Tag Archives: family

Fear To Faith

The last few nights I have been lying awake worried about money, as I am not working at the moment due to my repeated breakdowns and  living on welfare and housing benefit, which I am very grateful for. Fortunately I also have some help from a friend and a brother, but it is rapidly disappearing and I panic.  Bills have gone up, petrol has increased and the cost of food has gone through the roof, without their support it would be impossible for me to survive. I have realised that this level of stress contributes to my depression and before I know it I am crippled with fear.

Coupled with this I am still waiting to see the Psychologist, it has been well over 2 months now.  I went to the doctors to ask about things and to see what could be done and was told that the waiting lists at the moment are very long.  For her to put me forward to the Horizon Center where people have long term therapy for abuse and trauma the list is about 6 months and for the CMHT it is similar.  For anyone to see a counsellor it can be up to 5 months and then it may just be 12 sessions……………in the meantime I am encouraged to take the antidepressants and wait.  Apparently they help with anxiety, which they are a bit it has to be said. If I also increase the dose they help more with the depression.  As a writer I am loathed to do this as I don’t want to feel so monged out I don’t feel anything anymore.

I woke up this morning and realised that the reverse of FEAR is FAITH, that it is vital for me to get back into a positve way of thinking, all will be well, it has been before and it will be again.  I am asking for help.  I am writing, I am in the process of organising a documentary to discuss the gaps in the support system and see what suggestions there are.  We are now shooting in 6 weeks due to various factors and I am applying for funding.

I get good days and bad days, and some days are better than others.  Because a friend is helping me I have been able to see a therapist privately who has reduced her rate so she can support me until I get to see the CMHT team, thank goodness I am because without this I would be in a real state. The cost of this is over £200.00 per month and it is rapidly eating into the support and again leads to my worry that I will not be able to stay with the therapist for very much longer.

I went for an assessment at RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling) it took them over a month to be able to see me for an assessment,due to their lack of funding. When I did get one they said I would have to wait another 4 months before I could see a therapist and then, they would only be able to offer me 12 sessions to see if they could help me because they were not sure they were equipt to deal with all my issues.  I was so shocked by this, they wondered if I would need to be hospitalised again if they triggered too much………where does it end?

How am I going to get well? In the meantime, I wait.  The treatment center I have recently left said they could not even begin to deal with the trauma I have had, all they could possibly aim to do was to help me to be more contained.  I find it all really difficult to take in and so hard to hold myself somedays.  The lack of funding for people like me who need long term care is just not there.  I am hoping and praying that the funds will come and I, along with many others will begin to get the continued help we need.

In the meantime, I will practise moving from fear to faith and trust God knows what is going on. Thanks for listening.

Penny

My Mental Health This Week

This week has been amazing.  It started with me still feeling pretty groggy from a cold and stressed with some family stuff that has been going on.  I went to London on Tuesday to visit my son and some friends, we had a great time with them, but I felt sad.

It really hit me that 25 years ago, I owned my own flat, I was living in London, if things had gone well I would be mortage free this year and here we are walking miles and miles because we are needing to find a restaurant that we can afford. Past some restaurants that at one time I would not have thought twice about going into. It is not what I had in mind for when I turned 50.  I was grateful to have the talks I did with my son, to have the closeness that he wants to share his world with me and to ask for my support emotionally.  I am grateful to get on so well with his visitors and it really touched me to feel so comfortable with these people.

The sadness I feel is grief, some call it self pity, but for me it is a process I have to go through, I know that my mental illness stole a lot of my life and that makes me feel very very sad. It also makes me very very angry that I did not get the help I needed when I needed it, because that made me worse.

Now I have to do something about it.  I still get bad days, so does my son and we are having to face a huge truth about his father, he does not want to know. This is a truth my son is really struggling with and I am powerless to do anything about, as much as I want to, or am I?

I walked along Notting Hill and remembered how I love being there, I long to live in London again, it is a case of how.  So I keep writing, praying and moving forward. I felt a failure actually, a complete and utter failure that I had not been able to provide in the way I wanted to. Thank goodness that out of this we are close, money cannot buy that. I feel sad that at the age of 50 I am on welfare, still signed off sick.  The impact of mental health on my whole life cannot be underestimated, together with the impact on my sons life. I am changing things slowly and I need a lot of support.

Two other things have happened to confirm my mental state this week, one past, one present.  I was helping a friend move today and we went to visit a place he used to work and I was a client of approx 12 years ago, Creative Response. The man who worked there when I was there came up and said I recognise you, were you at college with me.  I said no I was one of the clients when you were at the other place and he was really shocked.  He asked if I liked it and I said no, I found it really distressing, and as we talked he remembered me.  He told me they felt unable to help me because I was so distressed, how he tried to get me to focus and draw, how I told them I needed someone to sit with me and they just did not have the funding to help me in a way I needed to be helped.  He told me they were all really concerned about me and often talked about me, because I was so fragile.

I have to say I felt really sad, again, because I did not think anyone could see me or understand me, I was obviously in a bad way. I used to walk past him in the street and really resent him for not being able to help me, I felt so scared and lost and I wanted some help not to just get on with it, I was so shut down I needed someone to help me get in touch with my feelings and for some reason it didn’t happen for me.  Nowadays they have more funding and it is better, but it just shows how vital it is for people to get the help.

I also went for an assessment at Oakleaf Enterprises.  The man was amazing, he has had several breakdowns himself, commented on the psychiatrists writing being illegible and was able to see that he had commented on my state as fragile, which I was surprised with but also relieved.  We went on to talk about experiences with mental illness and how their funding is being cut, how they cannot provide as much as they would like due to it.  Most people there are on benefits and they are now restricted as to what they can do as they now have to pay their own travel there and also pay £5.00 per session, which makes it very difficult for some.

When we were talking about our states of mind he said how difficult it is when you are having a breakdown and you believe what you believe is real and that nobody can convince you otherwise, I found his way of being so open and sharing a real comfort.  I know that feeling so well but I had not known it so clearly as all being part of the breakdown if that makes sense.  The loss of reality is something I am only really begining to come to terms with.

Raising Questions

Raising Questions About Mental Illness

When I first heard about Raoul Moat running around shooting people, I must say I didn’t really know what was going on or take that much interest.  I had my own stuff going on and I was absorbed in that. A friend of mine, Sherry, called me up and we started talking about it. She mentioned that there was talk of him having asked for psychiatric help and not getting it. I asked her to send me any links and here they are, have a look and see what you think. http://www.itv.com/news/exclusive-moats-anger25784/

Slowly information filtered through and someone mentioned a bit more to me. I said I felt sorry for Moat, that he must be in a lot of pain to be doing what he was doing and what is being done to help him and those around him? Not a lot by all accounts.  The more awareness that is being raised about the lack of facilities for people with psychiatric, mental health isues, the better. The Raoul Moat story highlights what can happen when someone is not taken seriously. It is a tragic loss for everyone. I found this article very insightful  http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=154126009

Little did I know the extent of his psychological problems and that he had been asking for help for a long time and not getting it.  He has been described as aggressive and in a way it is understandable.  I am not for one moment saying what he did was right, far from it, he clearly lost the plot. However,  I do want to respond to the distress suffered by so many people at the lack of support available when in dia need. How many people do loose the plot under such extreme stress and it is at high cost to themselves, their families and society. People can get so lost and so far gone they cannot see a way out and something just snaps.

I have also come across a website of a book by James Bartholomew who has written about this same subject, commenting on the fact that Raoul Moats last words were ‘I’ve not got a Dad, no-one cares about me’.  Here Bartholomew raises the question that Moat was abandoned by his father and then his mother met and married another man, leaving him alone and feeling unwanted.  I will be writing more about this subject for myself in a later blog, it is a subject very close to my heart.

I have been out of re-hab now since the 19th April.  Have been to see a psychiatrist who assessed me, then told me to come back a month later with no offer of support in the meantime, then telling me there is a community psychiatric nurse who can help me at which I freaked out, I had had one of them before 14 years ago and know they cannot help with assessing me, giving me therapy and moving me forward in that area. I was then offered lithium incase I had borderline personality disorder or bi-polar……I am still waiting for help.  I was told I was aggressive, I was asked to calm down, I was scared and there were no answers for me……….I then went to see my doctor who suggested I tried anti-depressants to see if there is infact a chemical inbalance in my brain, so I am trying them.  I feel wierd, tired, distant, a bit zoned out..apparently it takes a while to kick in, and I am still waiting to see what the community mental health team are going to do. I have been referred to a Psychologist, with only one in the area, there is a big waiting list, in the meantime, I wait.

There are hundreds of people out there who are being left to rot, drugged up to the eye balls with no way of getting help.  I would be one of them if it had not been for some help from a friend so I can get to see someone. I was desperate and I needed help.

In the next few months I will be starting a series of interviews to highlight this exact problem, what can be done.  It isn’t ok scapegoating people saying they are aggressive. When people need help and cannot get it,  ask for it, knowing there is a problem, it is sometimes little wonder they feel frustrated.  I know I felt very scared indeed.

In Search of My Mental Health

I am so excited…….it has been a really emotional week, one way and another.  In the midst of it all, it has all started to come together. The hope of a documentary with two Addictions Therapists talking about service provision, or rather lack of it, for people like me with no private health care and little funds to pay a therapist, has finally come to fruition.

I have got a production company on board and we are shooting on 13th August, it will be on this website asap after that. We are not commissioned, we are all doing it for free because we believe it is a very important thing to be doing.

It is my  passion to use my journey, (battling with Mental Health, Addictions, Eating Disorders and Co-Dependency, to name but a few of the Addictions I have), to highlight the gaps in the provision available to people like me, and just what a huge impact that has on mine and others lives.

The jury is still out on my diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder/Bi-polar, the Psychiatrist has now passed me over to a Psychologist and hopefully I will get to see her before the end of August.  Thank God I am not as unwell as I was even a few weeks ago, this waiting and having to go over what is going on, over and over again really does my head in……!

I once saw a huge bill-board on the way out of Waterloo Station which said, ‘If Britain was a person it would be sectioned……’ I do truely wonder if it is not the people but what we are expected to tolerate that compounds the state of our minds, it certainly feels like that to me.

The series is entitled In Search of My Mental Health.  I will keep you posted.