Posts Tagged 'Psychiatrist'

Broken heap on the floor

On Thursday we got a call from ACC.  After three months deliberation on our case, they made one minor change.  M asked how our corrections to the report had been factored into this decision.  ACC response – what corrections?  They had never received them, or lost them.  To put this into context, we started this process in February of last year, it’s gone through about five different variations on the report and now gone to mediation.  It took us two weeks and a lot of strength to write those corrections which involved correcting the details of our abuse and more devastatingly, writing anywhere for the first time that the father sexually abused us.  So this was highly confidential, soul destroying information… and they LOST it!  It could have ended up anywhere, anyone could have been reading it – it had our name, address and everything on it.

When I’ve told people this, their immediate response is “Oh no, do you have a copy on your computer?”  Yes, of course we do.  I know that’s the reasonable response you give to an adult.  But SO holds the secrets on that bit of paper and she is 7.  All she sees is that we should never have told the secrets cos it’s bad and lots of people read it and it’s bad and we’s get into trouble and we’s bad and evil and it all our fault.  It becomes a mantra that we’re bad and evil for telling.  W and SO are closely linked within the system.  SO gets upset and W will react.  This action meant a call to the mental health crisis line on Thursday night to stop the suicide.  In typical form with our interactions with this team, the connection was bad and they were going to call back.  They did eventually – on Saturday.  We had the usual conversation:

Crisis Line: You’re suicidal, lets bring you in for an assessment.
Us: No thanks, your only option is hospital and that isn’t an option for me.
Crisis Line: No, we also have community placements or agree to regular contact for a week to see how you’re going.  We can also get you in to see one of our community psychiatrists.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  Almost like they will be able to help.

Us: In my experience that has never happened.  I’ve been promised community placement, only to end up in the psychiatric ward.  I’ve had phone calls daily from your team and they’re more triggering than helpful.
Crisis Line: Well I’m sorry that has been your experience, let us know if we can help.

I know that those of you who haven’t experienced their services will say I’m being stupid for rejecting this assistance.  I know that they have saved many lives.  But our issues with authority and psychiatric hospitals mean that they are more likely to kill than save us.  We call them for the distraction, nothing more.

One of us called them again on Saturday night and we ended up being hauled in for an assessment.  It was hell.  We need peaceful surroundings and control when we’re suicidal.  But last night it was raining and there was international rugby on TV.  Those two factors meant that a great deal of the homeless had decided to be suicidal that night in order to watch the rugby, have a shower, get a meal and warm bed.  The shelters would’ve been overwhelmed, and they know that if you say you’re suicidal, they have to admit you.

We managed to get out of the hospital and get to the relative safety of home.  But we’re a mess.  The oddest things are triggering.  We know that people need to talk about how they cope with sex as a survivor.  But today, it’s too much.  It’s become about others not being safe – cos all sex hurts.

We’re in trouble and I don’t know how to fix it.

Hospitals – the psychiatric type

In the town where we grew up, there was a psychiatric hospital.  It was spoken about in hushed whispers as a scary place where crazy people were fenced in and tortured.  In reality, the hospital catered predominantly for those who were institutionalised during a time in our history when those with even minor problems were often hidden away.  We were told as part of our abuse, that if we told the secrets we would be sent to prison or this hospital forever.  So our early contact with psychiatric hospitals was negative.

If you place these experiences within the context of our rather traumatic experiences with the medical profession, you get a picture of someone who has deep seeded issues and fears about all things medical.  The young ones especially react with terror even when driving by a hospital.  We avoid dentists, doctors and nurses where at all possible.  In many ways this fear enabled us to appear high functioning for many years – if there was a threat of having to ask for help through therapy or medication, well that just wasn’t acceptable.  Time to stamp it all back down into The Basement and carry on being invisible.

Then arrives the dissociative train wreck we experienced when about 34.  Our coping mechanisms fell apart.  Then there was the final straw – we were teaching a group of 40 students when something about the interactive whiteboard markers caused Angel to come forward.  So there you have a 5 year old drawing pictures of flowers on the whiteboard while a group of adult students look on.  M comes back to find half the board covered…

So back to therapy we went.  We were in the throes of an abusive marriage and suddenly facing a childhood that wasn’t as perfect as we’d convinced ourselves it was.  These factors led to constant suicidal ideation and intent, which in turn resulted in us needing to find some support to keep safe.

In New Zealand there are a few support lines for suicide help – Lifeline, Samaritans, Youthline, the emergency number or the local mental health hotline.  Lifeline, Samaritans and Youthline are confidential – unless they feel you are in danger, in which case they will try to get your details and send around the Police.  Emergency services transfer you through to the mental health hotline, unless you are already need emergency care.  Once you’re in the mental health system, you are told to call the mental health hotline.  Usually you wait for 5-10 minutes on hold before the phone is answered – ever been suicidal during the Christmas season and had to listen to Christmas carols for 20 minutes while waiting to see if someone can help you stop killing yourself?  You can at least double the waiting time if you call after midnight, as that’s when they go down to one or two operators.

If you do manage to get through to a human, you’re asked for your details – name, phone, address, caseworker and then why you’ve called.  If they consider you to be at risk, they will send around the local mental health workers to assess you.  If they consider that you aren’t at risk, they will discuss grounding skills you can use before sending you on your way.  The problem with this is that at any one time we can have up to 5 suicide plans – apparently that means we don’t really mean to die as we’re not focused on one plan (we consider it covering our bases in case one doesn’t work).  We can also begin the phone call with one who wants to reach out for help; but by the time we get to actually talk to someone, we’ve switched to one who either won’t talk or says that everything is fine.  So in many ways the service doesn’t suit us (and a majority of the population).

If you are considered at risk, you get the joyful experience of being escorted up to the psychiatric ward of the local hospital.  Where you begin the wait for some poor registrar who has been working for at least 10 hours and is surviving on a combination of adrenaline, coffee and sugar.  This person then has to assess your level of danger.  Most registrars haven’t dealt with anyone with a dissociative disorder, let alone tried to understand if there really is a risk.  They have a thankless job of walking a tightrope – is the patient telling the truth?  To make this job more complicated, during our experiences with registrars they’ve encountered –

  • Aimee (9 yrs old and carefree) who smilingly told the nice young registrar that she was too young to drink.  Quite forgetting that the body she shares is in it’s mid 30’s and sitting cross-legged on a hospital bed while drips are hanging from each arm to pump us full of drugs to counter the drugs we’d OD’d on.
  • Sophie (16 yrs old) who is our safest bet for these assessments – no one would section Sophie.  The main problem is getting close enough to hear her as she talks very quietly when scared or worried.
  • M who is the other safe bet.  She’s confident and knows how to work the mental health system to ensure that we are released.  Release is always her goal as the young ones she protects are violently triggered by hospitals.
  • Ellie who won’t be sectioned as long as she can keep her swearing and scorn for the medical profession under control.
  • Frank who is the worst one to front for an assessment.  He doesn’t get suicidal, but doesn’t understand what constitutes aggressive behaviour as seen in the eyes of a psychiatrist.  He doesn’t actually get aggressive, but his anger at being in a hospital is seen as aggression.

It’s at this point where we’ve usually been sent home.  But on two occasions we’ve been admitted or sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Event 1:  Sectioning with two nights in hospital.

  1. Night of admission, put into art therapy room with triggering artwork around the walls.
  2. Given a single room across from an alcoholic man in his 40’s (the father is an alcoholic).
  3. As punishment for being admitted W used all of her strength to try and break the arms by bashing them against the storage unit in the room.
  4. A miracle was there in the form of a part-time night nurse.  She realised we wouldn’t sleep so asked if we wanted art supplies and then she sat and talked to us.  She didn’t care who she talked to, she just sat on the floor and let us talk and draw.  She got us Arnica cream for the bruised, swollen mess that was now our arms without a fuss.
  5. Then there was the daytime registrar.  We had asked to be released as the hospital was too triggering.  He went through the whole assessment again.  He asked why our symptoms made us special.  We tried to explain that we weren’t special, just sometimes experienced dissociation.  He dismissed the dissociation saying it wasn’t important.  Then when returning after talking to the consultant, said that the dissociation made us too unpredictable to release.  Yes, the one symptom that he totally dismissed, became the thing he used to keep us in.
  6. That night the same part-time nurse told us how to get out – say the words “I have no intent”.
  7. The following day a different registrar got the consultant to come in and talk to us.  He was going to let us out for the day, but M came forward and dazzled him with a veil of sanity.  We were outta there.

Event 2:  Admitted to the secure unit with one night stay.

  1. Saturday afternoon attempted suicide through an overdose and was taken to ER by the husband.
  2. Put on a drip and was overwhelmed by the dissociation.
  3. Overheard the nurses say that we hadn’t really overdosed, but were just attention seeking – our bed was right beside the nurses station and strangely enough the curtains aren’t sound proof.
  4. As soon as we were coherant, we asked to leave.
  5. After a 5 hour wait, we were assessed by the same psychiatrist who once picked up the phone while we were in the room and told the DBT specialist that “the borderline actually turned up, do you want to come meet her?”
  6. Because of all the triggers, Ellie and Frank weren’t able to control the anger very well.  We were escorted to the secure unit by the Police.  We didn’t threaten anyone or even raise our voice, but we were considered to be irrational and dangerous because of the barely contained rage.
  7. We were released the next morning.

If we are ever sectioned again, we’ll request to go to the secure unit.  It was comparatively peaceful and safe.  If any of the half a dozen patients even raise their voice, they are immediately surrounded by about four staff and taken away to be calmed down.  The only downside was that the cups of tea were lukewarm – hot water being a dangerous weapon.

This is a very light hearted look at our experiences.  In reality, during the sectioning Sophie was nearly destroyed when her twin came from The Basement to tell her why they were created.  The day after we were released from the secure unit, the ex-husband tried to kill us.  Other incidents have occurred while we’ve been waiting to be assessed, including one I’d like to forget where a patient masturbated while looking through the window at us.

We sit in wonder when people say that they voluntarily go to hospital.  It’s a concept that we don’t understand – why would you volunteer for torture, ridicule and scorn?  We know our perception is warped and that hospitals help people every day.  But it’s not something we identify with.  It was once recommended that we go to Ashburn Hospital for a minimum of six months to try and break our cycle of destructive thinking.  Just the thought of that was terrifying.  I wonder if part of the reason is that in New Zealand the focus within the psychiatric ward seems to be on holding you in a safe place until the suicidal intent goes, rather than helping you in a long term way.  It’s reactive rather than proactive.

—————-
Now playing: Dixie Chicks – Wide open spaces
via FoxyTunes

Irony and psychiatric meds

Today we felt good!  The birthday is over and we are clear of some of the pain and confusion that birthdays bring.  We even got a call from the local primary school to say that we’d won a raffle, with the prize being a $50 meat pack.  It’s rather ironic in that we can’t touch meat. What will be even more amusing, is if the meat pack comprises mainly of pork (otherwise known as Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web).

So we were feeling settled and mildly amused by life again.  But then we made the mistake of opening an email from our psychiatrist.  We’d emailed him earlier in the week to tell him that the trial of Buspirone was not working very well as we’ve been experiencing the common side effects of light headedness, nausea and a worsening in our insomnia.  We asked him what he suggested considering this reaction, thinking that he would want to talk over the options.  Instead we got an email from him saying that he wants another trial.  This time of Stelazine (Trifluoperazine) and Propranolol.  They’re rapidly running out of drugs to trial us on.  We’ve already been told by two previous psychiatrists that drugs are possibly not a viable option for us as we’re sensitive to drugs and often experience quite dramatic side effects.

We’re not sure if we want to go through another month of playing around with our brain chemistry.  At the very least we were hoping to have a discussion with him about the options.  But then, he knows we’d just go and research the drug he suggested anyway, so this way he saves himself a half hour appointment.  OK, that sounds too harsh…  He actually is a very kind man.  I think we’re just stinging a bit as it feels as if we’ve been treated as a number rather than a person.

—————-
Now playing: Missy Higgins – Stuff and nonsense
via FoxyTunes

Own worst enemy

We’re currently being trialled on some medication to see if it can assist in reducing the anxiety that we have fairly constantly.  This in itself isn’t a bad thing – reducing anxiety is good.  What is a problem, is that the psychiatrist who has prescribed the medication has put it on closed control dispensing because we’re considered a suicide risk.  This means that we have to go pick-up the medication weekly.  Normally this isn’t a problem.  But last week they didn’t have enough pills to fill the prescription so told us we had to come back in a couple of days when they’d been resupplied.  Again, this wasn’t a problem.  We thought that we’d be able to just go in when the current meds finished and pick up the ones owed and the new weeks medication – it was their error for not having enough supplies on site, so we didn’t see the big deal.  Well apparently it DID matter…

  1. Initially they were just going to give us the new weeks worth of medication.
  2. We stupidly asked for the balance of last weeks medication.
  3. Pharmacist went back to the computer to check what the balance was about.
  4. She brought out the 1.5 days of medication that was the balance from last week.
  5. We asked for the new weeks as well – we didn’t want to have to waste more petrol by coming back in two days.
  6. Then they started on about the closed control dispensing and not being able to give the medication early, or more than a weeks worth at any one time.
  7. We questioned the validity of this statement considering they were about to give us the weeks worth two days early just a few minutes ago, and it was only when we asked about the balance that this became an issue.
  8. They again talked about closed control and brought out the original prescription notes from the psychiatrist.
  9. We agreed that it was closed control, however it was not our fault that they couldn’t control their stock levels.
  10. They talked about not being their fault and that they couldn’t not fill other peoples medication just because we might come in.

By this point we were more than a little unimpressed.  We haven’t attempted suicide in nearly a year.  Closed control is pointless – we’re librarians, we could find a recipe online easily that didn’t include taking this medication.  This medication isn’t working, so we’re jumping through hoops to obtain a medication that is doing nothing – but we need to keep taking it until we see the psychiatrist again.  At least we’re having no side effects…

After much discussion, we walked out of the pharmacy with the weeks worth of medication and the assurance from the pharmacy that they were going to call the psychiatrist to tell him that we’d come in early to pick-up the medication.  We asked if they were also going to inform him that the reason why we had to pick-up the medication early was because of their stock issues.  We were assured they would.  Doubting whether it happened…

What we found really interesting about the whole interaction is that the pharmacists immediately thought that we were saying that other peoples prescriptions shouldn’t have been filled because we were more important.  They didn’t seem to understand that we were questioning their ability to manage their own medicine stock levels.  I would hope that they gave the medication to the other people.  Again our inability to carry out basic communication.

I sometimes wonder if we get mixed up because of the internal conversations that occur.  I wonder if we forget or don’t realise that something that has been discussed internally has yet to be verbalised to the external world??

As a separate issue, we created the clip One year on… We are worried about making it live because the friend who has been strange with us, might get hurt by it.  Really annoyed with ourselves that we are changing things we should be happy about because of him.

We are our own worst enemy at times…


August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Categories

I’m feeling…

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)

Twitter Updates

del.icio.us