I woke up having absolutely no idea that it was the last time I would wake up in that bed, and that this was the day I would be discharged.
We were on lockdown still, so I wasn’t allowed out for a walk, and it was still the rules that in the ward courtyard patients could vape, but not smoke, which seems insane – should the trust’s no smoking site rules still apply when there is a global pandemic?
The ward was going mad.
The country had also gone on lockdown overnight (kinda). So, people can only go out to work ‘if absolutely necessary’ (which is a bit woolly), to buy essentials, and to exercise once a day. They are strictly enforcing the rule where you have to stand 2m apart from those not in your household, and that gatherings of more than 2 people are disallowed.
The whole world’s gone mad.
I went and sat in the courtyard for a bit, but had to be escorted by a member of staff, so it wasn’t the same.
I ordered a load of teabags, and put out a social media plea for chocolate. It’s only a matter of time until services stop delivering, and all I need is tea, chocolate, and Netflix – I’ve got food and toilet paper covered.
I was so frustrated with shouty lady shouting over and over and over again that I wrote an e-mail to the ward manager, which you can find here…https://lucysback.com/2020/03/24/e-mail-that-i-just-sent-to-the-ward-manager/
I couldn’t imagine the thought of not being able to go for a walk. It’s in the government guidelines to still get exercise, and I would be walking alone.
It’s such an uncertain time.
I changed my sheets, and then went to get some lunch.
On my way to the dining room, my APIP nurse (pretty much my therapist) came and said that a couple of doctors wanted to talk to me. I was like… now?? She said yes, and that they were from the crisis team.
I knew exactly what it meant. They wanted to discharge me.
The consultant introduced himself, and said that they were going to plan for my discharge today. I was terrified, so I called my parents. I wanted them on speakerphone, so they could hear what was going on. He asked who I was calling, and I told him. The reception was really dodgy, so we got disconnected.
He said that calling my parents was really rude, and that he was extremely offended. He said that I was irritable, and disengaged, and if I continued with this kind of behaviour, he would ask me to go and pack my bags immediately – no meeting.
I told him that I was just frightened.
I looked to my therapist, and she looked absolutely flabbergasted.
I don’t remember a lot of what happened, because I was so caught off guard, but he basically told me that I’d done a bunch of things that I categorically have not done. For example, he told me that I had sent e-mails to my ex threatening to kill myself when he broke up with me. That is 100% not true. He was like, well it is true. (It’s not true)
Bear in mind, this is the first time I have ever met this man.
He didn’t listen to me at all. He asked me questions to which I could only answer yes or no, and then he would continue.
He talked a lot about self-harm, and that he recognises it happens when I become overwhelmed and dissociate. He basically said I have to stop doing that.
Cheers mate. Hadn’t thought of that.
He said that I would be discharged. I told him I didn’t know where I would go. He told me to go home to my flat. I told him I couldn’t do that – that flat held too many memories, absolutely full of triggers, and in my current mental state, I wouldn’t be safe there on my own. He said that I might feel a little bit anxious when I get to the door (understatement of the century), but that I would survive. I told him I wouldn’t. That was my fear. He said that if I’d really wanted to kill myself when I was in hospital, I could have done, so being on the outside would be no different.
I told him I refused to go back to my flat. He said, ‘well you can go and sleep on the streets if you want, but you’ll be cold. You have 2 hours – you cannot stay here’.
I knew I couldn’t change his mind, so I was faced with a choice. Either go back to my flat, that I pretty much used to share with my boyfriend, and am now living in 100% alone, haunted by memories of my rape and times I self-harmed. Or, see if my parents would take me, and go back to the place that led to my admission, the place that I tried to take my life, the place that is filled with reminders of my life with my husband and cat.
He told me that I was constantly looking for people to look after me. That I sought that validation from my boyfriend, and now I was relying on hospital, and now is the time for me to be alone. I 100% hear what he’s saying, but there is no way I can go back to my old flat. I want to live independently, but my new place isn’t ready.
If I go back to my flat, it is likely that I will end up back at square one.
He spoke to my dad on the phone, and he was furious. Because of how paranoid I had felt the day before (I felt a bit better on this day after 13 hours sleep, but still intensely paranoid and anxious), my Dad thought I was psychotic. The consultant said that I showed no signs of that today, that I showed no signs of depression, and that if I am ‘just’ borderline then I should go home, because looking after myself is within my control.
The consultant also said that seeing as I am ‘just’ borderline, there is no reason for me to be on medication, so he wanted to stop it. He cut them all down by half.
Call me crazy, but seeing as I’d heard voices the night before, and had spent all day covering up what I thought might be cameras in my room for people to watch me, and I’m going through such a humongous change with discharge, is now really the time to be cutting down my medication?
He didn’t listen to me.
He purely looked at my ‘diagnosis’ and went on that, rather than treating my symptoms.
I know that because of my BPD I’m more likely to ‘hate’ people, but I have honestly never met a more callous human being. This meeting sounds so ludicrous that you might think that I’m exaggerating or making it up – I swear down, I am absolutely not. These are words that he actually used.
I was in complete disbelief.
I still am.
I understood his reasons for wanting to discharge me, but the way that he did it was disgusting.
He made me feel like I’d wasted everyone’s time, and that I was undeserving of help. He looked at my notes and the NICE guidelines, and went off those.
He didn’t listen to me.
I genuinely cannot believe he halved my medication, when every week that it has been increased, I have shown a great improvement, and it worked so well for me last year.
He said that I clearly have really poor insight in to what BPD actually is, and that I need to do my research, which I’m sure we all know, is an absolute fucking joke. I looked at my therapist nurse in absolute disbelief. She obviously couldn’t say anything, but from the look on her face, I knew she was on my side. He said that I was disengaged from my treatment, and that the only way I could help myself and the people around me was to do the work I needed to do. I told him that I was, and he said that I clearly wasn’t willing to give it a try if I was against discharge. He called me a selfish girl.
What an absolute cunt.
I called my parents, and they agreed that I could go and stay with them, but that they wanted to know what kind of input I would be getting in the community.
Everything that happened after that was a bit of a blur, and it seemed to happen really fast, even though it actually took hours.
I was thinking the whole time, it’s another man.
Another man sent to tear me down.
Another thing sent to try me.
I spoke to my therapist, the APIP nurse, and she was visibly upset. She nearly burst in to tears. I could tell that she agreed that I wasn’t ready, but that I’m obviously the best of a bad bunch.
The reasons for my discharge are twofold…
1. My physical health is at less of a risk off the ward. I completely agree with that. Once the virus hits the hospital, it will spread like wildfire. If I’m seeing only my parents in the rural countryside, the risk of me getting the virus (and spreading it) is minimal.
2. The hospital only has a few wards (all for mental health), and because of the layout of our ward (two corridors as opposed to one) they were emptying it, so that when the time comes they can use it as quarantine for inpatients who contract coronavirus, and have one male and one female corridor.
So everyone on my ward, within the next two days, would either be discharged or moved to the other female ward, which basically meant they had to halve the female population of the hospital. If I was to stay in hospital, I would have been transferred to another ward.
The ward is closing.
She wasn’t supposed to tell me that, but I am really glad that she did. It made everything make a lot more sense for me.
Next, came a flurry of sorting out my medication to take home with me, liaising with the Lincolnshire Crisis Team so that they could support me in my parents’ home, and packing.
As I was packing etc, I came across some Shin Cup noodles. I couldn’t face eating them, because they reminded me too much of my ex, so I gave them to the girl with the pink hair, because I know how much she loves them. She really appreciated that, and we had a big hug.
She was the only patient that I said goodbye to.
It also turned out that they had decided to open the courtyard at certain times to smokers – THANK GOD! So at least the ward will be a bit calmer. While it remains open, anyway.
They kept doing their hourly checks on me, and because they were bank staff, they kept asking my name. I told them I was no one, I was invisible, not to worry about me. I didn’t matter anymore. They were throwing me out.
My parents arrived, and spent some time talking to my therapist nurse about the work we had done, and how to help me at home. Afterwards, they said that they also gauged from her that I was not ready for discharge, and that she did not like the consultant that had seen me. She said to my parents that I had done excellent work, that I had been really engaged, and that she was one of the most self-aware patients she has ever met – the exact opposite of what the consultant had said in our meeting.
I have spent so much time and effort building up confidence and strength, and he tore it all down.
Where the fuck did he come from?
One of the nurses got my medication for me, helped me out with my bags, and I was gone.
A few of the staff said goodbye and good luck, but it was with sadness rather than optimism. Like the kind of good luck you would give someone when they’re about to go to war. You know, like when the Steward of Gondor sends his son and some other soldiers to take back Osgiliath in Return of the King, and everyone is laying roses at their feet. I realise that’s fairly dramatic, but you get my gist. No one was like, GOOD LUCK *smile*!
My parents and I talked a bit in the car about how to keep me safe. I said that, for now, I would like for my parents to hold my medication. They can’t limit sharps, or other ways to harm myself, not that I felt like it at that particular time, or when I’m writing this right now, but I am worried for the times when I become overloaded and dissociate from reality.
That is why I was still in hospital – to find ways to stop me doing that, either via medication or psychological strategies.
On the drive back, we listened to the news, and it was terrifying.
I am still really concerned about the health of the people that I love.
Particularly my parents.
Particularly my dad.
Arriving back at the house was really strange.
The first thing that I noticed was carpet, and how many things were on the wall. It also dawned on me that I hadn’t used stairs in 5 weeks, since I left my first hospital.
Toilet seats are really weird too. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it feels like I’m just sitting on a seat and pissing myself, rather than weeing in to a toilet.
I took some PRN anti-anxiety medication (which they have also halved), and straight away emptied my entire bedroom.
It was full of bags from my marital home – photos, clothes, books, and cushions covered in my cat’s snot (he had a respiratory condition). I tried to just blank them out as much as possible, asked if my mum would help, and moved every single fucking thing from my room in to the spare room and my brother’s room (soz bro).
Once I had a blank canvas, I felt a lot better.
I can create a safe environment, like I had at hospital, in my parents’ house. I don’t necessarily mean physically safe, like limitations on sharps etc, I mean psychologically safe – no triggers.
Once I’m feeling well, I can go through those bags slowly, and adjust myself back to total reality.
Once I am safe.
We had dinner, which was really bizarre.
A real plate.
A real knife.
Drinking out of a glass. (it felt so delicate that I was worried I might bite straight through it)
The food was really good. I had my dad’s home smoked bacon, quality sausages, chips, and a fried egg, with loads of my dad’s homemade hot sauce.
There are certainly lots of things that I am really excited about now that I am out, but I am just worried for when that novelty wears off.
I found that I kept trying to lock my door behind me, as I would in hospital. And that if I wanted my parents, I would knock on the door of the room they were in, rather than just walking straight in, or talking to them from the doorway.
It is so strange to have my freedom.
Liberating, but terrifying.
After dinner, I unpacked my room a bit, including re-arranging some of the furniture.
My bedroom is quite large – almost as big as my studio flat – so I can have a self-contained living space and keep my bed area separate. I have my own bathroom in the next room, so I can pretty much stay in my room, except for when I need food – exactly the same as hospital.
I genuinely do not want to be ‘looked after’, I just want to be safe, and not surrounded by triggering memories.
It was when I was unpacking that I realised I’d left a whole drawer of clothes at hospital.
I phoned the ward, and they said I could come and collect them. I don’t know how we’re going to get around that, because it’s not that simple anyway, let alone with coronavirus.
I drank some tea, watched the end of bake off with my parents, and then the news.
Not sure if watching the news is doing me much good right now. It definitely sparks off my anxiety, but also makes me realise that everyone is having to make sacrifices for the wellbeing of the population, which gives me some strength to make an extra special effort to work through this difficult situation which has been sprung upon me.
I watched some Drag Race in my NON-PLASTIC DOUBLE BED, and tbh, it was glorious.
I am going to give this my best shot.
I really want to make this work.
But I’m still nervous.
I’m still terrified.