Meeting with my new Community Mental Health Team was about as useful as meeting with my old CMHT. Useless and infuriating and more useless.

The CMHT building stands proudly opposite the dilapidated mental asylum and inbetween the newly built psychiatric units that are home for the zombie-esque patients. I walk amongst the service-users on leave and try to remember a time whereby my eyes looked as dead as theirs. I am reminded of a time I was told to look in the mirror. “Eyes are windows to the soul”, Dr. Abba told me. When I looked all I could see was an everlasting, deep, deep, darkness.

I couldn’t find the place to save my life (oh, irony) and spent an hour treading my way between various units and clinical buildings before finally noticing “CMHT”, printed in size 72 Times New Roman on a piece of A4, stuck to a glass pane.

I finger the heavy wooden door and heave it open to discover an empty waiting room. Approaching the desk, my anxiety begins to make an obvious return. I can feel my heart beating at train-speed, my hands and wrists shake with violence and my speech becomes slurred and sloppy. I feel as though I’ve downed a bottle of vodka. I wish I had. I’m sure the receptionist notices that I’m not-quite-okay but she mentions nothing and coldly asks for my name. I give it and she types away at her computer. Tap, tap, tap. “Take a seat”. I turn to face the waiting room and my eyes eagerly search for the chair that’s furthest away from any other. I find one, tucked in the corner, and I sit down.

I look at the time. It’s 3:20pm. For a moment I am convinced that the windows must be darkened for confidentiality reasons until my head reminds me that it’s December and the skies are nearly midnight blue by this time in the day.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

I hear the telephone ring, the receptionist speak, the telephone being placed back on the holder.

I hear the telephone ring, the receptionist speak, the telephone being placed back on the holder.

I hear the telephone ring, the receptionist speak, the telephone being placed back on the holder.

The sound of heels on ward floors break my thought pattern. The secure door that keeps me free, on the ‘sane’ side of the world opens and a woman’s head emerges. “Hannah?” I nod. “Sarah will be late.” I nod. The door closes. Typical Sarah, always late.

Sarah arrives as is normal and expected - 40 minutes late.

Gina (my new psychiatrist) leads me to a room along a corridor that reminds me of being an inpatient at Woodhaven Hospital. The sounds, the smells, the staff and patients all scream insanity and medication. Gina opens a door and tells me to sit down. I sit in the chair and she offers me hot chocolate. I deny it. Then tea. I deny it. Then water. I deny it. Gina attempts to break the tension by asking if I read. I say yes and she asks if I’m reading anything at the moment. “A story about a girl called Hannah who kills herself” I say. She raises her eyebrow at me and then asks what my diagnoses are. I don’t know anymore. I have too many to remember. I’m nuts, I’m absolutely bonkers but I’m sure that’s not a scientific term. Do these so-called specialists not have notes and meetings? I tell her what I can remember and she almost seems impressed. “Very nice” she replies, with a grin. Yes, I think. They’re nice. Or not. They’re life-consuming and I am no longer recognised by society as “Hannah”. I’m not recognised as “Hannah - you know! The chubby one!” or “Hannah - you know! The tall one!” Society now knows me as “Hannah. Diagnosed mental patient. Definitely belongs in a nuthouse. The one who’s failed suicide. No doubt she’ll try again and hopefully succeed.”

Perhaps my Aspergers was busy enveloping my brain, but Gina’s “very nice” sounded barely sarcastic. I somehow forgot to mention BPD so Sarah steps in and says “And BPD, Hannah. Borderline Personality Disorder”. Gina looks at me and her eyes speak the words that she does not - “oh, that familiar diagnosis”. I wonder if she is trying to fit me into the diagnostic criteria as we speak.

Evidence of suicide? Clearly. 

It seems as though that’s all you need to display for a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder to be tattooed across your forehead. Team it with a little self-harm, manipulative behaviour and mood swings - you’ve got BPD, apparently.

That’s all I am, isn’t it? Another fucked up teenager looking for an excuse to exist. There are too many reasons to die, after all.

We talk, or rather, Gina and Sarah talk amongst themselves referring to me as “Hannah” and never actually once involving me in the conversation. Sarah says I “missed a lot of the appointments that were arranged with Winchester CMHT”. No Sarah, you’re wrong. Sarah cancelled those appointments and never rearranged. It’s not my fault she forgot about me. It’s not my fault everyone always forgets about me. Gina nods and glances at me; I suppose she’s checking to see if I’m still sat with my fat arse parked firmly on the cushion. I wonder if she thinks I’ve run away without their acknowledgment of a lack of my presence. It’s unlikely she’d even notice. No one would notice if I left.

As they talk I realise I have a thigh-gap. Not big, by any means, but when I press my knees gently together I have a visible gap. I feel accomplished. I have achieved something I set out to achieve. My new found happiness doesn’t last long. I should be used to it by now. My happiness never lasts long.

Gina asks me some questions. Finally, I think, a chance to talk.

Gina: How is your sleep?

Me: Fine, about 4 hours a night on average.

She scribbles in her notebook.

Gina: Do you have thoughts of self-harm?

Me: Yes, all the time.

She scribbles in her notebook.

Gina: Do you have thoughts of suicide?

Me: Yes, endlessly.

She scribbles in her notebook.

Gina: Do you eat?

Me: I eat, yes. Probably not enough.

She scribbles in her notebook.

She scribbles in her notebook.

She scribbles in her notebook.

She scribbles in her notebook.

She scribbles in her notebook.

She scribbles in her notebook.

I want to read the words she writes. Maybe she isn’t writing words. Maybe she’s drawing me; a round blob with pencil lines that represent scars and a cloud above my head that represents anger. I want to see. I need to know what she thinks of me.

She isn’t concerned about me at all. I am just another service-user. Sarah doesn’t mention that I’ve lost 20lbs since we last sat in awkward silence at the Winchester CMHT. She either doesn’t feel the need to speak of it, since I am no longer a patient of hers, or she doesn’t even realise I’ve lost the weight. Probably the latter. I am such a fat cow.

Must. Not. Eat.

Must. Not. Eat.

Must. Not. Eat.

Gina speaks at me. “I’m on annual leave as of next week. I can see you again after Christmas.” Is this all I get? No 'buddy psychiatrist’ to talk to? Don’t they know that it was this time last year I first tried to kill myself? Do they care? The answers are probably that yes, they know and no, they don’t care. If I die, I die. It’s my choice. It’s not their fault, it could never have been prevented.

I imagine the headline of the Salisbury Journal - “SUICIDAL TEENAGER COMMITS SUICIDE IN SECLUDED WOODLAND”. I read along the story in my head. “Hannah Shucksmith, from Alderbury was found hanging after deciding that she could no longer cope with life. Police have ruled out any suspicions and are treating the teenager’s death as suicide. A spokesperson for Salisbury Community Mental Health team released a speech earlier today, stating that Hannah’s demons were internal and no amount of psychotherapy would have saved her”. And that’s how I’d do it. I’d hang myself. They say that it’s a horrible way to die - hanging - that you don’t die instantly and a lot of the time you don’t die from suffocation but the weight of you and the force it puts on the noose breaking your neck. I don’t care, death is death. I wonder how they know this? You cannot speak to the dead. No one alive knows what it feels like to die.

Sarah dribbles the most wonderful words I’ve ever heard drip from her coral-coloured-stained lips; “I think it would be beneficial if Hannah saw someone before Christmas. The last time we spoke Hannah was not actively suicidal and now she says her suicidal thoughts have become more frequent and difficult to manage.” Gina nods and I can see her brain ticking like clockwork. She reaches for her diary and flicks to the end of the year - “I suppose I could fit you in Monday.”

“Fit you in.”

“Fit you in.”

“Fit you in.”

I don’t fit anywhere. I don’t fit in the this room, I don’t fit in the body, I don’t fit in this head, I don’t fit in these clothes and I certainly do not fit in this world.

I button my coat. My footsteps echo through the empty rooms beyond the corridor. It’s cold outside and I can’t feel my hands. I rummage through my bags. I want to cry. I phone Chris and turn my back on the wards, staff and patients. I turn my back on Sarah and Gina. I can feel their eyes piercing through my layers of clothes, like sedation needles and razor blades. Piercing, piercing, piercing as I walk away. I am encased in Winter’s icy grasp, I am held bound to this world by those who try so hard to protect me. I could end it, if I wanted. I could dig that blade deep enough - Down the river, not across the bridge. I could swallow every pill in the medicine cupboard - Sarah told me that if I overdosed on Amitryptyline I would have a heart attack within minutes. No going back… I open my curtains every day to trees that would hold my weight - Hanging is a slow and painful death, but it’s death. I know people that wouldn’t dare talk of suicide - it’s taboo and a thought that sends shivers through spines to unscarred wrists. It’s on my mind 24/7. I’m not afraid of death, I am afraid of living.

I can feel their eyes, still.

I want to run away. I want to escape.

Disabled in Theresa May’s Britain #41: Oliver [CW: suicide]

From Manchester

I have multiple disabilities and am constantly fighting to try and get what little support there is, but am met with multiply barriers due to services not having enough funding or adequate staff. I have severe and enduring mental illnesses and when assessed by psychology for therapy am told I need long term, non goal based therapy, but I was also told they do not have the funding to provide that sort of therapy and only provide shorter term goal based therapy, so I am sent away.  This not my first time with therapy not working out due to limited resources and funding. 

I am in the process of trying to get direct payments to have long term care hours, but all that has happened is countless barriers have been put in place, to slow my process down or to mean my social worker doesn’t apply for direct payments. Lack of funding for services has been mentioned to me several times. It also seems that because I have physical, mental and neurodevelopmental disabilities that different teams are trying to push me on to other teams as they have inadequate funding and/or resources or staff. 

My mental health trust cut 7 of its services the other year and I am in a big city.

I have had a psychiatrist tell me that they have to rotate patients with the CMHT due to having no money. 

I am desperate for more help and support in various aspects of my life but the services that should be there for me have either been cut or they have such little funding, staff, and resources. So I cannot get this much needed help and am having to constantly fight to get anything at all, which in turn affects my already unstable mental health.

Services are constantly being cut and under funded and under staffed. I’ve been told in A&E  'we would section you but we have no beds to send you anywhere’ so I was sent home and ended up taking a serious attempt on my life which brought me back to the same A&E. 

I’ve been sent to a psychiatric hospital hundreds of miles away from where I live. Mental health care, treatment, services, beds are just being cut and it is seriously affecting me. 

Although in the end my PIP result was positive the process to get there was extremely distresssing. The assessor spent a lot of the assessment laughing at my tics (I have Tourette’s) I was also quizzed on why I wasn’t taking medication for my Tourette’s and the assessor started telling me I should (I explained as best I could why I wasn’t) the assessor became quite insistent that I should be on medication even after I had told her they did nothing and had horrendous side effects. I didn’t understand why it was her place to tell me what medication to be on and her insistent on continually telling me I should be distressed me more on top of already being distressed before the assessment. I was asked why I hadn’t killed myself, I informed her that I had attempted suicide multiple times and I was asked for specific details of how and I was also asked for specific details about my self harming. 

The whole process and the way it was conducted was extremely distressing. Getting a brown envelope in my post gives me a panic attack and I become an anxious wreck. 

My experience of being disabled in May’s Britain is as a forgotten nobody who people don’t care about, who the government certainly don’t care about and as a vulnerable person they are quite happy to take money off, put through distressing experiences where I have to prove how disabled I am to get money (a degrading experience) and take away funding and resources and therefore services from me so that I cannot get the support and help I so desperately need. 

Time for some complaining!

a) My teeth hurt waaaaa. It’s entirely my fault for not taking good enough care of them…but still i’ve been awake on and off since 4am already taken ibuprofen this morning and still hurts, I’m supposed to go easy on painkillers because of my liver so I can’t just keep taking them, annnnd i hate the dentist :(

b) My appointment for today has been cancelled, apparently she will write to me with a new one, so it almost certainly won’t be till at least next week. GRR I’m annoyed, it’s already been about 5 weeks since last time, I don’t know why there have to be such massive gaps in between. I’m supposed to be starting this group thing on Saturday, i don’t want to go it’s going to be horrible ahhh.

(positiveness to follow later on)

EDC Letter

Yes, my letter re: my new Psych finally came this morning! I will be seeing Dr Kelly from the EDC (so we were right! - see my last post), which is the East Dene Centre and I think I’m under the intensive team, but I’ll have to ask to confirm that!

External image

So that’s it, just got to wait now until my appointment on the 14th and do my best to get through it! Sorry btw, for all the black blocks, I don’t want my address on here and what not ^^

Peace xo

I received this letter in the post yesterday.

I haven’t seen anyone since my psych left 5 weeks ago so it’s nice to be reassured that I haven’t been abandoned…

But, why is it taking so long? They need to hurry up because I’m not comfortable with just speaking to whoever is on duty :/

So I thought I was ready to tell my therapist everything but I guess not!!! I told her I was feeling suicidal again & stuff but I can’t seem to be able to tell her about my trauma and what happened in the past, like i want to tell her but i physically can’t bc i’m extremely scared and embarrased and scared of my therapists reaction and judgement to what happened in the past! I told my therapist this and she said its ok and I can tell her whenever I’m ready but thing is idk when I’ll be ready like Idek if I ever will be and it’s not like I’m going to be in therapy my whole life (Well I hope not anyway) so I really just want to tell her now & get it over & done with before I get it becomes too late & I’ve to leave CAMHS to go to the Adult Services. I don’t think my therapist’s really bothered though she doesn’t put any effort into gettinng me to talk/open up or dealing with my trust issues or anythin, like i’ve read online and talked to people who had trust issues and found it hard to open up to their therapists and they said their therapists did work with them towards that but my therapist doesn’t do anything ugh it’s so frustrating no wonder I don’t trust her. Idk what to do anymore!!!

Day 240 - The Nurse

So today I saw Peter the Nurse and Flora the Social Worker. I kept thinking that Peter was called David as my Bampi’s name is Peter and my Uncle is called David. I’m slightly doubting I got it right this time round, even. But yeah. We got to the hospital (Like half an hour early - My nanny dropped me off again :D ) and then began our long trek down to the ward I needed to get to. There were three of us this time; me, Charlotte and Holly, one of our friends from Charlotte’s uni course. She’s from Norwich so we couldn’t exactly leave her anywhere, but I liked having her then because I didn’t feel so bad about leaving Charlotte behind in the waiting room then. My appointment started a little late, I think, but nothing major; I actually briefly saw the social worker like 15 minutes before my appointment. I wasn’t the only one who’d shown up early. :3

Time actually flew pretty quickly. I was in the consultation room for 45 minutes to an hour but it felt like significantly less. Peter and Flora were both lovely people and they made me feel more relaxed than I expected I was going to be. They asked me about quite a lot of things but it never felt like they were treating me like just another patient. They seemed to care. I am truly grateful for this. I hope I get a similar doctor next week.

I got asked all sorts of questions. What school was like; what my world views were; if I’m spiritual (Not just religion and stuff); if I’ve ever been bullied; how my home life is like; my psychosexual history; my medical history and lots of other stuff. Apparently I had to have the two appointments because it would save time for the doctor next week from going over this stuff.

Another this is that me and m mother were both wondering why I had to see a social worker; up until now we pretty much assumed that social workers mostly dealt with children and custody or adoption and stuff like that. Apparently that’s one part of what they do, but because I was being asked questions about myself socially, not just medical stuff, there needed to be a social worker and a nurse present there. It might be different for you guys, but just in case anybody was wondering then here ya’ go.

One more week now, most likely, until another update for me.

Please let me know if there’s a reason that I shouldn’t be using my nurse’s and social worker’s real names and then I’ll come and edit this post.

It is 10:22pm on Thursday the 1st of August 2013.

Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.”

                                                                                                                       - Dag Hammerskjold