Going home tomorrow, Haircut and Kickers

It’s my last night in the crisis centre. I’ve been here 13 days. I was rapid cycling out of control a couple of days ago and the psychiatrist told me there was a chance I could be detained under the mental health act if I didn’t come down. He offered me clorazepam but I was adamant I wasn’t going to take it, scared that I would loose my brain. I hate medication and that’s why they inject me once a month, but I finally came round after my best mate and my favourite staff member gave me a serious talking to and now I’m taking them 3 times a day and the rapid cycling has stopped.

I’m going home tomorrow straight to the Mental Health Awareness Week Happiness Cafe that I’ve been helping to arrange whilst I’ve been in here. Then my dear friend Sally is coming to stay with me for a few days to settle me in at home. It will be great to spend some time with her as she’s been in India for 6 months and I’ve missed her.

Sally and I are both into our superfood smoothies and we run a page on Facebook called Sharon’s Superfood. We put our recipes on there and try to make it fun and appealing. The health benefits to green smoothies are endless and really make you feel good.

Yesterday I went out for a couple of hours and had my waist length hair cut off. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and I feel a million dollars now I’ve done it. I’ve donated my plaited hair to the Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children with cancer.

John, my favourite staff member here at The Sanctuary even died my hair for me before I got it cut which is definitely going above and beyond the call of duty!

Whilst m manic I can do some pretty manic spending. There’s only one case of that and that’s a pair of gold kickers that I found on eBay in the middle of the night, and got them delivered here. Pictures of new hair and kickers are below.

Turning Point

I’m still in the Sanctuary. I’ve been in here a week now and I’m getting better every day. I’m rapid cycling somewhat but they are keeping a close eye on me. On Monday I went out, and also yesterday I was taken to the hospital by an occupational therapist for my injection of aripiprazole.

They really have waved their magic wands with me here, encouraging me to sleep, eat, and talk. The centre is run by Turning Point Charity and they do vital work. The staff are all so highly trained and all have wonderful personalities. 

http://www.turning-point.co.uk

Mental Health Awareness Week – Hastings


It’s 7.00am and I’m still in the Sanctuary. I’m averaging about 5 hours sleep a night. I’ve come on leaps and bounds since being admitted although I haven’t left the building yet. Something I’m building myself up for tomorrow, which is Mayday.

When I was in crisis I was so worried that by admitting how bad I was would have a detrimental affect on the work I’m doing to organise events with Love Hastings Love Yourself. I was scared that people would think things had got too much for me and my tasks would be taken away from me. This is not the case, and here I am in a mental health crisis centre, helping to plan an event for Mental Health Awareness Week. 

#MHAW17 is happening on the 8th-13th May and we’ve got a great schedule of events. I’m working alongside Jacy from Mind Charity Brighton and Hove and as usual with our events we are thinking outside of the box, and trying to bring mental health into the 21st century. 

I was given the heads up of a great venue in the middle of the town centre that is totally wheelchair accessible, and very cheap to hire. I in turn took this to Jacy and she has been given a budget from Mind for activities in Hastings for that week. Something Jacy and I have talked about since working together has been a Happiness Cafe so we’ve turned this dream into a reality and we are actually having a pop up Happiness Cafe in Central Hall, Station Road, Hastings on the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the Saturday being the grand finale where we hold a grand tea party and we will have an interactive magician as entertainment. During the week also we will be having guided health walks leaving the central hall venue, going around Hastings. I have also tried to negotiate discounted rates at the Smugglers Caves and the Blue Reef Aquarium but am waiting to hear back from them, but I thought that would be a nice touch to get people out and about in their hometown appreciating some of the attractions.

I’m very excited about this week long event, and it’s really giving me something to focus on, which is really helping with my recovery. During the week at the Happiness Cafe there will be representatives from other organisations associated with Love Hastings Love Yourself present, signposting people to the help that is available to them in the area. We will be giving away free cake and there is a Cafe serving tea and coffee at very reasonable prices. There will be board games available, seed planting, arts and crafts activities and many other things planned.

There is a website with up to date information available and that can be found here at http://lovehastingsloveyourself.weebly.com/whats-on.html Also there is a twitter page and that can be found on twitter under @lovehastings100

This is so exciting for the town of Hastings and I really hope if your local you will come and take part. You will be able to meet so many like minded individuals all striving for better mental health.

The Sanctuary – Day 2


Well it’s my second full day in The Sanctuary, which is the name of the crisis centre I’m in. All day yesterday I was comatose, sleeping and aching and worrying. Then at 10pm it was like somebody had turned a light on in my brain. Sleeps a problem and I slept from 3.30am to 7.30am. This is normally a sign that I’m going manic.

I thought I’d show you some pictures of The Sanctuary. As you can see there’s a beautiful lounge, a kitchen diner, and a great smoking shelter and garden complete with pet rabbits.

I was visited by the crisis team this morning to check how I was doing. You get that for the first 3 days of your stay. The lady was very nice and asked if I had any thoughts of self harm or suicide, which I most definitely don’t today. My bipolar has completely turned its self around and I can feel some mania coming. Although it can be quite destructive if I’m in the outside world, being in a place like this and being able to run free with the mania under watchful eyes of the staff is so wonderful. They know when to medicate me and when to leave me be. They still have my medication locked in the medicine cabinet in the office, and anyway I’m not a great fan of PRN medication, which in my case is lorazepam and olanzapine. PRN for those that don’t know is as and when required instead of a regular dose. My lorazepam is used for when I’m high and the olanzapine is used when my injection is due and I can experience psychosis and mania.

This afternoon I had a visit from a colleague, Jacy from Mind Charity who is also on the committee of Love Hastings Love Yourself. My mind was in full flow being in such a safe environment so we brainstormed for our next event. It was so productive and I now feel so positive about it. My task for this evening was to build a website for the event, which I’ve already done in 2 hours! It’s so nice to be in a safe place and I can just concentrate on the matters in hand instead of dealing with the outside world.

It’s 10.55pm now and I’m not tired in the slightest. I’ve taken a PRN lorazepam to calm me down a bit as I was a little over stimulated earlier and it’s taken effect, but I’ve still got the burning urge to write so here I am.

I’m going to make this a short post and end it with the rest of the photos of the sanctuary. It really is an amazing place and I’m so lucky to have got a bed here. Goodnight all x

I’m in a Crisis Centre

Writing is a way of communicating with the outside world when things are not ok. I’ve been holding it together by a shoestring for a month now and yesterday it all came to a head. 

I’d been in bed for 4 days, sleeping during the day and staying awake until about 5am with loads of energy and creativity. The urge to write and express. I had to get it together to be at a LHLY meeting yesterday morning. I got up, showered and made the meeting and there were some very exiting topics covered, especially Mental Health Awareness Week which is happening a week on Monday. 

After the meeting I went for coffee with my support worker and Jacy from Mind. I couldn’t eat anything and I was shaking and jumping from topic to topic in conversation. We discussed the exciting events covered in the meeting. Then it was time to go as they both had to go back to work. Panic set in! I couldn’t bear the thought of going home and felt I just had to walk for miles so I told them I was going for a wander down the old town, and that’s exactly what I did. I walked 5 miles having panic attack after panic attack. I was scared of going back to the place I’d been lying for the last 4 days unable to move. Now I had entered the outside world I wanted to stay there but my brain wasn’t coping with it very well.

After walking 5 miles and being scared stiff of going home, I went to cavendish house where my psychiatrist is based, and asked the lady at reception if I could see someone about my injection. I had in my mind that if they gave me my injection early then my brain would settle and everything would be ok. A nurse came to see me, and then another nurse as by this time I couldn’t breathe and I was very distressed. They carried out a risk assessment and chatted with me for quite a while and then asked me to go to A&E. 

I left Cavendish House and called Jacy and explained what had happened since I left her, and she met me. We went to hers and after taking 2 paracetamol for my thumping head and refusing a cup of tea, I called a cab and went straight to A&E. 

At A&E I was seen quite quickly by triage and then by a psychiatric nurse who spent ages getting to the bottom of my fears and plans. She gave me a diazepam and a sandwich and tea and spoke to me like I wanted to be spoken to. She understood how bad it had become, my triggers and what was going on. I must have been in a room with her for over an hour. She then called me a cab and sent me home reassuring me that when the systems were back up and running in an hour or so, my bed could be confirmed at The Sanctuary and I could gather some belongings from home in the mean time.

She stuck by her word and at 9.30pm she called with a bed for me. I was off in a taxi like a shot and straight there. A 5 bedroomed detached house run by Turning Point charity.

After an entrance assessment and handing over my medication I was shown to my room. I’ve been in here 8 times before over the last 10 years and I’ve had the same room before. I was safe and I was around people who understand bipolar and how bad I had become, and exactly what was going on in this poorly brain of mine. I don’t have to be scared anymore of my constant voice in my head and what it’s telling me to do.

I sat up until 2am in the office going through stuff and how it had got so bad, and realising what a month I’d actually just been through. At 2am it was suggested that I take my zopiclone and go to bed which I did.

I’m not writing this for sympathy, I’m writing it for awareness. So people can understand the process of being admitted to a crisis centre. I’ve not gone into too much detail about how severe the thoughts were that were floating around in my head and causing so much distress but I think you get the general idea. 

I will sign off now and thanks for reading. This really helps me, writing, when I’m in crisis especially late at night. I’ve now been here just over 24 hours and I feel safe and that horrible voice of mine in my head had shut up and my thoughts are less destructive. Good night x

Volunteering 

Volunteering has been an integral part of my recovery over the last 2 years. It’s given me my mojo back and made me use skills I haven’t used since being in the travel industry. I love the buzz and excitement of an upcoming event, or being able to signpost someone to get help from the service I promote. It really has given me a reason to get up in the morning, as sometimes I struggle very much. 

I’ve learnt valuable life skills on some of the courses I’ve attended either with Together or Time To Change. I’ve completed Speaking Out training, running your own campaign, event planning, peer support, peer mentoring and other useful sessions. I’ve just tonight filled in an application to be a Mind Volunteer also, working on the wellbeing project in Hastings. You get very well cared for as a volunteer and they invest in you. If I’m successful in my application with Mind I need to attend a further 2 days training course. I respond well to training and I always did in the travel industry. I was quite intensely trained in selling skills when I worked for Thomas Cook and American Express and other companies, and at Thomas Cook specifically I went on to be the top seller. Training teaches you a lot about yourself you didn’t know, with any course! 

If I hadn’t of been given the aripiprazole injection two years ago none of this would have been possible. I just couldn’t get on with my own medication and took it in fits and starts, normally combined with whether I was at home or running away somewhere because my home life was so miserable stuck out in the sticks with only a Vespa to get around on. I wasn’t fit to be driving with the concoctions of psychiatric medication I was on, and was a danger to myself. 

I came home 2 years ago after a particularly dangerous episode and in 4 weeks I’d moved house and been given my first injection. Since then my brain has come back to me and I’m more and more motivated to do good, or better still do anything! I still have my moments but they are no where near as severe as they were, and I don’t get in half as much danger.

Volunteering has given me my confidence back and has taught me how to integrate in the community and use my skills. I feel very valued in all I do with each of the organisations I’m involved with.

If your looking at volunteering in the U.K. and would like to help tackle the discrimination and stigma attached to mental mental then Mind charity and Time To Change are good organisations to volunteer with. In fact Time To Change isn’t an organisation it’s a social movement, so let’s get it right.

Here’s the links

Mind
Time To Change

I’m 1 in 4 


Well what a week it’s been in the U.K. For speaking out! I had no idea it was coming when I wrote my earlier posts and it’s kind of swayed me a bit. First Prince Harry and then Prince William. I must be doing the right thing as it all seems to be helping others so much and has certainly put mental health in the headlines

I had a bit of a set back and that’s why I went into hiding. I had a bit of a disagreement with a family member about my involvement volunteering with mental health. It was suggested I’m obsessed with it and they are fed up with hearing about it. I’ve got 3 voluntary positions, soon to be 4 and it gives me a reason to leave the house every day and meet people. I feel I’m doing good. What I’ve experienced is direct stigma of my family wishing I would just forget about my mental health and get a proper job! This is what swayed me about speaking out and I hesitated, leaving this blog dormant for days. I kept thinking of things I wanted to write but hesitating. I’d lost my confidence.

I’ve been fighting hibernation over the last week or so, forcing myself to go out and attend appoinments but other than that PJs and bedroom. I’ve been getting takeaways delivered for food and not taking care of the home. This altercation has really bothered me.

What’s swung me is William and Harry. I wouldn’t call myself a royalist but I think they do good work. What they have done this week is totally open up about the mental health they suffered and the help they sought after over the death of their mother. This is groundbreaking and will certainly help bust the stigma and make these 1 in 4 realise they are not alone.

I’m going to tread gently with my speaking out and take care of myself. I’ll feel the water with this blog. I’m not 100% again yet and I would say over the last month I’ve been having a bit of an episode. Today I had great news about plans for Mental Health Awareness Week events and Time To Change meetings so I’ve got plenty to get myself together for, and I’ll be needed in tip top condition.

Another great thing that’s pulled me up a bit is passing my Peer Support Induction with Together. I’m now ready to roll with 1 to 1 peer support and co facilitating groups. It was a great induction and covered boundaries, safeguarding and other valuable tools. I can’t wait to get up and running.

Well that’s me dipping my toe in the water again after hitting the ground running and then my little break. I’ve got so much coming up in my volunteering that I want to document it and blog it so I can’t be loosing my confidence and listening to the negatives. Today was a good day with a walk along the beach and the park, and lunch with a great guy that I see at the Together centre, and tomorrow’s going to be even better as plans have got to me made for Mental Health Awareness Week.

Not quite the post you may have been expecting but I’m just too wobbly with speaking out with it being so in the headlines. I need to feel the writing and feel the blog progressing. Can’t just go full steam ahead and blurt everything out in the first couple of posts as that won’t do me any good at all.

Thanks for reading this and I’d really appreciate any feedback. Sweet dreams!