Am I Embarrassed?

TW Self Harm/Suicide 

Last night I took quite a large overdose. It felt like I was powerless to the ‘monster’ within in a way that I can’t explain; but suffice to say, it is and was a terrifying situation. And one thar endured much guilt: for causing worry and a sleepless night for my mum, for taking up previous NHS resources, for not being able to just ‘pull myself together’. I was very lucky that the medical staff treating me were wonderful: kind, respectful, refused my apologies, and seemed to genuinely care. We get to almost the end of the following day, at least 16 hours away to finding out the extent I’ve damaged my body, and a woman bounds in to the ward I share with 3 other women also acutely unwell (physically, but so am I at this point): ‘I’m from Psych Liaison! So are you ashamed and embarrassed about what you did?’ Said with a cheeky grin like I’d been a naughty teenager pushing boundaries. 

You know what I am? Completely mortified, filled with self hatred, and in the pits of blinding despair. You know what I don’t need? A so called specialist professional reinforcing my self hatred, destroying me further. Luckily, she was in the middle of a busy ward and the general nurse who had been looking after me all day jumped over from what she was doing to say that I wasn’t well enough to be dealing with psych liaison right now…closely followed by telling me that it’s the psych liaison woman who should be embarrassed, not me. What this ‘professional’ didn’t grasp was that guilt is a primary driver in my need to hurt/punish/kill myself, that this could have been catastrophic. The general nurse was so worried about me she panicked when I went to the toilet an hour later and felt she had to check on my safety. She has since reported this to the ward sister and both of them will be pursuing this in a complaint  to protect others. Luckily we had a joke about it and the nurse was relieved to be able to make me smile, but we all realised how badly wrong this could have gone and could go for others in the future. 

Anyway, this is more about gratitude for the reactions, support and kindness of both the ward nurse and sister: thank you to each of you NHS workers who take your heart to work with you and genuinely touch patients with your care – you are superheroes! 

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