TW: contains references to self harm.
I’ve spent most of this week quite significantly depressed while growing increasingly frustrated about the seeming lack of support from the local CMHT, particularly my CPN. On Wednesday I left her a series of urgent messages, even using the word ‘unsafe’ on one occasion, and did not manage to speak to her. Then, ‘…ask for the Duty Service…’, I hear you cry. She was it.
So you might understand the desperate state of mind I was in by the time I saw my Therapist on Thursday. My SH behaviours had reached a critical stage as I seemed apparently determined to push, push, push and see what happened, ambivalent about any consequences. I thought it a good idea to show my Therapist evidence of this – the CMHT never have to deal with the messy stuff, so maybe this was why they wouldn’t take me seriously when I begged for help. So I rolled up my sleeve and showed her what I’d been doing and she was, quite rightly, concerned.
But Psychologists are highly intelligent people and they excel at planting seeds and then making you think you’ve reached a conclusion all by yourself. Because she made me realise that, ultimately, the CMHT were ‘useless’ in a situation where the damage has been done, so to speak. At that point, Mental Illness becomes Physical Illness and it is about receiving medical attention rather than psychological help. She made me acknowledge that, albeit it due to illness, I was making a choice to SH and that I’d been in therapy long enough to know that there are ‘other things I can do’. Whether it be physical distraction, relaxation techniques, call my CPN (!) or another helpline…I know about the alternatives.
So together we drew up a revised ‘Crisis Plan’ detailing triggers, coping strategies and a list of things someone compassionate might do or say to help me through. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my cousin is a huge help to me and the only person with whom I am completely candid. So she also has a copy of my Crisis Plan in order that she might, when necessary, help divert my attention from harmful behaviours.
Although my SH behaviours are long ingrained and have taken many forms over the years, I do admit that I am making choices. I am not possessed by voices in my head and therefore must accept responsibility for my own actions. It is true that I have a condition(s) that make it difficult for me to make the correct choices but they are my choices nonetheless. If I want help from my care team, I have to do some of the work myself, meet them in the middle, stop taking the easy way out and then blaming them for not doing enough.
Of course, as with all these things, it all looks black and white on paper…