Monday, 18 July 2011

The Importance of being Honest

Hi Everyone

I must admit, I was casting around a bit for a title to this post... I am quite pleased with it.  Because it is important to be honest in life - not to the point of telling someone they are fat or spotty, that is just rude - but on matters of principle.  The need (or desire) to dissemble is answerable for a lot of problems in life.. Hence, I suppose, my mother's words of wisdom, 'Be True unto Yourself'.  It is easier than you think to pull the wool over your own eyes.  We all do it, to some extent.

Anyway, that is a bit abstract.  I haven't been out a lot recently...

I know I promised to blog on the subject of my recent stay in hospital, and have not really come up with the goods yet, or only in brief.  Maybe the moment has passed now.  I did have a certain amount of paranoia, you see - I came around from the anaesthetic feeling nauseous and when I told the staff this I was given an anti-nausea drug that made me feel somewhat worse.  I felt what I can best describe as hysterical - I could very easily have begun to shout or to cry.  I was close to the edge.  I did stay calm and in control externally, but when I tried to speak my speech was muddled and unclear and I felt that I had very little command of it.

I kept quiet at the time, but I was scared.  Later when I got back to the ward, I told the nurse how I had felt and she said that the drug I was given can have that effect.  It did help to know that the drug was to blame - obviously I had suspected as much.  But then after a night of very little sleep I was shaky the next day.  I realised that I was not at my best and I asked to have no visitors that evening - and then there was the morphine incident in the night...

However, I got through all that and went home the next day (exhasuted but just about sane) and I have felt better with each night's sleep that I have had since.  And the recovery thing has been much smoother than I expected, since I got home.  I have been lucky.

The point I was wishing to make was that by being as patient and trusting (and honest) as possible, I pre-empted any difficulties with the nursing staff, and thus stopped them being concerned as to my state of mind.  I was a little concerned myself at times, but kept reassuring myself - such-and-such was just the effect of the medication and so on, it would soon wear off, and telling myself to be brave and strong. 

It is really important to believe in oneself - but hard to do so when one has experienced psychosis in the past.  Because the feeling of being out of control is so total - when I was very ill, a long time ago now, even when I knew I was not acting rationally it felt as though it was impossible to behave in a rational way.

What I have learned since then is how to take preventative measures - to sleep and eat well, and if I ever feel I am going downhill, to talk about any doubts I have as to my mental state.  This last is not easy - the mental health services really only seem equipped to deal with emergencies.  Over the last ten years or so I have sometimes had minor crises - usually problems with anxiety - and found it very hard to access counselling or even to get a psychiatric nurse to come and chat.  I am not seen as a priority, which is great in a way, but I can't help feeling that if the mental health services used some of their resources to prevent people relapsing it would be better than just waiting for them to get unwell enough to warrant their help.  Sometimes I feel as though they are just waiting for me to lose the plot - which I know is not the case, of course, they have enough to do already.

I have finally managed to get some counselling sorted - I think I will have to wait another ten weeks or so, but it is set up, which is great.  I feel well at the moment, but am aware that with the book out, and because I have volunteered to take on media work with Rethink (and am also intending to volunteer for the Time to Change programme) it could potentially be a stressful time ahead.

Enough about me.  I hope all of you readers are well and happy. 

Louise x  

1 comment:

  1. When I was in the hospital for a hysterectomy, they gave me morphine after the operation in case I felt pain. I thought "this'll be fun; I can be a drug addict for a day or two because it's under controlled circumstances. So, I kept hitting that morphine pump like a trained seal. A neighbour phoned me while I was in this "controlled" state. She was later too embarrassed to tell me what I said to her. So, yes, these drugs do have an effect.Good luck with your book and all the other things you are doing for mental health.