“The water is clear, But your wrists are stained. Your face says happy, But your eyes say pain.”
“Just because the scars have healed, Doesn’t mean that the pain has.”
In January of this year my mental health went rapidly downhill. This was not a first time for me after having some period of stability, but its not a relapse I expected to happen.
The previous year, in 2018, I would go from breaking up with my kid’s mum, to staying a week or so at a time at either my mums house or my dad’s till I eventually managed to get my own place in June. I even joined a gym on top of all the running and other exercise I was doing at the time at my own personal gym at home.
Despite everything that was going on in 2018, I remained stable. I was free from any kind of medication and I was eventually discharged from the community mental health team who I had been under since 2010. In September of that year, I managed to secure a place to study for my GCSEs at my local college. I was really proud of myself for this at the time, as I was determined to get my life in order once and for all.
So why did I relapse?
To be honest, there is no one correct answer for this but a combination of many different things. The worst and most horrible thing that could happen, did happen in October of 2018, but that’s something I can not discuss at the moment due to certain circumstances. When that happened, I managed to stay on top of my mental health despite how bad it was, and on one particular day while out running on 27th December 2018 my PTSD was triggered in a major way, by a particular smell. The resulting flashbacks of very intense images and emotions just totally consumed me.
I became extremely disorientated during this time, which resulted in me going off the track and falling down a steep embankment that has a reservoir at the bottom. I managed to grab a tree with my left arm which resulted in a shoulder injury that has still not healed to this day, and still causes me a lot of problems.
After I got myself home, it was around 03:00am in the morning. My flashbacks where still intense and my usual ways of dealing with them just would not work on this occasion, and it led to me self-harming for the very first time in over a year.
I have found self-harm to be both very personal and unique to each individual who does it. I myself do various different things to harm myself, but my immediate go to, has always either been cutting or a small medication overdose, sometimes both, like on this occasion.
Getting to my bathroom where my razors where was no easy task when being dragged back and forth through time. I would use my hands on the walls and stop every time a flashback hit or drop to the floor and try to crawl. I couldn’t quite remember where the razors where, so I started throwing things about just to find them. I eventually found them behind the mirror and immediately began to strip one down. Its not an easy task getting the blade out of a disposable razor, but I always found these to be sharper than other blades.
After a few minutes I finally had the blade in my hand. I didn’t want to go deep as I didn’t want any hospital treatment because of it, and I wanted the maximum pain possible which I have only even found works if the cuts are shallow.
Holding the blade at a slight angle to my arm, I rapidly began to slice away. I pretty much went from near my wrist right up to my elbow. This was all done in the space of no more than 10 seconds, and although it stung, it was also slightly numb because it was fresh. I knew though that in an hour or two my arm will feel like its on fire, especially when anything like clothing or bedding touches it.
Because I held the blade at an angle, it would allow the wounds to bleed for longer than if I just cut straight down. Just seeing the blood flow from my arm was also a sense of relief as well as the pain, so every now and again I would wipe it away just so that more could flow.
After this I entered my kitchen and grabbed a new bottle of promazine and the drank the lot in one go. This was not a suicide attempt; it was purely as a means of self-harm to help me in my current situation.
After the promazine kicked in, and my arm was more painful, I jumped into bed and stayed there for what seemed like forever.
Fast forward to February 2019 after several self-harm episodes, I decided it was time to go back to my GP for help. It was then that I was placed on fluoxetine, and like most antidepressants, they make you feel worse for several weeks before they make you feel better. I knew this from the last time I was on them, but I was determined to get through this. I also had diazepam and lorazepam as back up if I needed them and instructions from my doc to go back each week.
Not long after I restarted these meds, I hit another crisis again. My PTSD was triggered and the fact I had only just started the fluoxetine made me more suicidal and by the end of the day I had taken a month’s supply of fluoxetine along with several of the benzos till I was literally almost throwing up trying to get more down me.
After about an hour or so, I really didn’t feel physically well, and I started looking though pictures on my phone. Seeing pics of both my kids made me realise that I can’t do this to them. I want to be able to see them grow and flourish, and I started thinking about how they may blame themselves if I died, so I called NHS 111 for advice.
I explained to the nurse on the phone what I had done and answered all her questions on how I was feeling physically, then she stated she was putting it through to the ambulance service as a priority and I should make sure my door was unlocked so they could get in.
Within 10 minutes the ambulance arrived with blues flashing, and about a minute later 2 paramedics walked in carrying bags. I noticed one of them had brought the defibrillator, which made me panic quite a bit, so my already fast heart rate had gone up even more. As one of them strapped the stickers and leads to my chest for the ECG the other was taking my blood pressure, oxygen, blood sugar and temperature. I can’t really remember much else as I kept drifting off (probably because of the benzos) and the paramedics where trying to keep me awake.
The next thing I remember I was waking up in the back of the ambulance, strapped to the trolley. I was fighting to stay awake as I was scared at this point that if I slept, I wouldn’t be waking back up at all. I could feel the palpitations every now and again in my chest, some of which came with a sharp stabbing pain. The paramedic constantly asked how I was feeling while looking at the ECG monitor, that I was still hooked up to. She also did printouts a few times for the A&E doctors for when I got there.
It seemed like I was in the back of the ambulance only a few minutes, and I don’t think it stopped once on the way. But soon as we arrived at A&E the paramedic started opening the rear doors and began to wheel me out. Now the other paramedic was at the back pushing while one was pulling at the front.
As we got to triage in A&E majors, one of them stayed with me while the other took my ECG results to a doctor. I could clearly see him looking at them, after a few seconds he approached a nurse and the paramedics where instructed to take me through to resus. At this point I was beginning to panic again as I was wheeled in and helped onto another bed. I was again hooked up to another ECG machine, and soon as it picked up my heart, the alarms began to sound. Looking at the monitor I realised my heartrate was 178bpm at rest so I was scared, not only at the fact I could have just killed myself, but also at the fact I more than likely did. As resus is only for immediate life threating stuff!
After 12 hours in resus being monitored, my heart rate had again come down to a normal level, and my hearts rhythm was also back to normal. The doc who was looking after me came and spoke to me about how lucky I am to be alive after what I did. He also said he had spoken to the liaison mental health team (previously called RAID team) and I should be seen soon.
I was then taken to a room, which is specifically for mental health patients, but feels like your being held against your will as they place security at the doors so you can not leave. This room also had an alarm strip fitted to all four walls. There was also 2 doors which could be used to enter or exit the room, and they swung in both directions (safety measure i guess). A single chair on one side, and three chairs together on the opposite side. Basic and depressing decoration, and absolutely nothing else in this room. This room was more than enough to make anyone cry.
This particular occasion in A&E was not to bad, the paramedics where very friendly and sympathetic, and so was the A&E staff in general. The mental health team on the other hand though, well all she did was read through my notes and stated that she didn’t need to do an assessment because she can see a clear picture from what she read. Well excuse me miss “professional” but what the actual fuck does any of my history say how I am now? What state of mind I am in? I’m sorry but the mental health services are a joke in the UK
Well I’m done now, its pissed me off a little bit writing about that last part though. Here is one last pic as i was leaving hospital though.
As always my friends, stay safe and take care x