Ironically, being aware of your own vulnerabilities, weak points and quirks when it comes to mental illness doesn’t stop you from falling foul to them. Earlier, one of the things I mentioned in passing/as a small part of my post on suicidality, I mentioned how my brain latches onto the smallest negative or potentially negative detail mentioned by someone and goes completely off the rails – and how that was particularly the case when I was especially vulnerable and suicidal.
As it turns out, this evening I had one of my larger meltdowns to date after the visit that I had been working myself up to all day. Because I’m barely holding myself together (there’s a lot of sticky tape, string and chewing gum involved right now) and because I was thrown off with a couple of unexpected changes (e.g.them arriving a little earlier, there being 2 members of staff), I was less able to think, speak and process information than usual, this resulted in a few comments that were meant to reassure me adding together to me believing that everyone had given up hope and decided to abandon me.
These were genuinely as simple as:
▪ “You’re not any better since we’ve been seeing you”
▪ “We’ve been talking and agree that our work isn’t helping you”
▪ “What do you think would help”
▪ “Our doctor won’t look at your medication”
Which, with some traumatic past experiences and elements of my illness did a little 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 27 job on me and made me believe that they were abandoning me, it was my fault that I wasn’t any better, that I should know how to get better (and be able to do so), and that the doctor didn’t think the suggested alterations to medications would work/that I didn’t need medication – culminating in my confirmation of there being no hope for me, that I needed to die, and that actually there’s nothing wrong with me at all.
Luckily, my mum is incredibly supportive and, after putting a call in to ask the member of staff from the crisis team to call me, I managed to call her and she came to sit with me as I disintegrated and wait for the call back from the crisis team. Even more fortunately, this member of the team knows me well and I am able to trust her more than most, so when she called back I managed to lay it all out and get a lot of reassurance (as well as some apologies that weren’t needed). It turns out (quite logically and proving that 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4) that what those simple statements meant was that they realise that we all need to sit down and try to figure out what helps and what doesn’t, that they want to find ways to help me rather than just keep pushing the same things that they have so far, and that their doctor wants my longer term consultant to be involved in decisions about long term medication changes. While I convinced myself that I had let them down, that they thought it was my fault, that I hadn’t been trying hard enough, that I had to come up with my own ‘cure’, and/or that they were going to wipe their hands of me because I am still so unwell – they were actually trying to reassure me that they weren’t just going to keep on with the same things that weren’t working and wanted my input.
But my twisted, warped brain went from 0 to 50 as soon as some things were mentioned which were lightly reminiscent of some scary, damaging experiences that play a significant part in the extent of my illness/hopelessness/self-hatred/trust issues…even though I was preemptively aware/scared that something along those lines might happen in my mind.
At one point she said “But, Molly, you can’t really have believed that we were going to wipe our hands of you because you’re still so unwell…not deep down, surely?” I reckon if you’ve read many of my other posts, you can predict that my answer was yes that absolutely is what I believed and had spent hours sobbing at my mum about. I then went on to explain how this ties in to past experiences where that is exactly what happened, and I think my extreme panic then made a lot more sense.
Had my mum not been around and had I not been able to speak to the staff member and clear things up, that might have been the light touch that pushed me over the edge.
The staff member apologised however I wouldn’t accept it as this is all part of my flawed brain – everyone shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around me – and I just blame myself.
It is distressing beyond words when you can understand something like mental illness and predict things that might make things go wrong (or wrong-er in this case 😝) but that awareness doesn’t stop meltdowns and dangerous emotions/urges from occurring.
It made for an ironic little teaching moment here’s though! It’s one hell of a temperamental rustbucket of a rollercoaster, this mental health business.
P.S. I am so drained and tired and puffy eyed that I can’t bring myself to proofread or even longer too long on my writing – so please do excuse this ‘stream of consciousness’ and almost certainly mistake-ridden post!