she starts banging on our adjoining wall, or shouting at me?
I also didn’t want the woman opposite me to find out that I’d complained about her smell.

I got really panicky and paranoid about it, but tbh, because of my 4PM antipsychotic I felt comparatively a great deal calmer than I had all day.
I really want to stick with that medication – it helps me so so much. In the week that’s passed since I recommenced it my evenings have been better, and tbh my day times have got worse.

As I was grabbing some water for my tea later in the evening, one of the patients called me over and asked me what my secret to looking so young was.
I asked if they knew how old I actually was, and they were like yeh, you’re in your mid thirties! (true, but ouch)
I told them that the secret is lots of booze every day – that I’ve basically pickled myself like an onion. Now I’m sober, I’ll look 50 by the time I’m discharged cuz it will have all caught up with me.
We had a bit of a laugh, and that was nice.
It reminded me that I am safe here, and even though there might be some women that I’m not getting along with, there are still plenty that I am. It was a nice compliment too!
I waited around to grab some toast for ‘supper’, seeing as I hadn’t really had any dinner.
We had a bit of a chat about how the weekends just stand still here – seems I’m not the only one who finds it difficult. Also talked a bit about Netflix and what we’d been up to that day.
That was nice.

When I got back to my room I made myself a goal that I was going to sleep without the aid of pills again.
I remembered that the day before, I’d felt really sleepy when I was full. So I ate 2 bags of crisps, a huge bag of jerky, and a whole big bag of milky way stars (on top of the two slices of toast I’d had).
It worked! Haha! I think I dropped off fairly easy.

I was glad for Saturday to be over.

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