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.

…And Nay!

Trigger warning: If you’ve worried about accommodation, hospital/home changes or suicidal thoughts this might be difficult to read. Writing it left me crying.

Of course I’m going to get anxious about leaving, even if I want to. This leaves me confused as to what I really want, leaving, or staying. I kinda want both, so if either one goes wrong I can escape to the other.

Knowing that my room on ward was still mine to occupy if being in my flat became too much would be a amazing safety net to let me risk trying to function in my flat.

With my flat I’m terrified of things ending up how they were before I went onto the ward. The consequences are potentially even worse this time around as I’ll be “asked” (or, from my point of view, pressured) into going into supported accommodation, and forgoing my flat permanently.

The intensity of these feelings make me feel like I’d prefer to overdose, and be in A&E, rather than deal with transferring to supported accommodation at a later date. Its scary (for me), and I need to persuade my care team quite how strongly I feel.

Got to stop writing as I’m starting to cry.

What is real right now?

Trigger Warning: this post discusses thoughts of suicide and self harm

Definitely real (at 23:49)

  • I’m anxious
  • I’m awake

Possibly imagined (as of 23:53)

  • I’m too anxious to sleep
  • I felt suicidal
  • That the red card (meltdown/crisis indicator) I put on my ward room door earlier was justified

What I think, on my anxiety level

I’m feeling lost in my mind. I feel that my anxieties about the impact the Covid-19 are real, but I don’t know if they’re any worse than everyone else’s.

For (high anxiety)

  • I inflicted pain on myself
  • Cut skin on my arms with my teeth (not that effective though).
  • Had suicide present as a real option to resolve a problem.
  • Being unable to go for a long walk removed an significant coping strategy

Against (normal anxiety)

  • When talking to my care coordinator earlier we got disconnected, and she didn’t ring back, presumably because she felt I was repeating the same anxieties as on the last call to them 2 days ago.
  • Ward staff waited 3 hours to respond to my crisis indicator (suggesting that they thought my feelings would be transient)

What I think, of crisis response

That it appears the ward staff have decided the best course of action in the event I am anxious is to ignore it, hoping that it dissipates. If it doesn’t, then offer me PRN and suggestions of coping strategies I’ve already exhausted, before finishing with that I need to talk to them so they can help, despite the indicator showing that means that I feel unable to talk.

For (me)

  • Leave any anxious person alone long enough (say 4 hours) and the anxiety will fade, even if it’s unpleasant for the anxious person.
  • They did ignore my red indicator, and remarked that I should have gone to the office (I did, but froze and turned back – too anxious to wait).
  • I was so anxious that relaxing made me cry (crying was suppressed as I was frozen up)

Against (me)

  • I did eventually fall asleep, however briefly 4 hours later, so maybe and crisis wasn’t a “real crisis” (remark by nurse on duty)
  • I seem to have upset every staff member I’ve come in contact with today

What I think, of me being alive

If I’m dead I can’t spread the Covid-19 disease, so why not end it all? I’ve got an untested plan for killing myself on the ward, but haven’t used it as if I get caught before completion I probably won’t get another chance.

For (do it)

  • If I’m dead, I really can’t infect anyone else (at least not in a way that’s my fault)
  • The staff used PPE (gloves, surgical mask and flimsy plastic apron) when dispensing medication this evening, suggesting that I am a real contamination threat.
  • The staff don’t know I felt suicidal earlier, so they can’t mitigate what they don’t know about. I don’t even want to tell them after how dismissive they’ve been of the anxiety.

Against (don’t do it)

  • Everyone else will still be alive and infecting each other.
  • Everyone is a threat, not just me, I’m just lost in trying to comprehend how big (or not) of a threat I am compared to everyone else.

What I think, of remaining on the ward

I can see the perks, food, reasonable clean facilities, and I won’t be left with an escalating mess in my room, but the loss of freedom is a big deal, I really want to go for long walks to deal with anxiety.

Don’t need a for/against. I’ve already done it in my thoughts.

Conclusion

I’m losing confidence in my ability to assess my anxiety level, with the reactions of staff, and the general population’s anxiety level impacting my assessment.

Shopping with OCD, during a pandemic

This experience is strange, as for the first time how I act appears in line with everyone else:

  • Taking items from the back of the shelf
  • Using gloves to touch the self-service machine
  • Dodging and freezing in place to avoid getting too close to another human being
  • All round jumpiness

For me this feels wrong, somehow my OCD behaviour is so bad it can’t ever be treated as something to accept, but the world has changed to the point that it is acceptable.

Having a real threat to avoid makes it hard to justify not taking something off a shelf if I just saw someone else handle it. I can’t refute the logic that using a clean carrier bag is safer than reusing a shopping basket, or that taking two carrier bags, one to hold your shopping, and the second to put it after scanning; so your shopping never hits the surfaces on the self-checkout is excessive.

The sheer strangeness of a world where dodging contamination so overtly that others around you can’t help but notice is treated as “normal” isn’t something I’ll ever get used to.

Although despite the efforts of “normal” people to avoid contamination, their behaviour has so many holes in the avoidance, that it isn’t as effective as it seems it should be. My favourite examples are using gloves in a supermarket. I’ve seen people use disposable gloves, winter gloves and the cuffs of their sleeves to supposedly avoid contamination. As they try to shop their gloves/cuffs hit so many things, including themselves in the process – contamination avoidance isn’t a natural habit – that I’d probably experience a lot of distress if I reacted like them. My view still isn’t “normal”, but it’s closer than it has ever been 😛

It does seems like the world should be ending, as everyone has been thrown in a form of contamination hell, terrified that something bad could happen if they mess up and get contaminated (Covid-19).

P.S. Still in hospital, its possible this will persist until the lockdown ends. Finally felt safe enough to ask the staff for what I needed to eat food on the ward, so I’m eating on the ward now. The routine is that mine is served first, and I’m allowed to eat it in my room. Its works.

Coronavirus is terrifying, and it’s not just me!

At the best of times I’m always worried about contamination, now it feels like reality has become a projection of my anxieties.

Watching someone who until the last few days would never used a hand sanitizer makes me feel guilty of their behalf for any excessive hand washing.

The focus on hand washing in the news leaves me feeling like normal behaviour and OCD completion compulsions overlap to the point I can’t tell what is “in my mind” and what isn’t.

I’m primarily worried about transmitting Covid-19, odds are it won’t affect me badly. I’m more worried about going out and causing people who wouldn’t otherwise have been infected to get it.

Outside my ward are posters, emphasised by being surrounded by bright pink paper. Visitors are asked if they have symptoms before coming onto the ward.

What is so strange is that in this new world, everyone is worried about cleanliness, not just me. The reasons aren’t exactly the same though.

The thing I’m going to notice the most is not visiting my parents and siblings. As we reside in different places there’s a risk of me bringing the virus to them (which my mum is worried about), or me bringing it from their house (which the hospital is worried about).

Being in hospital is probably for the best when my anxiety is still so incapacitating. I’d still jump towards being on a more open unit though (got a referral pending).

Getting hold of cleaning products would likely be a major stressor when living in my flat, at least in hospital I’ve got support, and don’t need to procure them.

P. S. Still in hospital, voluntarily, but my anxiety gets in the way of going missing (I tried it yesterday, couldn’t go near a bus or train) so I’m contained by my own mind 😕.

Red, yellow, black or blue?

Those are the cards I can put in the window of my room in a psychiatric ward. They’re personal to me, I’m the only person who uses cards on the ward.

They do cover all the ways I feel though.

Blue

Blue, like a clear sky when the sun is out. This one means “I’m fine”. Green was another option, but blue epitomises my existence. It is pretty sad at the moment, even when I’m “OK”.

Suffering from anxiety isn’t the slightest bit fun.

Black

I’m not angry. I’m not OK. I’m highly anxious and stressed, but it’s lasted so long it feels like the colour and joy has drained from my world.

I don’t need an intervention, but just talking to me lets some colour seep back into the scene I occupy.

Yellow

The perennial fire of my anxiety is heating up. Someone else can still help me get it down, but dealing with it alone is no longer possible.

Someone needs to stop and just wait for me to explain what’s wrong, then help me work through it.

Red

My anxiety is all consuming. It devours everything, including my ability to move or speak, like an unstoppable wildfire. The best way to deal with it is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Intervention from staff is necessary.

P. S.

I’m still on a ward, not sectioned, the consultant psychiatrist thought I wouldn’t challenge the status quo by leaving the ward, so he didn’t see any need to continue to section. I haven’t gone missing, but I’ve taken plenty of time off the ward during the day.