Today I’m going to the hospital again for another meeting with the CPN. I’m very scared of going after I lost it there on Tuesday. I think I’m scared what will happen, scared of losing it again, ashamed about what happened and still feeling very out of it, although not in the way I usually am when I dissociate. That gives some kind of protection. This is raw at the same time as shaken and disconnected.
Also I’ve got an inescapable question that has been in my mind for several weeks. I’m not at all stable or safe at the moment. I want to continue with therapy. I committed to the group that I’d do it and not give up. I promised to God and Mother Mary in prayer. I’ve made quite a few sacrifices for it – I don’t think I’d have had to leave my last job if it weren’t, at least in part, for my therapy appointments (though my last employer were definitely at fault too, in my opinion). I’ve seen the therapy as the only hope of learning how to get better and manage my condition. I’m privileged to live somewhere MBT is actually available (there aren’t specific PD services in all areas of the UK). I really don’t want to have to stop therapy.
However, at the moment I’m actually more unstable, at least in part because of the therapy and the emotions, memories and questions that it raises. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Other people tell me they can see positive changes in me, for example communicating more clearly about emotions and things that happened to me in my childhood, none of which I can yet see for myself. However I trust the people who tell me this and think it has to be a good thing. It’s another thing I don’t want to waste.
So the big question is, what to do. I can’t keep myself safe at the moment. For example I’m “coping” by cutting, taking overdoses or higher than prescribed doses of medication, drinking* (and this really isn’t me, I do not enjoy drinking in this way), escaping from daily life by ignoring letters, calls, etc and not able to keep on top of the basics of looking after my home and myself (cleaning, cooking etc). I’m more unstable in my moods, especially anger, and I’m struggling more to hide everything to try to participate in daily life by eg going to work. Things like hallucinations or paranoid thoughts or feeling dissociated are pushing their way more into the working day.
I don’t know what to do to change this.
I’ve some hope that medication changes could help and I’m seeing the psychiatrist on Friday. But I doubt that’s going to be the only answer. I’ve tried to exhaustion (both daily and when in crisis moments like the extreme distress or wanting to end everything) the techniques I know like distraction and grounding and self care / self soothing (this latter is very hard for me to do when I feel as I do about myself). It isn’t working. And I feel that the things other people could do to keep me safe, many of which are on my crisis plan, are not happening or not working either. I’m experiencing more and more let downs where xyz help is promised then doesn’t materialise (appointments canceled, calls not returned, planned sources of support withdrawn, mistake after mistake, discharge plan not followed). Or I’m told that the help I want to keep safe doesn’t exist or I don’t qualify. What is offered – and don’t get me wrong I’m grateful that it is offered and I know it’s more than many other services provide – is not enough to keep me safe. For example when I’m suicidal a 5 minute telephone call may calm me a bit for a few minutes but an hour later in usually feeling worse than before and – this is key I think – still on my own trying to cope.
What do I do in this position? Are there other techniques I can learn to cope better? Are there other or higher doses of medications? When I so so much feel I am not safe on my own and really need someone with me (especially when I’m really distressed but also day to day because the slightest thing, as little as a letter that makes me panic or a canceled appointment, can thrown me into extreme distress, self harm etc) what can I do? The PD service are adamant I mustn’t be admitted and don’t qualify for any carer help and ongoing support in person isn’t possible. I haven’t any other way of getting that kind of support. I live alone, my dad and step mum live hours away and I don’t have friends very locally or whom I see regularly.
So how do I do my therapy and stay safe as well? How do I either answer this need not to be on my own when I’m so much at risk and unstable, or what solution do I have to learn instead?
What do you do to stay safe between therapy appointments or between times you can access support?
I know this probably sounds silly and I do get a lot more support than most people and all I’m talking about coping with is simple daily life. Right now this is where I am.
*just to be clear, I’m not diagnosed with any alcohol problem and I’m not comparing my struggle with that of someone who is struggling with alcohol or other substance use. That is a much more painful place. I sometimes use what is probably an objectively average amount of alcohol taken with my tablets to make myself fall asleep when I can’t cope. Not a great thing to do but I’m not trying to compare the two.