25/03/20 – My first day of freedom

I woke up naturally at 7:30. Woke up once in the night, even though I’d taken a sleeping tablet (they’ve given me a 7 day supply).

I would ordinarily make myself a coffee, take my medication, and go and sit outside for a bit, so that was what I did.

My mum gave me my medication, I made a ‘real’ coffee from the Tassimo machine, and then went and sat outside the front door because the back garden was in shade.

It was eerily quiet. All I could hear were the birds. It’s so strange for me, because I live right in the city centre. I always find it quite creepy here, but today was extra creepy, because there are just no cars on the road.
I can’t imagine how creepy the city centre is right now though. I’m glad I’m not there.

I had a shower, and asked my mum for my proper razor, but apparently I’d chucked it in to another room the night before in my haste to clear out my bedroom, so I had to make do with the crappy hospital ‘safety’ razor (I honestly don’t know what makes them safe).

After that, I sat down to write, but the desk in my room is a child’s desk, and I couldn’t fit my legs under it! So, there was this big hoo ha about trying to raise my desk, or find a lower chair… all I wanted to do was write, because I wanted to upload my thoughts before talking to the nurse who was coming from the Crisis Team sometime between 10 and 12.
My parents remembered that they still had my old dining table (from the marital home) in the garage, and said that we could build that in my room (which is where I am sitting now). For the time being though, I just wrote sat in the armchair that is in my room, and thought about the day before.

Fuck me, that guy was a piece of work.

While I was writing, I got a call from one of the nurses in the Crisis Team, to check if anyone in our house was showing symptoms of Coronavirus, which we are not.

The Crisis Team is basically a team of psychiatric workers who care for patients going through acute crisis in the community. They are different to a Local Mental Health Team (LMHT) who provide ongoing care. The Crisis Team have a 24 hour helpline, and basically come and visit patients in their homes to avoid them being admitted to hospital.

I had a quick bit of toast, and then she arrived.

She was gloved up, and in a face mask, but she soon let it drop below her chin because she said she couldn’t breathe properly.

We talked about the day before, and she couldn’t believe what she heard. We all (my family, the nurse and I) agree that discharge is an OK thing to do at the moment, given the current situation, but the aggressive way that the Doctor did it, and the way that he halved all my meds, is really bad practice. She encouraged me to make a complaint, which I absolutely fucking intend to.
She also agreed with us that I do not have enough emergency sedating meds for if shit goes downhill really fast. I was written up for 3 different types on the ward, in a safe and harm free environment, surrounded by mental health professionals, and what the Doctor did yesterday was remove two of them, reduce my Diazepam from 5mg to 2mg (3 times a day if needed), and throw me back in to the community with none of those safeguards around me.
I’m mostly thinking of my parents. If I get to a really bad place, if I end up dissociating, it’s them who is going to have to deal with it. I haven’t really talked about it, but last time that happened here (the night that led to my admission), I took myself off in to the woods with a load of pills, the police dogs came looking for me, and I ended up being taken to A&E in an ambulance.
That cannot happen again.

The consultant at the Crisis Team was off today, so couldn’t review my medication, but my mum had already made a telephone appointment for me at our local GP surgery (where she used to be a partner), and we all agreed that we should ask the GP to prescribe my regular meds – not the dipped down ones that the consultant prescribed yesterday.

The nurse was honestly so lovely, and it was so reassuring to hear that my experience yesterday was as shite as I had felt it to be. It’s not just me being sensitive, it was genuinely appalling.

After that, my dad and I (I mostly watched) built the table in my bedroom, so now I have a good desk space I can write and work at.

I spent most of the afternoon unpacking my things. My parents got me a cupboard all emptied out in the kitchen, which is really cute.

I’m going to be here for a while.

I have basically moved back in with my parents.

I am not going back to my flat, and whenever my new one goes through, it’s going to take a bit of time for me to readjust to city life, and independent living. My mum has suggested that I change my residence officially, so I can be referred from the county Crisis Team to the LMHT, so that’s what I am going to do. She said last night ‘you’re going to be here for a few days’, and we all laughed. I think we all realised at that moment that it’s not going to be days, it’s going to be weeks, maybe months, that I spend here.
I feel pretty bad for impinging on their retirement, but everyone keeps saying ‘that’s what parents do’. As bad as I feel, I do need to get back on my feet though. I need to continue the work that I was doing in hospital, and focus 100% on that. My living here is fairly self-contained. I have a desk space, living area, and sleeping area in my bedroom. I have my own bathroom, and my own kitchen cupboard. So, it’s not like we’re all crowded on top of each other.
I appreciate so so much what they are doing for me. I genuinely don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have them.

I had the telephone appointment with my new GP, and she agreed with everything that I said. She has prescribed me my regular medication, rather than the dipped down dosages, which is really reassuring.

Shortly after that, the nurse that I had seen earlier in the day called me to check if the GP had agreed to prescribe my regular meds, which I told her she had, and she was so glad. She has planned to come and visit me again on Sunday, and said my case will be reviewed by the consultant next Wednesday, when I will be referred to the LMHT (at the resource centre that, ironically, my Dad set up).

I decided to go for a walk in the woods and listen to my podcast. The weather was glorious, so I wanted to make the most of it.

My mum went for a bike ride at the same time, and texted me to say that two people I knew were walking towards me, so I veered off the main ride, and on to the muddy side paths. It was like in Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo yells GET OFF THE ROAD.
The main tracks were just full of people, it was crazy. Couples, families… all the things that I had found so triggering when going for my weekly excursions when I was on the ward. I realised that when I had been walking round the hospital grounds, it had been super easy for me, because everyone was either a patient or a worker – no families, no couples, no ‘normal’ people.

The paths I ended up on were really muddy, and I kept getting poked by brambles. It reminded me of the night I’d gone missing in the woods. A bit triggering… But I kept going. I know I have to get through this.

‘Gradual exposure’ is what my consultant said.

When I got back, I shared the experience with my parents, rather than just bottling up my feelings, which I think was a really positive step. And I felt good for having gone for a walk.

The Guilty Feminist podcast that I listened to was all about ‘Worth’. Sarah Millican was talking about a review for a show that she was in, where they seemed to focus a lot on her living alone with her cat.
Marriage + Children = A woman’s worth.
One of the questions at the end wasn’t so much a question, but a point made by a member of the audience, that it took her 60 years to realise her self-worth, and that she wished she had another 60 years to live realising that self-worth.

I have so much work to do.

I watched the 5PM Boris briefing, where they are still telling everyone to stay at home. Prince Charles has the virus now too. Apparently, the government have had 405,000 responses to the call for 250,000 volunteers, which is incredible. I know that if I wasn’t unwell myself at the moment, I would respond to that call for sure.
I genuinely wish I could help, but I know I wouldn’t be much use to anyone right now.

The way I see it though, is that my way of helping is to have been discharged. I am putting less strain on the NHS, and doing my bit by keeping myself well without draining resources and using a bed.

Hilariously, while the briefing was going on, someone rang the landline asking for me.
It was someone from the A&E that I had visited prior to my admission, asking for a bit of feedback about the care I received. I was like, I’m really sorry mate, but I genuinely don’t remember being there. She was like, ‘Oh, OK! Hope you’re feeling recovered anyway!’. I told her I’d been kicked out of hospital yesterday after being an inpatient since my A&E visit, and she was like, ‘Oh, OK then! Well… take care of yourself!’.

One of the girls I was on the ward with dropped me a text. She told me that she had been discharged too, and that she was also feeling really uneasy about it. I asked if anyone else had been discharged, she said that shouty lady had.
She is in a wheelchair, and she is incontinent – she requires personal care around the clock. Goodness knows what they’ve done with her. It was reassuring though to hear that it wasn’t just me who was discharged, because I didn’t see anyone else go the day before, and a part of it had wondered if it was just me.

I was pretty tired, so watched a bit of Drag Race, and then had dinner with my parents.

Dinner was pretty exhausting. I didn’t really talk to them, but just hearing conversations can be really overwhelming for my brain. It’s really hard to explain, but I guess it’s like if you’ve got too many windows open on your computer, opening more puts more strain on it, and it slows down, it can even crash.
I know my parents (particularly my mum) will be reading this, and I don’t want for them to feel like they have to adjust their lives for me.
Don’t stop talking!
Don’t put your life on hold for me.
I’ll deal with things in my own way.

In this instance, I took myself off to my room, and spent the evening there watching Drag Race in bed.

Living with my parents though is different to being in hospital. (obviously)
For instance, I went downstairs to get a cup of tea, and they were on the phone to my brother and sister in law, so I sat for a while on this weird 5 way speakerphone conversation, which again, was pretty overwhelming.
At one point, I also dropped a bag full of clothes on the floor, making a big bang, so I had to go and let them know that I was fine, I’d just dropped something, otherwise I knew they would worry.

I was feeling pretty tired, so decided not to take a sleeping pill, but I wish I had.
As it was getting to the time to go to sleep, I got more and more anxious. Being in a double bed on my own is really strange – I’m so used to having someone else there. It feels like something is missing, whereas it didn’t feel like that in hospital.
My thoughts started straying to that, but instead I tried to focus on my plans to get a dog (which is definitely top of my list). I imagined how good it would feel to have something to look after, and something that loves me unconditionally – a reason and a purpose to stay well.
I cannot wait.

I woke up so many times in the night, it didn’t feel like I even slept. It just felt like I had the whole night having a panic attack, so maybe I do still need those sleeping pills after all.

2 thoughts on “25/03/20 – My first day of freedom

  1. I’m glad you have had some positive experiences since being discharged and glad you are back on the right meds. Keep going. Love J ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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