Upon opening my eyes this morning I looked around my new room & found myself still trying to take in my new surroundings of the shelter I was now calling home.
Before we go any further we need to look at what we’ve achieved here. You made it through the first night something 12 hours ago you never thought you’d do, so well done.
First things first I need to get a mug of coffee in me so I slowly & (rather timidly) stuck my head out of the door before heading into the shared kitchen to make my drink. Once I had my coffee it was time to hit the shower to try & make myself feel a little bit more human.
A little bit more human?… seems such a stupid thing to say as right now I don’t feel anything like human.
I ended up spending ages in the shower hoping that it would help wash all the negativity away from me.
This morning I have to go to see the Outreach team to speak to them about what happened & how they are best going to support me going forward.
The Outreach appointment is very similar to your recent Psychiatric assessment in hospital they will ask you about the same things as you were asked in hospital.
Rachel came and collected me to take me to the local hospital where the appointment would take place. I found being asked the same questions again very upsetting & the two people in the room took notes whilst I was answering their questions. It was explained to me that the team will check in with me every two days to begin with then progressing to every three days for a few weeks to help me deal with the initial crisis period I’m in before handing over to another team.
The outreach team will also try their hardest to chase up appointments that you may be requiring.
Whilst with the outreach team I was given a load of leaflets to read with various numbers to call in trouble.
To be honest I found it all a bit too overwhelming & I’m sure for some people having all those leaflets helps but I with my dyslexia it was too much to process.
Whilst sat talking with the outreach team & relieving the traumas I had as a child they mentioned that they thought I was suffering from PTSD. PTSD that only applies to soldiers doesn’t it?. I always believed that PTSD was something that happened to Soldiers who had served on the front line & witnessed horrific incidents not someone like me. Apparently not, PTSD can apply to anyone who has been through something traumatic & it can often be worse if the traumatic events happen in childhood.
We also talked about me attending a course for emotional coping strategies as they believed I couldn’t regulate my emotions like “normal” people do which is why when I get overwhelmed I lose control & revert back to child like behaviours. This is the first time someone has actually explained things to me & for the first time in my life I actually start to feel like I can actually beat all the problems I am having & that I am not beyond repair. The first outreach appointment will be tiring & overwhelming at times. At last someone is listening to you & no doubt you’ll feel better by the end of it & hopefully have some answers which will help you.
After an overdose you’ll find that any medication you will be on will be restricted severely until the outreach team & your GP are confident that you won’t OD again. When I left hospital I was given three days worth of all my medications & today was a Friday so I had to get to a Doctors pretty quickly or I would run out of my meds and be back in trouble over the weekend. Going to my own GP’s was not an option as it was 12 Miles away and I didn’t have the transport or money to get to my GP’s so I had to find a local surgery. I went into the surgery and was seen by the receptionist & had to explain my situation (which wasn’t easy) about being discharged from hospital & needing my medications or I would run out.
If you find talking in public difficult you can always ask the receptionist to speak in private. Once they have your details about previous surgery they will contact your former surgery who will have by now been notified by hospital about your admission & what has happened.
If you are in a hostel/sheltered accommodation then the surgery will have no doubt seen many people like you from their come through their doors so they will help you out. I was given an appointment for near the end of the day with one of their GP’s which was a relief as I knew I’d have my meds sorted out (one less thing to worry about).
Rachel had been with me the whole time during the outreach appointment & temporarily signing up for new GP’s, so next up was to get some food supplies for me from Tesco. If you are lucky & have someone to help you get food or have money yourself use them. If not don’t worry as the people who run the hostels will take you to the nearest food bank to help you get back on your feet. Rachel took me to a Tesco which I had been to many times but again I found myself crippled by fear & not sure what to do. This is where loved ones or friends come into their own as they can really help take the pressure off you by guiding you when you are really unsure what to do. At times it all became too overwhelming for me in Tesco’s and I started getting upset with tears rolling down my cheeks. I really wanted my headphones at that point to shut things out but I didn’t have them so Rachel held my hand & helped me regain my composure.
Setting up your lifelines
Once Rachel went back home I quickly set about starting to set up things that would make life more bearable & distract me when things got bad. I was lucky in that I had a room that I could lock so my things were safe. The first thing to get set up was the lap top Rachel had brought over for me, on it she has made a folder called Aleutia’s survival pack which contained lots of music for me to listen to & some films I hadn’t seen as well as one of my favourite TV shows. Straight after that I unpacked my laptop speakers so that I could listen to music & watch films without needing headphones.
By now I think you should have guessed that listening to music really does make a huge difference to me.
Once I had my music playing Grouplove I started to calm down & began unpacking all my belongings that I had for my stay. This time it wasn’t so upsetting and before long I’d unpacked everything I had. I’ve always found I relate to music (the emotions) & lyrics really well as we can all find something in almost every song that can be applied to our lives, the song that got me through dealing with my room & most of today was Ways to Go.
Soon enough it was time to head off to the Doctors surgery to see the GP and get my medication for the weekend. I only had a 5 minute walk but I was really worried about walking to surgery due to the fact that Rachel’s ex & her mother live in the area and I have suffered transphobic abuse from both of them numerous times. I knew the chances of seeing them were remote but I also knew that being in the fragile mental state I was in my reaction could have been anything from falling apart to deciding to hell with the consequences and lashing out. I needed to calm down or else I was going to get myself into a right state before I even got to the surgery so I put on a beautiful little song by Ginger Wildheart called Return of the Northern Cardinal I don’t know what it is about this song but it really does relax me. In the five minutes it took me to walk to the surgery I was no longer on edge. I saw the GP and was told by her that I took a huge overdose (something that I’d frequently hear over next few weeks) before she asked me how things were & if I was still feeling like taking my life. Once I told her that I had seen the outreach team earlier in the day and that for the first time in my life I felt that I could actually beat my illnesses (that’s the second time today I’ve felt like this) I was given my medications. I then headed back to the shelter, made some food and settled down for the night to see what was happening in world, I had zero idea of all the problems that had happened in London with the terror attacks until that point.
Dealing with Outreach team and sorting out a new GP/medication have been tough things to do but with a little help you’ve managed to do them and right now it may not seem like you’ve made any progress but in reality you really have. There may well be a long way to go but we all have to start somewhere & today you made a start