A play on words shamelessly stolen from the frankly legendary Beatles song “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” (tuuuunnnnee!) & as rumour would have it famously refers to LSD, a popular hallucinogenic drug back in the day (illegal FYI) & for all I know, possibly prevalent in the same/similar format today.
I’m still on the goooooddd legal drugs several times a day whilst my doses are being adjusted to appropriate levels and I’m still in the hospital (or spa package extraordinaire as one fiend/friend would have it) & have been overwhelmed and humbled by the lovely & vast load of cards, flowers, texts etc that you fab lot have thrust upon me. And herein I hate to confess lies part of the problem: I feel undeserving of your generosity, selfish in the extreme & basically pretty weak and pathetic – I guess that’s what severe depression, exhaustion & anxiety leaves you with.
It’s not even a question of not being good enough. It’s the feeling of being good for nothing, entirely worthless & lacking. I hate this feeble person I have become. Please believe me when I tell you this post is not about me fishing for compliments or hoping you will reply with praise in abundance – I am not self sacrificing/promoting; just trying to give a little insight into how debilitating and all consuming mental health issues can be & how they take over your life.
I’m allowed out of the hospital for brief periods on accompanied leave – either with a staff member if there is someone spare or released to Martin or a friend’s care as my “responsible adult” (ha!!!)
Although I have enjoyed popping into Harrogate for an hour or so just for a change of scenery (and to potentially find an acceptable substitute for the Dune shoes I’m still lusting after… total mission fail 🙄) it’s a real sucker punch when the anxiety comes roaring in & all you want to do is be invisible, unnoticeable & back in the sanctity of the hospital. The return cannot come quick enough & often I need PRN (from the Latin pro re nata meaning as the circumstances arise) medication to bring me back to some semblance of serenity & normality (whatever that is) just to function. I’ve also (unknowingly & unintentionally) begun ripping the skin on my arms to shreds; not as a form of self harm but apparently a well documented side effect of severe anxiety. It’s not pretty & I don’t want my children to see it & worry but can’t seem to stop myself unless whomever I’m with points out what I’m doing.
People’s (on the outside world) well meaning comments can be hard to handle to: “you look so much better” “you seem so lively” or “it’s been 3 weeks so you MUST be feeling back on the road to good health now!”
Truly I understand these are all said with the best intentions and meanings (none of us really want to be told we look like crap particularly no matter what the circumstances) but myself and fellow inmates are learning to take things hour by hour or even minute by minute during the really terrifying, utterly disabling anxiety moments. Being told we look so much better or similar puts us under huge pressure to be that person for you, to live up to your expectations. Of course we are all terribly British with our stiff upper lips & brightly repeated “I’m fine!” even if we have a limb partially hanging off so to admit that your mental health, self worth, esteem etc is in your boots goes against every fibre of our being and it’s not even as if you can especially see something is actually wrong with us so we feel even more fraudulent. I realise I may be generalising too much here but certainly this is representative of the majority of my fellow (spa) residents from chatting it over.
The last few days have been particularly hard as I have had by necessity of deadlines & time frames had to put a formal letter of complaint together against both the education department, children’s social care & the emergency duty team to follow up the complaints I put in by email.
This has dragged up a huge amount of unpleasant emotions, memories, the feelings of overwhelming fear and desperation and exacerbated my exhaustion but needs must and as I may have mentioned once or twice when it comes to my children, I am lion-hearted. I also hope to set precedent so that no other families will have to experience what we have been through over the past 18 months or so.
So am I getting better? Honestly I don’t know. There are certainly some chinks of light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel. But the thought of what happens when I eventually have to face the various professionals when I leave here, the meetings I will have attend, my lapse in mental health being held up in judgement as to my failure to parent, not to mention the tribunal, caring for the kids & running the household again absolutely terrifies me. Paralysing, crippling self doubt abounds & in discussing my risk assessment & care plan with the staff recently, my level of risk (to self not others) remains the same.
In the meantime if it’s not time for the gooood drugs or I can’t have any more PRN, I have found a fairly helpful interim substitute: