Living in Limbo

It’s a funny time at the moment: I’m waiting to move in to a new placement which is described as:

“a 24-hour CQC-registered accommodation service for adults who experience severe mental distress. Residents have multiple and complex needs and are entering the service from high-level support and secure settings or as an alternative to hospital admission.”

This placement has been in the pipelines for me since last summer, initially due to open in September, but with lots of delays resulting in them still not even having keys to the building right now. During that time I have had an extensive assessment with them, as well as funding panels, not to mention the many general hospital admissions (including a stay in intensive care) due to suicide attempts/self harm and a complete change in my care team – all of which points to the high level of help/support I need and have been in need of for over a year, now. It’s been a long, rocky road and I still can’t see the end of it (or new start, I should say!). The last move-in estimate I heard was sometime in May, but there have been several building delays since and no-one else has yet gotten through the extensive assessment, so even once we have the building I won’t be able to move in until there are at least 2 other residents. Unfortunately this all also falls over an incredibly triggering time for me with lots of nasty anniversaries coming up which only lead to further decreased mental health and increased risk.

The team have been great about supporting me over one of the earliest hurdles, which was my birthday last week, and decided to make that the day that I’d first see my new home as well as the Occupational Therapist and a Senior Recovery Worker taking me out for cake with the idea being that this birthday was going to be the marker of a fresh start with them:

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So what exactly does this new start look like? None of us are really sure! This is a brand new set-up, the model having only been used once before, and as it stands I’m the only resident of a 10-bed house with 10 staff currently employed (I think it’ll be 15 at capacity), including a Clinical Team of a Social Worker (also the manager), a Psychologist and an Occupational Therapist who will do pieces of work with residents as well as informing the rest of the team – Recovery Workers, a few Senior Recovery workers, and a Peer Support Worker (3 of whom will be working each shift, I’ve recently been informed) – in how best to support and work with us in a ‘psychologically-informed’ way. They will also be working closely with our ‘usual’ care team (so, in my case, as of a month ago after much turbulence and many problems (!), my care coordinators, clinical psychologist and psychiatrist). Staff will be on site 24/7 and placements last between 1 and 3 years, depending on need, working towards developing a more independent and healthy life.

So, it’s a great opportunity and I’m full of gratitude to have this chance…however, I am also overwhelmed with guilt that I get a chance that so many others need/deserve – what feels like – a lot more than me. And I’m also terrified at how I’m going to get through this period before the placement starts, which also makes me feel guilty as I feel like I should just be able to hold on considering I know this opportunity is coming at some point in the near-ish future…although, considering I technically need to be an inpatient to meet even the assessment criteria, I suppose not coping as things are (even with recently improved community/crisis support at the moment) makes sense… As the Crisis Team manager said to me when I first found out that I had both the placement and funding, but was still in just as intense crisis and voiced these worries and guilt to her (Trigger Warning: Food):

“If you were close to dying of hunger and in desperate need of food/help, just because someone told you they were cooking a meal, or even if the food was ready prepared but placed in sight and out of reach, you wouldn’t suddenly feel full or be better able to cope…if anything, your desperation would increase and your health would decrease in the interim.”

This limbo is hard enough when already so ‘wobbly’ but it’s also naturally hard to maintain over such a long period of time.

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