“I know you hate me.”

OD, overdose, self-harm, self-injury, prescription, script, medication, meds, tablets, pills, mental health, mental illness, safety, depression, suicide, suicidal, endep, amitriptyline, psychotropic, psychology, psychiatry

“I know you hate me.” That’s what my GP said to me when I saw her last week. I’d asked for a new prescription for one of our medications, and she’d agreed to write it, but with the condition that … Continue reading

It Feels Like Failure

I’ve been home from hospital for five and a half weeks. It was tricky adjusting to being home, especially with moving to a new house, in a new suburb. My housemate did most of the moving whilst I was in hospital. My first night at home was spent in a new house with different sounds, but mostly deafening silence.

It took a couple of weeks, but I settled into my new place, and new routines. It’s quicker to get to some of my health professionals, but longer to others. It’s much, much further to work, but it’s still okay. My unit is at the back of the block so there’s very little sound from passing traffic. Sometimes you can hear trains at the nearby train station, but mostly it’s silent.

I’m not sure when things started heading south. There were the usual ups and downs, but then something changed. I plunged into a deep, dark hole. Everything was harder. Smiling took more energy. I cried whenever I was alone. Then safety became an issue. Self-destructive thoughts and urges filled my mind. The only escape was to follow through.

I didn’t tell anyone to begin with. I kept quiet. I wasn’t proud of my mistakes. I felt stupid, like an idiot for engaging in self-harming behaviours. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do it again. I brushed it off as a mistake. Then, I did it again. This time Miss 16 dobbed on me, and told our psychologist.

That’s when, five weeks after I was discharged, my psychologist contacted my psychiatrist, and told Miss 16 that we needed to be in hospital. Fast forward to today, and we’ve seen our psychiatrist. A potential admission date has been set. Miss 16 went to the appointment with our psychiatrist today and told him what she thought he should know.

I know I’m struggling, and I know my thinking is out of whack, but I don’t want to be back in hospital.

I didn’t mind admitting to my last hospital admission. I was okay with that. This time, I’m ashamed. By the time I go back in I’ll have been home for a little under two months. This feels like failure. I’m angry, frustrated, and disappointed with myself for needing to be in hospital.

I have to talk to my manager and negotiate more time off work. I have to arrange for my housemate to take care of my goldfish. I’ll have to explain to some friends where I am, and why. Work colleagues will want to know where I’ve been when I’m back again.

I’m all for working to reduce the stigma around mental illness and accessing appropriate treatment. I encourage others to seek appropriate help when needed. I tell others that there is no shame in seeking help for mental illness.

Honestly though, I feel ashamed. Needing to be in hospital, again, feels like absolute failure.

We’re Not Broken or Damaged

Recently someone asked me is some of my parts were ‘damaged’.

I know that the question wasn’t meant to be critical or offensive, but, deep down, it kind of was. I understand what was meant by the question. What was meant, I think, was more along the lines of whether the parts/alters in question were created through trauma or held trauma memories.

I responded to the question politely, and answered the question that I thought was being asked.

I’ve referred to myself or others inside as broken, damaged, and messed up. There may be grains of truth in there somewhere, but honestly, we’re far from broken or damaged.

We survived. Splitting into so many different parts meant that we survived some horrible experiences. It definitely causes problems now – old coping mechanisms tend to be more destructive than constructive. We’re working on that. Emphasis on ‘we’.

Please don’t ask someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) if they or their parts are broken or damaged. A nicer way of phrasing it would be to ask if any parts were created through trauma, or hold trauma memories.

Why I Will Tell You That I’ve Been in Hospital

I’ve been home from hospital for three weeks, and back at work for two weeks. I only work several hours each week, but there were staff who’d noticed my absence. Several asked where I’d been, and commented that they hadn’t seen me for ages.

I’d explain that I’d spent a month in hospital, but have been home a few weeks. My answer was met with genuine concern, and questions about my wellbeing. I’ve told different colleagues over the years that I have PTSD and a dissociative disorder. I’ve never elaborated beyond that. The reason for my hospital admission, I explained, was ‘PTSD stuff’. Only colleagues I know well have asked anything more after that.

I don’t hide my psychiatric diagnoses, but I don’t advertise them either. I’ll explain as much as people want to know, and as much as I feel comfortable with. Questions about my mental health, or mental health in general won’t offend me, but making assumptions about me, or my capabilities will.

I do tend to avoid telling most people that I have DID. It’s a difficult diagnosis to explain to people who have little knowledge of mental illness, let alone trauma and dissociation. The majority of people have some knowledge of what PTSD is, and given I have Complex PTSD, it’s not far from the truth.

I hope that by being relatively open about my own struggles with mental health issues, that those around me will feel comfortable in talking about their own mental health, and see seeking treatment as ‘normal’, reasonable, and okay. The way I see it – I was unwell, outpatient treatment wasn’t very effective at the time, inpatient treatment was going to be more effective, so that’s the treatment option I chose.

Let’s ditch the stigma.

It’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t need to be hidden, covered up, or kept secret. It’s also okay to seek help.