If you have entered Morgan’s world and haven’t read my first post Inside a Psychiatric Ward, welcome. A mental health ward was my home for a lot of June due to Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression leading me to a suicide attempt. On my road to recovery this post documents the highs and the lows of leaving the ward.
So what happened when I first came out?
Once I made the journey home, I was petrified to leave my house for a weeks, worrying people would be criticising how I look. However, you don’t just get discharged and sent on your way. A care-coordinator had to visit my house weekly because I refused to face the world. Then, I was told I had to leave to see yet another psychiatrist. I kicked up a fuss – although it made the thought of leaving my house a little less scary.
Moping around, I received text messages from the few people who knew what was going on to get me to go out for a drink, but I still just wanted to hide away. The psychiatrist I saw also sees my brother, diagnosed with BPD. I was prescribed Sertraline an anti-depressant and Quetiapine a mood stabiliser at first, which of course takes time to build up in your body.
The psychiatrist wouldn’t let me dispense my own medication for a while (it was done by my parents) because of how I tried to commit suicide. You are also not meant to drink on Quetiapine but gradually I started leaving the house – when I knew alcohol was involved. I can see why you aren’t meant to mix the two – as it made my heart race and then a come down you would expect of illegal drugs. At first I threw the medication back up but slowly I got use to drinking on it (although I am honest about it and I know probably shouldn’t).
I still plan to try and save money for cosmetic surgery and other treatments. Firstly, I want braces (for the second time) and a wired retainer to keep them in place. However, I want removable ones so I need to cut down on smoking. Before I entered the ward, I didn’t consider myself a heavy smoker, but I smoke a considerable amount a day now to stay awake – so we will see.
Teeth whitening and a nose job are next on the list. I put on a lot of weight from the mood stabilisers, despite losing weight in the hospital. I often ask myself “Is it better to be fatter and happier or not here at all?” If you are reading this and have BPD, you are probably thinking oh another splitting moment. Splitting is when you see everything in black and white with no middle ground in-between. Sometimes I snap out of these thoughts and well other times I don’t. Its like sometimes I have to force myself to even take my happy pills.
For a good while I became obsessed with counting calories. My mum was trying to get me sectioned only 4 days after leaving, but I was not keen on this. I feel she just wanted to get rid of me to make her life easier. She has made it clear that I am a “selfish f*ck up” and she did not have a good relationship with her mother and she loves my brother more. Then she had a cheek to deny it when my father confronted her about it. So I just buried any chance of rebuilding a good relationship with her.
Nevertheless, she does agree when you have physical and mental illnesses, doctors find it hard to know the best place for you.I needed a time-consuming distraction, so I started to doing art again when I first came out of hospital. Here are a few snaps of some things I made in the early stages of my recovery.
As August came I decided I wanted to try and lose weight next year by walking a half marathon in splints for charity. Although… my diet is worse than ever and I am living off Coca-Cola and anything else that contains caffeine. I have to stay awake because I am doing my placement year for my Business degree in Online Marketing.
The job is good for me, as much as it tires me out. It gives me a purpose without having to deal with difficult customers. I have learning difficulties, so I can be quite slow and as I am still in my probation period I am fearful every day I just might get fired. The company is great though, I get to wear my own clothes and they are understanding of my physical health issues and know I have to attend mental and physical health appointments to be allowed to work. My employer and I have agreed I will have to make the time up in lieu.
I will admit though, it feels like spend as much time in the hospital as at the job. Unfortunately, quite soon since starting the job in mid-July I broke my ankle. On reflection, the half marathon is a bit ambitious due to my ankle not healing very well. I have attended trauma unit appointments, and got a specialist and physio booked in. I also am seeing a bladder specialist for 9 weeks in St Mary’s Hospital, undergoing bladder installations for interstitial cystitis.
As I started my new job, I needed to move into a new house in Oxford. This was not plain sailing because either because we couldn’t get the electricity to work for over a week.. so we couldn’t move in. I also nearly lost the house because my dad wouldn’t be my guarantor because I couldn’t lie and say I was fine again. Luckily it worked out in the end and I could guarantor myself. I didn’t know the people before I moved in but they are all lovely and very patient with me and my mental health issues. If I feel the crazy side coming out of me I leave at the weekends to give them a break.
Entering September, I got officially diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Disorder and now have been put on Ketofin and Ranitidine known has H-blockers to try and calm my body down partly due to my histamine intolerance. I am continuing the bladder instillations, seeing a psychiatrist for my Ehlers Danlos syndrome and I will soon have to attend MBT (mentalisation based therapy) through the Complex Needs Service. I am also seeing a gastroenterologist because when I eat it also attacks my stomach. I haven’t been able to intake gluten for 6 weeks ever to be tested for Celiac Disease or Chrones, but hopefully when I am feeling stronger I can.
Besides from health, I was trying to convince my dad to let me have a dog, because I literally love them. Dogs tend to be loyal, a trait I have found it hard to find in people. My dad was thinking about it but in the end he said no because I can’t look after myself. We comprised on 2 more rabbits, but then he said he didn’t remember ever agreeing to that. I don’t really know what to expect from MBT. I have had cognitive behaviour therapy CBT in the past but it didn’t work for me. I also attended the Complex Needs Service when I was younger but I found it wasn’t very useful. I have been told the service has changed quite a lot and I am trying to keep an open mind.
However, when I look in the mirror I feel suicidal noticing every flaw. So I am trying to use the avoid technique when it comes to mirrors. I have been told I don’t have body dysmorphia – because they patients see a completely different person when they look in the mirror. The doctors have said my appearance is linked to social anxiety. To me this makes me feel worse – because it means I am just ugly. I still feel extremely alone and struggling to emotionally connect with others.
As I am entering the 4 month of recovery, I do know that it’s okay to admit I am doing better but I am definitely not fully okay. I still self-harm when I get anxious and I get anxious alot unfortunately. I have been doing this since I was 16, so it is more than a habit than than anything else. I often pull my hair out, cut with knifes or make myself sick. If I am really anxious I will cut myself – but maybe MBT will help with that.
More on Splitting
The hard part for me is deciding whether to delete pictures of people who have left me in my life. I’ve tried to pretend their dead, but I know they will all move on not giving me a second thought. Although I don’t sit there reminiscing over pictures I know some things I can’t seem to get out my mind. I shouldn’t but like many people with BPD when it comes to people, I care too much or don’t care at all.
I will admit I feel bad and selfish – why can’t I just magically be better?
Everything that has happened has put a strain on my family, with my brother preferring me being away and getting stressed when I was back and being arrested for threatening behaviour. I was grateful for the friends in my life who have stuck with me through thick and thin and their own problems and pain even when I distance myself away from them for months. Without some of my friends, I don’t know if the start of a recovery would even be possible.
Going into Month 4
Some good news did finally come though, after chasing the bank they agreed i was not liable for the fraud, and due the way the case was handled being told it was then wasn’t fraud multiple times. On a recorded phone call a man stated he believed I had made the transaction and because I had BPD and did not remember making iit. I was compensated with £500 but still find myself in over £1,500 debt. I was also stressed trying to sort out a deposit with old tenants, but have finally got them off my back.
In terms of hobbies – I hope to start up an Etsy shop one day and maybe even sell prints! (Very ambitious I know). I don’t plan to do this to make a huge profit but to help pay for future art materials, and if my work was popular enough donate some money to charity. My parents are scared though that if no one buys my artwork I will fall further into a black hole and to be honest this is true. I use to love drawing but I am unsure if my wrists can cope with it again. So I want to experiment with zentangle art and watercolours, which can be stopped and picked up again easily.
I have also been teaching myself how to make friendship bracelets and want to practice at getting better at this, which could be a nice addition to the shop. I have continued sewing with beads and hope to finish a freehand cat soon.
In terms of blogging, it has been slow. I have finally set up an Instagram page dedicated to my blog… @brainsandbodiesblog. I have also been given a few products to review which is exciting when I can.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping up to date with my Uni assignments, which I need to find the motivation for at some point! I recently wrote a guest post for a charity on how to secure an industrial placement when you are chronically ill. When this goes live I will put a link on my blog. I still don’t do anything in the evenings with people because I can’t find the energy but I would like to do more guest posts for other people on different health topics.
I won’t lie and say I don’t think of suicide anymore. However, I have got to the point where every other day is a battle with my mind as opposed to every minute. I genuinely don’t believe anyone will accept me romantically as I can’t accept myself. Although, I know I just have to focus on me for now. I am scared my mental health posts may have negative outcomes but I felt I was ready to share more of me. I do recognise everyone has sh*t going on in their lives – it is just some people deal with it better than others.
Some people may also think people try and kill themselves for attention. Although due to the lack of beds you don’t get put in a mental health ward unless doctors believe you are a risk to yourself or others. The facts speak volumes, BPD kills 1 in 10 and people and alot of attention can turn someone with BPD to be just as impulsive. Interestingly, since being in the ward I’ve learnt to deal with more challenging people than I typically come into contact with regularly in the community , slightly improving my patience
I can’t say you will leave a mental health ward and feel magically better – that would be a miracle. BUT I am proud that I am moving forward but I know that if I do end up back in the hospital, it is nothing to be ashamed of. BPD is different from bipolar in the sense mood wings are a part of my baseline personality rather than just episodes separate from someone’s normal personality. Although, both conditions can cause someone to act impulsively mine seems to be with money at the moment.. Due to this it is fair to say I drift in and out of hypomania now.
If you are still here reading, thank you. I hope this post has given you more of an insight into mental health. I would love if you shared my story to help others know they are not alone!
Over and out,
Lots of Love,
Like what you see?