2

A&E, sectioning & medication

What an experience the past 24 hours have been!!!

I phoned the GP yesterday as Anon’s panic is unreal. The GP that called back was the bloody Doctor who said “what do you want me to do about it?” one of the other times.

He basically said there was no way to prescribe Anon medications at all without seeing her. When I again said the reason we can’t see anyone is because Anon is so scared, and so we need something to get her to the point where she can attend an appointment, he said there was nothing he could do.

I asked about a home visit, because GP’s (unlike the psychiatrists or social workers in this area) WILL do home visits. He said he could do that, and someone would let us know within the next few days when the home visit would be.

I then asked if we could have a female Doctor come – he said we would get what we were given unfortunately. Bullshit!

As soon as I got off the phone, Anon had a panic attack and said she couldn’t do a home visit. She already had a day of immense panic and terror yesterday, and as ever appointments made it all worse.

I did my best to calm her down and said we’d find another way around it.

I called 111 early afternoon and spoke with someone who was very helpful. He said there should be a way that a Doctor can prescribe medications without seeing Anon, and where we can wait to see if the medication helps, and at that point we should be able to attend appointments again. He advised me to call 111 after 6.30pm, as there would be more GPs working who could give accurate advice.

I called 111 at about 730pm, and spoke with the first initial assessor (not a GP, not a nurse)

When I answered the questions and tried to explain the situation – which took about 25 minutes – she wanted to send an ambulance out to bring Anon to A&E. WHAT?!

Apparently her panic counted as an ‘immediate emergency’ (despite the fact Anon has struggled with this for months and months, and every GP / social worker / Crisis Team we have spoken to haven’t cared!) and because Anon’s heart was racing (due to her anxiety about the phone call!!!) she needed to go to A&E!!

I very calmly but firmly argued her down, re-explaining that going to appointments and medical facilities terrifies Anon, because of our last experience at A&E. Forcibly taking her to A&E when she’s incredibly anxious and you’ve already mentioned sectioning her is a absolutely stupid idea!

This went round and round a few times, and eventually she sighed and said a nurse would call me back. Ten minutes later I got the call, and the nurse was a little better. She understood that it wasn’t an emergency situation with the need of hospital/sectioning, but she didn’t really understand that I was phoning for advice, and NOT for immediate help.

I was then told a GP would call me back within a few hours. It was already 10pm by this point, and we were tired.

We waited for half an hour, and I talked to Anon about it, and we decided they clearly weren’t going to understand the situation. They weren’t going to offer advice, and they were going to continue as if it was an urgent situation – the threat of sectioning is always in their power.

I called 111 to say I wanted to end my interaction with the service. I had to answer the assessment questions about Anon yet again (third time in three hours) and the person then spent fifteen minutes telling me over and over (and getting increasingly aggressive) that I should get a phone back from a Doctor in case I needed urgent help, Doctors know best etc.

I kept saying ‘no, you’re not understanding, this isn’t an urgent situation – I only called for advice!’ Eventually they said I was off the system, and they ended the call.

Today I called the GP surgery and cancelled the home visit, asking for a call from a GP.

Talking to the GP I explained very clearly what was wrong, what was happening, what could be done to fix it, and how I’d spoken to someone via 111 who said it should be possible.

I said we could bring in written consent from Anon, and she could check her blood pressure on the machine the public can use in the waiting room, if those were things that could prevent Anon getting medication with no physical appointment.

The GP was actually very good this time, and said he could see where we were coming from but it would be hard to get medications with no appointment. I said he had seen Anon several times when she could make it to appointments, so he HAD seen her before, and he had seen her when she was very much struggling too.

He then said he would prescribe something but wasn’t sure what. He said he would prescribe benzodiazepines, but wasn’t comfortable about their addictive quality and they were only short term.

I said I understood that, but from what I had read on the NHS website, SSRIs are usually used to treat GAD / panic disorder, and they are prescribed for long term use. Anon had been on Citalopram many times in the past for long periods of time, so could we not try that?

He said that was a good idea. He was happy to do that, apart from the danger of a manic episode. I said I’m with her 24/7, she’s been on Citalopram before and never went manic, and if I saw any symptoms of mania I would get in touch.

After all that, we have a prescription for Citalopram 😀

The GP asked that I book an appointment to see him in a months’ time, but that if Anon is still struggling at the time, we can cancel and push it further back.

It was a lot of stress and a lot of effort, but I am so relieved to be where we are, and I really hope this medication can help reduce the panic just a little.

WOW, sorry that was so long!

3

How much louder can I ask for help??

Gog here.

For several months Anon’s overall anxiety levels have been high, but worse is that about 4-5 days a week, she has the highest level of panic I have ever seen.

A lot of times she can’t even talk. She is overflowing with anxiety, is absolutely panicked and doesn’t know why, and if the slightest thing goes wrong (eg. she can’t find something she wants) she bursts into tears. When you’re already trying to cope with so much, it only takes one thing to push you over the edge.

Today she was so overwhelmed with panic that she was curled on the footstool with her arms over her head, just trying to survive minute by minute. It is excruciating to watch.

Anon cried at me today that she needs help, but we can’t get it as she is too ill to make it to any appointments, and the NHS are unwilling to help us overcome that – they have said no to home visits, email contact and video calls.

We can’t live like this.

Today I phoned our GP surgery and asked for an urgent telephone appointment, where the Doctor would talk with me. I’m getting a call back in a few hours, which is weird as normally they try make us wait 5+ days.

I’m nervous about this phone call. Firstly because the last time I had a telephone appointment, the Doctor was absolutely disgusting as he couldn’t talk with Anon. And also because if something goes wrong with this call, it will break Anon.

My hope with this phone call is that we will have an understanding and sympathetic GP.

I will spell it out: Anon is too panicked, anxious and scared to physically get to an appointment. This is our problem!!

Not only is she terrified of appointments after abhorrent treatment, but her terror is so bad she can rarely leave the house now, and certainly can’t cope with busy places (this is why dog walks are usually safe: Anon is with a dog (which almost always helps her), she’s in the countryside, there’s lots of open space and very few people).

Obviously we can’t get treatment until Anon’s panic has been reduced. I would like Anon to start on an anti-anxiety drug (such as an SSRI or Tricyclic antidepressant) to see if we can reduce her anxiety, and see how she is then. It’s my hope that we can then get further help and attend appointments.

Not too hard to understand, I hope.

I imagine they will bring up the point that Anon has been diagnosed with bipolar, and so a anti-depressant could trigger mania in her.

My response will be: At this point mania would be far easier to manage than this constant fear and psychosis. With mania Anon gains confidence and motivation, and in general low-down appointments are a breeze.

Secondly only one antidepressant has ever made Anon manic, and it wasn’t an SSRI.

Also we are not sure how much the diagnosis of bipolar really suits Anon anymore. She no longer has clear or long-lasting mood episodes (rather it seems she’s just constantly fucked mood-wise…) and she has constant psychosis. Not exactly bipolar.

Finally, if you’re not willing to prescribe something to help her panic…what do you suggest then?! Because all I’ve been advised so far is “just bring her to the appointment”, and that really isn’t happening.

The other thing I’m concerned about is that he won’t be willing to prescribe anything without seeing Anon at an appointment. I’d basically be replying that if he wants to see her he will have to do a home visit, and he’ll have to do it soon because we can’t cope.

**edit**

Whilst reading about anti-anxiety medication I ended up discovering ‘panic disorder’, which was something neither of us had heard of before.

I’d always thought panic attacks were short in duration and usually involved hysterical crying / hyperventilation, but according to the NHS site with panic attacks…

“You may experience an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. As well as these feelings, you may also have physical symptoms such as:

  • nausea
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly”

Hmm, that’s a lot of Anon right there…

I hope this phone call goes well, and I’m almost 100% certain it won’t 😦

1

Why am I suddenly nocturnal??

My sleep had been regular for weeks and weeks.

It’s a rarity for my sleep to be *so* predictable, I can only remember one other time it followed such a regular pattern in the past few years. For probably around 2 months now I’ve been going to bed between 10-11pm and, although the amount of sleep I’ve needed has varied, bedtime has stayed the same.

That’s pretty phenomenal, and most nights I was even averaging 7-8.5 hours sleep a night, regardless of mood.

Then, all of a sudden and within the past three days, I’ve become nocturnal again. This seems to happen very occasionally (only a few times a year) – it just happens, out the blue.

Last time it happened we were entirely nocturnal, and it lasted for months…bed at 7am, up at 5pm! My sleep was impossible to rectify, and we really did try – then all of a sudden, one night, it just changed back.

We can never pinpoint a trigger (after all, life is always incredibly stressful) and it’s not mood dependent…that is, I don’t just go nocturnal because I’ve gone manic or depressed. It just happens.

It started slowly one night a few nights ago; I wasn’t tired at our usual bedtime, and it was midnight when we went through. I didn’t really think anything of it, it was only an hour or so different.

Then the next few nights, I was going to bed at 2am at the earliest. From nowhere. If I try go to bed earlier, at my usual time, I’m awake for hours and end up incredibly frustrated.

I feel awful when my sleep pattern changes so drastically. It can’t be easy for my partner to adjust alongside…

The past week I’ve been wearing a blindfold in bed, in case I’m really sensitive to light. I think it’s helped a little, especially when I wake up partway through the night or in the early morning. When I first go to bed, instead of it taking me hours to fall asleep, one night I fell asleep in as little as 20 minutes. Last night it still took over an hour though :/

I’ve had to fight for sleep for years now, even if I’m exhausted I have to fight for sleep. It really, really pisses me off. I used to love my sleep 😦

I longingly remember the days when I’d fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow…

1

When everything goes wrong…

…take Valium!!

This week has been rough as hell.

For a while we have been trying our hardest to work with the rescue puppy that we found tied to a tree over a month ago. We have overcome a lot with her…she started off terrified of the world, and now she is confident with almost everything.

We trained her sit, touch, leave it, lie down, paw, and her name / recall. We taught her to be calm with body handling, and to wait patiently with food. We socialised her with as much as possible. We paid for vet treatment (from the usual puppy costs to medication for her neck and —>), we took her to the vets when it was thought she had broken her leg, we fed her high quality food and treated a UTI.

Throughout all this we were crate training her, and the further in we got, the more signs of separation anxiety we were met with…it wasn’t until the past week we began filming her every time we left, and neither of us were prepared for how panicked she was when left alone.

She loved her crate when we were home, but when we left she lost it completely…frozen Kongs, pigs ears, and calming music did nothing. She *screamed* the entire time, and was panting, lip licking, and just entirely stressed.

To make this shorter, earlier this week we took her to a training facility connected to the rescue we’ve volunteered at since I was 19, and met with a trainer for hours.

The end result was she has extreme separation anxiety, most likely because before being dumped she had only every lived with dogs, and had little human interaction. We found at the facility that she can be left with no issues as long as there is another dog she can physically sleep with (her head has to be on the other dog’s back).

We can’t offer that, we can’t take things slower and not leave her alone…so we had to hand her over to foster. She’s doing well, and is in a home with another young dog, a Collie cross.

That was extremely, extremely stressful and very hard to deal with.

Throughout all that my relationship seriously deteriorated with Gog (all my fault, not his at all) and I was ready to break up with him. I tried to, several times. Lots of arguments on my part, hurtful things said, and tears.

My mood was in the pits and I was actively suicidal, and everything had just gone to shit.

At the end of last week I began sleeping a lot less (from 10 hours to 5 hours) and went manic, but not in any way nice mania, mania filled with psychosis and terror. Constant anxiety.

By yesterday that had eased somewhat, my mood was more low than manic, then today I happened to go on facebook and saw post after post about how the UK was ruined after leaving the EU, disabled people and benefits would be fucked etc.

I had a huge panic attack.

I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, and I was crying. I curled into a ball and just shuddered with terror.

Gog came in about 20 minutes later (he’d been asleep in the other room) and I couldn’t even talk to him because I was so scared. I managed to ask for a Valium, and I took 5mg…that’s a lot for me, 2.5mg is usually more than enough.

Twenty minutes later I was lost to the world, but feeling MUCH better.

I couldn’t really talk or focus on anything haha, but I was way calmer. The panic was gone, and that’s all I cared about. The calmness lasted most the day; I took 2.5mg a while back because I was getting anxious again, and today has gone far better than how it started.

My parents are coming up tonight, and I feel anxious about seeing them. For no real reason, just because it’s hard to put on a happy face and act normal when you feel like crap and are very anxious.

Long post, sorry for the ramble.

0

Dude seriously?!

I woke up before 6am today after having over a dozen consecutive nightmares.

I’ve woken up feeling traumatised haha…I mean, not really, but I feel pretty damn anxious and scared.

I know there were some I haven’t remembered. Others are feelings of dread with a vague storey line, or just one character from the dream but no idea what else happened…others I can remember fairly clearly.

In every nightmare towards the end, I knew I was dreaming and that things were going to go seriously wrong, but I couldn’t wake myself up.

Yelling at the top of my voice worked for a while (or at least I thought it did in the dream, I’m not sure I really woke up at all now). I was jumping through windows, causing myself pain, flailing my body madly in a hope it would wake me up…only to fall straight into another nightmare.

I woke up at 5.50am to a tremendous, house-shaking bang…only I don’t think it was real anymore, I think that was the ‘icing on the cake’ nightmare 😛

Nightmares are kinda like scary hallucinations, only as you sleep. You’re just as powerless to stop them.

Regardless I was glad to actually be awake, and then I started worrying that our fish tank had exploded or something and that was the bang, so I got up out of bed and called my partner, who was out walking one of the dogs.

He should be back any minute. I’m seriously not going back to sleep…

0

This isn’t real

Spacey-head ‘the world’s not real’ has struck.

I know 100% the world isn;t real. I know I’m not typing this I’m not thinking this I’m not in control of this. I know somebody is controlling me but sometimes their control slips and I know, I realise.

I know this. This is truth. I know it just how anybody reading this blog knows if they hold out a book and let go it will fall to the floor and not float to the ceiling.

People don’t understand that telling me things aren’t real and expecting me to go “oh shit, you’re right!” doesn’t work…because if I told you to look at the sky, and that the sky was actually red not blue, you wouldn’t believe it.

Me and my partner try have a thing where I believe him, whatever he says I have to believe him…if says something I’m thinking isn’t true or something I’m seeing isn’t there, I’m supposed to try my hardest to believe he’s telling the truth. But obviously it’s not easy. At all.

I can sit here and think “this isn’t real, nobody’s controlling me” over and over until the cows come home…but I’m still not going to believe what I’m telling myself, because my reality is saying different.

I can;t work out if it’s me typung this or them.

0

Money struggles

Gog here. If you’ve been reading Anon’s posts you will know we have been struggling a lot at the moment, with various things.

Anon’s mood has been absolutely crippling – not just depression, oh no that would be far too easy wouldn’t it, but suicidal depression alongside hateful thoughts towards herself the like of which I’ve never seen, and anxiety that means she can’t breathe when it hits her hard.

That’s been fun.

Alongside all that the rescue puppy we recently brought home has seriously injured her leg, meaning she’s been prescribed 6 weeks crate rest. Because of the lack of exercise she is being an absolute brat (hard things to deal with like barking, whining, an increase in biting which we’d almost gotten rid of etc) and she’s recently decided she doesn’t like her crate, and so whenever we shut the door she is barking and screaming constantly.

This is after we’ve put weeks into crate training and she has always loved her crate, so it’s very hard for us to deal with. I know it doesn’t sound much, but imagine being with a puppy you can’t leave because it panics her, and who barks and tries to run and bite you 24/7 because she has no release for her energy! It’s draining.

Finally we’ve had some serious money issues.

We’ve been struggling with money since the start of this year, after a manic episode brought us down to so little money we had to use a food bank…slowly our money was increasing, even after we unexpectedly brought a puppy home and she had injuries and vaccinations to deal with.

For the past 1.5 months we have had next to no money, and we haven’t known why. It has been incredibly hard to deal with as we had scary vet bills for our dog’s leg, rent bounced last month but we managed to pay it quickly, and we couldn’t afford food yesterday.

I’ve been wanting to get in touch with Anon’s bank to see if we are victims of fraud (this happened with my account a few years ago) but we either have to travel to a branch, which Anon can’t manage due to crowds, public transport, and she’d have to answer security questions – or she has to speak on the phone, something she also can’t do.

Anyway yesterday I phoned the bank and explained everything, and the person we spoke with was actually really helpful. She said she had one question to ask Anon, and it could be done on speaker-phone, so we managed that.

She then went through every transaction from May until now, and I said I was really confused because we didn’t have the money we should, but all the money out was us. Then she realised we hadn’t been getting a regular income payment, it hadn’t come in for the last 6 weeks.

It turns out Employment and Support Allowance had stopped paying us, for absolutely no reason, so for the last 6 weeks we had been living on £220 a month – no wonder we had been struggling with money. I’d really have appreciated it if they had contacted us to let us know they weren’t paying us!

I phoned them up, and the gentleman I spoke to on the phone was absolutely amazing – I wish I had got his name to tell someone he was so kind to us. He said the problem was on their end, and he was so sorry we had had to go through this.

He had to speak to Anon twice, but only in that he had to read things to her and she had to say she agreed – before each time he asked her if she was okay.

Anyway, they are back-paying us £900 which should be here Friday-Monday. We will be able to buy food 🙂

Then today I had to phone up Personal Independence Payment, as we got a stupid letter through the post saying that we must send them evidence about how ill Anon is. Which is ridiculous, as we don’t have anyone who would send evidence, because we have been waiting these past seven months for Anon to see a psychiatrist!!

You can see my issues with PIP here.

I phoned the PIP number, and the person I spoke with was initially very rude and unhelpful – refusing to speak to me and demanding to speak to Anon. Wow yeah, if you think you can talk to her when she is psychotic, suicidal and suffering from a panic attack, go ahead you moron…

Of course I didn’t say that and I’d never put Anon in that position. I patiently explained again and again she couldn’t talk on the phone, I was her registered carer etc.

Finally she was willing to speak with me. I explained there wasn’t any evidence we could send, but if they could access medical records they could see our recent dealings with the NHS – countless appointments with people who prescribed emergency medication and contacted Crisis Team, and obviously our recent trip to A&E because Anon was suicidal, and how the police were called afterwards. I said that should be evidence enough to support everything we had put on the form.

That was pretty much it. I just know they won’t count that as evidence, because it’s not the same as being able to write and talk with a person who has seen Anon several times…but it’s all I can give them, and if anything it should show how bad things are better than talking to a Doctor.

I’m scared that either they are going to give us the same rate again, or more so that they will want to do a face-to-face meeting with Anon (the last one they did, years ago, was terrible.)

How can I explain to them that we can’t even do bloody medical appointments with Anon because she has the most terrifying panic attacks whenever I so much as mention them, so a PIP appointment is a definite no no? They won’t understand that, they won’t even try…

And that’s the end of my money whinging. I sure hope things pick up soon!