I'm slowly getting back into life outside of hospital. I had last Monday and Tuesday back in the office and now I'm on furlough until the 30th. Wednesday 18th was when my Section 2 would've ended. I spent the day in my PJs to celebrate it not going that far and had a good catch up with my Dr. I've had a lot of counselling this week (venting quite a bit!) and massage, taking care of both body and mind. I'm taking my anti psychotic medication regularly at long last, but my back is completely locked up. I've tentatively started to get ready for Christmas, ordered some little treats for myself and booked to see the private collector's exhibition of Banksy art next April. I also finally watched the UK Office, continuing my interest in Ricky Gervais's work. I'm just taking one day at a time..
One of the best things about coming out of hospital - being able to have a bath and get properly clean! Some wards have a bath but mine at the Priory did not, and the showers are super safe ie. minimal power and on a timer so you can't drown yourself.
It would've been my Tribunal to appeal my Section on Thursday 12th with the Hearing over Zoom, but instead I'm home and slowly getting back on my feet. I've already been discharged from the Home Treatment Team and back with my CPN and to the Stabilisation plan that was in place before my admission. I'm now waiting for a Psychology assessment and family therapy. I also found out this week that HTT are understaffed, which explains why they refused my referral 3 times before I ended up being sectioned. I still strongly believe something needs to be done about this and there needs to be a much better link up between HTT and the psych liaison team, as per 2018 when it seemed to work so well.
I haven't seen my counsellor for 10 weeks since the knife incident, so it was really special and emotional to be able to see her again last Tuesday.
Home sweet home
I'm home. I'm exhausted, my brain is scrambled, but I'm home. I got back at 10pm last night, after the long transfer from Chelmsford with two patient transport nurses. It's been almost a month and I have missed my kitties. I hated being sectioned and I hated being so far from home.
But Trump is no longer President so big thumbs up to that!
I was ready to come home 10 days ago and appealed my section in desperation and requested to see an IMHA. My tribunal was going to be this Thursday, delayed from last Friday (on my birthday). I'm glad I don't have to do it. And it would've been over Zoom which is rubbish.
Despite spending my 38th birthday at the Priory and adjusting to the fact that what I was hoping to be doing verses the reality was a shocking chasm of difference, this last week I've been distracting myself with another jigsaw puzzle, Miranda Hart's autobiography "Is It Just Me?", "The Split" with Nicola Walker - binged both series' - and "Life", a beautiful TV drama on BBC.
I did go a bit crazy over the weekend. I lost my rag a number of times. I hadn't taken my meds for a few days out of protest, which meant I hadn't slept either. I was wired and tired and angry and frustrated and I felt like a trapped animal. I found the magnetic foam door to my bathroom a great help. I kicked it all over my bedroom. I told the Dr in my ward round yesterday that if she didn't let me go home, I would go mad. I told her I wasn't getting better being stuck in hospital, I was getting worse.
My neighbour visited me on Saturday and I almost wasn't allowed to see her because of Lockdown 2.0 which had started on Thursday. I was ready to kick off big style as she'd driven all this way to see me, but it was ok in the end. We chatted for a couple of hours in the summer house and she bought me chocolates and flowers and gave me an update on the kitties, before I had to be escorted back to the ward.
On my birthday it was sad that Geoffrey Palmer passed away as he is one of my favourite actors. I especially loved him as Lionel in "As Time Goes By" with Judi Dench. 93 is a brilliant age though. In the morning we had drama therapy and we sang and danced to loads of different tunes and then in the afternoon I watched some comedy to try and keep my spirits up.
I only got my section 2 papers last Wednesday, which is just wrong in my mind. I know they have to wait for a patient to stabilise, but still. My ward round a week ago was with yet another Dr who knew even less about me than the Dr I met when I arrived and who sectioned me. 3 OTs have been self isolating so no chance of the 1-2-1 escorted leave I was promised and it was only because we had a patient meeting that we could ask where the hell our care plans were and find out who are keyworker nurse and co-keyworker HCA were.
Is it any wonder that it regularly kicks off on the ward?! There aren't enough staff to patients and I know it's because of underfunding, but when we aren't well, we don't care about the bigger issues. We just want the support and being able to go outside for escorted or unescorted leave is so important. To amuse myself, I linked up with a fellow patient and we've had a great time looking for ways to escape. I almost managed it at lunch the other day. It's like an irresistable challenge! She'd been helping me loads with managing myself on the ward so I could avoid prolonging my stay. She got told off by the nurses for helping me though so she would slip little notes under my door. We're going to stay in touch and meet up once covid passes.
Stuck on a psych ward
One thing people without mental health issues can't understand is how one minute I can be perfectly rational and appear well, and the next, completely unwell. This switch is exasperated when you are stuck on a psych ward and tensions are always running high.
I started this past week feeling quite hopeful and well. I had my ward round with the Dr who sectioned me and she told me my psychiatrist and cpn had emailed her to say they wanted this to just be an acute crisis admission because they both know I don't function well in hospital. So I was thinking good, I'll be out of here soon. Although I was on 15 minute observations 24/7, I was able to shave in the shower albeit with a HCA in the room with me and I was finally allowed to go to the restaurant for lunch. I don't get up in time for breakfast and I've been having lunches and dinners under supervision. This all felt like progress, you know. I've been working with the OTs on goal setting for discharge and recovery, art therapy, emotional regulation and fear, relaxation and mindfulness. I even felt my concentration was good enough to read again so I picked up a couple of books from the library in the lounge and read in between doing my current jigsaw. And I decided my window escape was off, so I just kept the curtain pulled to hide the damage I'd done on Monday!
But, just like that, things can flip.
We have another mini ward round on Thursdays and I was so confident I could negotiate my release and I'd be discharged, I made a bet for a tenner with a fellow patient that I would be leaving. I was convinced I was right and I packed up my stuff. I felt great, on top of the world.
It didn't go very well and I lost the bet. It was clear I wasn't going home anytime soon, and to make matters worse my Dr was now on holiday for 2 weeks. Her second in command saw me and she said I could have escorted local leave and accompanied leave with friends and family at the weekend, but no Section 17 leave yet - which is unescorted - because my Dr wasn't here now to discuss it and sign it off.
You cannot underestimate the power of freedom when it is taken away from you. I'd only been outside 3 times since being admitted on 21st October and I hadn't been outside under my own steam since 16th October before the Police sectioned me the next day. I have been longing for normal life.
It's been really stormy and windy this last few days and that has totally suited my mood. I haven't seen my care plan or section 2 papers. I feel completely and utterly trapped. Lockdown 2.0 is looming and that is scaring me because the chances of being allowed out for escorted leave are slimming by the minute. I'm taking all my meds but having to also take a low dose of lorazapam just to be able to sleep in here. You get the picture.
So I decide the window escape plan is back on! I sneaked in tweezers to use as a screwdriver, but the screws are not normal screws - of course. I kept trying and trying and eventually pushed my luck and got caught. I thought I was safe to try with this particular night staff because they weren't as observant but no such luck.
I'm now in a room right opposite the nurses station and I had to see the duty Dr who told me I could lose my privileges. I also got told I could be moved to a PICU if I tried anything else. It's all waffle. I'm not concerned about that at all. You can't trap patients and then expect them not to react and I'm pretty well versed in advocating for myself. I feel sorry for my fellow inmates who can't.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.