Planning to move back to my flat, again

Last time this didn’t happen because I ended up going to a rehab unit instead (which ended up being an unsuitable place for me).

I’m anxious, which is to be expected. There’s a sensation of excitement about the change which (when my anxiety doesn’t dominate) makes everything seem like it will work out.

Excitement: More control over what I do

Anxiety: All the things I need to do to look after myself (eating, washing, …) that will have to do.

Positives: For the next few weeks at least I’ve got the home treatment team following me with extra support.

Negatives: The extra support won’t last forever.

Positive: Everything could work out 🙂

Negative: It might not.

Conclusion: Its not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out, but it’d be awesome if it did.

Leaving the rehab unit

I didn’t feel in control on the unit; was told by the staff to trust the staff and take the medication suggested, basically “take it”, and they then prescribed new medication after I said I didn’t want it. I’m already on medication, and haven’t even been on them long enough to know if my current meds are effective!

There is no way I was going to make myself endure another 7 days of isolation (no leave), so I left the premises, only to return 1.5 hours later and be told they had to search me and the isolation now had 14 days left (reset to the full time because I was off the premises).

I then left again, and slept in my flat overnight, before getting admitted to a psych ward because of my self-harm risk.

Leaving the unit gave me a sense of control that I had been missing from when I first arrived, however after returning to my flat I still felt that I didn’t have much control because of the lockdown making going out more stressful.

I don’t know how to restore the sense of control that I once had, but it feels like that is the only way to make me safe again.

Despondency

When it feels like nothing matters, my OCD seems to go away.

If nothing matters then why am I trying to keep things clean?

When nothing matters I seem to alternate feeling high (some kind of euphoria) and low (depressed).

The highs feeling disconnected, or like I’m viewing the world through a different lens.

The lows feeling like doing nothing at all, just shutting down.

I mean, why would I run when there’s nowhere to go?

What’s there to fight for when you’re trapped and being trapped seems like your best option?

Context

I’ve recently changed to a different unit, which (for the first 14 days) has no leave. Initially I’ve been able to touch most stuff – as I’m trapped, what else is there to lose from touching it?

The unit has a “no visitors other than staff” policy for people in the 14 day isolation – I don’t have Covid-19 and, as far as I know, I haven’t been exposed to it. This seems to mean (at least to the staff here) that my care coordinator isn’t allowed to see me, which is something my care co. is trying to fix.

Moving day; new unit and staff

Finally off the ward.

I’m in a rehab unit, basically a house with medical staff.

I’m in a 14 quarantine (separated from other patients, no leave, staff use PPE); I don’t have symptoms, but the health trust policy says I have to to protect the other patients and staff from Covid-19. I don’t really want to do it, but the being on the unit seems like good thing, so its worth trying to put up with it.

Being separated has the benefit that I’ve basically got a house to myself (for the time being). Being able to plug my laptop in is nice – allowed cables now (psych wards restrict access to cables for safety reasons).

The staff have been friendly.

My care coordinator has helped me calm down so that I don’t end up going missing from the unit (because of the leave policy) and explained some things that help me to the staff.

Its going to take time, and is anxiety provoking getting used to this location and the staff (as per usual for any new place). So far, mostly OK.

P.S. Only complaint is the leave policy, which I’ve covered my feelings on in multiple other posts, so not going to reiterate them.

The fear of losing control

The fear that once surrendered, control might never be recovered.

The fear that the controller will abuse the control to put me in situations I’d never normally agree to.

The fear that the controller will be viewed as the way to get me to do something, and people stop assuming I have autonomy, and getting my PoV when making decisions.

The terror of the moment I say “no” – and the controller acts aggrieved as if its a personal insult for me to refuse to follow the directive.

The terror of being trapped in a situation where the best option is continuing to surrender control, as all the other options leave me without support.

Context

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what makes me scared of giving trust to and just following advice from staff caring for me. It’s hard, as I’m either fighting myself, or fighting them (in my mind, not literally).

Giving way

Next step after being on a ward? Going to a recovery unit. Do I want to go? TBD.

Against

No leave for 2 weeks. That’s pretty much all my negatives.

It’s better than it was a couple of months ago, no leave at all; fortunately their policy has changed since then.

Would I have been under pressure (encouraged, advised, etc.) to go even if there wasn’t any leave? Maybe. Should I refuse to go based on that? Nope, that is hypothetical and deciding not to go based on an imaginary scenario is probably not a good idea.

For

Lots of positives.

  • Better environment than the psychiatric ward, more space (multiple rooms; kitchen, living area and garden to access)
  • I can have a power cord to plug my laptop in while using it (and a desk to use it on)
  • Own bathroom, no more sharing.
  • Psychologist who wants to help with my OCD
  • Staff (care coordinator and ward staff) view it as a good step forward.

Conclusion?

I feel like I should go. That it’s probably the right option. I’m just not convinced that I want to go.

Although as that that was how I felt about going onto a ward back in January and going onto the ward (eventually) helped, maybe this place will too.

What’s the limit?

Is it when I feel like I have nothing to do because the anxiety that I might be doing the wrong distraction prevents me from engaging in the distraction (Netflix in this case) to make myself feel better?

Is it when distractions feel pointless?

Is it when I feel uncomfortable and unsettled because my anxiety won’t settle down?

Is it trying medication that makes you more anxious temporarily?

Is it moving to a new location with restrictions on leave that will eventually be removed, but until then, despite not moving yet I’m still anxious?

Is it not being able to watch any of the TV shows my younger sister like because the number of sex references disrupt me trying to focus on the story (anxiety about anything sexual is a problem), even with 10s skips to get around the jokes I don’t like?

Or is it when I drop a book I initially liked (at least up to that point) because I didn’t want to trigger any intrusive sexual thoughts?

Is it when I start obsessing over meaningless small details, just so I have something to focus on?

Is it when I decide my anxiety is making my existence so unpleasant its worth using a sedative to calm down?

The short answer, nope, none of those reach the limit of what I have to tolerate just to exist. My anxiety can always get worse, and it feels like I have no choice but to endure it.

I always have to endure it though, and that doesn’t feel fair. Why me? Why can’t I escape the anxiety permanently?

There isn’t a good answer, it just is that way.

I just have to live for the moments inbetween when I feel alive and happy.

The moments when I speak with my little (aged 16) sister.

The moments when I chat with a friend.

The moments when someone else does something that makes my existence easier as I don’t need to worry about that thing now.

The moments when I’m running uphill and the physical exertion makes me feel alive.

The moments of intense focus when I’m lost in a fantasy world (books, video games, TV shows).

The moments I notice that my OCD is slightly less absorbing.

Every little victory matters, there’s no big moments, just lots of small ones that make me feel a little bit better, and they make it worth enduring the anxiety.

I feel guilty about feeling…

…anxious about the fact that I dislike the recovery unit’s status as prohibiting leave.

It’s OK to feel, its not bad or wrong, even when it feels bad and wrong for no reason.

I’m not in the unit yet.

I have a care coordinator who will ensure I get leave.

However…

I can still be unhappy with the policy of the recovery unit.

I can try to enjoy doing something not related to my recovery.

I can use sleep and walking as an escape.

Especially so when it feels like I can’t.

Even when just being me feels like it is something inexpressibly wrong.

P.S. I feel a bit better after writing this.

I’m still anxious

I’m still worried about going to another unit, which has no real leave. My current position: nope, not going unless their leave policy improves

Eating on the ward is a bit hit and miss, both shifts forgot to place mine up separately. I think my complaint to staff got misinterpreted as “the staff paid no attention to me”

I’m changing medication again, moving one dose up, and removing a medication (the new setup is 15mg aripiprazole and 250mg clomipramine). I wanted the changes but I am not liking the temporary increase in anxiety.

I did cry, and eventually relaxed somewhat after having 2mg lorazepam and talking to one of the therapists on the ward.

Changing room on a ward

Today I was told that I had to move to another room on the ward. Big deal? Turns out it was, as I really didn’t want to endure the anxiety associated with being a new room. Initially I thought “I can do this”.

I then become focussed on the anxiety about moving altogether, but over time (3 hours…) I figured that the staff could help with with the issues with the furnishings in the new room. The staff suggested swapping the chest of draws and dust bin with the ones from my old room.

A couple of hours later things were setup in a way I liked, after going for walk to calm down, and spending time adjusting things.

So magically all good? Not yet, my anxiety about being in a different room is still there, it should fade with time though 🙂

Rationalisations used

Remembering that I’ve experienced being in a “new” and “clean” room before, this is just the same, except for the fact I already have a room that’s setup – previously I went in “blind” as a I had no idea what to expect from the room, this time I could see the new room, compare it to where I was, etc.

I was probably moved because they needed a new patient to be close the the office, and putting them in a room at the far end of the ward wouldn’t do that.

That, and they must have really wanted the room, as me freezing not doing much for hours didn’t get them to change their position.

The new room is in a quieter location; I don’t need to put up with noise from a radio now 🙂