Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Night crisis team

Just spoken to the night crisis team. I really don't know what I would do without them. They listen and acknowledge how I'm feeling. No matter how often I call they don't judge me or make me feel like I shouldn't call them.
I think I would probably have killed myself months ago if it wasn't for this team of people. They know how to calm me down no matter how upset I am or how much I'm struggling.
The difference between them and the day crisis team is that they really try to listen and help me. They stay with me while I try to get out of the bathroom and up off the floor. They talk me through changing my bed and sorting myself out and they give me time and patience.
When I cry, shake and even hurt myself they don't panic but stay outside of the chaos and hold me till I'm calm enough to sort myself out.
They talk to me about my job and my family and try to bring me back into the here and now.
Most of all they encourage me and affirm that I can keep going. I really don't know where I would be without them.
It's so good how they stay with me and break everything down into small achievable steps but don't make me feel stupid when the steps just seem impossible at that moment.
I hope there will be a day soon that I won't need them anymore as I'm sure they must be so fed up of me. I can imagine staff meetings where they talk about the mad Julie that calls in the night and I know I must be so frustrating as it just never seems to change or get better. I'm like a broken record.
I'm so lucky to have Karen, Glen, Dave and Prakash at the end of the phone during the night. They're special people and I appreciate all that they do for me.

Nightmare :-(

I kind of knew tonight would be a bad night. I've felt unsettled all day.
I feel so dirty and disgusting, my skin is crawling and I just need it to stop. The same old nightmare, he has his hands around my neck, his body slamming into mine. I can hear those words over and over "no one will want you now" My head is screaming for him to get out, to stop but I'm frozen and heavy.
Then it's over, I'm awake, crying and shaking. My bed is wet and I can still smell him and hear him. Where am I? I'm disorientated and frightened and my first urge is to run and hide.
Instead I curl up on the bathroom floor, I need to calm down. I try to tell myself that I'm safe and I can do this. He is not here and it won't happen again. I scrub myself clean in the shower but the dirt and shame stays with me.
I still have my bed to clean. I just can't face it tonight. I can't cope like this anymore, it's crap. I'm trying my best to move on and be strong but my nightmare pulls me back and reminds me of how pathetic I really am. I let him in my home and I asked for what I got. I'm stupid.
I need to try and get back to bed. Is he still lurking in my dreams? Will I ever be rid of him?
It's like it happens again and the pain is just as raw. I can't really explain how devastating it is to relive my worse nightmare over and over.
Medication won't help but to be calm and able to sleep right now would be so good.
Better change my bed and try again - I must tell myself that I can do this and really believe that I can. Without hope, what is there left?

I can do this


Why is it that some days when you wake up in the morning you have a feeling of real panic? This morning I feel so sick and I have a tight knot in my chest like something bad is going to happen. I just feel so unsettled and it came on really quickly and for no reason at all.
I have my last trauma therapy session for awhile today but I'm not worried about that as I know it will  start again later in the year. It might be that now I'm not going to see my therapist I have no one to really support me for a while but I'm going to be back at work next week and really busy so it should be ok.
I hate it when I feel so unsettled and just wish I could cry the feeling away. So what can I do? Maybe I just need to stay around people today and keep busy. I'm still feeling poorly so that isn't helping.
Being me just sucks at times.
Will post again after today's session to see if it has helped.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Really stupid :-(

Can't believe what I did on Sunday night. My neck was throbbing and so painful and the pressure in my ear was just driving me mad. I couldn't sleep and had had enough of the pain. So I decided to get a craft knife and open up the abscess myself. Well it's not really a good idea to stick a knife in your neck but that is what I did in a moment of madness.
My neck wouldn't stop bleeding and so I ended up in A & E where they were really lovely. I had to wait over 2 hours to see a doctor even though they really weren't very busy. People around me were getting really angry and shouting at the nurses. I felt sorry for them as it is not their fault. I told one man to stop shouting and swearing as it wouldn't get him seen any quicker. He had been drinking and I thought he would hit me but he just sat down quietly and even said sorry!
I saw the doctor and he was shocked that I had opened the abscess up by myself but said that he understood why. 10 days of pain is enough to drive anyone to want to get rid of it. The ENT doctor came to see me and he showed me my CT scan and explained fully what was happening in my neck. I wish the doctors earlier in the week had done the same. I have a cyst that needs removing and they want it to settle before they operate. He explained how dangerous sticking knives in your neck is, showing me my arteries and other important structures near to the abscess. He finally ordered a scan and needle biopsy and was concerned that after all this time one hadn't been done. He gave me more antibiotics and sent me home. The scan appointment should be soon.
Last night I felt really poorly. I didn't know whether to ring for an ambulance. The room was spinning and I felt light headed and weird. Instead I went to bed and slept on and off. I don't feel as bad today and the swelling in my neck has gone down but has moved towards my ear.
So all in all it was a stupid thing to do but at least they're going to do something now. I just need to get better before I go back to work next week. I am resting and being good. No more sticking knives in my neck!!

Sunday, 25 August 2013


My neck is still so sore and swollen and I feel really yuk. Not that anyone notices or asks how I am! My youngest daughter has just asked me to drive her and her friends to Leeds this afternoon which is about an hour either way, my son has asked me to pick him up and take him to football, cook him dinner and then take him home and my other daughter has asked me to deliver a birthday card that she forgot to send - so much for resting!
Me and resting don't really go anyway. Yesterday I tidied 2 bedrooms and changed the beds. I have to keep busy and distracted so I can stay away from my head and stupid thoughts and urges. I saw something yesterday that I'm going to try and that is having a basket of stones with positive statements and quotes on them. So I need to start collecting flat stones. I will try to post a photo of what I mean.
My favourite saying is "life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain!"
Think it's been raining quite a lot in my life right now but I'm hanging in there.
No new news from my husband, I think he is still in Thailand, but where I don't know. I just wish I knew what is happening so I don't have to listen to all the speculation from others.
Anyway, off to Leeds to take my daughter to see Eminem. I kind of wish I was staying so I could join in but am not sure it is my scene.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Hospital Experience

 Been in hospital with an abscess on my neck and have come home feeling worse than I did when I went in! I have never been messed around so much in my life.
When I got to the hospital they said I had to stay in and that they were going to operate to drain the abscess.
I was put on a ward and told not to eat and drink anything. Two days later they still hadn't taken me to theatre or decided what to do. My neck is swollen and so painful. I was given IV antibiotics and fluids. The doctor that put the IV line in my hand was brutal. After the first day my hand was sore and swollen so I asked if they could take it out. The same doctor came and tried a few times to get a line in. She prodded and poked, taking the needle in and out for ages and made a comment about the scars on my wrists and me being used to pain! Eventually she put the line in about two inches away from the old one on my swollen hand but right on the bone on my wrist. After an hour my hand began to swell even more and I was in so much pain. The nurse could not believe what the doctor had done.
Another nurse came and put the line in the other arm without any pain at all.
Eventually they told me to go home and finish the antibiotics and come back in two weeks when they would decide whether to cut it out or not. I explained that I am a teacher and it would be best to do it now if they could but in the end just wanted to go home.
As I was leaving they handed me a box of 100 paracetamol and I had to explain again how I can't take them home as my mental health is not good at the moment and I didn't want that many tablets at home.
So here I am, my neck is so painful and I have no painkillers. I am taking my antibiotics and hope it will go down soon as the pressure in my ear is horrible. If it doesn't I might just get a blade and cut it open myself. At least then it will drain.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


This is where we scattered my Mum's ashes - it is such a peaceful place

Monday, 19 August 2013

Therapy session

Today I saw my therapist. I hadn't seen him for a few weeks and we hadn't got anything planned for today's session. It was really good to catch up with him and talk through how I am feeling. In the past I have found the sessions where we just talked really frustrating as I'm impatient to move forward and  have never found just talking helpful, however today he really helped me to reflect on what is happening in my life right now.
I explained how I had had a panic attack in a supermarket at the weekend and he explained really clearly what panic attacks are and why they can be so overwhelming. I realised that I'm using the imagery we use in the EMDR sessions much more to help get me through tough times. I tell myself that I'm ok and I can do this and I try to picture the words on a billboard. It is working to calm me down. I am becoming my own therapist and I can do this, I feel much more positive.
Although I'm feeling suicidal at times, I am managing to keep going and put things in place to keep myself safe. I have thrown all my paracetamols away and have put sharp objects in the garage. I know that my children need me and can remember how upset and lost I was when my Mum died and we weren't even very close!
My husband returning is having an impact but I am putting plans in place to minimise that and ave decided to let it go until he actually does return. He has said he is coming back before and hasn't. I am still confused about the strength of feelings I have for him but I think that is because I have never had to face him and those feelings are definitely not love but more of a connection as he is the Father of my children.
I'm going to carry on using positive imagery and self talk and keep telling myself that I can do this. I am strong and I am a survivor. Why fight all these years to just let it all go?
On a less positive note though I have an abscess in my neck and have to go to the hospital tomorrow morning to see the ENT consultant. I really hope I don't have to stay in for IV antibiotics. Will cross that bridge when I get there.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Feeling Suicidal

Just doing my homework for my therapist tomorrow. What are the options that I have if my husband comes back? The only one that resounds in my head is to kill myself.
People think that suicide is selfish but I don't think it is. I wouldn't do it for me but for everyone around me that I constantly let down and hurt. It's selfish to just keep going and expect everyone to be there for me and pick up the pieces.
I hurt my children in so any ways. I wasn't good enough for their Dad to want to stay and be a family. Somedays I can hardly get out of bed and I'm often poorly. I don't do enough for them any more. I have no money and can't give them all that they deserve. I'm not a good cook and the house is never clean and tidy. They deserve better. One daughter criticises all that I do, my driving is crap and the things I say aren't right. The other daughter spends all her time with her boyfriend and his family. I don't blame her. My son never phones or comes home - he has his own life now.
I let the people I work with down as I'm always sick or tired. I never see things through properly.
I've managed to push away nearly all of my friends, even the pastor of the church wouldn't come and see me when I asked him to when I was in hospital.
My parents never loved me. How can you love yourself when even your parents hate you?
I let the services that work with me down. I want to say 'I'm better' and have no nightmares etc. I want to never have to ring anyone again but to smile and say I'm strong now. I just wish I could feel strong.
I feel dirty, stupid, fat, ugly, pathetic and a waste of space.
I'm decorating my house room by room and getting rid of all the rubbish in my house. I'm giving my children the things that are precious to me and sorting through my belongings. When my house is clean and I'm organised that will be the time I can die. I don't want people to think i am dirty.
Not long now and I can close my eyes and be at peace.
My life is one big joke and I'm tired.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Feeling low :-(

Story of my life - when do I ever not feel crap?
Feeling sorry for myself today. This year I have had a recurrent neck abscess and its coming back again. My neck is sore and swollen and I feel poorly. I haven't got out of bed yet today and just have no energy.
Camping with my friend went well and we had a laugh. The tent didn't fall down or leak but the camp bed was very uncomfortable. For 2 nights I just dozed in bed, too frightened to sleep incase I had a nightmare. I just thought it would be really frightening to wake up from a nightmare in the small confines of the tent and I would panic. Also I don't really know Nicky that well and didn't want to be embarrassed. The two nights I've been at home since coming home I haven't been able to sleep at all. I think I am just exhausted. At least I have had 4 nights without a nightmare! Seems a bit extreme though and it's making me ill.
Yesterday I volunteered to drive to Birmingham early to take my daughters friend for a job interview. It rained so much that I could hardly see the road. I drove back by myself and tried to give myself a boost by stopping and going to M&S to look for a new outfit. However I couldn't really see anything I liked, I felt really fat and ugly and couldn't really afford anything anyway!
My youngest daughter passed all her AS level exams and is on track to study what she wants to at university. She has a boyfriend and busy social life and I hardly get to see her lately except when she needs money or something.
I've been feeling really suicidal and it seems to be growing. I know my children love me and would be devastated if I killed myself, but they really do have their own lives now and my role has changed so much. I honestly do feel that it would be ok if I wasn't around anymore. I can't think of many people that would come to my funeral or be too bothered that I wasn't around anymore. My husband is supposed to be coming back so it's his turn to have the children.
Whilst I was away I put some flowers at the spot by the beach where we scattered my mum's ashes. It made me think about what I would want them to do with my body. I don't want to be buried as I don't want to rot and be eaten by creepy crawlies but being cremated doesn't really do a lot for me either! I just want to disappear and to finally be at peace. I'm tired of battling to keep going - it's not worth it.
I got an appointment through to see my psychiatrist yesterday and its not until 1st November but I'm not that bothered as he doesn't really help anyway.
I know I need to try and be positive. I need to plan what I'm going to do for the next 2 weeks before I go back to work. I need to plan something to look forward to and work towards but it just seems to be too much of an effort today, so I might as well just stick my head back under the pillow and try to keep going.
I might feel differently tomorrow x

Monday, 12 August 2013

Going camping tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I'm going camping with a friend from work. I've worked with her for over 10 years and know her quite well but have never been away with her.
Her husband left her for a younger woman last year and this is her first summer without him. She has 2 grown up sons but isn't going away anywhere this year. So we thought we would have a go at camping in a tent! Two 48 year old women, one tent and 2 blow up beds - I just hope there is someone to help when we get to the other end.
It's quite cold here tonight so I'm not looking forward to sleeping in a sleeping bag and am also anxious about having a nightmare etc. do I take a spare sleeping bag? I haven't really told nicky about my nights and feel embarrassed but I'm hoping that a different place and lots of fresh air will help me to sleep. However it is only 2 nights so I can stay awake if I need to.
I need to get out and try new things and go to new places - I'm not going to let you win and I can do this
Fingers crossed it will be ok x

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Race For Life

Today I thought I would do something different, something to help others and to keep me around people. I volunteered to help at the local race for life where people run to collect money for research into cancer.
I arrived nice and early and went to the area I was told to go to. I was given a T Shirt, Marshalls waistcoat and a radio. I was to stand at position 10 along the course and make sure that everyone was ok, stayed away from the waters edge and the uneven ground. I wasn't shown how to use the radio but thought it can't be much harder than a walky talky.
I got into my position and had an hour to go until the race started. The sun was shining on the lake and the swans were swimming around. After a few minutes a crowd of men with large drums came and pitched up next to me - a samba band. I smiled and said hello but it was like I was invisible. They carried on their preparations.
The race started and so did the loud drumming in my ear! So many inspirational people running for loved ones, people suffering now and people they had lost through cancer. Everyone was wearing pink, some in fancy dress, some tied together, one group holding a long ribbon.
A lady collapsed in front of me and I had to use the radio to get an ambulance. She had tried to run with a chest infection.
The last walker was an elderly lady walking with a Zimmer frame. Such a strong, proud lady. I stayed with her until she crossed the finish line - today's battle done.
What about me? I felt inspired by the courage today and commitment, but how can you be in the middle of all that and still feel so alone and invisible. I guess I wanted to belong and to connect but in reality no one spoke to me and I was alone. There was no volunteering team - just people who volunteer.
I would do it again as I think I made a good Marshall no 10 and I can use a radio now but no one would notice if I wasn't there and no one would care.
I feel very alone and losing the will to keep going and trying to do different things like today - it makes no difference as I still hurt and I'm still frightened of how much I want to die.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Bad night again

Struggling tonight - or should I say this morning.
A different nightmare tonight - shadows and voices and my skin felt on fire. I was being pulled in different directions but further away from my children as tiny babies. I was screaming and shouting, desperately trying to reach them and woke up startled, crying and shaking. I felt disorientated and so frightened like someone was lurking.
I fumbled my way to the bathroom and just sat frozen on the floor, voices still loud in my head telling me I am dirty, disgusting, stupid and pathetic, urging me to hurt myself.
It's so hard not to listen, not to give in and go there and I'm frightened by how strong that impulse is. I feel so alone.
I need to calm down, I'm safe and no one can hurt me. I am in control and I can do this. You are not going to win.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Checking in

So how am I feeling today? I thought it would be good to check in with how I'm doing.
My head is working like a washing machine at the moment with so much going round and round in it. I need to try and make sense of it all.
The threat of my husband returning is still there and very unsettling but things have gone very quiet. Where is he? What is he up to? I just wish I knew so that I can sort myself out. If he is coming back then I need to get things put into place to keep myself safe. I need to contact the police and get an injunction to keep him away. I also need to talk to the victim support team to talk about the implications of giving a statement about what he did. After 13 years I remember it all so vividly but can I be precise about exactly what happened or have I added elements in my head that maybe I've made more significant than they would have been if I had reported it years ago? I just don't know. Am I strong enough to see it through?
If he isn't coming back then I need to make some decisions about putting things in place so that if he decides to threaten to come back in the future I don't fall apart. Maybe it's time to tell my children what happened? I need to see a solicitor to get my divorce finalised and to sever all ties with my husband for the future. My children are growing up and will be left home soon and I need to remove myself from their Dad once and for all. Easier said than done but I think it is important.
I'm tired and still tearful but am trying to keep distracted. A friend is coming over tomorrow and we're going out for the day.
I also haven't self harmed for a few weeks which is a step forward. The urge is there and I have a nagging compulsion to cut my neck for some reason, but I'm not going to.
My nightmares are still there but for the past few nights I've coped by myself and haven't rang the crisis team. I'm trying to stick to a strict routine and to get back into bed and off to sleep as quickly as possible. However I feel that I'm cutting off my emotions and not acknowledging them - will they build up and will I blow? I'm not sure but its working so far.
So all in all I'm doing ok - one day at a time.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Distractions and coping strategies

Just thought I'd share some of the ways that I try to distract myself and keep going. I use many different coping strategies and try to adapt them to the time of day and how I'm feeling. Sometimes I'm not able to think straight and my head is everywhere. It is during those times that I'm most at risk of hurting myself or doing something impulsive that I will later regret. I do worry that one time I will actually kill myself, so its really important that I try to internalise these coping strategies so that they will kick in when I need them most.
I have studied the work of +Jon Kabat-Zinn and Mindfulness. I try to concentrate on my breathing and take notice of my surroundings. I listen to the sounds inside the room and outside the room, alternating between them. I find this can be really calming and help me sleep.
I also try different relaxation techniques from imagery to relaxing muscles in the body. I try to go to my safe place in my head and take note of the smells, colours, sounds etc.
If I am feeling agitated and unsettled I try to plan things to do to keep me distracted. I will empty cupboards, mop the floor, clean windows, bake, go for a walk, knit, crochet, go out in my car or watch a film.
I try to stay around people especially my children and will plan things to look forward to. This week I am going out with a friend on Friday, volunteering at my local race for life on Sunday and next week I'm going camping with a friend for a few nights. (Hope it doesn't rain!)
When things are really tough I write down what I'm going to do for the next 10 minutes and just keep doing that for as long as I need to.
I also have a Happy Box which has photos of my children and some objects that remind me of happy times. I try to keep a bar of chocolate in it - chocolate always helps.
When I've exhausted all of the above and things aren't getting any better I will try to ring someone to talk things through. I hate it when I get to this stage as I feel pathetic and stupid and beat myself up that I should be stronger. The crisis team are not always very helpful, I think I must frustrate them in that over the years I'm still ringing and saying exactly the same things. In a perfect world I know that they would like to work with me and then never hear from me again. However I find it triggering to call a service like the Samaritans that don't know me as I don't want to go over why I'm feeling like I am. All I need is for someone to acknowledge how I'm feeling and to help me plan a way forward to keep me safe. I just get so overwhelmed and need grounding.
When the chips are down I do self harm and know that it is a crap coping strategy but over the years it has probably kept me alive, so I must look at my scars not as a negative thing but as a sign of strength.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Bad night

Yesterday I had another trauma therapy session. I had identified that one of my triggers was around lack of control especially in my nightmare but also around the fact that my husband could just walk back into our lives at any time. I'm frightened that that would take away my safety and he would also take away my children ( which is irrational as they're adults now!)
During the EMDR I was supposed to be focusing on the fact that I am in control but my head was everywhere. I even had images of my Mum after she died. In the end I just burst into tears and sobbed. I felt so ashamed as I don't like others to see me crying. After more than a year this was only the second time my therapist had seen me cry.
He abandoned the EMDR and told me to complete an exercise at home where I have to write down all the things I could do if my husband comes back. Then I have to think about whether that is viable, who it would affect and the long and short term gain.
He then gave me a lecture about how I let my husband affect me and that I won't get any better until I take control. I agree with what he said but probably wasn't in the best place to hear it. I just cried.
I felt unsettled all evening and had a bad night. Thoughts of self harm are so vivid and I even found an old blade. I find my thoughts are bigger than self harming though. I have suicidal plans going round my head and they're getting stronger and more lucid.
I haven't got out of bed this morning yet and I have a tight knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. There is no one I can ring for help as my care coordinator has gone off on long term sick.
I just don't know what to do - do I just try to keep distracted and keep going by myself or do I go for an admission to hospital? Hospital scares me but so does the impulsivity I'm feeling and my total hatred of myself. I really don't care if I live or not but know that I can't hurt my children.
Think I just need to hide my head under the pillow until I feel stronger today and take each hour as it comes. It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Still struggling

The fog is never far away but seems to be rising. I am trying so hard to hold everything together. As the night gets darker a feeling of dread starts to build inside me. My stomach churns and my heart races. Dark shadows lurk behind me.
I try to relax and clear my mind but going up the stairs to bed seems like I'm walking to a fate worse than death. He lurks in my dreams and turns them into nightmares. I can smell him, feel him and his face is sharp and vivid. His words pierce through me and there is no escape. I am frozen just like the night it happened - I can't change it and no one is safe......... It's all my fault.
I'm tired of wet and soiled beds, of scrubbing myself clean and of cowering on the bathroom floor, too frightened to face my dirty bedroom and the reality that nothing changes.
I need to go to bed but in reality I want to run - maybe I can find the wardrobe of my childhood where no one could find me and I was finally safe.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Trauma Therapy Session

Yesterday I had another session of trauma therapy. I was really anxious after the response I had last week to the session and kind of wanted to run in the opposite direction.
Instead I found myself sat in the therapists chair, mouth dry, sweating and shaking inside.
We decided to use EMDR to reinforce positive statements and imagery, rather than the negative image from last week. I closed my eyes this time and we used hand taps which I found much easier. At first I felt really sick and my heart was racing but I concentrated on the statement that 'I'm safe' and 'nothing will hurt me' I walked around my bedroom noticing the colours in my head and then it was like I was hovering over me sleeping. My safe place is on the beach and suddenly my bed was floating in the sea! All the time I reinforced the statement that I was safe.
After a while the sickness went and I felt really calm.
I went home and just felt so shattered and worn out that I went to bed. I slept soundly for 14 hours which is longer than I have slept for months.
As I go to bed tonight I'm telling myself that I'm ok and I'm safe and I'm going to do some relaxation by going to my safe place in my head - hopefully I will sleep again tonight. I'm really trying to be positive and to say to myself that I can do this.