Trigger warning: suicidal ideation (please take care!)
Today my care coordinator saw me for the first time in what must be approaching two and a half months, after being unwell herself.
It is no understatement to say that this woman is the reason I’m still breathing today, having somehow broken through those otherwise indestructible walls built by the prolonged trauma I experienced at the hands of mental health professionals last year. Since she has been off sick, the final grains of my hope have been removed as my psychologist and I have discovered that, to receive the treatment I need for my longstanding mental ill health I will first need trauma therapy to deal with the Trauma with a capital T (as she puts it) and resulting PTSD from the past year, because I am now so paralysingly terrified of and unable to trust mental health professionals. However, to take part in trauma therapy I need to be able to trust my psychologist (any psychologist) enough, which is seemingly impossible, no matter how hard I try, because of the aforementioned trauma. Which has left us at an impasse.
The past week or so, as it has become more evident that there is no getting past this, I have given in. I have been trying to make the conditions the best they can be for my loved ones to move on, and I have been intentionally going out of my way to lower concern as much as possible so as not to raise suspicions. I’ve been able to hide it quite well (except from a certain awesome man who also has saved my life – both physically and mentally in this case – who can magically notice the subtle warning signs even from a hundred or so miles away via text!), until today.
I knew there was a chance that, upon seeing my care coordinator, I would feel compelled to be honest. My care coordinator is the reason I survived following the move back home after traumatic inpatient stay; since then, her help and support has been the one crucial element keeping me breathing. I have been so sure that being stopped, being helped, being alive is selfish of me that I didn’t want to risk being honest, knowing she’d do her best to help me keep fighting. I paced up and down, up and down, up and down in the 3 hours approaching our appointment time, fighting the torment in me, trying to decide which urge to give in to: the urge to run and finally put myself and everyone in my life out of this misery or the urge to accept the kindness and help that I knew would be offered. I selfishly gave in to the latter, not sure if I would just put on a front and take the opportunity to say a proper thank you and goodbye or if I would crumble into her metaphorical arms and let her help me.
One look into her eyes and I knew I wanted fervently to give in to that desperate desire to tell all, to receive the help that I don’t deserve, to let this lady carry my hope and fight the battles that I don’t have strength for any more. It took some very obvious internal battles that must be quite bizarre to witness, but finally after splurging out in a single breath “it’s selfish of me and not fair to be honest but I knew I wouldn’t be able to not tell you and I just don’t know what to do” I let her know what was going on in my head. And she got it. She gets me. She’s the only person who truly understands and I’m so lucky to have such an empathetic professional in my corner. Which is another one of the reasons that I think my not being here would be better – then she and the rest of the wonderful team could help someone more deserving than me. I told her that I didn’t know why I was letting her waste her time thinking about and organising medications and therapies when I, until then, had been quite convinced that I wouldn’t survive that day, let alone the coming few.
We spoke and laughed about her mystical power to be the only exception to my paralysing fear of being hurt by mental health professionals, neither of us being able to come up with anything solid or that we could extend to others. We laughed that I need therapy to have therapy to have therapy. I cried. And cried. And spilled my guts about my internal despair and subsequent act to fool the world, a dangerous path that leads into aspects of last year’s Trauma. She understood without me even explaining.
We agreed that if we could go back a year and put me in this team then, pre-mistreatment, I would stand a chance. She wants to find a way for me to still have a chance; I was frustratingly determined that we should all give in, that I am a burden on everyone, that we are just delaying the inevitable and wasting everyone’s time. Perfect evidence of this is when she (senior CPN) and my interim care coordinator (Approved Mental health Professional/senior Social Worker) were coaching me to take a sip of water, which I still didn’t manage to do – they shouldn’t have to do that with me, they should help someone else, and they would be helping someone else if I wasn’t here draining time and resources.
I showed them the thoughts that I’ve kept guarded recently, hidden in personal writing, but I want to share them here today – because I think it’s important to have full pictures of life with complex mental illness out there. So, here goes…
I don’t think I am or have ever been a real person. I’m a vessel to fill a gap in others’ lives where needed, to store concerns and worries and fears and even love. But I’m too cracked now – leaking and overflowing with all the pain. Now it’s time to let that pain go, to end my suffering and that which I cause and carry for others. It’s just a case of making sure the proper preparations are in place to show others that they really don’t need me, that my absence is actually no different to my presence, that all this time I’ve actually just been a hump on the road to something better, something real. There’s. Not really a ‘me’. It’s a sick illusion. A vessel of pain, and a shattered one at that. It’s time to go. It’s better for everyone. I hurt too much and all for nothing.
But that damn woman has made me pause and grip on for as long as I can to this bare rockface of life. She’s made me selfishly want to accept her kindness, held hope and kindness. She’s made me selfishly want to get myself through a few more weeks to see what we can try, in fact if there’s even anything left to try at all. We’ve sorted out a higher medication plan to sedate myself heavily regularly, because otherwise I choose to let myself suffer and also know that fewer meds mean having a clearer head to plan. But I trust her. And I don’t want to die; I just don’t want to live in this pain and it seems the professionals are now so flummoxed due to the added complexity of Trauma that none of us see a way forward. But my CC has at least made me pause; I owe it to her to at least try to get through a bit of time with the relief of meds, to allow her to help me.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the amazing team that looks after me, I just that I could do them justice.