Masks

If you have ever felt just a little bit off, but had to carry on and get things done, you have probably “just put a brave face on it and got on with it”. For some one with Mental Illness we develop a great skill that actors spend years and years perfecting and garner shelves full of awards for. We develop the ability to put on Masks. Continue reading

Crossroad

Last Wednesday I got a phone call from my CPN. I had been waiting for him to call me from the week before. He is notoriously bad for keeping to arrangements to call. He never runs to time in his face to face appointments either. When he finally did call it was a call I wasn’t quite expecting.

Last Wednesday, I was officially discharged from CMHT care.

I was told that I would be discharged after I had completed the STEPPS course, I didn’t really expect that discharge to come less than 48 hours after finishing it. I have mentioned before about being discharged and how I felt it was the right time and the right thing for me to be doing at this time. That being said, I do think that there should have been a more formal process of discharge other than a brief 10 minute phone call saying “See Ya”.

Sanity

Certified Sane? Who Knows

I was put on the spot and I had 101 questions running around my head except not one of them would coalesce into 1 straight forward question I could ask. I asked if I could have a day or two to get some questions together and give him a call back. This went down like a lead balloon. He gave me to the end of the day. I called him back later that day asked my questions and was wished all the best and hope not to see you again. There I was for the first time in almost a decade  out of the care of a specialist team of people who would be able to fix my broken head if things went tits up.

Moving onwards to yesterday… my 39th birthday. I am just about at a place where things are straight in my head. Each day starts with me hoping that it will be as “normal” as yesterday. Yesterday though it suddenly became clear that my story had no where to go at the moment. I am in a flux state.

When I say my story has no where to go, that’s not exactly true. As of right now I am in the process of setting up a project for people in my area with Mental Health issues, I am starting work on writing a one man show based on this blog and other bull I have written and I am doing some work as and when I can with the local chapter of Rethink. My story is going ahead and it is telling it’s own story in it’s own way. It’s just a little different to the way I have been doing it up until this point in time.

What I guess I am saying is that It’s Just A Ride, whilst not the most prolific blog in the Madosphere it’s been something I have always had for the past few years. It’s not going away, as I said the story will be told, just in a different way. I will post here when I have something to say,

For now, in between all I have mentioned above, I am about to start something I call Project 39 which will be a weekly account of things in life that have affected me during that week in my 39th year. This will be happening over on my other blog www.paulhurwood.com. I hope that you will consider coming over and following my trip through the year to come. It won’t always be pretty and I can be pretty much assured that occasionally it won’t be on time, but it should be a bit of a laugh. There will be more news on that later on today (Saturday 11th May).

Thank you for reading so far. I hope that some how you will be able to keep up with all the changes.

Here’s To Round Number 2 *Ding Ding*

Until Next Time?

Photo credit: needoptic / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

200+

Black and White image of a Shadow of Me

Me from in front of the sun

Off the bat, this is my 200th published post on IJAR. It’s taken me far to long to get this far and I should be hanging my head in shame at my total crap status as a blogger. Really I am not that worried. I have posted more posts elsewhere that if I hadn’t had other blogs would probably have ended up here anyway. You can find my other blogs, they are all well signposted. I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that I had made it to 200.

The reason for this post is kind of a follow on to my last post about being discharged from front line Mental Health services. In my last post I was very gung ho about the fact and I was all up for the fact that in a few short weeks I would be going it alone with only the back up of my GP, who I don’t have total faith in, but have very little chances of moving away from due to GP shortages in this area. Over the past week to ten days thoughts have been crossing my mind that are not exactly casting doubts on my pending discharge, but more along the lines of what happens to the rest of the things I have relied on CMHT to provide.

I have no idea if I should be contacting benefits agencies about the team discharging me. Yes it is a change in my circumstances, but I know I am still ill. I know I am doing better, but I also know that I am in no way ready to go back into a work place. There is no documentation about this. Who decides? Please if you know the best course of action from here, please let me know either in the comments or by sending me an email (you can find the email button over there —>.

My group finishes this next Monday. It’s been 20 weeks and I have found them in turns informative, frustrating and hugely humbling. I have learned so much about an illness I don’t have, but can identify with.  One thing that really did force itself home during these past 20 weeks and the emotional journey that I went on whilst being with that group of people, Labels Don’t Matter at all. All that matters is that you are comfortable in your own skin and to a certain extent, mind. One of the things I know I will most probably never achieve is total peace. I have to much twisted thinking and the voices will always be there and I have to keep developing ways to drown them out and keep my equilibrium about as even as I can. Doing this will lead me to a stronger base where I can move on and actually state with 99% certainty that I am in Recovery and I am going to be well. It’s a road that I have found and I have a pretty good map to guide me, I just don’t have a very good compass to keep me on that path yet… but I am working on it.

Until Next Time…

Discharged

Yesterday was a day that started way to early and finished way to late. With the exception of roughly 5 hours it was spent in hospital waiting rooms and other sundry hospital related rooms.

I was sat in an out of hours Doctors waiting room at about 11pm last night and started writing this blog post and once I finally got home at 1am this morning, I really didn’t have the where with all to finish it off. So this post is an abbreviation of what I had to say yesterday.

I had my CPA meeting yesterday. As I tweeted last Friday, I was preying for a Belfastian Snow Storm, it didn’t arrive so I had to go. I have made no secret that I have issues with my Consultant Psychiatrist. She has made some rather crazy statements in the past and I haven’t agreed with her very often. I do have to thank her for reawakening me 2 years ago when she saw that I was obviously over medicated and she was very quick in reducing my medications and really restoring me back to the world of the living.

Yesterday, I acknowledged this and we started the meeting off on a surprisingly up note. I didn’t see what follows coming. It really was a bolt out of the blue. For a start she didn’t mention the BPD/EUPD (whatever). She did however refer to my condition to be so much better than it was when she first met me. I had to agree. I have been pretty much “stable” for the past 6 months. There have been ups and downs as there always have, but with what I have learned through the groups I have attended, I have handled the issues better and better. Over the past 14 weeks with what I have learned and tried to put into place with the STEPPS group things are falling into place more and more.

One thing I have realised is that I am unsure what I should be diagnosed as. Yes, I believe I have Bipolar Affective Disorder and yes I do have SOME traits of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. I don’t fit all of the criteria of the latter, but I do think that everyone in society will have traits of that, but when you add in Bipolar to the mix things are amped up and can cause some rather funky results.

Back to the CPA.

The whole meeting carried on in a similar vein. She praised me to the top of the hill and back. It was like things had magically solved themselves over the past 6 months. I felt more and more empowered by what she was saying. She made points to me that made me realise the great strides I had made.

It was decided that there would be no changes to my medication and then it happened… the BUT in every conversation I had ever had with my Consultant came. The BUT this time floored me like a prize fighter with a glass jaw.
“We are going to release you back to your GP at the end of the STEPPS group in 6 weeks time”

I was dumbfounded. My CPN had been hinting at this for close to a year, but he always made it sound like it was something happening to other patients. It was always the discussion that the services they were offering were by and far over stretched and things were changing in the way they offer their services. Yesterday I became one of those OTHER patients and my heart skipped a beat and then I revelled in the joy that other were seeing in me that I was getting better.

They laid out the plan for what will happen when this current group ends. I will be placed in to what they called “Shared Care”. I don’t know if that’s just a name they have created in my area or if it’s a national thing. It was never mentioned back up in Corby (EVER). I had questions that I needed answers to, but yesterday wasn’t the day for them. I do know that my care through the CMHT will not end they after I finish the group, there has to be a crossover period where everything is explained in full to me and my family. So you could say I found out what my birthday present will be a couple of months early.

One thing I am going to do before this whole thing happens is change my GP. I am more certain now that my current GP is not the right person for me to go through this process with. By his own admission he refers people very quickly if he is unsure. I really need support from people who will refer me if it is deemed totally necessary, but will also have the ability to take a look at my notes and be able to try and rationalise what is happening in the present moment with an eye on the past. It has always been my goal within Mental Health services to NOT be in Mental Health services. I really don’t want to be bouncing back and forward on a whim, which is what I think would happen with my current GP. So that is one more thing to be added to my list.

As the meeting was drawing to it’s natural conclusion, we discussed what I had been doing to keep myself occupied. I told her about my work with Rethink and that I had been writing more “offline” stuff. When she heard that I had been writing more it seemed that a light switched on and she remembered something she had been meaning to say. She had been to see a play about Mental Health and people who suffer from illnesses like the one(s) I do and she suggested that that could be something I could do for this area. She also suggested that I try and get involved with speaking to groups of people about my experiences within and without the CMHT and living with the Mentalz. Again this just spurred me on even more at where I cold be going in the next 12 to 18 months ahead.

I am under no illusions that it’s going to be easy out there on my own, but I do know that I have a few new gadgets to play with that might help make my days a little easier.

As a short footnote… I started writing this at 10.30pm Monday night in a Doctors Waiting Room and it is now just after 1am on Wednesday. It’s not that I am a slow writer, it’s just that I got distracted with a life that no longer revolves around my own worries of how my Mental Health is affecting me and how  I can best beat the situation.

Until Next Time…

NB – *When you read the word yesterday.. Imagine yesterday was Monday*

Messy Mind, Messy Head

A Messy Desk

If my mind is reflected through the state of my desk… then man am I really screwed

It’s been hard to come up with anything to write for IJAR of late. I am still attending my weekly STEPPS group and my mind is mostly occupied with that.  With each week that goes by I feel that I really don’t belong in the group. I say this because I no longer feel ill, it’s more of a case that the whole STEPPS system is set up for people with Borderline Personality Disorder and I am even more sure now than I was when I first got that diagnosis that I do not have that. The things we talk about in the group are interesting to learn about, but I don’t identify myself with the symptoms or traits that are laid out for that illness.

I have my CPA on Monday and I am really not looking forward to that. I never like them, but I get the impression that I am in for a mental beating and a game of cat and mouse whenever I go into the room with my consultant. I really would like to get a second opinion and move on to another consultant, but it’s hard enough to get an appointment with the one you are assigned too let alone getting a second one.

My sleep is really disordered at the moment. I have stresses that keep piling up one on top of another. I finally managed to get my CPN to give me a few sleeping pills to help me get back into some kind of rhythm with my sleep, but circumstances just haven’t allowed me to take them. It’s a pattern that repeats every few months and I think I finally have my CPN’s realisation that I am not just asking for these drugs for the sake of it, it’s something that happens with me and I need occasional help breaking it. What I need now is for my mind to be reassured that my wife will not get hurt during the night and for the DWP to get their arses in gear and sort my ESA evaluation and for a multitude of other things to come into line so I can finally get a full nights sleep, medically induced or naturally. I just need a few nights.

That’s it for now.

Until Next Time…

Sneaky

I have sat here this morning and reflected back at the past week or so and I have realised that depression has snuck up on me again. It really is a sneaky bastard. I knew I was having problems a couple of days ago where I was having increased voices in my head trouble, but this morning it’s all too evident that things are not going as planned. Continue reading