The dreaded form

May 13, 2009

This post ain’t going to hang around long so I would appreciate any comments ASAP. These are the questions and my first draft of answers for the nursing occy health questionnaire.

4.15. Do you regularly consult with your GP? If so, with what problems?

Borderline Personality Disorder

4.16. List any medication you are taking

Venlafaxine XR 150mg daily

5.12 Mental helath problems

I have suffered with episodes of depression for a number of years and first sought help in 2005. I was diagnosed with mild Borderline Personality Disorder

in January of this year.

5.13. Episodes of self harm including drug overdoses/attempted suicides

I have previously self harmed, however I have not done so for over 18 months. In January this year I took a drug overdose which resulted in me being hospitalised for three days. At this point I was going through a lot of difficulties
in my personal life and was suffering from a lack of support. It was after this that I was diagnosed with mild BPD. However, since then things have improved hugely. I have been able to reestablish a lot of friendships and set up a network of people who are able to support me. The diagnosis has enabled me to accept and start to come to terms with some of the problems I have had previously and to work through some of my difficulties. I am now more aware of my triggers and know to seek help before getting near a crisis.

5.15 Consultations with a psych, CPN, counsellor etc.

I am currently waiting for approval and funding to begin a course of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy which I hope to have completed before the course commences.

Any comments would be very welcome. Feel free to tear apart what I’ve written, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to do. I don’t want to underplay things as I have been quite unwell and I don’t want to seem evasive but conversely I don’t want to come across as needing locking up! Thanks everyone 🙂


Positism

May 13, 2009

It’s some sort of combination of positivity and optimism and is therefore a good thing. I’ve had a really rough couple of days but thankfully they seem over again. I’m not sure entirely what triggered them but I lost all the goodness and could see myself leaning over that negative precipice all over again. But I don’t ever want to go back there, not right back down to the bottom and I’m certainly not planning for it to happen now.

Yesterday was better. I said some important things that I don’t want to talk about right now but feel much better for being honest and getting them off my chest. And for the first time in a good few days I fell asleep without bursting into tears when the lights went out. Small victory I know but a victory none the less. Now all I need to do is work out how to direct this positive energy towards something useful and not just procrastinating online. That may be a little harder.


The future.

May 9, 2009

For the sake of completeness I want to add that Nick has met someone else.  I’m obviously not jumping up and down for joy at this, in fact I want to curl up and cry everytime I think about it but quite frankly this isn’t what I want to talk about. Recovery is about me getting better for me and come what ups and downs there are I will get there, alone if necessary.

I had a fab weekend last weekend. Went back down to Cambridge (old University and hopefully soon to be new University city), drank far too much and generally chilled out problem free (almost, ish). It’s amazing how many of my friends are still around and even more incredible that they’re still speaking to me. During my University years I had a fair few major public and private breakdowns. I withdrew from all social situations and generally treated people like shit. But they seem prepared to forgive and forget, and for that I am eternally grateful. Besides, if it wasn’t for me, some of them would never have had the opportunity to meet a prostitute 😉 I really must tell that story at some point…

This has cemented my decision to return there next year for my nursing course. Unfortunately I seem to have chosen the only place in the UK not to have been affected by the recession. By which I mean it’s the most expensive city to live in the god damn universe. In choosing to return to University, I’m taking a difficult decision. I want to be a nurse and to be honest, it’s the only way I’m going to get there but also I want to prove to myself exactly what I’m capable of. I know I can do well at it, if I remain sufficiently stable to function at the best of my ablity. A stable, happy me is a force to be reckoned with in any area of life. So I want to do everything possible to ensure the best basis for that stability And to me that means having my own place. I can’t face going back into student digs, not least because they’re only guaranteed for one year. I can’t even cope with a room in a shared house, people move things in the kitchen, they’re messy and disorganised, they touch my stuff and I freak out totally (ask anyone whose lived with me!).

I’m aware the above probably sounds completely selfish and off the wall but having my own space is essential. I need to know it’s mine, that it’s safe and secure, that things will be untouched and where I left them. The catch being rents in Cambridge are astronomical. When there were going to be two of us it wouldn’t have been so bad (despite what I said above about other people, Nick is the only person I can put up sharing my space with for any length of time), rent and bills between two is obviously a lot less than rent and bills between one. Thankfully I have some savings and I’ll have a bursary off the NHS. So at the end of the three years, I’ll be completely broke, possibly in debt but I’ll hopefully know I did the best for me and gave myself the best chance I could. And if I screw up… Well it won’t be for lack of trying.

Unless of course anyone has a rich relative with a property going spare? I promise to take good care of it 😉

Now I am certain this is what I want, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to put off filling in my occy health form. Occy health are my nemesis and I’m so afraid that once again they will be my downfall. I know I can do the course and that doing it would be the biggest boost to recovery, I know I wouldn’t ever let my condition compromise patient care, I know when I need to step back, to take five but somehow I don’t think the words of a fully paid up loony amount to very much in their eyes.

I have this compelling desire to be completely and utterly honest and beyond honest on the form. But there are versions of the truth and the one I have an urge to tell would paint me as worse than I really am. So does anyone have any advice about what to say? I’m aware that I’ll almost certainly have an interview with one of their advisors, so again what do I do? How do I portray the image I truly feel and not the rambling that tends to come out? The fact is, if I didn’t have this disorder,  I probably wouldn’t want to be a nurse in the first place. Yes, it makes me suicidal at times, it makes me cry but it also makes me care and it’s that side I need to get across. Any nutjob nurses* out there have any advice on how they did it?! I don’t think I could take another crushing defeat at their hands.

*Nutjob is meant in the nicest possible way of course! Insert your choice of mental health sufferer description instead if preferred.

And finally, I know that borderline personality disorder is characterised by “affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)”, but every sodding few hours? I’d pay good money to get to the few days end of the scale!


Sleep.

May 8, 2009

Sleep is incredibly elusive at the moment. I just can’t get there. Either my mind is racing 19 to the dozen coming up with crazy scheme after insane plot to improve my life or I’m in floods of tears wondering how I can possibly cope or make it through another day – generally both within half hourly intervals. It’s at times like this I miss my little yellow sleepy pills (aka my beautiful bottle of valium). It quietens the mind and provides peace when there isn’t a lot of it around.

I’m not proud of seeking prescription relaxants but my body clock is getting buggered by my rediculous mind. I need a lot of sleep, always have. I used to be the grumpy one at sleepovers shouting at people because I wanted to sleep and they all wanted to sit up all night and gossip (I mean why call them sleepovers if there was clearly not going to be any sleep involved). So because I’m not getting to sleep until late, I’m finding it impossible to get up again in the mornings. I’ll set a sensibly timed alarm, make all these promises to myself about getting up when it goes off and then ignoring it and disappearing under the duvet for another few hours. Which obviously makes it even more difficult to sleep the following night.

I could go to my GP and I’m sure I’d get them but if I did, I don’t think I could trust myself given what I did to the last bottle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actively suicidal at the moment, actually a lot of the time I’m doing pretty damn well thank you very much, it’s just that one pill provides some peace ergo lots of pills provide lots of peace. I’d probably be ok but I’m just not prepared to take that risk so in the meantime I’ll battle on woth sleep where I can find it.


Judging

May 5, 2009

Or why it will never be ok to be different.

I’ve been mulling this post over in my head for a while now but have avoided posting it in case I cause offence/come across even more crazy than usual. But right now I have a horrible cold and have had a bad day so sleep seems out of the question and I’ve nothing better to be doing (well there are probably lots of vaguely productive things I could be doing but they can wait).

This all comes back to a discussion I was having with various members of my family and assorted hangers on at a party over Easter. I can’t remember what lead up to it but someone turned round with “I don’t see how anyone can see things in black and white, that’s stupid”. This wasn’t aimed at me in any way but I felt the need to defend how I think and feel and realised I couldn’t. I just do see in black and white, I know it’s stupid and indefensible but I do it. Which led to the statement “Just stop then”. Oh if only things were thast simple.

The problem is that mental health problems are such a taboo and so far outside most people’s sphere of understanding (despite the whole 1 in 4 etc), that people make judgements on a persons behaviour or actions without thinking of any deeper reason or explanation behind them. And I know this sounds blindingly obvious now but it had never really occurred to me before. And when we judge, we stop looking for a reason, an explanation for an action or behaviour. We choose to look at things from our own perspective without trying to understand how it must be to see things so differently and to be unable to change it. And from these judgements comes prejudice and from that comes discrimination.

So far, so safe. It’s the next bit I’m worried about. I’m going to talk about eating disorders so if that sort of thing triggers or upsets you I suggest you stop here.

So, there I was, horrified by the judgements people make of me without bothering to understand. But I’d never do that right, I’m fair and unbiased. But a few days later I was reading a post on Lola’s blog and realised I was doing the self same. Just for a while, I wanted to turn round and say “I don’t see how anyone can choose not to eat enough, that’s stupid”. And there I was, judging. It was so easy and had these ideas not been occupying my mind, I wouldn’t even have realised I was doing it.

I’ve never had an eating disorder, it’s one of those things outside my sphere of understnading. Saying that, for a term at university, I only ate one small meal a day if that. I can’t remember why I started and I can’t remember why I stopped again but I did it. But htis post isn’t about things I’ve done, I only include that slight anecdote to show that if I can judge someone so easily when I’ve been so close myself, how can I expect others to not judge me?

And I don’t know what the answer is to that. I can see the harm that judgements cause. They act to exclude people through a simple lack of understanding and the real problem is that most the time we don’t even realise we’re doing it.  And while these judgements happen, whether conscious or not, there will never be a full understanding or acceptance of mental health conditions.

So from now on I’m going to try and judge less, to try and really understand why someone behaves the way in which they do rather than listening on the surface but then interpreting it as if they were me.

I’m not sure this makes a lot of sense, I guess I’m more tired than I thought but I hope that somewhere in the rambling my point came though. And Lola, I apologise for picking on you, it was just the eloquence of your writing that made me see what I was doing.