Thoughts on Christmas

I’ve always loved Christmas, as I’ve got older I’ve appreciated it differently. It’s become less about presents and more about the other things that make Christmas wonderful. The first thing that pops into my mind are lights. I love lights, all different types but at Christmas in the bleak shorter and darker days, a myriad of lights everywhere make the world glow and lift the spirit.

Next are the decorations. I’m not precious about how things should be and my tree usually looks like a mad jumble of trinkets, but it brings some much needed colour to a room and to the soul.

I love Christmas music, contempory or classical, as long as it’s jolly. In my opinion ballads have no place at Christmas. Christmas music should bring joy not sadness.

I’ve struggled with getting in the mood for it this year. After so much going wrong for me it’s easy to believe I have nothing to look forward to. But I need to believe that I’m wrong. Christmas is a reminder that I have survived a difficult year, surely that’s a reason for celebration? I can understand why this time of year is difficult for some people to cope with. It’s an extremely emotive time, where memories can haunt and the thought of celebration just seems too much of a stretch. I would say that it’s important to do Christmas in your own way. To try and forgo the usual demands to have fun and use it as a time for some much needed self care.

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Socially awkward

I’m so angry with myself.

So I should be at a party tonight. I went I watched the fireworks and then I had to socialise with people. These aren’t strangers, these are people I’ve known for a long time now. But they may as well speak a different language. The difference today is that I couldn’t drink. Alcohol has always been the difference between a good night and a bad one. My medication doesn’t interact well with alcohol so I have no choice but to remain sober, this is a problem for me.

I just found myself standing with people and not being able to contribute anything to conversations. I was ultra aware of everything around me, and everything I was doing. I felt like I was 10 feet tall, and everyone could tell I was struggling.

To cut a long story short I went home. I just couldn’t stay feeling like that. I’m angry and disappointed that my mental illness has held me back again. I feel like I’ve let it win.

It’s made me feel like I have no one that understands. No one that wants to spend time with me. I left without saying goodbye, I haven’t heard from anyone. I don’t feel especially close to any of the people there. I just long for a connection, to click with someone who wants to spend time getting to know me even though I’m terrible at chit chat, and seem a bit cold at first.

Hope you’re all ok xxx

….

I’m having a hard time at the moment. My eye is still useless, my car has been cloned and I’m getting fines that I’m not responsible for as well as other things that I won’t mention. Usually I’d be beside myself, but thankfully my cocktail of brain medicine is allowing me to feel kind of numb to it all. I don’t know whether this is a good or bad thing. The positive is that I’m not on the verge of a breakdown. But the negative is that I’m unable to deal with the issues by myself because I just can’t comprehend them at the moment. Luckily I’ve got help, others are less fortunate. This situation makes me realise how bad things must be for those of us who don’t have a support network as such. Trying to cope with everyday tasks that most people take for granted can become impossible when you are heavily medicated. I don’t think this is appreciated enough by mental health professionals. They seem to be concerned with purely reducing the suffering of service users from their mental ill health. They don’t consider the issues that may arise from the medication provided. Side effects are commonplace and the feeling of being drugged can prevent people from living normal lives. It just raises the question about whether the drugs in use currently are really fit for purpose. Hopefully research in the future will look to find drugs that aren’t riddled with side effects.

Hope you are all well xxx

…..

It’s 6 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’ve come downstairs and made a cup of tea. I do this from time to time. I enjoy the quiet and the solitude. Usually it’s a bit earlier than this when I get up, 4-4.30 but this suits me just fine.

Things are hard at the moment. I’m trying to find light in the situation, trying to find the positives. Every day I wake up hoping that my eye is mysteriously better, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m getting used to being careful in case I bump into things which I suppose is a plus. My meds make me so sleepy that I find it difficult to function, but they do make me calmer so mixed blessings there.

When everything seems to be going wrong it makes you wonder what you did to deserve it. The truth is I’m just unlucky, but it doesn’t stop me thinking I’ve been a bad person and this is my punishment. I wish I believed in a God so at least I’d have someone to blame.

A good whinge

I’m trying my best to be upbeat about my life at the moment but it’s so tough. This year has just been a bin fire for me. I just haven’t been able to catch a break. I’ve got a lot of reasons to be cheerful, but as anyone who suffers with mental ill health will understand, sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason for your misery.

My eye is still useless. I’m beginning to wonder whether my sight will ever come back. Still waiting for an appointment with an ophthalmologist and neurologist to see whether they can enlighten me as to what this is. I’m not filled with confidence.

I’m still permanently sleepy, but I think I’m calmer with it, which can only be a good thing. I just wish I could be more productive.

I guess these things are sent to try us as they say. I just wish they wouldn’t all come at once that’s all.

Hope you’re all well xxx

Quetiapine

So while I’ve been in hospital and recovering from my tummy bug I have been getting used to quetiapine. It has been quite a straightforward transition from respiridone to quetiapine thankfully. I don’t know how I’d have coped if it was a difficult transition while I was in hospital. I have noticed a couple of side effects, such as dry mouth and a weird change in taste, everything kind of tastes salty. But the worst one is lethargy. I have been weened onto the drug week by week and I am permanently exhausted. I think it’s having a positive effect on my mood mainly because I’m just too tired to think about anything. I’ve been resisting the urge to nap, as this screws up my bedtime routine, but it’s no easy task. It’s a hard type of tired to explain. I feel heavy, soggy, drugged. I don’t enjoy feeling like this but it’s getting me through a tough time so I’m thankful for that.

Hope you’re all well xxz

I’m out!

Well I’m out of hospital now, still no answers as to why I have lost sight in my left eye, but I’m happy to be at home. What wasn’t good was that I caught a bug while I was in there which saw me bedridden for 4 days after I was let out. I haven’t felt that poorly for a long time and the days seemed to blend into one, so I’m finding myself confused about the days when I wake up. But I’m on the mend thankfully, just sadly still blind in one eye.

What I wanted to highlight with this post most of all was the failings of hospitals when it comes to mentally ill patients. I found the whole experience desperately traumatic, when it could have been much easier. Firstly, when you are admitted nothing is mentioned about mental health. My mom had to explain to the nurses that I had complex mental health issues and unfortunately they seemed less than concerned about that. They just accepted it and did nothing with that information. Nobody tried to reassure me or comfort me at all. Secondly, they take all of your meds away from you. They do this in case of overdose or other patients taking the drugs. I understand this but I’m very precious about my drugs and when I take them and how they are arranged in my wash bag. They take all of that power away from you with no exception. Even though I had a lockable drawer next to my bed the drugs were stored there but I wasn’t allowed to access them at all.

Every day I experienced severe separation anxiety when visiting hours were over and my family had to leave me there. I cried every day, to the point of being almost hysterical and nobody said a word.

I don’t want to slag off the NHS, because I truly love it. But there are things that can and should be done for patients that need a hospital stay. There should be access to a CPN at least for people with mental health problems. There should be more concern for the wellbeing of patients. Unfortunately it would appear that the nurses and doctors on the wards are just so busy with their routine jobs that they literally have no time to spend with vulnerable patients. While I was there I never saw a nurse stand still. This is no exaggeration. They work incredibly hard and work long hours but this means the time available for mentally ill patients is very little indeed.

All I ask is for consideration to be made for the most vulnerable patients and that an assessment of their needs be made as soon as they are admitted. I didn’t require any particularly specialist help as I suspect most of us wouldn’t either. However I did require someone who could talk to me and reassure me that everything was ok and that I was safe where I was.

Has anyone else experienced this in UK hospitals? What were your experiences?

Hope you’re all well xxx