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Archive for July, 2008

Chouette is Annoyed and VERY Unhappy

…and mostly incapable of writing a coherent post to explain why.

It will, I think, suffice to explain that the Crisis Team have just been round and explained that they’re discharging me back to my GP.

They did say to ask my GP to refer me back to them if I feel low again… and to try student counselling. We had about an hour of discussing/arguing over it.

I hate this. I particularly hate it because I know that I’m not just some Daily Mail emo kid who thinks parasuicide is cool.. I’m an intelligent person who could do themselves some serious harm one of these days when in a depression. Nearly did do myself serious harm. And dammit, that scares me silly, and I want some help to ensure that I DON’T.

And I’m fed up of having to be my own advocate and such, because it’s something I’m only capable of when well, which is exactly when I need it least.

Ok, rant over. Thanks for listening.

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CBT: Completely Baffling Therapist

As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, I had my first CBT appointment on Monday. Except that noone seemed to have told him what I’d been referred to him for. Apparently he does “other therapies” as well. He was a friendly bloke, if rather quiet. To be honest, he mostly just paged through my assessment from back in May, struggled to read the handwriting, and asked a few questions to clarify stuff that had been written in it.

All in all it lasted fifteen minutes.

That aside, it didn’t stop him giving me a shedload of homework. In addition to some breathing exercises (which – as someone who regularly meditates – I’m struggling with, because breathing really slowly is cueing me into trance, and making me forget to count *doh*), he wants to “open up” a few things by my reading some Internet stuff, and then I can come back and ask him any questions.

Ok, so far so good.

Then I saw the website he wanted me to peruse. All four “courses” on http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/self_help/courses.html.

By taking the Learning Path you will:

  • Learn the truth about antidepressants, and the truth about how effective they are
  • Find out what a major US government study recommends for the treatment of depression – the results may astound you, especially if you’ve seen a doctor or counselor
  • Protect yourself from damaging forms of therapy and counseling, and learn how to find a good therapist
  • Understand how depression works – it often makes people feel much better right away
  • Discover what you can do to help lift your own depression
  • And much much more. If you have problems with depression, the best way to beat it for good is to become an expert!

Hmmmmmm. I know about “automatic negative thoughts”, depressive thinking patterns, neurotransmitters and stuff. I know I’m relatively self-aware (comes with having had a mood disorder for at least the last 6 years of my life). I even did A-level biology, once upon a time. It doesn’t “make me feel better right away”. Nor should it. My life is a mess – whether the problems caused the messed up brain chemistry, or the messed up brain chemistry caused the problems is like debating the chicken vs the egg. It seems entirely likely that I will never know for certain.

…reading on…

During your journey, you will learn:

  • The astounding new discovery that shows how clinical depression is caused by over-dreaming, and what you can do about it.

Um. I’m a scientist (well, scientist-in-training). I like to know that things have an evidence base behind them (the Crisis Team and I get on quite well over this – “evidence-based” is one of their favourite words). If you mention the word “peer reviewed” you get an extra jelly bean.

Hard Fact: “astounding new discoveries” are never either astounding or new. Astounding new discoveries are the sort of things that get a Nobel Prize (if you’re lucky enough to stay alive long enough, which poor Peter Higgs – of the Higgs Boson – may not).

Teen Depression Study
In a recent study by the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Western Australia, of 400 children aged 9 to 12, 16 were found to be clinically depressed, with 112 assessed as being vulnerable to future depression. Depressed children believed that happiness is achieved through the acquisition of fame, money and beauty. Happier children tended to believe that feeling good comes from healthy attitudes and pursuing worthwhile goals.

Aside from the fact that I can’t find this study (to be honest I didn’t actually bother looking very hard, so that’s not their fault), and that 16 seems a very small sample-size for a social science (and thus of dubious statistical significance)… Depressed children believed, but happier children tended to believe? Really? Honest-to-God? All children who completed the study and had been diagnosed with clinical depression believed that happiness is achieved through the acquisition of fame, money and beauty? And what about the ones who were happy but also believed the same thing? Because if that statement is true, then they are the interesting population to study.

Yeah, right… better go buy some bells so I can suitably kit out my other leg… (and turn down my cyncism generator, it’s clearly set too high)

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The Drugs *Do* Work

(Apologies to The Verve)

I don’t know if it’s the Mitazzy, the placebo effect, or “just me”, but I’m definately having the best day I’ve had for a few weeks. My mood is reactive, I’m getting reasonable sleep, I’ve had both breakfast AND lunch, and I’ve acomplished more today than I have in the past week. Oh, and the sun is shining (which is probably helping my mood). What more could one little owl wish for?

Well, er… quite a lot, actually. I’m fresh out of my first appointment with my CBT therapist (more on that later). He seemed affable enough, but made a lot of noises about not normally working with “users of mainstream services”. Apparently his job is to “keep people out of services” – so he gave me a follow-up appointment in two weeks time, on the grounds that the Crisis Team should have decided what to do with me by then.

So now, I’m sitting here, unsure what I should be hoping for. I think I need some help, everyone else agrees I need some help, but neither primary nor secondary care are currently taking ownership of that. I’m praying it’s not going to continue being a game of “pass the patient” (sorry, ‘service user’ ), where I get tossed between services while lurching from one crisis to another.

I’m fed up of being told I’ve done very well to get where I am “under the circumstances”.
I’m fed up of being told how good my coping skills are.
I’m fed up of being told I’ve been through a lot.

I’ve recognised I have a mental health problem, ok…? AND I WANT SOME SUPPORT!

There. I feel better now for that outburst.

But things haven’t got better.

Twit twoo? Twit twoo?

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The Tears Won’t Come

Slumped in the middle of a half-cleaned room, Hoover still in hand.
But the tears won’t come.

The storm of my emotions gathers round, seaching out a nook, a cranny, a weakness.
But the tears won’t come.

I can feel the blood coursing through my veins, keeping me alive, so close to my skin.
But the tears won’t come.

Thanatos beckons, tells me of treasures he holds, and the blessed peace he brings.
But the tears won’t come.

And so I sit, weathering the storm, making that dreadful decision over and over again:
I choose life!

And the tears?
They still don’t come.

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The Weather Is Moping Too..

My second dose of Mitazzy last night had me crawling up the walls with agitation about an hour after I took it – the OT lady from the Crisis Team seemed unconcerned, so I’m still going to have to take a dose tonight. Really not looking forward to it, I’m somewhat bothered about the possibility of the same thing happening tonight… and of wearing out the carpet from the continual pacing. I still feel a bit irritably twitchy and strange… up and down at the same time (but mostly down).

It’s all a little strange. In the past five days, I’ve seen:

  • 1 psychiatrist
  • 2 psych nurses
  • 1 OT (three times on three separate days)

I realise that these things are probably old hat to those of you who are bipolar/otherwise Mentally Interesting, but we unipolar types don’t normally get to see them, especially in Big-Smoke type places where the CMHTs are busy with the aforementioned manic depressives, schizophrenics, and whatnots. It’s a whole bunch of concepts that have suddenly come down from the blogosphere and landed in my living room (except for the psychiatrist, I saw him at the local hospital). Of course, once I get used to it they’ll wind up discharging me… but that’s life.

On a different note: why is it so cold and rainy? Going out in this muck would depress anyone! Would someone please wake Mr Summer up, and tell him he’s overslept?

EDIT: One of the nurses from the Crisis Team rang – he thinks it was anxiety, and unlikely to happen again, which lets the mitazapine off the hook. He did suggest I discuss it in more detail tomorrow with them though *shrugs*

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Blah

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours on the wall
Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”
The strangest whim has seized me. . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

from A Ballad of Suicide, G.K Chesterton

I feel flat, dog-tired, and unreal. I’m sure this cannot be my life. I’m only keeping the place of some other Chouette… but deep in my heart, I know that it’s not so.

Each day I wake up, I make the continuing decision to face up to the continuing trainwreck I’ve made of my life… or do I mean the trainwreck that my life has made of me?

I was asked yesterday, did I feel my depressions came “from within me”, or were they triggered by external events? The answer people always seem to have pushed at me is the latter… all I could say was “I don’t know, I wish I did”. Because sometimes I’ve been happy, sometimes I’ve been sad, and quite a lot of the sad times have been when it would be more appropriate to be happy. I don’t walk down the street bawling my eyes out on a nice sunny day for the fun of it, y’know? (not that I’ve done that recently – don’t feel like crying, and the days are drizzly and gloomy). But there have been enough potential triggers that I don’t think I could ever know, and the thought of even trying is daunting enough that I’d rather kill myself there and then to avoid a slow torturous death by psychoanalysis… (ha).

I want to be me, all the things I could have been, all the things I could have made of my life. I want to …

…but I don’t want. I want to stay here, curled up in my bed, forever. They can dig me up in a couple of thousands years and display me in a museum as a fascinating insight into 20th Century Man.

I don’t care.

(and yes, it looks like I’m still depressed. T-minus 3 hours till my next dose of Mitazzy – thanks Hannah for that neat pet name!)

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…unfortunately, he was a nurse from the Crisis Team. Ah well!

Sorry for the diary-ness of my latest entries – I think I want to get this sorted in my head, and have something I can look back over that will be dated, etc.

I feel my mood has picked up a bit today, and I said as much. (Well, it had to have picked up, or I’d probably not be here at home typing this).

We talked about mitazapine, the possibility of that rash, the difference between primary, secondary and tertiary care, and the fact that my GP is IMHO a twerp. It was actually really nice to have someone to talk to – he was a lot more approachable than the chap who’d come before to initially assess me, and he was a good laugh and great company. Got a chance to offload some of my worries and frustrations (including about my GP, who seems to refer to everyone in mental health as a “psychiatrist”).

There was a bit of cross-purposes going on, because I was told on Tuesday that tomorrow would be their last visit, but he seemed to have the idea that they’d be carrying on seeing me for longer than that, and that I was still on daily visits (I wasn’t actually planned to have a visit today, it was just shoehorned in because I wanted to start on the meds, and the lady who had been seeing me is an OT and didn’t feel qualified to talk to me about that).

We also talked about what would happen after discharge, and he said that they wouldn’t just cut me off, and that they’d make sure I knew exactly what service(s) I was being transferred to, and who I was going to see when. He also confessed though that he hadn’t checked my notes (not, I think, his fault), and volunteered to check them when he got back to the office and give me a ring to let me know what was happening. Unfortunately I had to turn him down on his very kind offer, because I’m going out with some friends, and did not want to be answering that sort of call in public. So he said he’d call me tomorrow instead, and promised not to forget.

He also said he wanted to impress on me the seriousness of what had happened, and that things could have gotten a lot more serious, and that “noone wants that”. That made me feel a little bit embarrassed, but also a bit frustrated, because they were just as serious before, it’s just that I didn’t get the appropriate help that time. But he said that he had no doubt I’d get through it in time, and that being an intelligent, articulate young lady (if I wasn’t still rather low, I would have blushed bright red at that point!) was going to work in my favour.

We also talked about the fact that noone can pull a light switch to fix things at once, and he suggested that “in this critical phase of your illness”, I should just be concentrating on my problems with low mood, and not everything else as well.

I kinda almost feel that for the first time since May, someone’s come up to me and spoken to me at my level, and taken me and my (pretty rubbish) trajectory through mental health services seriously. On the other hand, to have the words “serious” and “illness” used (though not consecutively) is a bit hard to swallow when I’m still in denial about the whole thing…

Now, I’m off to read 16 pages about mitazapine. The first one starts off with “Each human being has one head”…

😆

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