Monday, 6 February 2012

Being judged and running out of hope

I went home on Thursday morning after my session with New Psychologist and sat on the sofa feeling exhausted and tearful and thinking about self harming and hanging myself for a few hours. I decided I should get out of the house for my own safety, so I went to visit my sister Katie. If I see too much of her it can be triggering so I try to limit time with her but I thought better to risk it than risk sitting at home. She wasn't in great form and I regretted going up and it has since triggered some bad dreams but that's another story. Thursday night when I got home was bad again: crying, feeling alone and despairing; Ebony out. I took a sleeping tablet at about 3am and it knocked me out before long. This time I didn't set my alarm clock. I didn't wake until midday on Friday, which I think was a good thing, but the thoughts and feeling of despair started almost as soon as I woke up and were just as intense as they had been. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands at this point to see if I could get some help sorted out and I rang the Unscheduled Care Team directly to see what had happened that I didn't hear from them. I spoke to a mental health nurse who crossly told me that it had been recorded in my notes that I had been called on Wednesday and hadn't answered my phone so that was it! They didn't leave a number, voice mail or any way I could get back in touch and they only rang me once! I would like to know: is that acceptable? Do you think that when someone has said that they are having thoughts of hanging themselves and are scared because they are on their own and need support, that it's OK to ring once then give up if they don't answer the phone? Is that a policy in the health service for people who are having a mental health crisis? I find this disgusting, disrespectful and unacceptable. I am horrified actually. I asked the lady what could be done and she again crossly informed me that I had been referred to the Primary Care Team and would hear from them. I asked how long that would be and she said she didn't know (in the health service, it could be months for some things and I have no idea of knowing what this one will be). Needless to say, after that conversation I wasn't feeling any better, in fact I was feeling pretty dramatically alone and hopeless and despairing and Ebony was affecting me a lot (near the front of the bus). 
I thought about all the advice my psychologist had given me and so I swallowed my pride (and better judgement) and tried ringing Lifeline again. Granted, this time the lady seemed to be a bit more understanding and less preachy at the start of the conversation although this probably could have been because I was bawling my eyes out and there wasn't much room for advice between the sobs. Once I'd calmed down she asked me if I'd had anything to eat that day and when I said I hadn't she asked me if I'd go and get something to eat and then ring her back. Really not the right thing to say to us at that point. I know it's not bad advice, but I was despairing and already feeling like I had been given so much 'advice' recently that I don't need. I just wanted to be understood. 

Ebony took over at this point and, well what happened was she cut herself. She didn't just cut herself the way I normally do (i.e., try to keep it light so that it won't scar in the long run); she wanted to slash her wrists and she cut my wrist more deeply than I ever have on my arms (I know, she's part of me, so I did it to myself too but it's not just as simple as that). The blood started running out and it was such a shock. I started hyperventilating; I was so scared. I didn't know what to do. I've never had a cut like that before on my wrist. I tried to Google what to do (good old Google: one of the other answers to all of life's problems). I felt scared and alone. I didn't know if I should ring an ambulance or not because I didn't have any idea how serious it was or if it was going to stop bleeding. 
After panicking for a few minutes I tried ringing New Psychologist. I think I thought she would be able to give me practical advice. She was in a meeting and I declined to leave a message. In hindsight, it's probably a good thing I didn't get through to her because from what I now know about her, she probably would have thought I was just being manipulative and attention seeking (more on that in a minute). After this I tried to ring my doctor. The lady at reception told me she was out that afternoon but that she'd ask her to ring me back asap so I lay down on my bed and cried while mopping up the blood from my wrist and feeling like I wanted help at the same time as wishing I was dead and feeling like there's no hope and hating myself for hoping. 

Doctor rang me back after about half an hour, by which time my wrist had more or less stopped bleeding and I was feeling like a right idiot for 'crying wolf'. I tried to explain that the panic was over and I had just been worried because it bled so much. She tried to convince me to come down to the doctors and see one of the male doctors who would be there (a guy who laughed in my face once a long time ago when I said I thought there was something wrong with me despite not 'feeling' depressed and who I haven't been back to see since) but I declined as I was now feeling like I wasn't going to bleed to death after all. I was still slightly worried about the cut given that it had a depth to it that was visible and eventually I agreed to go and see the practise nurse to get her to shut up, despite not really intending to go. 

After some reflection and peering at the cut, I decided to go and see the nurse and I'm glad I did because despite feeling guilty and embarrassed that I had made a big deal about nothing, she was so caring and sat with me for about half an hour. She didn't judge me or lecture me. She just cleaned it up and put steri-strips on it and bandaged my wrist and patted me on the hand while I muttered a few things about what had been going on and she listened and offered a few words of understanding. She also talked me round to going to see the man doctor. I didn't say why I didn't want to see him but she said. “I know people think he's a bit cross, but he means well.” (It's not just me then). I didn't really know what the point was in seeing him but she said it might be helpful just to talk so in I went, concluding that it couldn't be worse than some of the other attitudes I have encountered in the health service lately (remind me to tell you about my shocking trip to the hospital about my blood disorder: it's on my long finger of things to tell you).

So I went in to see Dr Cross and he asked me why I'd cut my wrist and what had been going on and what was going to stop me from doing any more harm to myself and what had happened that I got referred to psychology in the first place and questions, questions, questions. The main thing he wanted to know was how he could know if I left there today I'd be safe and wouldn't do something else. He also asked me if I had done it as a cry for help. Although I was annoyed that his view of self harm was so typically ignorant, I was not surprised. I told him that I have self harmed for a long time and I don't talk to people about it and the only reason I contacted the doctor was because I had done it deeper than usual and was worried about what to do with it and that self harming helps me to manage my feelings and that it's easier to feel a physical pain than an emotional one. 
He asked me if I'd rang Lifeline (good old Lifeline: the answer to all of life's problems) and I said I had rang them before I did it. Anyway, to spare you all the detail, I told him a summary of everything that's been going on and how I had seen a psychiatrist and had been supposed to see the unscheduled care team the next day and they hadn't seen me. At this point he picked up the phone and rang the team himself to ask what had happened. I could hear the woman gibbering on in the background and saying that I had been contacted and hadn't responded to them and etc. He exclaimed that I had seen the psychiatrist because I'd had thoughts of hanging myself and had now cut my wrist and he gave off a bit about this and then I heard the woman, in defence of the team explaining to him... (now read closely because you are not going to fucking believe this)... that NEW PSYCHOLOGIST had been talking with them and explained that I am JUST trying to get as many people as I can involved in looking after me and hook more people into caring for me. I must admit, I cannot remember the exact wording, but I guarantee you that it was said in a way that made it explicit that my psychologist was saying I was being manipulative and that there is no real risk or need for more input! She may have even used those words but I can't honestly guarantee that. The doctor didn't seem any more impressed with the lady's attitude than I was and I butted in that new psychologist doesn't know me at all and has made a judgement based on nothing. He gave off a bit to the lady and talked about risks and asked what he should do with me then? I heard the woman say “Tell her to ring her psychologist on Monday morning”. He again exclaimed that I had just cut my wrist and was having thoughts of hanging myself and what was I to do in the meantime and she said: “Tell her to ring Lifeline”.

She then went on in jibber jabber for a bit and I heard her stop after a minute and say in a short tone: “What is it that she actually wants?... ... ... I don't think I need to type any expletives here for you to understand how shocked and horrific I was about what I heard. What do I want? WHAT DO I WANT?????? What I want does not picture anywhere in this whole stupid, fucked up process. What I want is that my life could have been very much different than it has been so that I wouldn't be having these problems now. What I want would be that T wouldn't have left. Now that she has, what I want is to be respected and supported and taken seriously and given the help I need in order that my thoughts can settle down, I can start to feel more stable and perhaps might be able to get back to some normality and work. What I want is to feel like there is a little bit of hope that maybe one day things will be OK. Haven't I made it clear what I feel I NEED? When I went to the doctors, what I wanted was to get some steri-strips to hold the cut together. I didn't go there with a plan in my mind of what I wanted to happen. For fuck's sake. I am so angry at the way I have been judged by people who have never met me. I'm more angry at the way New Psychologist has judged me. She has met me and things have been really bad in the short time I've been seeing her (four weeks); I've asked clearly for more help but she can't see that things aren't always like this for me and that I wouldn't normally be asking for this help. She has obviously just decided that I am an attention seeking time waster. 
I don't know what I can do. I don't know if it's possible to change how someone sees you when they have already made up their mind what they want to see. I feel like the person who is supposed to be on my side is actually the one blocking me from getting help. I think it's also likely that after what she said to the Unscheduled Care Team about me, they decided not to bother trying to get in touch with me this week after a brief attempt Wednesday. They were just ticking a box really. I am not blaming anyone in this situation except myself for what I did to my wrist on Friday, but I think it is fair to say that I did everything I could to try to prevent needing to hurt myself and asking clearly and maturely has only served to turn people against me and make them (NP) view me as manipulative. AARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! It seems like a hopeless situation.


Justine said...

HI Candycan. been reading your post through my fingers as it brings back lots of memories for me of a very bad time when i was going to group therapy and having problems with my therapist (who ran the group and counselled everyone in it)- it was all very incestous and damaging. But two things have struck me - apart from how awful this is for you - the first is that there must be a lot of triggers in professionals with power, dictating your life and talking negatively to each other about you. That group dynamic is just going to make everything so hard.

The other is something I read the other day. John Southgate was saying that working with clients with DID through the lense of transference and counter transference is never going to work as for the client the feelings and emotions are happening within alters who are in 'real time'. It feels like your NP is trying to prevent you playing something out on her ( as transference) and yet in reality you are just being yourselves with her and feeling so terribly misunderstood and cared for. I don't know if that has made sense and the comment is getting long! I could say more if you're interested but for now take care.

Candycan said...

Hi Archie, I would be interested in hearing more about this. It sounds very interesting but I'm not sure what you mean about working through the transferance etc (sorry, I can be a bit thick sometimes).
Also, you're right about the whole issue about power and people talking about me. I probably am paranoid but in my experience of the church/cult I grew up in, there was often good reason to be paranoid. Finding out she really does seem to think of me as I suspected is tough.

Ellen said...

Fuck. Pardon my French. You deserve so much better than this Candy. The only person who seems to have responded in a caring way are the nurse and maybe the doctor, even though he is difficult.

I would stop seeing the psychologist immediately. She seems to be actively harming you and have no idea what she should be doing. You have not seen her long enough to develop much of a transference, IMO.

I hope you can find some decent, caring, competent help. It's not always those with the most qualifications who can help with psych issues, I have found.

I know how hard it is to look for someone to help when in a crisis but I think that's what you may have to do. Even if you need to step away from the medical model at least for a while.

You are obviously strong and smart, so I know you can do it. Thinking of you. Take care.

Ellen said...

Darn, sorry for the advice Candy. Bad habit. I feel for you. You will do what is best for you. take care

Ruth said...

I have been through that mess of doctors thinking you just want attention. I actually yelled at one of them telling him there were easier ways to get attention. I actually unplugged from the medical field completely for a while. Your blog you map out quite clearly where your concerns and feelings of betrayal on top of everything else can be triggering with just that. Keep writing. Concerned and hoping answers can be found.

Pandora said...

Jesus fucking Christ. I can't even begin to describe how outraged I am to read this.

But briefly: the unscheduled team, and especially NP, have behaved beyond despicably, and should be fucking ashamed of themselves (especially the latter). As others have noted, you deserve so much better than this.

CimmerianInk said...

I don't usually swear but, are you F*%$ing kidding me!!! They treated you abhorrently!

And your god damn stupid NP needs to be bitch slapped. I volunteer for that by the way.

I was absolutely horrified and disgusted by what happened to you. This is intolerable and they need to be called on what they've done.

I don't know how things work over there because I'm in the U.S. but is there a way to complain to someone about how you've been treated?

I'm also thinking of your next visit with Bitch NP. I think you should tell her that you know what she's been saying about you. Tell her everything you've thought about her, because she's the one who's lacking, not you.

You did everything possible to prevent the self-harm. You did SO much to help yourself and it's not your fault.

I did think that it was really good that you got to experience a caring nurse and that Dr. Cross :) actually got to hear the crap statement from the care team (and I use the word care with sarcasm).

Looking at the nurse and thinking about your old therapist and even seeing Dr. Cross' reaction to the team hopefully will remind you that there are some people out there who try to get it.

I'm wondering if, when Adam gets back, you can both go into your next session the Bitch and have your back?

There is hope Candy. Remember the good examples and remember your old T. You also have this entire community behind you. Maybe your GP can give you some suggestions on how to complain about NP?

Justine said...

Hi Candycan, sorry for the confusion - I made a few jumps I think based on what I'd been thinking when reading about your NP, because it seeemed so familiar with my own expereinces when my therapist seemed to change and withdraw because she started seeing everything I did as transference onto her. For me the feelings were real and located in alters but she tried to ignore them because she couldn't cope with their feelings or how they saw her as a threat. She made out I was not being responsible. She was a right fucking bitch actually! Maybe that's not going on with you and NP I don't know but it feels like she is almost protecting herself from you and your 'neediness' (as she describes it - not me!!) and sees you as playing something out that is manipulative. It's also as though she thinks you are being perverse. and refusing to be reasonable.
I don't know where this quote comes from but it's advising psychs and therapists that

'in using transference and counter-transference there is a danger of treating the reliving of real experience as imaginary or symbolic'.

I just wonder if that's why you feel so angry and let down because the parts of you that want to self harm are abandonned by her approach. She really is getting it very, very wrong. I'm sorry though that it is leaving you so high and dry. It must be very frightening.