I spent my first day at the Day Hospital today. In the morning, there was an art group. Slightly unsurprisingly we were making christmas decorations – in this case paper snowflakes. You know the ones, you fold up paper and then cut artistic holes in it. I have a degree from arguably the best university in the world and I am reduced to activities that wouldn’t stretch your average primary school child. If you want an example of how mental illness completely destroys your life, that’s it there. Sorry, it wasn’t that bad. It doesn’t help that I’m rubbish at cutting things neatly particularly as there were no left handed scissors. I get the impression they’re fairly stretched for resources which is a shame, it’s hard to enjoy art if you don’t have the supplies to do it. I’ve said next week I’m going to take in some paper chains. I love making paper chains!
After lunch was anxiety management. I tend to view self help as patronising bollocks which I’m aware is a bad viewpoint from which to approach it. It just seems a bit like using a plaster to treat a shotgun wound, ie completely ineffective. But as boyfriend said to me when I got home, a plaster is better than nothing.
We were discussing avoidance, something I am often guilty of. Apparently the solution is to approach it in baby steps. For example, if you can’t leave the house, start by standing in the door for a while. Do that for a few times, then move to the doorstep and so on and so forth. For it to work we were told to do at least 90 minutes a day. Like I have the concentration for that! The thing that frustrated me most and it’s what always gets me with self help is some steps are just not considered. In this case it said initially “Don’t get overwhelmed by the vastness of what there is to achieve” or summat like that. The problem is though, I am overwhelmed. That’s the whole reason I’ve got half the problems, if I knew how to not be overwhelmed by it, it wouldn’t be a problem. There’s no explanation of how to tackle it if you do get overwhelmed, just a statement saying don’t do it. It doesn’t work. Things like that get my back up and mean I don’t try to engage with the rest of the exercise which is a pity.
After a break we did a breathing exercise followed by a relaxation technique. I just can’t take this sort of thing seriously. If I try and quiet my mind and concentrate on breathing, my head gets full of extraneous rubbish. It was perfectly pleasant though, as relaxation often is. I just can’t see it working in a crisis situation. If I’ve got the urge to do damage to myself, I can’t imagine stopping to do a breathing exercise and then seeing how I feel. Assuming of course, that I could summon the concentration for and remember the details of said exercise.
I sound really ungrateful don’t I? I don’t mean to, I know I’m lucky that such a service exists at all. Given the cutbacks, I’m fortunate that there is somewhere safe I can go to, at least between the hours 0f 9 and 4, Monday to Friday. During those hours, there will be someone who can talk to me and hopefully help. At the moment, I’m only booked in to do activities on a Monday. I can go in the rest of the time and sit and cross stitch in the coffee area if I want to. There is the option to add other groups, maybe after Christmas. I’ll think about it. It’s good to get out the house. When I’m home all the time it winds my boyfriend up no end. So I am grateful, it’s just frustrating that self help doesn’t really seem to help me.