Lost At Sea - diary extract #1
Updated: Apr 1
Time for the 1st instalment of diary extracts provided by a mental health sufferer. If you haven't read the introduction to this series called 'Lost At Sea', please read it at mmbm.co.uk/post/lost-at-sea-series-intro
*Trigger warning* There are topics mentioned here such as visuals of sexual assault and violence that may be difficult for some to read.
Lost at sea. These words perfectly depict my experiences trying to access treatment for a mental illness that has been lifelong. The following extracts are from my diary that I wrote for a short period of time.
I woke with my mind a whirl with thoughts and turbulent emotions. I practice the techniques set out in my CBT therapy, allowing the emotions to flow through me, non judging, non challenging. I do not block them but allow them to flow through. My mind is in distress, I feel constant tension in my temples, like the head pulsating but not headache present. I feel stress travelling down my arms, sending chemical tingles down my fingertips. My chest feels heavy. I apply the CBT technique, as one emotion flows through and away, another enters, as that flows away, 2 more come, then a third and a forth. It doesn’t seem to be working, the feelings keep returning, coming and going like cascading waves trying to drown me. I feel like I cannot breathe, though my lungs continue to operate, stress courses through my body.
Listening to music on my way to work my mind raced. Unwanted realistic images played in my mind evoking violent emotions. I could see myself being raped, several men approaching me from many angles, closing in tearing at me. I turn into an animal, I don’t care. Nothing exists but the furiousness exploding out at me as I defend and attack, attack, attack. Images in my mind change, one attacker trying to rape me. I warn him to back off or I’ll hospitalise him. He approaches, I attack, there’s a fight, no fear in me, pure rage, all my emotions explode out, punches fly, his face is pounded black and blue, red blood flies all over my knuckles stained with the skull’s blood. He lies on the floor and I stand above him, knife in my hand, emotions pouring through my veins, I scream in frustration. The desire to kill him overwhelms me, I boot him in his stomach and throw the knife far away.
Several hours have passed as my mind was occupied with these thoughts and visuals. What a waste.
Keep it together, keep it together, keep it together...I’m cracking, splitting, snapping, screaming. My GP rang me with the news I had been waiting for whether or not I would receive psychoanalytical psychotherapy with the NHS. They’ve rejected me. I was led to believe that receiving the treatment was a certainty as I was recommended by the institute of psychoanalysis for the shorter treatment. But my GP told me I was turned down for treatment and should return to CMHT. The very people who discharged me. I don’t want to go back to CMHT since being in the mental health system, I have developed PTSD flashbacks due to the treatment of me. I’m plagued now with an influx of past hurts at the hands of certain staff, horrendous mental imagery where my brain is creating vivid scenarios I have no conscious control over. One after another after another distressing scenario I am taken to, I lose my connection to reality and the scenario is the only reality I see. I'm crying and hurting but I have to try and keep my broken self together. I need to keep the situation rational, to the facts. I have two choices, quit the whole system and stay well away from the NHS to avoid further damage. Alternatively, I can go along with the criteria go back to CMHT and prove I am stable for treatment, but this risks more trauma.
My difficulties with rejection of therapy has nothing to do with the therapy itself. If I think, ‘where do these emotions come from?’, it’s rejection experienced throughout my past finding its way to the present. I take it as ‘I am not adequate, I am invisible’. All of these make me not see the clear context of the situation. I can have the therapy if I become more stable, which isn’t a negative. Instead, I felt the chaos the storm of emotional instability, the collapse of my capacity to process, to cope, due to this reinforcing of the programming of my inadequacy. It’s a selfishness also, a selfishness that I had as a teen, to be recognised as important. To every person I came across if I could make myself important to them it made me feel cared for and it would seem I wanted everyone in the world to love me. Strange. By rejecting me, I become this invisible helpless child again and the pain of that is incredible. The accrued pain of my sensitivities over time increases the severity of the suffering; the more rejection, the more criticism and disapproval I experience in my life, the more inadequate and chaotic I feel. I wrote a letter to the head of the psychoanalysis service (after my GP admitted this was the only option now to get help….to basically beg for a place). I am scared I am inadequate, that she will say no, that I am in some way a big failure and I should just disappear and die in a ditch. At the same time, my conscious takes a stab and I feel selfish because if I say I am a failure and inadequate, does that mean all those other people who are rejected for help by the institute are also inadequate? Quite the opposite, I tell myself. Each person is adequate. Yet, this feeling of inadequacy isn’t shifting easily.
My partner’s cousin rang on whatsapp in the evening. *Whoosh* - dread, reluctance, fear, inhibition, inadequacy, being found out, escape, run, hide. Everything I was feeling or thinking. Despite this, I dragged myself in agony to say hello to him, desperately trying to monitor my body language so as not to be found out, or seen as a freak weirdo. Act normal, act normal. Of course, my partner doesn’t help as he ruthlessly shoves the camera in my face forcing me to now speak to his cousin. Murderous intent rose in my being. I wish that was just an exaggeration, but the extremities of my emotion make it a reality.