My 2018 wobble: crisis admission, letter to psychiatrist and winning against the odds

I’ve previously written that 2018 heralded a year in which I thought I wouldn’t have a psychiatric hospital admission. That’s how well I felt. But on 15 January my mood took a turn for the worst and I was readmitted.

My day had started off well. I woke up to go to dbt, had a shower, put on makeup and got dressed nicely for my date that night. I drove to dbt and went to my regular cafe for my regular brekky – avocado and feta on toast with a soy latte. Yum.

I ate my brekky feeling well, then, like a cool change in the weather, my mood plummeted. I felt depressed and acutely suicidal and planned to kill myself at 5pm that day by taking all the prescription drugs I’ve accumulated these past 4 years.

Looking for a way to pass the time before my death, I went to dbt. But wasn’t my usual self. I wasn’t able to talk, smile, make eye contact, eat lunch. I just sat in the corner quietly crying. I left the group and sat in the foyer space and one of the therapists came and spoke to me. I told her my plan. She planned a crisis admission. I was admitted a few hours later.

My regular admitting psychiatrist, S, was on holiday so I was admitted under C. C prescribed my usual medication plus 30mg of olanzapine prn and put me into icu.

I spent a week asleep from all the prn, he was about to force an admission to the nearby public hospital for feeding by gastric tube and involuntary ect because I was refusing to eat and drink.

S came back from leave on Monday 22/1, took one look at me and said I wasn’t depressed, I was experiencing a borderline switch. My mood changed from one extreme state to another in an instant but would switch back just as quickly. She took me off the olanzapine and got me out of bed.

She was right. By the next day I was bright and bubbly, I’m back on the regular ward and attending group programs. I’m being discharged on 29/1 and going back to work the following day.

This time around I really don’t feel like I’ll be readmitted for a while. I’ve written S a letter thanking her perseverance these past 2 years:

Dear S

Apologies that I’m contacting you outside the professional context – I know you like to keep strict professional boundaries – but I really do want to say thank you for managing my inpatient admissions over the past 2 years.

I feel better – more calm, more in control, more content – than I ever have in my life. While I recognise my own role in persevering and putting in place strategies I’ve learnt speaking to my team and through dbt, plus the ect and meds, you’ve played a significant role in getting me to here.

You’ve nailed the meds and prescribed the right amount of ect and tms, and I’ve found the psychotherapy you’ve provided to be really helpful too. You’ve helped me glean insight into myself and identified particular aspects of my personality, developmental history and biochemistry that cause me to react to circumstances and relationships the way I do. I always feel safe when we speak because you are non-judgemental and compassionate but always honest, professional and have clear boundaries which I find really helpful.

As I said when I last saw you, I have a feeling I won’t see you again for a long time because I feel so on top of things, thanks for that.

Sincerely

Rachel

 

I’ve had to reflect on what triggered my mood switch. I think it was thoughts of my date scheduled for that night. My history of sexual violence has left me feeling vulnerable to other people’s sexuality. I’m torn though, I’m lonely and would ultimately like a relationship, but know that other people expect sex to be a component of an intimate relationship. I’m going to have another go at dating, I won’t let the three people who took this from me win.

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Hi! My name is Rachel. This is a meandering story of my life with type II bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, attachment trauma, surviving sexual violence at the hands of a number of men as well as an intimate partner, and the difficulties associated with identifying as an asexual lesbian romantic (that is, I fall in love with women and want to – eventually – spend my life with one, but I don’t want to have sex with her).

Much of what I write about in this blog is known only to my best friend and my team of psychiatrists, general practitioner, dbt therapist and psycho-social therapist. But something makes me want to share my story more broadly so I am keen to write about it for you to read too. I don’t want my family and more distant friends, exes, work colleagues etc to be able to identify me so excuse me for posting a pic of my gorgeous cat instead of myself. He’s a big part of my therapy and right now is asleep on my lap as I write 😌. It’s magic.

Rather than give you a detailed account of everything that’s ever happened to me in a linear way, I’m going to write in themes related to my illness and my life experiences, sometimes briefly and sometimes in detail. As I write about contemporary experiences I will be able to provide more specific details of my thinking and behaviours and of what my team has done in response. Sometimes I’ll state the impact of their response on me, and sometimes I won’t remember so will leave it out. I’d prefer to be accurate and have holes in my account than give a full-but-incorrect account. I’m sure you’ll understand.