27/03/20 – The day I forgot to take my meds

I woke up at 7:30, feeling much better than the day before, but still pretty crap.

I went downstairs to grab a coffee and take my medication, but my mum couldn’t find my pills.
She said that she’d hidden them as I went to bed, because she knew I was feeling bad, but they weren’t where she’d left them. She asked me over and over if I’d taken them. I pointed out that if I had, I wouldn’t be here, especially at 8AM…
Eventually, she found them, they were on the shelf below the one she thought that she had put them on. We agreed that she either needs to tell my Dad where they are, or write it down!

I noticed on the front of the newspaper that the housing market has stopped.
Does that mean my purchase will be delayed? Almost certainly.
But what if it stops, full stop?
That really would be the ultimate slap in the face. I don’t know what I would do then.

I got ready for the day, including washing my hair, but the whole time was wondering why the fuck I was bothering.
But why did I bother in hospital? I really don’t understand what is different now that I’m out.
My existence just feels completely pointless.

I’m sure that a lot of people are feeling that way right now though, right?
I’m not alone in this feeling, surely?
This is a natural reaction to lockdown, right?
I feel like it’s just probably massively exacerbated by the fact that I’m having a mental health crisis, and was feeling relatively useless anyway.

I knew I needed to find a purpose – a reason for existing. But I have no idea what that is.
I need a project that I can sink my teeth in to. Something that really matters.
In hospital, my goal was to get well. That is still my goal. But it seems like being out of hospital has put it on the backburner. It doesn’t feel so pertinent anymore.
I’m just in the same situation as most of the nation right now – sitting around, waiting for the country to return to normal.

I’ve thought about looking at my therapy workbooks, but I’m worried.
What if I accidentally go too deep, push myself too far, trigger myself, and end up in crisis? There’s no safety net for me here.

I feel like I’ve been chucked off a ferry, and in to a lifeboat that just has me and my parents in it. I was surrounded by people, and now it’s just us 3 out at sea on our own.
I didn’t realise it, but I had a huge support network in hospital, and now it’s gone. Not just the staff, but that patients.
Someone was steering the boat for me. I was on the journey, and sometimes I helped to steer, but someone else was taking the lead and supervising me.
Now I have to steer for myself, and I have no idea where to begin.
If I get it wrong, I might end up going in the wrong direction, or falling overboard, or sinking the boat entirely, with my parents on it, so there’s that added pressure.

I spent a bit of time exploring this analogy further, which you can find here…https://lucysback.com/2020/03/27/lost-at-sea/

I then spent some time organising my website – putting things in to categories, doing an ‘about me’ page, and little bits n bobs like that.
But there’s only so much writing you can do.

Apparently, the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary have the virus now. It’s scary how fast it’s spreading.

I did some colouring while listening to a podcast, and then had some lunch with my parents. But I just couldn’t help thinking, what is the point?
Everything feels so pointless atm.

As the day went on, I had some moments where I wanted to get in touch with people that I haven’t heard from since my crisis began/worsened, including my ex. It started at about 4PM.
This is a time where people are coming together, and I’m not even in contact with some of the people who mean the most to me. It’s excruciating.

I was texting my best friend from school at this point, and she said that maybe I should try and focus on the people that I am in touch with, so I sent out about a million messages to people who have reached out to me over the past few weeks. Within minutes, I had loads of people reply, and the reassurance that some people do care.

On that note, if anyone does ever want to chat (especially at this weird time), my Instagram DMs are always open – @_lucysback_

While I was scrolling down my messages, I saw that my ex had an insta story, and I couldn’t not watch it.
He’s at home drinking beer with his housemate.
And I was so relieved to see it.
I was so worried that he’d either be having to travel to work still, or even worse than that, sick. My mind has been playing mad tricks on me that he’s in danger. But he’s not. He’s at home, with his housemate (one of my best friends), and they’ve set up a draft system in the kitchen so they can have beer on tap. I bet he’s playing loads of PlayStation and having the time of his life, which makes me really happy.
Like I’ve said before, even though we aren’t together anymore, I can’t stop caring about him.

I decided to go out for a bike ride, but it was freezing, and I came back to the house pretty quickly.

When I got back to the house, I replied to some of the messages I’d received, but it became pretty overwhelming really quickly. I ended up sitting in my chair, in silence, just staring at the wall, thinking about people that I know, and wondering how on earth to get myself well.

I wished so much that I could contact some more of my friends, and my ex, but I knew I wasn’t strong enough.
I re-read the breakup e-mail a couple of times, which I don’t think really helped.
My mind kept flipping back and forth really quickly – ‘I am strong enough for this, I really want to make contact, now is the right time’, to ‘no, I’m not ready to hear from them and deal with all of those emotions right now’. It was like when someone flicks a light switch on and off really quickly – I was swinging back and forth that rapidly.
I kept picking up my phone and then putting it down again.

I ended up feeling so bad (like self-harm level of bad) that I went and sat downstairs with my parents. It was about 6PM at this point, and the news was on, so I watched that, which I know is doing me absolutely no good right now!

For dinner we had steak, and it was great, but I didn’t really feel like I was present. I’d taken some sedating meds by this point, so I was fairly sluggish.
I just didn’t see the point in eating.
What’s the point in fuelling my body?
What’s the point in existing?

I went upstairs and watched some Drag Race with tea and chocolate, but barely touched the tea or the chocolate, and didn’t really enjoy watching. My mind was still so black, just thinking about everything that is going wrong.
At that moment I felt so bad, and I didn’t see how I could ever feel good again.
I’m just going to be stuck here in limbo forever.

I was filling in my mood tracker when I realised what had happened.

I had forgotten to take my afternoon medication.

I take a 50mg dose of antipsychotics when I wake up, and then the same dose again halfway through the day (about 4PM), and I hadn’t taken it.
Immediately, I went downstairs, told my parents, and took the medication. All of a sudden, everything made sense. That was why my thoughts had been spiralling out of control so rapidly, that light switch had been flicking on and off so rapidly, and why I had felt so hopeless.

The consultant who discharged me had wanted to halve my meds, and I knew that was the wrong decision. This just further reinforces that. It’s like the opposite of the placebo effect. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t taken them, and felt so unwell as a result.
THEY REALLY WORK!

Instantly, I felt so reassured.
There was hope.

My dad keeps using the analogy of a broken leg.
When you break your leg, you don’t start physio straight away. You take some painkillers for a while, and then begin the physio when it stops hurting so much.
I have begun my physio, but I’m doing it gradually, and I still need painkillers to help me cope.

I sat on the sofa between them both. We hugged, and I cried.
I told them how I’d been feeling throughout the evening, which I hadn’t been able to do when I was feeling at my blackest. They told me that if I’m feeling like that, I need to talk to them, and that they are my psychiatric nurses now.

We read through the safety leaflet of my medication, and it states very clearly…

When the time comes, you should stop quetiapine by a gradual reduction in the dose over several weeks when your stress levels are low.

WHEN YOUR STRESS LEVELS ARE LOW!
Discharging me suddenly in to a nationwide lockdown due to a global pandemic is NOT when my stress levels are low!
What on earth was he thinking?

His logic was that the medication is not licensed for BPD, but it is licensed for anxiety and depression, which is definitely what I am experiencing.
Seriously, what on earth was he thinking?!

This medication is commonly used as an adjunct to antidepressants, which both of my ex doctor parents have been strongly advocating that I have.
I am seeing the psychiatric nurse from the Crisis Team again on Sunday, and then my case will be reviewed by a new consultant on Wednesday, so there is hope that my meds can continue to be tweaked until I feel in a good enough place to do the proper psychological work that I need to do.
I remember how great I felt when I used to take antidepressants, and how great I felt last year when I took the antipsychotics. If you take my mood stabilisers out of the equation, and put those two drugs together, I can’t even imagine how strong, positive, and confident I would feel.

That’s when I will feel strong enough to contact all of the people in my life that I am missing right now, move back to the city, return to work, and get my life on track.
I know it.
There is hope.

Medication is not the be all and end all, there is so much work that I need to do, but I need to be in a place where I can actually do it.

I felt so much better as I was going to sleep, reassured that how I had been feeling was because I missed my meds, not because everything is totally hopeless.

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