Monday 27th March
After the weekends ventures outside I was starting to feel a little better & today I decided that I was going to spend more time outside & meet the other people living at the shelter. It was either that or hide myself away all day which I knew wasn’t going to do me any good. Now it was time to try & get back to being a regular person, or as regular as I could possibly be given my current situation.
I went outside for a coffee & sat around the other residents at our picnic bench which was the sort of meeting point for anyone wanting a coffee, smoke or just to be outside. Before long I was talking to one or two of the other residents & luckily for me one of them had a dog with them which was a huge help as the dog came over for a rub & a sniff of me. I was really missing spending time with my friend’s Springer Spaniel, Willow (my closest friend where I live). Simba (the name of the dog) quickly settled beside me; I guess he must have sensed how damaged & screwed up I was & how I was in need of something to calm me down as he quickly relaxed me.
Everyone has their Story
When you 1st arrive at a shelter & see other residents talking to each other it can feel very un-nerving like there are little cliques but in reality every one of the residents has their own story of how they ended up in the same place as you. Every single resident will no doubt have gone through the same feelings you may be having. The shelters are like train stations in a way as people are always coming & going. Some residents will have been staying for over a year as they are unable to be moved on for their own good. So no doubt friendships will have been struck as we all try to make the best of the situations we find ourselves in.
You can either do one of two things to try & cope with your situation.
Option One : Hide yourself away in your room or go out all day & never talk to anyone which is perfectly fine as that may be your coping strategy or :
Option Two: Make the best of the situation (where there is no shared living room space & you all have your rooms which can get real lonely) & get outside & meet some new people just to keep yourself sane.
As a new resident you will probably find the other residents want to know about you & there is no right or wrong answer to how you decide to answer. I decided to share my story as it was helpful to me & in turn I learnt about some of my fellow residents. Before long I was laughing with them. It caught me by surprise that even in the depressed state I was in that I could laugh again! This is a really good sign.
I spent most of the day popping outside for coffees & chats & by the end of the day I was feeling better than I had done since ending up in hospital.
Tuesday 28th March
Today Rachel came over to see how I was settling in at the Shelter & to take me out for a bit. We headed back over to Helston & What I didn’t know at the time was Rachel had organised us going out for a walk with Willow.
It really did cheer me up when I saw Willow & she made a huge fuss of me as we hadn’t seen each other since the day I took my OD. We went for a walk around Penrose Estate & it took my mind of things watching Willow jumping in the river, playing & swimming. Sadly it was all over too soon as we had to head back to the Shelter for my outreach appointment.
At the beginning of your time with Outreach; depending on how your initial assessment goes; you will be seen regularly.
To start with I was being seen every other day.
During the visit your outreach worker will ask you if you still have any thoughts of harming yourself? Are you taking any medications (if you have any)? Are you sleeping well? Eating properly & cleaning yourself? You will also be asked if you need any help with any of these if you do feel you need help? Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help as outreach are there to help you get back on your feet.
Outreach should also be able to start giving you information on any follow up appointments that you may have. They can help with a wide range of things from chasing up Benefit/PIP issues to GP appointments or Psychiatric appointments.
During this session you will be asked how you are feeling in relation to your breakdown? This could well dredge up some really painful memories.
For me I found myself crying lots as I tried to use this appointment like a counselling session & found myself re-living many traumatic past memories. The outreach worker again spoke to me about PTSD due to how I was crying when I spoke about my past.
It’s going to be difficult & definitely emotional but to recover you will need to be honest about how you are really feeling & how bad things really are.
Do not simply try to put on a brave face and try to convince everyone that things are better than they are.
After the outreach appointment I went outside to hang out with the other residents as I needed some company as the outreach visit was very draining.
Around now you may find that after speaking to outreach the emotional things you may have been bottling up may start to come out. This will be very hard to deal with & I’m going to be honest that things are going to get a lot worse emotionally before they get better, but I promise you one thing ….
THINGS WILL GET BETTER. It is going to take a while so hang in there.