…so, this is the end.
The first tagline I ever had for this blog, way back in 2007, was, “Navigating the labyrinth of the NHS Mental Health Services”. Four years and six months later, I’ve found my way out.
I had my final appointment on Friday. It was with my social worker and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has such a fantastic name that I expected her to smash through the window on a trapeze before backflipping onto the customary blue fabric chair. She didn’t, and quite frankly I don’t know why I pay my taxes.
It went well. They partly had to discharge me because I’ve moved borough (and I will now also tell you that I was in the Camden and Islington trust, and now I’m in Southwark).
(Quick aside- look at this. This is Southwark’s logo:
Look me in the internet eye and tell me that you didn’t imagine that said in smooth italics by an ageing Italian crooner whose photo hangs proudly in the local chippy. Someone like this:
It gives me a genuine joy to see Southwark adorning the sides of bins because I imagine Mr. Southwark sneaking around at night, taking a fountain pen out of his pocket with a flourish then daubing them with his own hand in the hope that someone, somewhere, will remember him. Which is really rather a depressing image rather than a happy one, but it’s okay, he goes home to somewhere warm, kicks back with a whiskey and sticks a record of his greats on).
What the hell was I on about again? Oh yes.
Anyway, the appointment. I was being discharged anyway due to moving, but if they’d been worried, they would have referred me onwards. I don’t have a GP as of yet in my new borough anyway, so all their letters would have been addressed to Mr. Southwark’s greatest fans. They aren’t worried. They- and I- think I can manage without their help now. Not cured, just managing.
I’m back on Seroquel fairly consistently again, and I have the prerequisite starting-it-off-two-skips-full-of-fat, which has corroded my confidence in my physical appearance to the sliver-thin scalf of wood I wish I looked like. When I met Chris Grayling MP (MP), I had also forgotten to wash paint out of my hair, so. My friend’s giving me her bike, so I’m hoping to shift it, but still. I have the POX so it makes it that bit harder.
The psychiatrist was very nice. We talked about my mood and medication, did the run-down of past medications and what I’d be willing to try in the future. I told her about recent moods and she agreed with me that I was under a lot of stress, which would send anyone doolally. I just need to learn how to manage it a bit better. Jo told her about the shenanigans last year when I stopped medication totally and had a high episode followed by a very sharp, very steep and sudden depression which was largely resolved when I began taking medication again. We’re not starting anything new- it was silly of me to even think so, since I’ve moved and don’t have a doctor. She agrees with Jo that I should stick to Seroquel. I concede grudgingly that it mostly works. Psychiatrists nor social workers don’t want to hear the long whine, “But I don’t like sleeping so much. I don’t like being fat. I don’t like being dopey”. She listened to that, though, and suggested the extended release version. She’s made a note in my records for the new GP to see how I’m doing and discuss medication changes if I stop doing okay.
She also gave me the information I needed in my new borough if I hit crisis, so I know where to go and what to do. I can shine my big, “SHITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!” light into the sky. To be honest, I partly moved into this borough because it has some good mental health facilities.
I’m doing good. Better than good. Managing myself. Oddly, I think going out with Robert has helped me. A lot of people were very against us being together- when we were, a decade ago, when I was fourteen and he was eighteen, we were rather, er, full on. He is quite, quite mad, but in the best way. Creative, emotional, spinning, strange. Jo has commented that he, “wears me out”, and it’s true. He often goes along with my stranger schemes, and I often go along with his. You’d think a rather dull character would be the stabilising force, but it’s been quite the opposite. My ex, Rob, was never dull, but he was more stable than me. I didn’t like being the “mental” one- I still don’t. Robert is silly and explosive and yet extremely patient and kind with me. He didn’t deal very well with my depression last year- being, as it was, a very marked change from what had gone on in the previous months- but he experienced his own bout of depression recently. He’s okay, now (and it was odd, the role reversal, I wonder if I am any good at it, he says I helped, I hope I did) but he gets it, too. Likewise, before he’d seen me proper-mad, he was quite against medication. Now he’s for it. He never panics or judges me. Even last year when I decided to take myself off to the seaside for few days just to get some sleep-and failed to, wandering around instead- he just joined me the day after. In a way, our mercurial selves strengthens our sanity, not weakens it. I would never have expected that.
The doctor and Jo were very encouraging and gave me so many congratulations that I felt like it was my birthday. My instinct was to refute them but I just smiled and said thank you. When I left, Jo hugged me and said, “Thank you for everything you’ve taught me”, and I almost burst into tears. Instead, I blurted out, “Do you remember that time you laughed about my dad dying?” to her now-leaden face. She didn’t, obviously. I do and I geniunely meant it in a nice way. We were talking and I said something about my dad, then followed it with, “He’s dead now”, and she burst out laughing. It was just at the manner in which I said it, but I remember it fondly. She got my sense of humour and understood I wouldn’t be offended by that. My siblings and I often taunt each other with, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, your da’s dead!” and people look at us sideways. It wasn’t the smoothest parting shot, though, and there you go! I was going to get her a card but I left my purse at home. I’ve bought her one since, but I’m not sure whether to send it or not. I do want to thank her. We had quite the shaky start, but she’s been brilliant. She made me laugh, called me on my own bullshit and bollocks-talking, and she fought for me. I have always appreciated those things.
I left that odd shaped building for the last time, forgetting to say goodbye to the receptionist who always says hello to me and the other patients. I remember her ringing upstairs last year when I was swinging over the disabled handrails laughing my head off. I lit up a smoke (I’m quitting and have the raft of unused patches to prove it- I can’t and have never been able to afford to smoke) and went to my Holloway flat too for the last time. Still nothing from my landlord, so I’m not expecting my much-needed deposit back.
It was quite magnificent, going over the river at Blackfriars in the obscenely slow train. Now I’m Sath of the Rivah, most of my jaunts into the city involve that lovely journey. I have lived here almost eight years and I still never tire of the sight of it, the river looming, all glittery, the bridges, the boats.
When I arrived home (home, proper home, with cats and Robert and double glazing), there were two cakes waiting for me, and four candles- one for each year. (Alas, they fell rather dejectedly into the cake when lit, but it’s the thought that counts).
The weekend was spent getting the flat in order and blanching every time I looked at my bank account. Today was spent at my Very First University Interview for mental health nursing, and in all honesty, I have no idea how it went. It was very exciting, though. My next one is on the 23rd of February. Tomorrow I have a test. I miss writing, and miss having the time to write. I’m still wondering whether I should bother with a book. I’m unsure as to whether to continue this blog at all- I’m still involved in activism, but as far as the mental health system goes, that’s it. I haven’t had time to write on my other blog, but I will, so BOOKMARK IT OR DIE. And hopefully the horrendous self-obsession I’ve employed to try and sort myself out and monitor what’s going on can relax. Yeah, as if I wasn’t already self obsessed, whoops… But I do want to write about more things. And I’m doing more things, which means I have an outer life, not just an inner life these days.
So, as is customary, here are some (shitty quality, stolen from Facebook) photos of this month! They’re all crap, my AF is still broken, my eyesight is too bad to use manual focus, I can’t really afford new glasses right now, so I don’t use my camera for creative things anymore. But you can nosey at the new flat. It’s weekly rent wise split between us, about £30 a week cheaper than it would even be in halls of residence. Go places without a tube! VISIT SOUTH LONDON.
I am very excited about the kitchen and main bedroom- I’ve never lived somewhere with a proper kitchen or main bedroom before. I’ve either lived in scrappy, broken-windowed bedsits or places with tiny bedrooms crowded with crap and kitchens handcrafted by people with dyspraxia, armed solely with a pickaxe. Such tiny, stupid things that make it feel like a home, but it’s nice, y’know? I need a stable base to be, er, stable from. Ish. Who knows, maybe this will be the flat the crisis team doesn’t visit and criticise for being a shithole!
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder