But You Don’t Look Ill Part 2 ….

I’m livid! Abso-bloody-lutely steaming! Probably not in the right frame of mind to blog but I have to get rid of this anger.

This morning, I built up the confidence to go to an exercise/dance class. I had been encouraged to do this by my CPN to build my confidence, my psychologist to develop relationships outside of work and my psychiatrist as the anti-psychotic is causing me to gain weight at a rapidly alarming event. So last night, I booked a taxi to get me there as I can’t yet do buses.

This morning, the taxi arrived. I was initially pleased as it was a driver I’d seen before a few times on trips to work. I got in the car and we passed pleasantries. He asked me if I was off to work and I explained I was off to the leisure centre for a class. The conversation went like this:

Him: “On holiday?”
Me: “No, I’m currently off sick”
Him: “And you want me to take you to the Leisure Centre?”
Me: “Yes please”
Him: *Long pause*
Him: “You’re not too sick to go to the Leisure Centre then?”
Him: *Uncomfortable laugh*

Now I do remember the days when, if I’d had a day off school, I wasn’t allowed to go out to play afterwards (if you’re not well enough to go to school ….) but this sort of attitude is just indicative of the demonisation of people with disabilities or long term health problems that @BendyGirl and @Suey2y highlighted in the ‘Ask Ed Milliband’ session at the recent Labour Party Conference, the image that the Daily Fail perpetuates throughout it’s pages and that middle England appears to wholeheartedly believe.

I honestly felt like Jeremy Kyle was going to pop up and accuse me of spending his tax payers money on exercise classes before I reminded myself that I am fortunate enough to be able to work and pay taxes too.

The confidence building exercise was an abject failure. I did complete the class but feel shame not endorphins running through my veins.

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Suicide – Man’s way of telling God, ‘You can’t fire me – I quit!’

*Warning – Contains potential triggers relating to suicidal ideation and self harm*

A review meeting at work today led to further encounters with work colleagues. In particular, I met up with some of my team. After the usual ‘you’re looking well’ type comments, I thought I’d see how the truth of mental ill-health would be received within a relatively safe environment. I’d just seen the psych and been signed off for another four weeks while we do some more med tweaking so I knew questions would be asked.

So I outlined what had happened.

I explained that a number of factors, both work and personal, had come together which meant that I felt that my life was out of control. Although, for most people, the issues might seem trivial, for me they meant abject failure and an unmanageable situation. I had lain in bed for some time until I had to wake my husband up to let him know that I didn’t feel that I could keep myself safe and wanted to take my own life. I explained that, at the time the thought of having so little control over my life was so frightening that death seemed the only option.

I described the trip to A&E, the negotiation over admission with the duty psych, the input from services (daily for three weeks), the second potential crisis (Stanley Knives and scalpels were Plan B with drugs Plan A) and appropriate preventative measures and the lack of ability to ‘do’ people, cope with any sort of noise, read, go out without support ….. all those ‘normal’ things.

They were all terribly supportive, although I wish I knew what they were thinking and said after I’d gone. One senior colleague, a peer was blinking back tears at one stage. I hope I find a way of gaining an understanding of how they felt and what they thought.

Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about. Most can never understand why it is ever considered, why death is ever a better option. As always, I’ll cop out and leave the articulate stuff to others as they do it so much better than I do:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.

“Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really.

“You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace