TW: contains references to self-harm and suicidal ideation/planning.
I was going to call this post ‘Advocating’, but decided it was too formal for what I’m about to describe. So I consulted the Thesaurus and the above alternative jumped out at me…bit of an aside there! Let me get to the point.
I have been in Crisis on and off for most of this week. Regular readers will know that I attended my Art Therapy class for the second time this week, and that this gave rise to some uncomfortable thoughts and feelings which I wrote about in a subsequent post Safety In Numbers. From there my mind went into something of a tailspin. Physically, I felt shrouded in mist, a thick mist which interfered with my visibility and slowed down my smallest movements. And mentally I began to break.
On Tuesday morning, a bad incidence of SH landed me in A&E where I was able to say to the triage Nurse that, no, I did not feel safe, nothing was ‘out of my system’ and that I didn’t want to go home. So they called for Psychiatric Liaison to come and see me. I chatted with a Nurse I’ve met before, who decided a formal assessment was unnecessary. I have a care team in the community and she thought it best that I be referred back to them. I agreed, and felt better for chatting to someone who would at least keep my care team in the loop (A&E staff don’t always do that). She found me a private waiting area, where I could sit until a Doctor became available to treat my wound.
Skip forward to Wednesday evening. The tailspin was gaining momentum and I was breaking into smaller and smaller pieces. By now at the end of my tether, feeling desperate and out of spoons, I wrote from the heart until I had produced Where Is The Light?, a post picked up on by my cousin. I guess it alarmed her, although that was never my intent. I just needed to write about how I was feeling. She sent me a text to check I was ok, and that I would be ok throughout the night, and I went straight to her house the following morning. I wasn’t very well when I got there and I managed to tell her about some of the (quite detailed) thoughts I’d been having around the planning of my own suicide. Between us, we agreed that my CPN should be made aware of how bad things were getting, and that my cousin should be the one to make the phone call.
And so that is what happened. She called my CPN, laid it all out and organised an appropriate follow-up. For reasons of safety, I stayed with her for the rest of that day. My CPN called me the following morning and we chatted a bit before she recommended some small changes to the way I’ve been taking my medication. She suggested I use some Lorazepam and, when I objected that my Lorazepam was for emergencies, she argued that the whole week had been an emergency. She is going to come in and see me on Monday morning and, depending on how I am, she might take me to the Art class in the afternoon.
I need to make something clear. None of this would have happened had my cousin not made that phone call. For I would have been unable to articulate myself, unable to convey the urgency of the situation. I would have come off the phone even more confused and with no extra help in place. That is what I meant when I said that the word ‘advocate’ didn’t quite fit here. It is much to formal a word to describe the person who never judges, never gets exasperated or impatient. It is much too formal a word for the person whose only interest is to help me. When she can’t help me, she contacts the people who can, the people I find it difficult to contact myself. She gives me a leg up, makes it a little easier.
L, if you read this I want you to know I wouldn’t be fighting this without you…it would’ve beaten me a long time ago. xx