Open Letter To David Cameron.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It is thanks to you that I am ashamed to call myself a British citizen! Oh god, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m so tired. So very, very tired. You’re twisted world of power and greed has left me with a choice between sacrificing my health in more ways than one, sacrificing seeing my children or sacrificing the roof over my head and winding up back on the streets.

I’m a very ill lady. I have quite the list of health problems. Your ATOS assessors have found this to be true, and say I’m unfit to work. But as I am also only allowed my children here part time due to one of these illnesses, according to your new “bedroom tax“, I should basically give up my right to even have them part time, because since they love away from me most of the time, having them over to stay is now a privilege that I should now have to pay over £100 a month for, as well as the travelling costs I incur because they live 25 miles away, and the food expenses on top of that. That in itself takes most of my benefit, and since the disability living allowance department only see fit to grant me the lowest amount possible for anxiety issues, and have chosen to ignore the worst of my mental health issues, and ignore my physical health issues altogether, that leaves me in a rather large bind.

Do you know, Mr Cameron, that as a direct result of your bedroom tax, you have worsened my mental and physical health problems under the stresses and strains of the new “bedroom tax”? Did you know, Mr Cameron, that even if I did decide to move to a smaller property, that this would then mean that not only do I lose access to my children, but I then lose access to my family and my entire support network, because to move out of my current home, the home I have lived in now for almost 7 years, I would have to move out of the area, because there are NO properties available in my area that are suitable for me. Tell me, Mr Cameron, how do I get out of that one?

Of course, I could get a job. There is the risk that, even if I am able to find someone that is willing to take on someone that suffers from severe depression, episodes of mania and even psychosis, extreme widespread pain, migraines, anxiety and panic attacks, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and falls, random numbness of the limbs, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, swelling of extremities, short term memory loss, concentration difficulties, spatial disorientation, calculation difficulties and other cognitive problems, trouble in communication through not being able to say the right words, frequent intense and realistic nightmares, stiffness in muscles and joints, muscle weakness, sciatica, changes in visual acuity, intolerance of medications, restless leg syndrome, being sensitive to temperature and heat and cold changes, palpitations, breathing difficulties, involuntary muscle spasms, non-cardiac chest pain that mimics a cardiac disorder, pelvic pain, dry eyes and mouth, heel pain, unusual and uncontrollable irritability, self harms and has suicidal thoughts and tendencies, I could then lose the job because of all of these problems. That is IF I find someone willing to take me on with all of that.

If I do find someone to take me on, and my goodness I would love to be back in work again, I run the risk of regular hospitalisation. Either from my mental or physical illness. I have already had to come off my medications, psych meds and all, because once I do find a job, I will no longer be able to afford these medicines, and the negative effects are already showing.

I actually cannot remember the last time I ate a nutritious meal. I cannot remember the last time I ate a full meal. I live off of snacks. The odd biscuit here, the odd tiny microwave “meal” there. No nutrition what-so-ever. I cannot buy salads or vegetables, because they do not last long enough, and once they have gone, I cannot afford to buy anything else to replace them until my next “payday” or maybe even the payday after that. So it has to be small snacks that will not go off quickly and that I can make last for as long as possible. Please think about that every time your wife cooks you a nice healthy meal, or you eat out at a restaurant.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who are in the same position as me. Don’t get me wrong, I know something had to be done, but not to the point of people suffering and losing their lives, surely? I certainly fear for my life. I really, truly do.

So I beg you Mr Cameron, I beg of you with everything I have left inside of me, please, PLEASE start thinking about the people who are suffering this torture, and do something to help us so that we don’t suffer any more. I know my words are redundant, but they needed to be spoken even if then fell on deaf ears.

Holly

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Hello Mania, My Old Friend!

Hello to talking at 90 miles an hour. Hello to not being able to sit still, even when I’m sitting still (wtf? Yeah I know!!). Hello to being super-productive. Hello to feeling great. Not just great in fact, absolutely amazing. Hello to the fantastic sex (not that it isn’t fantastic anyway, but those who understand know what I mean). All pretty harmless stuff, right?

Well, this means also hello to pressured speech. Hello to prolonged periods of insomnia (hence writing this post at 3.20am). Hello to chaotic, disorganised and fast changing thoughts. Hello to starting about 50 different things at once, and finishing none of them, so the productivity then becomes chaos. Hello to being on the go non-stop, so much so, that my brain couldn’t care less about the physical pain I am in, no matter how much physical pain I am in, I just keep going beyond my normal capabilities. Hello to struggling to keep my big gob shut, and annoying every single person around me. Hello to the risk of blowing ALL my money and have sweet F.A. to show for it. Hello to the risk of hypersexuality and the risks that come with that (I was almost caught having sex in a public place just last night). Hello to delusions, paranoia and hallucinations (I’m not there yet, well, I’ve found myself coming out with some very paranoid talk, but I have realised after, so touch wood, I can keep check on that with the help of the hubby).

All of this stuff isn’t even a full list of what can and does happen for me, and yet still those in the mental health profession still do not hear me when I say how I suffer. I’m currently sat watching a program on the TV about the NHS and how poor services are for our mental health, and how so many people are failed by these services. It gives me peace of mind. I have no issues when someone makes an attempt to invalidate my opinion. It can be frustrating, but it would be frustrating to anyone to feel that they aren’t being listened too. However, on the many occasions that I have spoken my mind to our local mental health services, and how I feel that, while they have done good for some people, I still feel that they have failed so many people, myself included, and they just shoot me down with their seemingly favourite line, “well that is your opinion”. Yes it is my opinion, but I am aware that it is a widely shared opinion, and that is fact!

The fact that I am still trying to fight misdiagnosis, and my medical notes being so full of confusion throughout all of my life is ridiculous in my mind. I have had something happen yesterday that seemed positive, where I saw my psychiatrist and finally admitted that I didn’t think that I needed my meds, and had actually taken myself off them some time before I had even met him. He saw this as a good thing in the sense that I am not reliant on medication, which somehow the previous psychiatrist has come to the conclusion that I was so pre-occupied with meds that I was refusing therapy treatment and this proves to the new one that I am being honest that they had got me wrong completely, as I hated my medication and didn’t think it was good for me at all. The good thing that came from that, is that the new psychiatrist had asked the community mental health team in my area to give me much needed extra support previously and they denied it, but now he has grounds to fight my corner even more, as he says that essentially I am now not getting any treatment, and I need some form of treatment. We shall see how that goes.

I will sign off now, otherwise I will be sat here rambling away all night, and if I don’t try and get some sleep then the hubby will be telling me off when he asks how much sleep I got in a few hours time.

Night night world (or morning, it is 4.10am after all).

H x

Exhausting trip to see the new psychiatrist.

I can’t help but feel like today’s appointment with the new psychiatrist was some sort of test. A test to see how I react, and to see if I react like a typical person with borderline personality disorder.

I was told that I am preoccupied with the diagnosis factor of my illness, and in some ways, that is true… well, no too ways about it, it is true.

But why is it so important for me to get the right diagnosis? Well, to be honest, I’d have thought that would have been an obvious one. To me, getting the right diagnosis means getting the right treatment. Although a lot of psychiatrists argue that the treatments for BPD and Bipolar are the same, and don’t get me wrong, maybe they are, a lot of the symptoms they will be trying to treat will be different to the symptoms they think they will be treating.

The symptoms they believe they will be treating according my current diagnosis:

http://www.bpddemystified.com/what-is-bpd/symptoms/

The symptoms that they will actually be treating according to my illness actually cycles:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

Now, I know there are similarities between the two but there are some very clear differences and there is a great article on http://www.psychologytoday.com about these differences.

The link is here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201003/three-easy-ways-differentiate-bipolar-and-borderline-disorders

I am actually getting very tired now, so I’m struggling to write now. The slight progress that was made is that as well as the BPD is that on my notes the psychiatrist added, well the way I understood it was that he added as a duel diagnosis, Cyclothymia. At first I was actually insulted. I am depressed, severely depressed at the moment, and have been for some time now, so this understandably upset me a little, but not enough for it to affect my day. I have a hard enough time trying to concentrate on my studies and just get through the day in general when I’m suffering a depressed phase. It did strike me though, that my apparent struggle to clearly get my point across today, as I sometimes do, may have put the psychiatrist under the impression that I do not know as much as I do on the subject, (I’m losing my train of thought) ah, yes, the reason I was at first insulted by this, is that it occurred to me that regardless of the diagnosis, I do not feel that my illness is taken as seriously as it should be.

That is about as much as I can handle for one night, despite the fact that it’s almost midnight, and even though I can’t really sleep, I really have to call it a night.

H x

(Insert title here) I can’t think straight.

I have had a really rough past couple of weeks. I’m even sure I can write competently to be honest, but I’m willing to give it a go.

I’m going through an extremely low period at the moment, last far longer than I remember of any low phase I’m had in the past, which to be truthful doesn’t say much, because my memory is dreadful. Still, this has been going on since before Christmas. People think I’m okay, but I’m really far from it.

I spend my days covering up because people either make it abundantly clear that they don’t want to know you when you’re like that, or they suddenly become experts with the oh so surprising advice of “why don’t you just snap out of it”. If only it were that simple, I’d love to look at the positives in life when I’m like this, and believe that they mean something. I’d love to believe that the people in my life really do care. I’d love the have the magic ‘off switch’ that people seem to think comes with having a mental illness. If only.

What frightens me, is that even some of the professionals have this same dismissive attitude, as though that off switch really does exist. It does frighten me that these people are at the front line of our care and support package. Don’t get me wrong, not every single one is like that. I have worked with some truly amazing people over the last couple of weeks. Real people, who really understand what it is like to be in a mental health crisis. The reason, it’s because these people are mental health patients themselves, and they’re not afraid to share their experiences to help someone get better. I find that truly amazing, and only wish that I could work with these people on a permanent basis. Just, absolutely incredible and inspirational people.

No if we could find people that work on the front line to be such a credit to the job, we’d all have a much smoother recovery period. It’s not all about what you read in a text book. Text books can never really give a true account of what may happen with someone suffering from a mental illness. What gives the true account, is the person who lives it. The person who, for them, it is all just a normal part of life. And the so-called professionals would do well to remember is that.

Of course, not each individual may know exactly what is wrong, or what type of illness they have, but they sure as hell know how it makes them feel, and how they behave, and what works for them in the short-term to help them try and pull through. So please professionals, please start listening to your patients, and if they don’t know what to do to help themselves, for goodness sake, do not say to them “what do you want me to do?”

That is about all from me for now, because between fighting to keep my head above water, concentrating on my studies and the million other things I’ve got going on, my brain just does not want to function any more.

I sincerely hope you all enjoyed your summer solstice yesterday.

H x

Meeting with Crisis Team “new guy” and a little bit of hope for me!

Well I think it’s safe to say that I’m not really off to a very good start with this blogging business! But then to be fair, the last couple of days I have been quite poorly, to the point where no studying has been done, no housework has been done… to be perfectly honest, virtually nothing has been done! Oops!!

Since my last post however, I have managed to have a very successful meeting with a member of the dreaded crisis team. Yes, and just when I thought it was impossible to have one of those. I will say that I am still being very cautious over any dealings with them, but this guy was new. When we spoke over the phone, we did seem to get off on the wrong foot, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt anyway, and met with him.

At first, he asked me about what I thought that the crisis team could do to improve their service to myself and other people using it. My very first thought, was off the many times I have called them up in a state of crisis, wishing to do harm to myself, and all they’ve done is moan at me about how busy they are. I made a very strong point about that. I’m not a trained professional, but I know that if someone phones you for help, and all you can do is go on and on about how busy you are, instead of actually listening to the person, they are going to be put off by it. They will be reluctant to call in the future, because they will think that they’re a burden. They will think that they are being a nuisance. It is the crisis team’s job to help people in those situations. Not to make them feel guilty for calling for help. That to me would increase the risk of harm to the caller. Telling someone who feels suicidal that you’re too busy to talk to them can have disastrous consequences.

I also made a point of saying to him that the way that crisis team members speak to people is also very important. When you feel low, it is very easy to feel like a person is being patronising, that I do know from personal experience, but because there are so many different levels to various different moods, you do sometimes realise that actually, some of them are being patronising and are talking down to the person. It is bad practice for any medical professional to do that, never mind one who is dealing with someone’s fragile mental health.

Now, still being poorly, I can’t quite remember what else I said to help them try and improve the way they deal with people, not that I hold a lot of hope that things will change in that department, but in relation to my own personal treatment, this guy then went on to listen to my story of how I feel I have been misdiagnosed, and it looked to me as though he really understood where I was coming from, and much to my surprise, he is going to try and arrange for me to see the new consultant psychiatrist with the hope that we can try and get this diagnosis mix up sorted out. Brilliant news for me if he really is as good as this guy said he was.

For now though, I have to wait for an appointment, which may take a while, so in the meantime, I need to try and keep my head above water, and concentrate on feeling better, so for now at least, I’m signing off. Bye for now.

H x

I’ve filled in the “About” section… now what?

Haha, of course, I do know what I’m doing really, but after I filled in the said “About” section, I kinda felt obligated to write my very first post due to my poor blog looking very bare. I do know that in time there will be plenty of my waffling on to read back to myself, but no, I just couldn’t leave it looking so empty. Maybe it was the obsessive-compulsive side of me that couldn’t handle it, but who can tell!

Now… where to start? Well, as it says on the “about” section, I have a very colourful mental health history, and a very confusing one at that. Now whether I have found the worlds dumbest in the history of mental health professionals, I do not know, and that includes the psychiatrist as well as the infamous crisis team. Oh the joys that they are to deal with. I am of course being EXTREMELY sarcastic!

You see, I am actually a mental health student, but due to the length of time I’ve been battling these issues, and that has been for over half of my life, I have done so much research regarding the various different illnesses. More specifically, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety and bipolar!

Now, while I believe myself to be a rapid cycling bipolar, I also believe that this is where the psychiatrist has become confused. He is not from the UK and his understanding of the English language is not brilliant! I think I spend nearly half of the session asking him to repeat himself, while the other half is spent with him asking me to repeat myself. It’s not very productive at all. However, I’m getting off topic here. Where I think he has got confused, is that he seems to think that I cycle faster than I actually do, and that my cycles are all over the place, when in actual fact my cycles are very clear phases of depression, mania, and “normality” and I use that term loosely, and each phase can last for weeks, even months, whereas a borderline or BPD cycle can be several times a day, and can last seconds or minutes.

I don’t believe that is the only thing that has lead him to this confusion. While there are some similarities between borderline and bipolar, there are also some very distinct differences, and it’s because of these differences that I do not agree with the psychiatrist.

Now I will keep this short and sweet, because I actually have an appointment with the crisis team in the morning that I have to prepare for, which could take some time given the fact that I am up against supposedly trained professionals who are so ignorant that they believe people with bipolar don’t self harm. I think I have my work cut out for me!

Bye for now!!

H x