I have been struggling a lot at the moment. It’s really hard to find the light when it all seems very dark but I have met some people in the recent months that have really gone the extra mile to help me. I recently found myself in a bit of a sticky situation where my brother ended up having to call me an ambulance. One of the paramedics that came was particularly lovely, she helped me to follow the emergency treatment that I needed to have. She spoke to me about my blog and writing to distract me from the whole situation. We spoke about writing quite a lot and I gave her the name of my blog so that she could look it up on her break. As I was waiting in A&E a notification came up on my phone of a new follower and new likes on my blog. You guessed it, it was the lovely paramedic who also has her own blog! After silly amounts of blood tests and junior doctors failing with canulas. She came into A&E with another patient but briefly sat next to me to say that she has been reading and enjoying my blog and can’t wait for my next post, so thank you lovely paramedic for going that extra mile to make that shitty situation so much better.
It is coming up to a year since I was discharged from a 9 month long inpatient admission in a adolescent psychiatric unit. It has been a very interesting year. Somethings were more challenging than I had thought they would be other things were a lot easier than I thought they were going to be, but over all life out of hospital is not what I expected it to be. Its been interesting to see that all of my hospital friends have followed different paths since we all left the same ward. Some have gone back into CAMHS wards others have turned 18 in the past year and have been admitted to adult psychiatric units. Some of us have gone back to school and gotten part time jobs. Some people have really distanced themselves from everything to do with their time in hospital. Everything that everyone has done is understandable and has its own merits but it is interesting how we have all done such different things in the past 12 months. For me, the past year has been about finding my feet at home and working with my mental health team to get the right balance of support while also maintaining a social life. The friends I have made in hospital are a huge part of my life still, we are a cheer squad for each other through the tough times and we are there to enjoy the happy times too- because we all know how hard we have each worked for those smiles. I’m incredibly aware of the fact that some jokes I made in hospital are not funny to people from the ‘outside world’ (keeping hospital friends close for these moments is crucial.) I also have come to realise some of the stories I hold from hospital are unique and hysterically funny to people who I have re-told them too. I’ve learnt that a year on from discharge I still am in awe of the staff I met on the ward and miss them everyday. I have also learnt that it isn’t a bad thing to miss people and I don’t have to beat myself up over feeling this way it’s a natural human emotion after-all. The past 12 months have made my relationships with my family grow even stronger and made every happy moment (however small) that we share together even sweeter. With my loved ones help I have been learning more than ever to find things that I truly love and grab onto them with both hands because if I’ve learnt anything in the past year its that those are the things that life is all about.
There are many, many items that came in with me on the day of my admission. A lot of these didn’t make it through the 9 months, for various reasons. Most of which are through self harm incidents but that isn’t what I am going to be commemorating in this post, this is a tribute to some of the items lost in other ways. I hope they rest in peace somewhere in the vortex that is the staff office, or now at home with the wrong patient.
- Patients would have things we could use in communal areas or under supervision. Once you gave these items back into the office it was a slight raffle as to if you would be seeing them again.. *prays staff member will put item back into the correct named box with other belongings*
- My converses (still internally crying about this one)
- countless items of clothing- lost in the great room stripping of 2014
- Headphones, so many pairs of headphones.
- My winter coat
- Toothbrushes, soaps and deodorant…- These ones are pretty essential to daily life so they were replaced pretty fast, even if I did go through the same cycle multiple times.
- The books that were borrowed but never returned (I’m talking to you, night staff)
All of these material objects are small fry when it comes to the reality of life and death. Thankfully I gained so much more from my admission than I could have ever lost.
I know everyone always says that they much prefer giving gifts than receiving- *pause for groan at the cliche statement* But this year I have really found this to be the case. Last Christmas I didn’t have the chance to buy or make any presents- and there are only so many risk free christmas crafts a bunch of mentally ill teenagers can make. I have made many a scrapbook page on all of the things I have been enjoying this festive season that I didn’t have access to last year. Such as;
- waking up in my own bed
- wrapping presents
- fairy lights
- A christmas tree!
And many more! But on christmas morning, 2015 the moment that made me the most thankful to be at home was handing over a gift that I have chosen or made, in wrapping paper with a ribbon that I tied around it. Giving someone a gift that I put thought into- I didn’t have the spare thoughts last year to even contemplate what someone would have liked for christmas. Having the means to get my loved ones gifts was really priceless. The gift of giving has gotten even sweeter and made for an incredibly special christmas.
“Last Christmas, I was in a psychiatric unit. The very next day not much had changed. This year to save me from tears don’t ever send me back there. Once bitten the nurses were shy, I threw my shoe and it almost hit her eye. So tell me Tilly ‘do you want some lorazepam?’ I say yes- it doesn’t surprise them.”
Just a silly parody I wrote this time last year when I was spending christmas in hospital. Never fails to put a smile on my face when I hear the original 😉
I hope you all have a Merry (and safe) Christmas and be kind to yourselves.
I was at our local GP surgery today with Mothership. The appointment was booked for something irelivent (at least irrelivent to this blog) but as we were in there the topic of my scars came up, we began to talk about if I have any options to reduce the scarring or to help with the pain I experience. When the seasons change and the scars become painful (due to the change of temperature.) For the first time ever, the option of having some of the bigger scars surgically removed came up. My Mum has been very patient and understanding towards my thoughts and emotions around this being a possibility for me in the future. Part of me wants my scars to go away so maybe some day soon I could slip past people in the street without stares or comments. But another part of me is emotionally attached to the story behind all of my scars, they all add up to a bigger picture and I know that I will still be left with scars after the surgery and maybe this could become part of the story too, I can’t help but feel hesitant in hiding parts of my past. The good the bad and the ugly- it has all shaped me into the person I am today and yes, that includes my scars too. My scars start conversations, yes not all of them are ones I wish to have but every so often people share hushed comments of a path we have both crossed. Just being the person that I am and growing more confident in my body -that is ever changing has the potential to open up peoples minds to difference. It is okay to have scars, stretch marks, birth marks and everything in between. They are individual to you and make you the wonderful version of yourself that you are today. Cliche I know but it is very true, beauty goes further than skin deep. This all being said I am making the decision to not have my scars surgically removed. I only want to have medical treatment if it will reduce the pain. I didn’t think I would be making this choice 4 years ago. I want to see how far I have come and seeing that journey on my arms keeps me motivated to keep on keeping on.
I am a very festive person. I love christmas from mince pies to fairy lights and everything in between. This time last year I had been admitted to hospital and we were going full speed ahead into the christmas period. I wasn’t allowed home for christmas. I can still conjure up that punched in the gut feeling when I was told I wouldn’t be able to even go off of the grounds. But this post isn’t about any of that, because here we are a whole 12 months later. We have the christmas tree up and the music is playing. I haven’t felt this excited about christmas since I was a really young child. I am so grateful to be at home and be with my family. The fight to get to this point has most definitely made this christmas so much sweeter. It isn’t about the presents or the food it is about being alive and loving it. Being around the people I love in my favourite time of year. I thought christmas wasn’t going to ever be the same again after last year. Everything was a reminder of 2014, being ill and so desperately sad. But now we have got past the anniversary of my admission and I am now remembering that christmas is about living and being in celebration. Last year I wasn’t living, I was barely getting through the days. I didn’t have the space in my head to enjoy the celebrations. This year christmas is magic again and I am so beyond happy to be at home.