Overcoming depression: Part 2.

For a few months after, I was doing slightly better, still depressed but didn’t immediately want to kill myself. But then I slipped, I became more depressed and suicidal and also started self-harming again. I told the relevant people, school counsellor, psychologist and psychiatrist I was feeling bad again. Made an agreement with my school counsellor that if I were to start hoarding medication again and I didn’t tell her she would no longer be able to see me. Which was a big deal to me because I don’t think I would last long if I didn’t have her to support me, even now. My psychiatrist who never took me seriously even though I had attempted and nearly succeeded before put me on anti anxiety meds and a new anti depressant, which just made me more of a zombie than I already was. When I ran out I went back on my own for a refill, my mum usually dealt with all my meds and locked them away, so all I wanted off my psychiatrist was a repeat prescription that I could give to my mum and she could deal with. But instead my psychiatrist went into some drawer and pulled out a full bottle of the meds and gave them to me, he knew I was suicidal, he knew I’d attempted before and he tempted me with a full bottle of meds instead of a prescription. I seriously considered swallowing them all right there and then, or taking them home and hoarding them.

Instead remembering my promise to my school counsellor, I drove to school and handed them to her. She was proud of me, and then she called my mum up from where she was working at the time in the school library. She told me and my mum she thought I needed better psychiatric care than could be offered there, so I should go back to England and get some, maybe even inpatient care. This was now April 2013. Three days later I was on a plane back to England.

After getting back I saw my GP, had never seen her before as I had been moved to a different GP from my old one whilst I was away. She referred me to the local psychiatric team, they didn’t think inpatient care would be the best thing for me so instead they put me on the hospital at home program; which is basically where someone from a team of psychiatric nurse’s come to your house every day to talk to you. It was okay, not great but okay and the nurses were alright. But after a month you get moved onto the longer term program and get given a care coordinator.

My first care coordinator was rubbish, and my second and my third and final one. I just couldn’t click with them and I didn’t feel they understood on any level what I was going through. I wasn’t getting any sort of regular treatment, it was an hour every two weeks, which isn’t a lot for someone who is terribly depressed. That’s if they even turned up at all. My second one forgot me on what was meant to be our first session, I ditched him after two sessions and asked for someone different. My third wasn’t as bad as the first two but she didn’t turn up on multiple occasions leaving me without anyone to speak to for weeks.

Not happy with the treatment I was getting I searched google for someone private to see. I found a place who had lots of psychologists in different locations within the county I live in and a neighbouring county. And they also had psychologists who specialised in treating people with chronic pain. I contacted them with a brief snippet about me and my issues, they emailed straight back and we set up and appointment for the week after with a psychologist who practiced about half an hour from where I live and treated people mainly with chronic pain.

My first appointment went well, I clicked with her instantly, she was nice, I really liked her and felt like she understands what I have been going through. In our session we talked about everything, how I was feeling that week etc etc.

Despite finding a great psychologist I downward spiralled again, sinking into a pit of depression and not knowing or wanting to get out. This was at the start of this year. I just desperately wanted my life to be over, the pain in my head to be over, but I couldn’t see a life worth living if all it was going to be was more pain and the misery that comes with the pain. My psychologist has started me on acceptance and commitment therapy by this time and we were working through that and the exercises in the book. I got the idea but I didn’t get how to get there when I was feeling so dark because of the pain. I started hoarding medication again ready for the right time.

Then I’m not entirely sure what happened but something in me sort of clicked, the whole acceptance thing started to click. I decided I wanted to live, I wanted to accept that I am in pain and I probably will always be in pain, I wanted to try and move on with my life despite pain, I wanted to try and actually live a good life despite pain. I threw them all away, all of the medication I just got rid of, so I no longer had it, so I could no longer use it. And that was my first step towards acceptance. I then decided I needed to try and do something with my life despite the pain in my head, so I applied to go to college in September, and I got in.

To be continued…

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Overcoming depression: Part 1.

For me there is no such thing as a pain free day, it just doesn’t exist in my life, every day I wake up with a headache, I have a headache every second, every minute, every hour of the day, every day, I don’t remember what a pain free day feels like, I don’t remember what it feels like not to be in pain. However there is such a thing as a depression free day, I didn’t think there was for me but it does exist I know that now. I’ve been in constant pain for 4 and a half years, pretty soon after the onset of my headache, I lasted a few months before the depression hit and just got worse and worse everyday and I never thought I could be happy again, I never thought that I would ever be okay again if I was always going to be in pain.

I hit breaking point on the 30th September 2012 where I took a very large overdose of anti depressants to try to end my life because I couldn’t stand the pain I was in and didn’t want to continue living if I was always going to be in pain. I’d been working up to it, hoarded three different types of medications one of which I got given by a hospital in England back in summer 2011. They gave me the rest of the left over anti depressants and anti anxiety meds I had been given in hospital, I left the hospital on my own in London instead of my mum coming to pick me up so she didn’t know about the medication I had been given, so I kept it all ready for the ‘right’ time. I had all the medication ready for over a year before I took my final overdose and my note at the ready. In the week leading up to my biggest and final overdose I took two smaller overdoses. The first of anti anxiety, it was only a small one and just made me really tired the next day, so tired I fell asleep in class, which happened often but I fell asleep in art and my art teacher was pissed. A few days later I took another one this time it was anti psychotics I used to help me sleep at night which I had hoarded, again it was only a small one, it didn’t do anything but give me the worst nights sleep of my life and cause me to a have a seizure in the shower in the morning. I’m not entirely sure what I was trying to accomplish with these two smaller overdoses, I guess I was just trying to get a feel for the amount I was taking and what that would do and then gauge how much more I needed to actually achieve my goal of never waking up.

I remember that week at school vividly, I was desperately depressed and didn’t want to live. I had been assigned a teaching assistant in class to help me and it wasn’t going too well. That week she asked if she could have a chat with me, so we went into the library for a chat. She said that it didn’t seem like I wanted to be in class, that I didn’t make any effort, and I replied simply ‘I don’t want to be here let alone in class’. I think that was one of my all time lows, I just didn’t care anymore, didn’t want to go on and I didn’t care who knew.  I posted on my Tumblr that I had before this blog about my two small overdoses, not knowing my sister read it, she told my school counsellor, I hadn’t told her because I knew she would have to tell my parents and I didn’t want that, I had more plans and I didn’t want to be stopped. A meeting was set up with my school counsellor and my parents for Monday the 1st October.

The meeting never happened, on the night of the Sunday 30th September 2012, I took my biggest overdose of the anti depressants I had kept for over a year. I don’t remember much after that, I hardly even remember taking the pills, or how long it took after taking them did I pass out. I don’t remember how long or what time it was when my mum found me. All I remember is being slapped repeatedly in the face, and being shouted at to stay awake by my mum, and my constant reply of shouting ‘fuck off leave me alone’ at them all. After that I don’t remember much else, other than flashing images, a man praying over me in the lift, screaming when they inserted a cathoder in me. I had a tube in my nose feeding me charcoal, my arms were bandaged so the police couldn’t see my scars. I was told I became violent and they nearly put restraints on me because I wouldn’t let anyone treat me. I remember coming to briefly and my mum asked me what I wanted, I said my school counsellor. And the next time I woke up she was there and I was crying asking her why I was alive and she wiped the tears away from my eyes. This I remember vividly, I think it’s possibly the only time I have ever cried in front of my school counsellor. I was in hospital for I think four days, I had quite a few visitors, my school counsellor first, my doctor came to see me, my three closest friends and my psychologist. It was a big secret that I was in hospital and why I was there.

After, I wanted to go back to school but I wasn’t allowed, my parents had a meeting with my school counsellor, head of sixth form and the head teacher. It was decided that I shouldn’t go back to school until my pain levels were under control. Which basically meant I was never going back to school. Not only was I then distraught that I lived but I was distraught that I couldn’t go back to school. My mum then took me to England to see my doctors and my psychiatrist there, we stayed for a few weeks, it didn’t really help and then we went back home.

For a while after that I was in a sort of state of shock after what I had done. And I felt very guilty about what I had put my family through.

To be continued…

Annoyed is not the word.

So if you read my blog regularly you would know about my struggle with getting a provisional drivers licence. I first applied for this in August 2013. After waiting for months for them to process my application and speak to my doctor I got denied on the grounds of psychiatric illness. I was not expecting it at all, I’m perfectly safe to drive always have been my depression never effected any of that. But they denied me anyway. Upset and angry don’t even begin to describe how I felt when I got denied. But I fought it, I sent letters from my local mental health team and my psychologist I see privately to them supporting my application and saying I was perfectly safe to drive. And the driving authority invited me to reapply after checking with my doctor that I am safe to drive. So I did what was asked of me, checked with my doctor got her to write a letter supporting my reapplication and reapplied.

I thought it would be simple, after all they had everything they needed to make a decision. A month after applying I still hadn’t heard anything so I rang them up, I was told by the guy on the phone that my case had gone to a manager and a decision wouldn’t be made for another three weeks. I was annoyed that would mean they would have had my application for 7 weeks, and application they had already seen before and just had some supporting letter attached to it, surely it was simple, read the letters and make a decision?! Three weeks passed and I still hadn’t heard anything from them.

It has now been a month so today I rang them up to ask what was happening. I was told that they had sent out a questionnaire to my GP last Thursday. My GP has already filled in this questionnaire once when I last applied. Basically my application has been sent right back to the beginning, my GP has to re do the questionnaire and send it back and then it could still take months before a decision is made. 

I’m angry because what they have to do is so simple, I know they have a lot of other cases to deal with, but they’ve seen my application before they’ve even had three supporting letters, why isn’t that enough. I spent the morning upset and angry over this. I’ve calmed down now and am kind of seeing the up side of my GP filling in this questionnaire again. In the questionnaire it’s all questions with a yes or no answer. Last time she ticked yes in ‘serious mental health issues including severe depression, suicidility, and psychosis’ I’m not psychotic but I had severe depression at the time so she had to tick yes and there was no where where she could say that I wasn’t psychotic so as far as they know I could have been. But now, now that I’m better she can tick the box that says mild to moderate depression, she can also tick yes to the box that says ‘is your patient well and stable’ where as previously she had said no. And she can state how long I’ve been well and stable. Based on the answers she put last time it’s no wonder I got denied the first time to be honest, if you are basing it just on her answers and not having met me which they never have. But hopefully with these new answers I won’t get denied and they will be able to see the difference since the last time she filled it in, I hope so anyway. Got an appointment with my GP on Friday to discuss it as I haven’t seen her in a few months and she doesn’t know how well I’m doing so I need to go and tell her so that she can answer the questionnaire correctly. 

What I’m annoyed about mostly is the time scale, by the time I get an answer it will have nearly been a year since I first applied, which is ridiculous really. It also means that I won’t be able to drive by the time college comes around in September which is in just over three months time, so that will be pretty inconvenient to be honest. So that’s what I’m pissed off about mostly.  

I will never understand.

One thing I will never understand is how people can just cut you out of their lives like you meant nothing to them in the first place, like you never even existed.

I’ve lost so many friends over the years and the only reason for most of this is that I’m sick. I never got a reason why they all ditched me but most of it happened shortly after I got sick, so the only reason I can put it down to was that they were just fed up of the sick and depressed girl and couldn’t be bothered to be there for her. Which just made me more depressed that I had no friends.

Eventually (after over a year) I made some new friends, these were much better they stuck by me, mostly. I had a best friend who also suffered from depression, for different reasons to me though. And I had two other really close friends who were a couple. The rest of my new group of friends were good also I don’t speak to any of them online because we never spoke online before but I saw and spoke to them a lot at nights out and stuff and now I see them occasionally in Dubai if we are there at the same time.

My best friend (now former best friend) ditched me in November, we kept in touch online speaking a lot and then eventually she stopped talking to me, I tried to talk to her but every time I did she would stop replying mid way through a conversation and I got fed up with it so eventually stopped talking to her. We haven’t spoken since.

All my England friends ditched me a long time ago as well.

I don’t have many friends anymore, I have a best friend who was my other closest friend in Dubai we talk a lot. The rest of my friends consist of people from Taekwondo but we only socialise within taekwondo mainly apart from meals out occasionally. The rest are family friends that are really my parents friends but i get on well with too, Staying with some at the minute who I’m really close with and get on well with. And I have one other friend who I see every couple of weeks who use to be my next door neighbor when we were younger. My social life consists of going to Taekwondo nearly every evening as I have nothing else to do because I don’t really have any friends to do anything with.

I just don’t get how one day you can just decide to cut someone out of your life for practically no real reason and it’s like they never even existed, I would never do that to someone, I just don’t understand it. I see all these people who ditched me on Facebook, my ex best friend and I secretly hope that one day maybe they would talk to me, it’s highly unlikely but I just always wonder.

Taking things for granted.

If there’s one thing (there’s actually several but I’m talking about one thing in particular this time) that having chronic pain/illness has taught me is to not take things for granted. For example for me one day I just got sick; I got the worst headache imaginable that never went away, one day I had my health and the next it was gone and I was to live out the rest of my days in pain. Which over time got me more and more depressed and suicidal, I didn’t want to live if that’s all it was ever going to be. I’ve now accepted the fact that I’m going to be in pain for probably the rest of my life and am trying to lead a more positive happy life despite the pain.

One thing that really gets to me is ‘normal’ people my age or a bit younger complaining about school, college or university. I had that taken away from me for a long time, I had to drop out of school, I never thought there was ever going to be a possibility that I could/ would ever be able to go to university. So it really got to me when people complained about it all, when I was sat there thinking ‘I would kill to be able to go to school, college or university, they don’t know how lucky they are!’ I guess you don’t really know how much you want something till it’s gone. For me all I wanted was to be able to go to school like everyone else, but I just couldn’t and people complaining about it made me so angry.

I suppose now I’ve been through all that I know what it’s like to not have it, and I suppose that will impact on me a lot when I start college in September, because now I want it more than I ever had before and I feel like it’s within my grasp to be able to do it and eventually go to university if it all pans out.

With my health for a while all I wanted was to be ‘healthy’, not in pain and sick, I thought that was all that mattered, that all I needed was to not be in pain and everything would be okay again. I guess what I’m saying is that that’s not the case, I can still live my life, I can achieve the things I want yet still having a severe headache all the time.

Feeling slightly better.

So at the time of my last post I was feeling terrible, the pain was god awful and my depression reared it’s ugly head because the pain was so bad. The pain was so awful I felt like I could hardly move but I promised the guy I was staying with that I would help him start cooking for this charity thing we are hosting (will get to that in a minute). So I dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs to help cook. And you know what the distraction of cooking knocked the pain down a couple of levels, from a 9/10 to a 7/10 which I can cope with. We then after we had finished some of our cooking preparations went out for dinner and the pain stayed at a 7/10 for the rest of the evening. I was quite worried that that was the start of a massive flare up but it wasn’t, my pain has been hovering around a 6/7 which for me is normal and bearable. It just shows that sometimes distraction can be the best thing, even though it’s hard to begin with, to motivate yourself to do something when the pain is so bad you feel like you can’t do anything but lie there in pain. 

I was feeling quite alone because of the pain that day, but it’s been okay since then. I’ve been filling my time away staying with friends with dog walks, going out for lunch with the guy I’m staying with. I’ve even been sailing, which was freezing cold and boring because there was hardly any wind, my dad wasn’t too pleased I went sailing when I’ve never even been on his boat in Dubai. And I’ve been on a short bike ride with the people I’m staying with, which was actually nice, all be it not very good for my knee joints. 

The friends I’m staying with are doing this 100 mile bike ride called Prudential Ride London in August, is a bike ride round London through Surrey and back to London. Clare got in to do it but J didn’t and the only way he could do it was to do it for charity. So he is doing it for breakthrough breast cancer, they want him to raise £750 for them to be able to ride for them. So he decided he would do this like pop up Indian restaurant, where he would cook a 4 course Indian meal and have loads of friends round to eat and pay what they think it’s worth. I’m his sous chef so we spent a lot of last week starting to prepare the food for it, and we had our first of three nights on Friday with 16 people round to eat. It went really well, everyone loved the food and we raised over £400, or target is £1000 and we have two nights remaining to do, so already we are well on our way to reaching our goal, our next night is on Sunday and then the last two weeks later. 

I went to Cardiff yesterday for the Welsh Taekwondo championships, I wasn’t competing but I was officiating, it was a long day, getting up early to get there for 9am then loads of officiating and then coming back. But it wasn’t too bad a day to be honest. I’m knackered now though have spent most of the day asleep.

I’ve got a week left of staying here and then my mum is back and I’m off back home. But I’ve had quite a nice time already, I struggled in the beginning but it’s fine now and has been really nice, the friends I’m staying with are great and kind of push me to do things slightly out of my comfort zone which is alright. Though I am looking forward to getting back home and going back to Taekwondo after two weeks off. 

Too much pain, I can’t deal.

Right now I’m in so much pain, I feel like there are knives in my head and my brain is being crushed, the pain is so sharp and severe that I can hardly move. And there is nothing I or anyone else can do about it, so I just have to lay in bed in pain and feeling so miserable. In this moment right now I feel like dying, I just want to stop the pain, I’m not going to do anything but that’s just how I feel. Right now I just don’t understand why this happened and my acceptance has gone out the window because the pain is so severe and is clouding my outlook on everything. 

I don’t really have anyone to talk to at the minute about this sort of stuff, I only see my psychologist every other week now and this week she’s away on holiday so I don’t want to disturb her with an email. My mum’s in Dubai and the people I’m staying with don’t really get it. I’ve emailed my school counsellor in Dubai though. I feel quite alone. 

I’m really struggling, with the pain, with everything and I don’t know what to do because nothing makes the pain any better. When the pain gets bad I start to worry more, at the minute mainly about going to college next year and how I will cope with the pain.

What I really need is some good news, maybe that would make things a bit better, preferably from the DVLA giving me a provisional drivers licence, hopefully (fingers crossed) will hear good news next week,, if not I don’t know how I will cope.