No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The jury in my head

I haven't really know what to do with this blog for ages.

Occasionally I have ideas, but I'm not near a PC to blog them, and by the time I am the idea is gone.  The way my thoughts come out is far more random than my presentation of them suggests - a lot of reordering, and editing happens before I post that you don't see, and this means my writing doesn't lend itself to a pen and notepad format.  Even for those ideas I do tend to get onto a screen, for most of them I get half way through before realizing that what I've written says nothing like what I want to communicate, I'm in no way happy with it or even willing to accept it as a good effort - again, behind the scenes of this blog is an endless set of draft posts that remain in an unfinished limbo that no matter how many times I return to I can never quite get what I want to say out.

So the blog lies here dead and quiet until something pivotal enough happens I'm compelled to commit something to binary form just to alleviate some of the pressure in my head.

Well tonight is one of those times....

Tonight I'm intentionally staying awake, because the thoughts in my head are so bad that sleeping would only grant them full-colour, stereoscopic natures.
I had a 4hr long nightmare in a series of dreams this afternoon.  It wasn't a nightmare in the sense of horror-movie elements of terror and suspense.  It was a relatively 'normal' cinematic rendering of the thoughts plaguing my head.  The worst thoughts I have, leaving with me the feeling of being trapped, of failing, of not having control, with no escape and being right back where I used to be.  Frustrated and unable to make anyone understand how I'm dying inside.  This was a nightmare in that it was a representation of my worst fears and experiences, that leaves you with those terrible sensations and feelings all day after waking, you can't shake them; the memories you'd suppressed and left behind, the scenarios you've imagined and suddenly had to live and experience in your dream.  And the fact I couldn't wake myself up on it just serves to prove how much I'm struggling with mental control right now.

Right now I'm stone cold terrified of the concept of 12pm.
12pm is the the best culmination of years of trying to find something that can help the runaway trains of thought tearing through my head 24/7.  A journey arguably started 6 years ago, and has been in it's most recent iteration for 18 months and counting now.  I'm trying.  REALLY trying to get some help.  Because it's so bad it scares me.

It's hard to explain how much of trial just 1 appointment is in itself because it seems so trivial.  There are barely a handful of people who actually understand how severely I have problems pursuing mental healthcare, by virtue of being the ones who have been around long enough, and close enough to me, to see the effects it has on me - the immediate suspicion of their questions, the manipulative line of my responses to test the psychiatrist's intelligence against mine, the violent shaking, sometimes retching, in the waiting room and making it worse by trying to suppress and control it so I can look 'normal' (which is clearly absurd given the entire reason why I'm there, but hell I don't want to actually appear like an uncontrolled raving loon to them do I?!), the hyperventilating on the bus to get to the doctors, the nausea and panic I feel for 3 days solid before my appointment, the bad dreams and insomnia I have for weeks before it, the anger at myself for each and every one of these sensations, that they exist, that they are so ridiculous and counter productive, that they are so necessary and obvious.

And at 12pm I have an appointment with the man who gets to decide whether I'm eligible for drugs to try and help this or now.  Whether my symptoms are bad enough.  After falling through the system or being refused without actually being told such 3 times recently.
It's not that I want to be on drugs.  God, who WANTS to need anti-depressants, or anti-psychotics, or anxiety meds, or any of those options?!  For years my healthcare providers and I both agreed that drugs were not the answer for me - the way my mind works and copes with my mood swings means things like anti-depressants and mood stabilizers are pretty much the worst possible option for me.
The reason I'm now asking to consider them, the reason I've pursued treatment repeatedly this time despite numerous setbacks and constantly falling through the gaps of the system, is my current coping mechanisms don't work anymore.
I get memory blanks, I have visual hallucinations that interfere with my ability to do things, I get inexplicably and uncontrollably angry - a kind of unprompted anger I haven't had since I was 17.  I find myself so overloaded that the simplest additional stimuli - like a friend on a phone in the same room, makes it impossible for me to focus on the world around me.
These are all problems that developed since my current coping mechanisms stopped being effective in helping me to manage the various bits of crazy I experience.
And the fact of that scares me so badly I'm willing to say: "okay, I need help, I don't know what to do, I can't deal with this, when you're struggling this much with this kind of stuff you're supposed to go seek help so here I am, won't someone please help me do something about this, so slowly, bit by bit, I can maybe get back to a place where I can manage myself?"

But at 12pm, the answer may be no.  I'm not saying drugs should be the answer.  But I've never found counselling style therapy to be that useful, or CBT, because I tend to be quite aware of my own behaviors and how to recognize their incipient state and how to develop and instigate coping mechanisms to help alleviate them where necessary and by and large, I've already done that  And they're not working.  I've been told repeatedly I'm not eligible for them anyway.  So at this point drugs to forcibly restore some kind of barriers in my mind seems like the option that's left.

And if I get told no, I'll understand.  Because they have to draw the line somewhere, because I'll have gone through that process of assessment and the people qualified to make such a judgement will have done their jobs and appraised me accordingly.

But then, I'm habitually bad at emphasizing the severity of my medical situations.  Digestive pain to me that I just accept and deal with because its a daily occurrence would probably have someone not used to it in tears and considering A&E.  These mental symptoms have been there in increasingly worse states for approaching 2 years now.  So even with the failing coping mechanisms, I've just got used to them.
And objectively, I go to work, I eat, I maintain social relationships, I didn't come to them through the A&E psych team, I haven't been sectioned, and they have to prioritize, so I understand.

Subjectively I'm just a good liar, who puts up a great front because most of my life involves appearing in complete control of any situation.  Without a serious alternative, its saying "you're falling apart inside, you're hallucinating, you are probably going to get progressively worse or it might blow over in another few years, but we wont or can't help you.  You are in fact, on your own, you have to deal with this without professional help."  And that raises a further problem beyond the immediate repercussions in that it's likely to create an association in my mind of "okay, when you need help you ask for it, and you expect it to be given one way or another, but it wont, so there's no point in asking, no matter what happens in future."

I really wish I wasn't good at putting up a front.  Because its one of those horrible situations where because I'm trying, and objectively having partial success, it in fact works against me.  Did you ever wish you weren't the A-student, because then you wouldn't have to get A's all the time?  If I could lose that constant holding back of the worst of it, if I attacked someone, or myself, or if I just ran off till someone came looking, or climbed into a dark comforting crawlspace and refused to come out, then they'd say "you're sick, you need help, come with us."

...But for the next 8 hours, I just have to hope that my sleep logs, the mood diaries, writing down all the voices in my head is enough to justify not having to be on my own

N.B. By 'on my own' I am not ignoring my support network of friends etc.  I know you are there.  You are part of the coping mechanisms that no longer fully function because things are worse than you can help me these days.  By 'on my own' I mean without professional help.  I mean stuck with the strategies and coping mechanisms I devise that certainly involve you, but are no longer sufficient.

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