Day 32

Woke up at 7, took my earplugs out, but ended up sleeping in until 8:45 again.
Upping my meds is definitely having an effect on my mornings. I feel so so groggy. The only things that can really help me are going for a walk in the cold, and having a shower, so I did just that. The problem is I’m really dizzy in the mornings too, and with my tremor on top of that, it’s really difficult to walk around with my coffee. Getting over to my regular bench is a full on mission, and I have to make sure I’m not wearing anything that I mind getting coffee spilled on.
What an absolute tragedy I am.

Once I was ready (including having my weekly physical obs done) the APIP nurse came to me and said that she would see me in 15 minutes, so our appointment ended up starting 45 minutes after it was due to.

I ended up getting changed in the meantime, because my trousers were tight and rubbing on the cuts on my leg – a constant horrible reminder of the dark place I’d gotten to on Sunday.

I spoke to her about the previous night, and my worries about Coronavirus. She said that the staff are definitely worried too. The schools are starting to close, but staff have been told that if they have to stay home to look after their kids, they won’t get paid. There’s also a chance that some staff will have to self-isolate if they are high risk or get sick, in which case it will mean a lot more agency staff (which I hate, cuz they don’t know me), and that the APIP nurses might have to suspend appointments because they will just be on duty as a nurse rather than in a therapeutic 1:1 capacity.

We finally got to work with the exercises we’d planned on doing the day before.

One of them was the Vicious Flower. It’s hard to describe without a visual aid, but I want to re-do the drawing before I post a picture.
Basically, it’s to do with coping mechanisms that help at the time, but can then make things worse in the long-term.

Some examples…

It serves as a release for emotions at the time, but then the pain, guilt, and shame follow. It sometimes leaves scars, which can be a long-term painful reminder.

Relaxing at first, but can lead to disinhibited behaviour, and heightened emotions. It’s a depressant, so generally just makes things worse.

Again, relaxing at first, but has some undesirable side-effects, and once the sedating effects wear off, the feelings are still there – it doesn’t make them go away for good.
Also, for me, they seem to have stopped working, because I’ve built up a tolerance, which is annoying.

So, the coping mechanisms end up feeding back in to the centre of the flower, where lies anger, anxiety, sensory overload, hopelessness, and sadness, which become further fuelled by our poor coping mechanisms.
It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s a vicious flower!

My homework is to fill my petals in, and hopefully find some that don’t cycle back round to the centre of the flower.

My other piece of homework is to read up on self-soothing, and create a ‘Self-Soothe Box’. She gave me a shoebox, and some bitchin’ glittery paper to cover it with.

Examples of things that can go in a self-soothe box are bath bombs, sweets, pebbles, pictures of loved ones, inspirational quotes… basically things that please all 5 of your senses, and make you feel better.

It feels really good to have some homework to do. Things that I can be doing in my own time to help myself get well, rather than just waiting for next week’s appointment. (if it even comes… thanks Coronavirus…)

As I came out of my session, I stumbled in to the ‘Community Meeting’, which is basically where the patients and staff get together and talk about our experiences on the ward.
When I arrived, I was asked ‘How are you finding things on the ward?’, to which I answered, ‘Unsettled. Disruptive. Toxic.’, and all the patients just looked at me like whaaaaaat????
I very rarely speak to the other patients, I just keep myself to myself, and I think it was a real shock to them to hear me be so forthcoming and eloquent.

I can be very matter of fact and straight to the point.
I am a manager.
Not only have I been in many meetings, I have also chaired many.
I asked about the Coronavirus situation, how it might affect staffing, and what will happen if those at risk (me) have to self-isolate. I think poor Roy was a bit stumped for answers. He wasn’t expecting me to come in balls to the wall.
I also spoke about how there needs to be more of a menu choice, as there are only two choices every meal – meat or veggie, and unless you’re a vegetarian you can’t have the veggie option, because they never make enough. Everyone else was just like ‘ugh, it’s shit’, and I was very reasonable and articulate in my point.
Honestly, all the patients were looking at me just like wtffff???
The staff know me well enough, but the patients definitely don’t.

I also mentioned that my shower was blocked, and a man came to fix it less than an hour later.

After that, I returned to my room and did a bit of writing while waiting for my mum to arrive (while the man fixed my shower).

We got off the ward pretty quick, cuz scary lady was just yelling over and over again I’M NOT MUNCHAUSEN I’M NOT MUNCHAUSEN.

We went to the hospital canteen, and I had chicken & chips. I was being really careful not to touch anything, and was really picky with the cutlery that I chose, inspecting carefully each one that I picked up. Obviously my germaphobia has gone in to overdrive right now.
My mum and I talked about pretty much nothing other than Coronavirus. As is the way with all conversations now.

After lunch, we went for a walk to McColl’s. My mum had a list of things she couldn’t get in her hometown, like bread, eggs, loo roll, soap… but there was nothing in McColl’s either. I got some Barr Bubblegum sugar free pop (it’s amazing, and bright blue), chocolate, and crackers.

I talked to her a bit about visitors, and how I think I might be alright a bit more ‘on my own’ for the moment. I’m making fairly decent progress when I’m on my own, and visitors can tend to mess me up a bit. My mum says that eventually I’ll be ready, and chomping at the bit to see people.
I know that she’s right. I remember when I broke my foot, and at first I was like ‘oh fuck yeh, some time off work to watch TV’, and by the end I was just like ‘omfg take me back NOW’.
I cannot wait for that moment.

When I got back to my room I ended up texting a load of my friends for ages and ages, mostly about Corona.
No one talks about anything else these days, but at least it’s something to focus on that’s not my mental health.
It was really good to have some normal conversations about day to day goings on.
Even if it is about how the world is ending.

It was at this point though that I felt really good, and I had a really strong urge to text or call my ex.
Break that ice.
Make that contact.
But I know deep down that I’m not strong enough for whatever response I may, or may not get.

In his e-mail that he sent, he said that he thought a lot of my blog was aimed at him as an indirect form of communication.
I’m being completely transparent here – this paragraph is for him. I am not trying to manipulate him, or get him back. What I have to say is without any agenda whatsoever.
If he is reading it, great. If he isn’t, then I hope the sentiment gets through to him somehow anyway…
With this global pandemic and increasing worldwide panic, I just hope that he is OK. I feel like there are bigger issues than what went on between me and him. At the end of the day, I still love him. I still care so much about him. I always will. I hope that he’s got enough supplies, will be OK throughout all this, and that it doesn’t have too much of an impact on his life in the long-term. I couldn’t stop caring for him if I tried. That doesn’t just go away. Loving someone isn’t just wanting to have them or be with them, it’s genuinely caring for them, unconditionally and irrevocably.
I know it’s really unlikely that either of us will actually get the disease, or even die from it, but if we did, I can’t imagine us not being there for each other. It would be so fucking sad. No matter what happens with our future, I absolutely believe that friendship will be a part of it.
I am certainly not strong enough to hear from him right now. But I hope he’s OK, and that he knows that I am thinking of him.
The End.

Had some Corona hugs with the staff and patients. Physical contact is probably a no no, but it’s so hard for us when we’re stuck in here alone. We were all like DON’T INFECT ME!
Bet it won’t be so funny in a few weeks when it’s gone all 28 Days Later and we’re eating each other’s thighs and stuff.

Afterwards, one of the patients knocked on my door to offer me a Rhubarb & Custard sweet. I took one, and she was like HAVE ANOTHER, SAVE ME FROM MYSELF, I’M DIABETIC!
So I did.
They were good.

At 4PM meds I told the nurse how the company I work for is making hand sanitiser up at the brewery. He said that was really clever, and I was like ‘yep, that’s *insert company name here*’. He was like OMG IS THAT YOUR BAR? I’VE NEVER BEEN IN, BUT IT LOOKS SO FANCY! I was like, YES THAT’S MY BAR! And yehhhhh, it’s not cheap.
He looked impressed. That was nice.
God, I hope I still have my job when all this is over.
And that’s the first time I’ve realised that.

Had a chat to the cleaner in the afternoon. She is so lovely. She was really worried that the schools would be closed, because she has nowhere for her child to go, and she needs to keep coming to work. It’s such an uncertain time.

When it was coming up to the 5PM press conference, I made a Pot Noodle and got iPlayer up on my laptop so I could watch the news.

School’s out.
Exams are cancelled.
Boris is Dumbledore.
Coronavirus is Voldemort.

The cleaner came to see if I was going to dinner, and I told her the news. She was so upset, and so worried. I told her they were making allowances for children with parents in the NHS, but she was still so worried. I gave her a hug. I felt really bad, even though it wasn’t me who made the decision.

I went out for a bit of a walk around the car park, and while I was out, I saw one of my fellow patients heading towards the road. I used the call bell on the front door so more staff could come out and help the one who was chasing her.
Someone came out to stand with shouty lady who was smoking, and I said ‘Have you heard the news?’, she said ‘What, about *insert name of halfway house that they want to refer me to here*??’. I was like, no… about the schools?! But what’s going on with the halfway house?!
She was a bit cagey, but I thought that something must be going on with it…
Either someone’s got sick, or they’ve had to close it, or something like that?
Or maybe the news is specific to me?
Am I moving??
That made me a bit anxious, so I went and asked, to set my mind at ease. It probably wasn’t anything to do with me – just paranoia.
But apparently, the news was ‘me specific’, and she said she’d come and have a chat to me shortly.
That really put me on edge.

But see? My paranoia is often justified.
I was like OMG IS IT ABOUT ME? And it was.
Like, I just know when something is wrong – it feels like a sixth sense. The number of times I’ve been suspicious about something, and then I’ve been bang on the money – why should I assume that my thoughts are just paranoid? I’m also very often right.

I googled the place, and read every article there was on it, but there wasn’t really much there at all, except for that it’s a 12 bedded unit to help patients transition from an acute psych ward back in to the community.
What I need is specialised input (the APIP nurses – the reason I was actually fucking transferred to this hospital), for someone to hold my medication for me, and to be in an environment where I can’t hurt myself even if I try.
And what I absolutely do not fucking need is to be in a shared self-catered kitchen.
They can get in the fucking sea, I thought.
I ain’t going.

I just sat there waiting for her to come and talk to me for like 40 minutes, until I went and found her.

She said that she didn’t really know that much about the unit, but that all she is doing atm is a referral. She said they will most likely invite me to visit, and then I can make a decision.
I expressed all of my concerns. Basically, that I don’t know if I’d be able to keep myself safe there, and that I don’t need ‘support’ to do cooking, cleaning etc to get myself back in to the community – I need specialised psychological support, which I am receiving here. I said that I need to know more about the place. She’s promised to search me out some more information.

I felt a little bit better after that.
But just a little.
I hate thinking about discharge and moving.

After that, I spent my evening watching RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, which I can’t believe I haven’t seen yet!
While I was watching, I got a text from my friend I saw last week, saying she was 90% sure she has Coronavirus. I really really hope she’s OK. If anyone was going to get it, it’s definitely her. But I had to think about what to do for myself because I’d seen her. Well, not so much myself, but the ward. I’m living with 15 other patients, and numerous people work in close proximity to me on a daily basis. I texted my parents to ask what I should do, and they said I should tell the nurses – I have a duty of care to everyone on this ward.

So, I went and found the nurse. She said she’d come and see me at 10PM.
When she did, I told her what the deal was. She said that I just need to keep a really close eye on my physical health, and let them know if anything changes at all. That was good. I was worried they were just going to isolate me straight off the bat. Shortly after, she came and did my physical obs – blood pressure, pulse, blood oxygen level, temperature – and everything looked fine.

I’d felt relatively good for most of the evening. In fact, it had been the statistically best day (according to my mood tracking app, Daylio) since my admission!
But I still started to feel that anxiety creeping in as I tried to go to sleep (without medication).

One thought on “Day 32

  1. Coronavirus is making everything weird… not good for anyone with any sort of anxiety!!
    I flit between “total apocalypse” and “keep calm and carry on! (With lots of added hand washing)”

    Also…I love that sparkly paper!


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