I am not good at anniversaries. Even my 21st birthday was spent in the cab of a lorry in France. My friend Helen had got me a bottle of Orangina. Orangina was GREAT. We didn’t have anything as nice in the UK. As a kid I thought the war was AGES ago, but as the years went by I realized that even in the 80’s we were still very post war in lots of ways.
Anyway, last year I took an overdose of pills and ended up in the local mental hospital. Via the general hospital, I am told, I don’t remember it. My memories of that time are vague and very partial.
I’d had a hard year. Every year since I got ill has been a hard year, and I thought I knew hard years. I don’t suppose I was ever entirely at home with myself, but I had some good times, and with health comes the promise of future. Without health, well, not so much. I’d moved house in the early autumn. Ten had done all the stuff I couldn’t, and the difficult summer seemed to hold that seed of hope that moving might improve things. What I didn’t expect was a flare up of every single thing that fibro had ever brought me. Weeks of being bed bound with cystitis, constant running migraines, all sorts of everything. What had happened on top of this was that this time the previous year, going into the hardest part of the year I had started having a lot of suicidal thoughts and had gone to the doctor’s in a panic. I needed some support and was given it, and then had it taken away again. This played out over a few months, and in the early summer I saw a psychiatrist who said that I was taking too many different medications, so I started coming off them – unsupervised. The psych was on a ‘rotation’ I was supposed to see another one but that never happened. I moved without medication, knowing I was spiraling and since I was moving boroughs not only did I have to sign up with a new GP but would have to start from scratch with psych services.
It was hard to get appointments. I had rising panic. I felt like I was shouting for help – who knows, maybe it was just a whisper? Or maybe my shouting is someone else’s whisper. At any rate, eventually I had a home visit from *someone* – I forget who. I told her I needed a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) to supervise me going on meds, since I was afraid of becoming manic. She told me that I wouldn’t get one unless I was hospitalized. By this time I heard ‘hospitalized’ not as ‘turn up at hospital and tell them you need in’ but as ‘take an overdose and you’ll either die or get help’ which sounded like a win/win scenario to me.
This time last year, or, to be more specific, a bit later than that… I wrote this post and made light of it, rather. I was ready to show but not to tell.
I wanted to write this for two reasons. One, in a show of solidarity with all the other people in the UK who are currently literally being hounded to death by the current government’s sickness and disability ‘reforms’ and another to say thank you to everyone who helped me through that very dark time.
Ten, Hazel & Che, BJ, Lottie, Ian, Al, Lucy J, St Ann’s Home Team, my lovely friends on the interwebs, everyone who came to my birthday, Steven next door, my dad who wasn’t told at the time, but who takes me as I am whatever state I am in, my mum, my brother, Julie, who gave me holiday time in Brighton, and my darling little Poppet, this one’s for you:
This year has been so much better. Many difficult days, but better, always better than last year.