In absentia

It’s a strange feeling. Sitting on the sofa, listening to 4 Non Blondes, drinking coffee, and realising I finally made it. Knowing it took what felt like forever to get here, and trying to accept that I now have my own life. My own rules. My own independence.

Neglecting my blog, and everyone involved… it hasn’t felt good. The occasional tinge of guilt sneaks up on me, knowing that so many people have supported me for over a year and are still commenting despite my absence. However, sitting in the front room and seeing my belongings mixed with S’s… I honestly never believed it would happen, and real life has to take precedence.

Yes, we moved in together. I escaped; and not only do I have freedom for the first time in years, but I also have access to my own finances for the first time in my entire life. I got the bus into town two days ago – a feat in itself, considering how long it’s been since I felt brave enough to use public transport – and checked my bank account. Seeing money in my account for the first time since receiving my stepfather’s inheritance… you don’t know how amazing it feels. Knowing that, for the first time in twenty seven years, I am entirely independent. For the first time, my life is my own and not controlled by anybody but myself.

The past couple of weeks have been an unbelievable nightmare, culminating in a full-force BPD freak-out where I cried, screamed, howled, and eventually called a taxi to take me to S’s. I couldn’t cope with anything at all, and I admit there were a couple of situations where it looked like I was going to lose it entirely. I hit myself in the face. Toyed with a razor and a pair of scissors. Pulled a chunk of hair out, just to feel anything but the horrible pain inside of total loss of control. Stopped eating entirely for a week, living on strong coffee and the last of my dope stash, codeine; anything I could get my hands on to numb the fear just for a short while.

In truth, I don’t know how I got through it all. Trying to explain just how wrong everything seemed to go…it’s impossible. You can’t put such things into words.

You see, it wasn’t just the move stressing me out – although it really didn’t help – and my habit of not being able to cope with more than one thing at once really didn’t help. Quite why I decided to stop taking my medication for a few days, I’m not sure… I should know better, and can only assume that BPD was telling me I’d be better off without them. It’s happened often in the past but I thought I was over it, and had more sense now. Obviously not.

Within two days I’d gone back to the old ways. Panic. Everything was a disaster. The world was ending. Paranoia, beyond belief. Constant – and I mean constant – tears. The need for reassurance. Grabbing onto anything to survive. Laying awake at night hearing the slight whisper of the voices creeping in. Shadows and movement just out of my vision. Feeling victimised by things which hadn’t even happened.

I don’t know how I used to live like that.

Along with everything else I was trying to deal with – the return of fibro pain from not taking Lyrica or Celebrex/Naproxen, the tendonitis getting much, much worse, my mother freaking out over every little thing connected to the move – I finally got to the Biomechanics appointment which had been moved around so many times; I thought I’d never get there. Waiting was pointless though, as nothing was achieved. In fact, I may as well have stayed at home and abandoned any hope of help.

After months of waiting, after being discharged from physio after nothing helped, all the appointment involved was being told I need to do exercises to help the pain in my ankle and foot. In other words, I waited months – and worried – simply to be told exactly what I was told at physio. Told exactly what I already knew. I tried explaining that I’d had to stop the exercises since they were so painful but was simply told to do them regardless. Then, I was referred back to physio.

What is it about me? Why does nobody take me seriously?

I pondered this for a while after the appointment. There’s no denying that I’ve been let down by the NHS a ridiculous number of times; pushed from pillar to post, sent from one specialist to another, and always been made to feel like more of a nuisance than a genuine patient.

So I sat, and thought, and came to perhaps a controversial conclusion; that my past history of mental illness is affecting my treatment. I know this sounds paranoid – and it’s understandable that perhaps the idea of doctors refusing to treat me due to mental illness is something many would pooh-pooh as ridiculous – but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

You see, I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that many see me as a faker. A chancer. Someone who goes to the doctors just to get attention and treatment I don’t need. Munchausen’s syndrome comes to mind.

It’s possible that some of my symptoms are psychosomatic; in fact, I know some are. Others however… you can’t fake them. It’s impossible to fake things like hair loss, swelling joints, jaundice, constant coldsores, endless urinary infections, weight loss, tendonitis, crunching knees and fingers, sciatica… all these things are real, physical symptoms, and have been proven to exist. So I can’t be faking it; doctors themselves have confirmed a myriad of symptoms and illnesses.

Yet… I’m not getting the treatment I’m entitled to.

Last week, I discovered something I’d never known, and it’s only served to confirm my suspicions. I spoke to my mother about accessing my medical records – she agrees that I’m not being treated fairly – and I found out that when I was seventeen, I was sectioned.

I never knew. Nobody told me. I assumed I was simply being ‘kept an eye on’ when I was stuck in hospital after a failed overdose, but in reality the truth was kept from me to protect me. I can understand why, but still… it’s a lot to come to terms with. I’ve always held onto the belief that no matter how crazy I’ve been, I’ve never been sectioned. Somehow that belief helped me cope. Now everything’s been turned upside down. A lot of my life has been a lie.

It’s a weird thought. I was sectioned, and never knew.

It makes me wonder what else I was never told. Just what my past involved. I know for a lot of my teens I was out of it, and couldn’t take much in except for the difficulties and problems I experienced, and I know I was often trapped in some form of psychosis; living my life in a bubble created to protect myself. There’s so much of my teens I can’t remember – medication, craziness, lack of sleep, lack of food, drugs, drink… it all blocked out memories – and it’s entirely possible that things happened I wasn’t aware of.

So much of my life has been pieced together from flashes of memory; some of which may not even be real. In truth, I don’t know half of what I’ve lived through. I just… locked it away somewhere.

They should have told me. I had a right to know.

Right now, I’m trying not to think about it too much. I have an appointment with my GP on the 9th, and I’m planning on talking about all my worries. I’m really not up to it right now – a lot needs to be done to the flat – but this needs to be sorted once and for all.

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43 Comments

  1. It’s good to see you post again. I was worried about you, as the last post left a semblance of hopelessness. I’m glad that you’re “ok”, whatever that means. I hope that the doctors will figure something out for you soon. I know what it is to be in pain and be told that it’s nothing medical. How can it not be medical, when medical symptoms are apparent? Doctors make me more angry than I care to admit. Good luck in the new flat with S.

  2. I was looking for a new blog and was wondering why I hadn’t seen one. Glad to hear you’re out on your own and can live the way you want. I wouldn’t worry too much about being sectioned, I was but where I’m from it’s Baker Acting someone. I always think back on it like a much needed vacation. You should be proud of how far you’ve come, dont worry about the past.

  3. I’m so glad you’ve managed to get away and have your independence! :) Congrats on the move as well!! So sorry you’ve had to go through so much to get to this point, but hopefully it’s a sign of things changing for the better. Hope you will be back to write again soon xx

  4. Love from cold and sunny Maine! Sweetheart, I am so happy for you, and so proud of you, and I have high hopes for you and S. I understand learning things that happened years ago, and how much that can hurt. I also understand quite clearly the tendency to think others are judging you harshly — I have felt that way so many times. But, if they are judging you — screw them! Their judgments are their own problems, and you don’t need to accept any of it. Concentrate, for the next couple of weeks, on getting moved in and making a happy home. You may be surprised at how much happier you can be, now that you are in charge of your own life. I love you, honey, and I am sending the strongest good vibes I have across the Atlantic to you!

    • Oh honey. It’s taken me forever to get back to comments properly, and reading this really lifted my heart. I love you too, and I’ve missed you! I’ve missed everyone; it’s been like losing a little family for a while, but I’ve got a bit more energy and time now, so hopefully things will get back on track with the blog.

      I’m trying to think along the lines of “screw them”; it’s not easy at all (as I’m sure you understand) but even just trying is making me feel better. Being stuck at my mothers… I suppose it gave me no real motivation to truly take on the world and tell it to sod off.

      Good vibes heading right back to you, even if it is 6am and I’m utterly knackered ;)

  5. I have such a sense of relief for you! Sorry to hear about the news of being sectioned, but that’s in the past!!! Take a deep breath and look at today! Don’t keep looking back. I’ve had lots of things kept from and I’m just finding out about them myself but I have to keep focused on what is going on now. You’re in control of you! I can tell you’re stronger by your writing! I’m so proud of you that you’ve made it independence! What a great feeling!

  6. Congratulations on moving to your own place. I’m 22 and I still live with my mother and I know you have a few years on me so I can imagine how you must have felt. It’s really no good to be in the position of a parent still having control over you- be it financial or emotional. Unfortunately it seems the two are often intertwined because they have that lovely thing called leverage that they can use. Anywho obviously we don’t know each other but I enjoy reading your blog and I find it easy to relate to. Congrats again on your new freedom and I hope to someday get to that point as well!

    • Thank you very much; it’s a very weird feeling having that freedom, and I’m not sure I’ll get used to it for a while yet. Even being able to go outside whenever I want to without answering a load of questions about where I’m going… it’s so strange.

      I have a feeling you will get to that point – if only because I honestly never believed I would. I’ve fought for this since I was in my teens, so if I can do it… I really believe anyone could. Best of luck with it.

  7. Hello, and my apologies for taking so long to congratulate you on the move. I think I was probably in retreat when it happened (but that’s no excuse).

    As for the mental health stuff affecting your physical issues, that sucks. Will you stay with the same GP now you’ve moved or are you able to change surgery? Because if you can change, you might stand a better chance at a place where your past isn’t known and you can explain things straight to someone who has no preconceptions about your health.

    • First, don’t apologise! Retreat is a fantastic excuse, and I’ve been pretty absent myself. Thank you!

      I’ve stayed with the same GP; I know it’s not entirely honest but I’ve decided not to tell my surgery that I’ve moved. I get where you’re coming from with getting a new GP – I have considered it – but really, he knows me better than any doctor I’ve ever seen, and so far he’s been brilliant. It’s not him who seems to have a problem, but the specialists I get referred to. I’ve seen my GP last week, and I’m going to attempt to write a post this morning about it all :) Good to see you again, I’ve missed you!

      • Oh, that is good about your GP understanding. You should be ok to tell them you’ve moved because I don’t think GPs really have catchment areas like primary schools. Maybe when you next speak to said GP, ask the direct question?

        I’m glad you’re coming back online because I’ve missed you too, but it’s kind of been a good sign that you’ve not been online because it means you’ve been spending time with S and getting used to being in the house and having to do all the necessary things relating to having your own place, and hopefully means that you’re happy!

  8. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a post from you. Just dropping a comment to let you know I miss you! Congratulations on finally being your own woman, not someone else’s.

    I’m sorry you had such a stressful experience, I pray that living with S will help to settle things down a bit.

    Stay strong, I believe in you!
    (:

    • I’ve missed you too! It’s been annoying me that I haven’t seemed to find the time to stay in touch; although I suppose it’s for a good reason. Thanks very much for the comment, and so far living with S has made a huge difference. Perhaps not noticeably to others, but I can see changes happening. Small, baby-step changes.
      :)

    • I’m looking at the freak-out as something which probably had to happen; heck, moving’s stressful for everyone, right? I just reacted the only way I knew how, I suppose. And thank you! It’s an amazing feeling actually having that control; I still keep checking my bank to make sure that money really is there. I’m not quite accepting it all yet!

  9. It’s possible that some of my symptoms are psychosomatic; in fact, I know some are. Others however… you can’t fake them.

    I was struggling with anxiety still 5-6 weeks ago when I discovered my fingernails had changed suddenly and rather disgustingly. I was having other problems, too, but I couldn’t tell if they were anxiety-related or tied to the same base. Since it was a Saturday, I visited urgent care, since nail changes can indicate more sinister underlying changes. The doctor took a quick glance at my fingernails after I told her they’d changed dramatically and said, “They look fine. You’re just anxious.”

    “Wow,” I told her. “Wow, so that’s it? I’m anxious, so you can’t even see the weirdness of my fingernails. Next time I’ll wait to see my GP.”

    The moment my GP saw my nails, she said, “Oh, yeah, those fingernails are funky, and I know just what to do to fix them.” Would that have been so hard for the other doctor, to respond to the situation as an independent one instead of trying to lump it under “just anxiety”? When my own freakin’ fingernails are falling off, “you’re just anxious” is decidedly unhelpful.

    It sure did remind me why I’m grateful for my GP, all that being said. :)

    Good luck getting through to people!

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