TW: mild reference to self-harm.
Despite feeling a bit rotten today, I forced myself over the front door under the impression that I was fighting the illness, trying not to let it beat me, getting exercise and filling my lungs with fresh air. To put you in the picture, when I walk I always have my earphones in and mostly look at the ground (although the ‘eyes down’ habit is something I’m supposed to be working on) so I was a bit unnerved when a car pulled up alongside me. Not to worry, though, it was my cousin. She rolled down the window and asked if I was ok, told me I didn’t look great and tried to persuade me to jump in the car and accompany her on the errands she was running. After much to-ing and fro-ing, I managed to convince her that I was ‘ok’ and my walk would do me good.
Firstly, I wondered how she knew I didn’t feel well. To all intents and purposes, I was just a normal(??) person walking along, going about my business…wasn’t I? I’ve always thought I’ve made quite a good ‘sad clown’, but obviously not. My cousin knows pretty much everything about my illness: she has accompanied me to A&E, seen my scars, visited me at 7 in the morning when the rest of my household were on holiday and I was ‘home alone’, hugged me as I’ve cried, cried with me, made me countless cups of sweet tea. I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for me if she thought it would help. In short, she has been a great support, a great friend, I love her and I owe her a lot.
On reflection, I realised my main reason for not going with her was that I knew she would start asking questions around my tendency to self-harm – whether I had hurt myself this morning, the extent of my wound, does it need attended to…a conversation I wanted to avoid, for obvious reasons.
Last Thursday, I attended A&E with SH injuries. The Dr I saw was kind enough, but (not knowing me) didn’t want to let me go until he’d spoken to my CPN. After a (very) brief telephone conversation he announced that she was happy for me to go home and that she would be in touch that afternoon. Typically, I never received a phone call and have heard nothing from the CMHT since. This is a pretty standard (non)response from my ‘care team’, but frustrating nonetheless. I doubt very much they can do much more to help me, but I would like to feel that they at least gave me some thought: a quick phone call to check that I am safe or whether I would like someone to come out to the house…
Anyway, as a result of having communicated most of this ‘incident’ to my cousin, she would like to be present the next time I see my CPN. From what she says, I think she just wants to gain a better understanding of how they operate, how they can neglect to contact someone whom they know is in crisis, how bad does it need to get before they ‘do something’? I don’t for a minute think she will be rude, but I’m not sure if this is something I really want. What will it achieve? Will anything change around my care? Will they blame me? They are used, I’m sure, to having to defend their decision making and will doubtless have an answer for everything.
Does anyone else have any experience of this sort of thing? Is it worth letting her have a chat with them? Or will it merely exacerbate the situation?