The Beginning of My Mental Illness
----CONTENT WARNING TOPICS: mental health, mental illness, self-harm, suicide, hospital, loss ------
So this is my first blog, but let's get right down into this...
Since about 2008 after my mother passed away, I had been living with undiagnosed General Anxiety Disorder, and quite possibly Social Anxiety and Separation Anxiety, and since 2012, Depression. It was not until 2014 when I had a panic attack in public one morning on the way to work that I got diagnosed with those labels. Since then I had been trying to cope with different and often changing medication, and therapies that so far have not worked... It wasn't until last year that anything changed. In January 2018 I had gotten a puppy that I thought could be trained to be my service dog... and in April that same year, I moved out of my grandparents house and into my own apartment, and on top of that two of my best friends moved to another country. Sometime around then I also applied to a college program to start in September 2018. I was doing well until the end of June when my grandparents went away. I had made a trip from my apartment to my grandparents house, and while standing alone in that house, this feeling of emptiness came over me and filled my body as if everything turned from a coloured vision to black and white. I don't remember but I may have been struggling a little before that day, but just not so intensely. I felt my thoughts changing, and my hope drowning from my brain. I didn't believe in tomorrow anymore. My first reaction luckly was to be scared of myself because I started feeling unsafe. I felt that if I were to be alone any longer I would do something to myself, so I called a close friend's mom, and she told me to come to her house, and she would take me to the hospital. I had been to the hospital psych emergency room a few times before after a panic attack just for a check up, but I had never stayed over night. This was the first time I stayed over night. I got out the next day and stayed at friend's mom's house, and the morning after went well, but an intense anxiety started lingering in my body on the way back to the house from McDonalds that afternoon. Because my anxiety was so intense, I lost the capability to voice my trouble, and I managed to hold it all in control until we got back to the house. It was so intense that I could not hold it in any longer. I tried grabbing every sharp item I could get my hands on and hurting myself with it. It got to the point I was screaming and crying, and my friend's mom had to restrain me on my knees. She had called 911, and some police came to hand cuff me and take me to that same hospital. While in the hospital, they kept me in emergency for three days, and then admitted me up to the 17th floor Psychiatric Impatient Unit. I was in Intermediate Care for about a week, and discharged to my grandma's house because they were back from their trip by then. My dog had been staying with my friend's mom, and then at my grandparent's house while I was in hospital. I didn't feel better when I got discharged. They had changed my medication and about 3 days after getting discharged, I started feeling suicidal and self-harmful again, and on top of that, my medication's side effects were giving my whole body restlessness, nausea, and headaches. I got brought back to the hospital and they admitted me again for 2 more weeks. By the end I felt good enough to go home. Around the end of that hospitalization, I had a miracle happen. In June, I had made an appointment to see a counsellor at my school but the hospitalization made me have to cancel that appointment, so knowing I had been hospitalized, the school sent a different school counsellor who deals with serious mental illness visit me in the hospital... The first few sessions with her were hard because I have a hard time telling people deep stuff verbally, especially when I haven't built the trust with them. There are only really few people who I will feel extremely and one hundred percent comfortable with. She tried really hard to gain my trust, and eventually the trust grew to the point that I felt I could speak with her about anything. I felt as if I can speak to her more about myself than to my own family and friends. In learning her story, she became an inspiration to me, and a role model. I started looking up to her, and and having an attachment with her (I have had a few attachment figures since my mom passed away). She showed me various DBT skills, and other ways to help with dealing with my emotions, and she told me she cared very much about me. Because of that, the next few months consisted of few hospitalizations and never for more than three days. It wasn't until November when I had a few things happen - First I had to move back into my grandparent's home, then I had to give my dog away, and also one of my friends who had gone away had stopped talking to me, and she told me the reason was because I "had too many problems" regarding my mental illness. She had also said that I was doing it for attention, and choosing to feel what I felt for the attention. That broke my heart because she had been the closes friend I had had for more than ten years. She was the last person who'd I thought would misunderstand me. That and the fact that although I wasn't close with my dad, he passed away, it ended me up back in the hospital. I was there for four weeks and they took me off all my old medications which were not working, and put me on new medications. During that stay, my counsellor kept close contact with my hospital care team and I, and she believed in me when I didn't. What helped was that the health care team was really understanding and caring as well.
Ever since that hospital trip, change of medications, and inspiration and help from my counsellor, I started the new year off in good spirit, and keeping stable. My counsellor helped me sign up for a choir, join a WRAP program and soon a DBT program.
February was to be feared because my counsellor was going away for the month. After a successful two months of no trips to the hospital, February was the opposing dreadful and three steps back in terms of my mental health. I had been having ups and downs in January, and learning that my environment with my grandparents was triggering because of the anxious energy coming from my grandma. About a week after the appointment with my counsellor, I had a dreadful meltdown. I had been dealing with unsafe thoughts but they had been manageable with the help of my step-mom, step-dad, and sisters. I had been at their house for a week, but when I went back home, I felt intense irritation along with self-harmful urges (Which I had felt a few times in the past since the end of last year). In the past they would go away after five minutes, so I held my ground as if a tornado was going through my body, hoping it would go away in five minutes, but the five minutes passed and I could not keep control much longer. I still tried interference by screaming into a pillow, but my grandma and grandpa heard me and came up stairs. At that point I was on the ground wrapped in my weight blanket screaming into a pillow, and grandma, nudging me with her foot, told me to stop doing what I was doing and go for a walk with grandpa, who was also telling me to go for a walk. Between the both of them, and my emotions that were already there, I had held in my urges as long as I could. I ended up hitting my head on the door and the floor multiple times. I then got up and ran down to the kitchen to grab a sharp item and self-harm with, but grandpa followed and grabbed the item out of my hand. The rest was mostly a blur until the point that I snuck into the bathroom and swallowed a bunch of over the counter medication. I looked up on the internet what would happen to me, and it just said liver problems, but no fatal outcome. I got scared and told my best friend's mom on the phone, and she told my grandparents, and they brought me to the hospital. I felt super tired and had a headache. They kept me in an isolated room in the acute unit of the emergency. I was there over night, they looked after me and took blood from me two times to see if it was a toxic amount of medication in my blood, but it wasn't so I got brought to the main psychiatric emergency room, and stayed there for two days. In that time, that was my grandparent's last straw, and they told the hospital they couldn't deal with me anymore. They still care for me a lot but they are getting older and I am only slowly learning how to deal with my emotions. I got sent to a place that has stays from 3 to 7 days, and you get your own room but share living spaces and bathrooms with about ten other people plus the 24/7 staff. Grandma eventually gave into letting me stay at her house for a few months while we figure out some assisted living accomidations for me even though I didn't want to either, but the only other option would be a shelter. It is March 1st and I am at grandma's but she and grandpa are going away so I will be back at that short stay place again... I am also on the list for a crisis bed at a 30 day stay place. My counsellor will be coming back today, and I will see her on Monday.