Mental Health Tribunal

Yesterday I had my mental health tribunal which was equally stressful and scary but today I am feeling better and reflective about it and thought I’d share my experience of a tribunal and my care plan for the future.

There were many people in my tribunal, the tribunal panel which consists of 3 people: a doctor, a judge and a lay person and then there was my psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse, eating disorder nurse, social worker and my lawyer on top of the nurse and support worker who were with me on my 2:1 observations.

I was taken to the tribunal in a wheelchair and we heard evidence from everybody who they felt was relevant and hadn’t covered it in their report then came the anxious wait for a decision. The decision was made that I remain on my section 3 and go to Cygnet Coventry in May. At the time I found this decision distressing and tried to do a runner, I was restrained in my wheelchair all the way back to my room and then I pulled my feeding tube out in total despair and upset. I was restrained until I calmed down.

Today I feel okay. There is nothing I can do about their decision and I guess if that many people agree I should remain in hospital then they must be right and as much as I hate it here I have to radically accept my situation.

So what’s the plan from here? Well in 13 days I will go to Cygnet Coventry and give recovery and my chance at a normal life the best shot and then if that fails and the placement breaks down it will be palliative care. Why palliative care? Because out of all the units that were approached only this one accepted me due to either my bmi and anorexia being too severe or my emotionally unstable personality disorder and self harm being too bigger risk. This unit feels they can manage and treat both.

So whilst I’m gutted to still be in hospital under section I am looking onwards and upwards to a new beginning in the near future.

Thoughts On Tomorrow’s Tribunal

Tomorrow is the day. The day of my mental health tribunal and I must warn you at the beginning of this post that what I’m going to write may be upsetting and triggering. Writing this is opening up my vulnerability and it’s difficult to write.

Tomorrow a group of people get to decide my future but first I’d like to focus on some news I got today. 19 units were approached for me and only 1 accepted me….if this placement breaks down and doesn’t work then the final option will be palliative care.

Back to tomorrow, they may decide I can go home and I would then have no nutritional intake and would die from starvation or suicide or they decide that I have to stay on my section and go to Coventry to the new unit on the 3rd May. If the latter is decided I plan to run, to end my life because quite frankly it is unbearable and tortureous. I can’t do this and I’m sure that sooner or later this will end up in palliative care. I feel like a hopeless case.

I Tried To Take My Life Last Night

I’ve been debating whether to write about this all day because I don’t want to be too negative but then I realised if I truly want to speak out about mental health then I have to talk about the darkest parts too. So yes, last night I tried to take my life.

I feel rather hopeless at the moment. I’ve been in hospital since 2015 and I can’t remember what it’s like to be a part of society and some days I’m not sure that I want to be a part of society. My life has become sitting in a room watching films with two members of staff either side of my bed. I’m scared of my first night sleeping on my own, of tasting food for the first time, of stepping outside, of talking to people. Everything scares me and in a way this has become comfortable. Comfortable but I also hate it. I want to go home and just be allowed to not eat but they will not let me because I will die, because even though I was in hospital I nearly died. I’ve appealed against my section but the chances of my section being lifted are very slim. This is my life and I don’t want it.

I know most people don’t want to hear this but the majority of time I do not believe recovery is possible for me. Please if you are suffering do not let that lose hope for you, that isn’t what I want to do but at the same time I don’t want to stay silent in my darkest moments.

Life is painful right now, each feed is intensely distressing, I have to take it hour by hour and sometimes that’s too much. I just can’t stand being in the body I am in, I can’t stand myself and I wish it was possible to leave this world without leaving a massive black hole.

Last night wasn’t impulsive, it was planned. I had the means hidden for a few days and I knew I was going to do it. I timed it well and knew how to do it without the people next to me seeing. I thought I was going to die but they heard the sound of me gasping and that was it, I was caught and the means were taken from me. So here I am still alive and to be totally honest I’m a bit disappointed that I am. I have dots all over my face and neck from where my blood vessels burst.

I don’t have the means to try again and I won’t for now but I just wanted to speak out from the bottom of this deep dark hole. I just wanted to be honest with my struggle.

It’s my birthday on Thursday and part of me wants to really celebrate it because I nearly didn’t make it due to my anorexia and due to last night but the other part of me doesn’t want to celebrate at all because truly and honestly I wish I hadn’t been born. Then I wouldn’t have caused all the hurt and pain and trouble I have caused by being ill. Then I wouldn’t have to feel all the distress I do. This is my raw honesty.

 

The Secret Life of Pets and Mental Illness

Living with a mental illness is horrible, it comes with really tough times, a lot of emotions and nasty side effects from both medication and talking therapies. By this I mean the pain of opening up your whole life to a therapist or the nausea and sedation from your new pills. Throughout my battle with mental illness my dog, Candy, has eased my distress no end.

When I was well enough to live at home being greeted by Candy’s wagging tail means the world. I am someone and I am wanted. When she cuddles into me whilst I cry it makes me feel less alone. Those difficult, dark hours through the night were made better by the dog I had sleeping beside me on my bed. I have stroked her under the chin and told her that I’m sorry when I’ve attempted to take my life and seeing her with her tail tucked in tells me she understands. Pets get it, perhaps more than humans do.

I have really missed being around animals since coming into hospital in 2015. It’s a real shame that animals aren’t allowed on the ward and therapy dogs don’t visit. I think it’d really help anyone in hospital regardless of whether they are there for a physical or mental health condition.

The other night my mental health team allowed me to do something special. I was allowed down to the entrance in a wheelchair to meet my parents and Candy. She was so excited to see me and she cuddled into me in my wheelchair and I instantly felt relaxed. My stresses and worries from the day disappeared slightly. I became mindful. All I was thinking about was the beautiful animal on my lap. I was 100% focused on stroking her coarse fur and running my fingers over her smooth ears. For me animals are magic. Pets bring humour, happiness, unconditional love and companionship and I dread to think of my life without Candy in it.

Section 3

I’m sitting on the end of my bed in hospital. Numb but in pain. I don’t understand anymore. Utter confusion. Dreaming of a future like a child, imagining I’ll be a vet or a teacher but seeing reality like an adult…I am just a psychiatric ward patient….I probably don’t even deserve the word ‘just’ in front of that. I’m a nothing, a no one. Three months locked away has completely detached me from the world around me. I belong nowhere and with no one. The world outside the window doesn’t feel like mine. It’s like I don’t remember what the rolling hills look like, nor the supermarket aisles or petrol stations. My ballet shoes disintegrated when my life turned into compost. Maybe new flowers will grow out of the soil but I doubt it. It feels like I’ll never feel the sun on my skin again and that my heart will never vibrate with the bass of loud music. Will I always be gone? Will I ever find me again?

Where Has Society’s Compassion Gone?

I was deeply saddened this morning to learn that someone had taken their life on the Victoria Line but I was even more saddened by the reactions that I read on Twitter. I thought our society valued human life and did whatever was possible to stop human suffering but I was wrong as quickly people’s commutes seemed to become more important than the life lost.

Among some of the disgusting and heartless tweets were:

“Always in rush hour on a Monday selfish b*stards”

“Who decides to kill them self on a Monday morning #selfish”

“If someone wants to kill themselves they should do it in their own time not when it interferes with others”

Where has society’s compassion gone? I thought we were beginning to become more educated about mental health and suicide. I thought we had the emotional intelligence to think beyond a delayed train and see the painful and upsetting reality of the situation. The person who died on the Victoria Line today is someone’s child, they may be someone’s parent or sibling, they’ve got neighbours, they’ve probably got friends. The devastation and upset their death will bring is unimaginable. Think about the train driver, any witnesses, the police and paramedics that have to get the body. It is traumatising and upsetting for so many people. You will get to work eventually today but that person, they will never feel the sun on their skin or send another Christmas card. Can you imagine how horrific that person must have been feeling?! The emotional and mental pain must have been unbearable, and the physical pain of the way they died…I can’t even think about it.

You might have been delayed this morning, you might have had to take a different route to work but you are still alive and count yourself lucky if you didn’t know the person who died because we all think we are so far away from suicide but when my best friend died from suicide it was so unexpected. I can almost guarantee that each and every one of us know someone who has seriously contemplated suicide.

We are a wealthy country, let’s start valuing human life more than a delayed train.

It’s Not All In My Head

If this is all in my head, if this isn’t real then why do I feel it in every inch of my body? Why does my breathing change and my heart race? I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. If this wasn’t real then my body wouldn’t react and my survival instincts wouldn’t come alive as though I were a cave man being chased by a wild animal.

If this isn’t real, if this is all in my head then why do the tears roll down my face, why do I sob uncontrollably and scream and shout words because I am in so much agony. Why would I be suffering so unbearably if none of this was real?

If this is only in my head, if you are telling me that this does not exist then why on earth do I feel at war with myself so much so that I stand on the stairs of a multistorey car park unsure of whether to go down the stairs or up? Unsure of which part of my mind to listen to. Why do my arms reach for a lever, my whole body ready to depart? Why do I feel this so physically and constantly if this ceases to exist in an outsiders opinion?

If this isn’t real, if this is choice or weakness or the dreaded word ‘attention seeking’ then why do I suffer in silence? Why do I lay awake staring into the pitch black with silent tears soaking my pillow case and making my face sore? It never leaves me, it never goes away. It’s more than a full time job, this is with me every second of every day and last night six sedative tablets didn’t even get me to sleep. It seems to be my life sentence and I often wonder what was my crime? Do you think this is a choice? I wouldn’t choose this, I wouldn’t even wish this on a serial killer.

If it’s all in my head then why do my legs ache? If this isn’t real then why are my bones bruised? If this is for attention then why are there scars both physical and mental that nobody knows about and will never know about?

If mental illness does not exist then why was I crying uncontrollably and struggling to breathe yesterday? Why was my whole body shaking and my head hurting if this isn’t real? Why are the simplest of tasks like being a passenger in a car so downright difficult? This is real.

In a way, I hate that we separate and categorise illnesses into physical and mental. There’s such a cross over between the two, people who are physically unwell also have symptoms such as depression and anxiety but mental illness is incredibly physical too. This doesn’t just affect my mind but even if it did the brain is an organ, the chemical imbalances, the brain activity, the reactions. They are all physical too. Mental illness is just as real as asthma, cancer and diabetes. Illness is illness regardless of which organ it affects. I am telling you in the depth of this horrible and cruel illness that this is so real, I can feel it in every atom of my body and brain.

Suzy’s Law

I recently read ‘I was here’ by Gayle Foreman and I was shocked to find out that it was inspired by a real story. Suzy Gonzales was 19, a smiley young woman who earned a full scholarship to Florida State University but whilst away at college Suzy became depressed and turned to an online suicide support group which helped her end her life. Following Suzy’s death the bill H.R 1183 was introduced meaning that it is a crime to use the internet to promote or encourage suicide. This bill is the Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act of 2011.

It shocks me, that people can prey on vulnerable and unwell people and encourage them to end their lives. When Suzy posted her plan to end her life in the support group it was met with replies such as, “I like this idea.” Less than two months later Suzanne Gonzales died on March 22nd 2003.

I know it goes on, I see it everyday on instagram. People encouraging each other in their eating disorders and depression. Accounts that get hundreds of likes on pictures of a suicidal nature. I know that pro anorexia sites exist, as well as pro self harm and pro suicide. They may constantly change their urls, disguise them as being something else but they are out there and that’s terrifying. I don’t understand why you would want someone to be unwell, to be hurt, to die? Suzy’s story shocked me, completely. The things people wrote to her pushing her to kill herself. It’s heartbreaking. I often wonder about who ‘owns’ these sites. Are they unwell too or just preying on the vulnerable? Do they realise the effects of their actions? It’s going to break a mothers heart when her son or daughter dies from anorexia, it’s going to change a family forever if one of them self harms and accidentally dies and it’s going to destroy so many people if the person you are encouraging to attempt suicide does and dies. There is nothing to be ‘pro’ about when it comes to self harm, eating disorders and suicide other than being pro-recovery.

You can read more about Suzy’s law here:

http://www.suzyslaw.com

If you are in need of help because of suicide, self harm or eating disorders then you may find the following links useful:

http://www.b-eat.co.uk

http://www.befrienders.org

http://www.mind.org.uk

http://www.samaritans.org