Wellness, Anxiety, Psychosis
(and a little bit of travel)
"remember spring swaps snow for leaves"
A quick word about what being "sectioned" is and the first time i escaped from parklands mental hospital
I was first hospitalised at Parklands Mental Hospital in December 2001. My diagnosis of "cannabis induced psychosis with delusions of a grandiose nature" made for many interesting experiences, especially at the very beginning of my illness. Lots of real ups and downs. I've written at length about in my book but for today's post it's a brief view of being sectioned, how I felt about it and the first time I escaped, or "absconded" to use the official term that my supportive team would end up using a few times. Click on read more to read more.
Hello everybody, hope you like this post, and I hope that you'll stay on my website for a bit after reading.
Working in the NHS on a mental health ward, and paying attention to the news, I am aware of the odd shortcoming. The NHS takes a lot of flack for it's operational lapses and even some misdeeds and I suspect that some of them are real cases where real change needs to happen.
Being quite a creative thinker, I have my ways of dealing with and looking after my mental health. I do all the usual stuff: occasional meditation, relaxing when I can, talking about things with friends and family etc. Today though, it was playing some golf
I haven't posted for a long time! It's easy to say "I haven't had time". But I did add another part time job to my already busy life five months ago. As well as being a cleaner/maintenance assistant at the nearby sports centre and making small carpentry projects in a workshop that are sold in a shop, I now work as a peer support worker on the local PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) ward, the very same ward where I was a patient many times 2001 - 2006.
I feel that a mental health blog should be addressing some of the difficulties of having a mental illness.
As my current health is very good, I thought I'd recount one of my many difficult days. I'm not going to write about a particularly dark one, I don't think that would be helpful for me. Having written a book about my entire journey I can accurately pick out a day from memory. Here goes.
In case you were wondering, I called this page "Le Blog" for no other reason than I like France and the French.
I wish I lived in rural France and if I ever get the chance I would seriously consider a move there, and I wish I'd paid some attention in French lessons at school.
Today has been sunny and warm again, both weatherwise and spiritually. I sometimes feel like I should be blogging about mental health struggles, so sorry about that. But the fact is that after years of struggles and hard work, my mental health is very good these days.
I have occasional problems with anxiety, but I don't really panic anymore, and my psychosis is very controlled.
Yesterday I was at the dentist again for more root canal stuff. The dentist, Mr. Shenyan, went about his work, which included getting out the blowtorch to kill off the germs on his metal dental pick tool, as root canal stuff needs to have germ precautions taken. I had the deep hole filled and then the tooth shaped by the dreaded drill (which aren't really that scary) in preparation for a crown fitting at the next appointment. I forgot to ask about how much a gold crown would cost, I'd quite like to have one, but I think it's too late now.
Maybe if I neglect my teeth for a year I'll get another chance.
I also met with a website guru yesterday and we did some work on my website. I expressed my desire to not do anything unscrupulous just to entice people which he was more than happy to work with me on.
The changes aren't finished yet, and most of the work is required only on the home page. I'm very happy with the guru so far. He had some good ideas.
I went to the farm shop today, next to a field and stream and saw baby cows, baby ducks, and two smaller birds chasing a predatory bird away from their nest/tree. Not much else to report. Today I also read and signed the author publication agreement for a paper I have submitted and had accepted for the Taylor and Francis Psychosis Journal.
Can't wait to see that one in print.
Joy of joys, and praise be to God, my tooth pain has gone.
I had to have a root canal procedure at a different dentist on Tuesday the 29th. It appears it was a smart decision to get a second opinion on my tooth pain, the first dentist completely missed it. The second dentist took an X-ray (as did the first) and told me about my inflamed nerve. As he was drilling, he and his assistant stopped briefly, looked at each other and said, in unison, "necros". This is a referral to Necrosis, where the tooth has died, or the nerve, I'm not exactly sure. All I know is that this Necrosis thing can be extremely painful. I think the Necrosis was a surplus pain on top of the inflammation. Ask your dentist if you want to know more, I might have this wrong.
My anxiety etc. kicked in while at the dentist.
I was visibly uncomfortable, but started to relax as the dentist went about his drilling. A root canal procedure is like a very deep filling. I was scared at the prospect of all this when the dentist told me what needed to be done, but even with my anxieties etc. and knowing how people with some types of anxiety find leaving the house difficult (like me for a few years) if your teeth are bad, get them looked at!
Even with anxiety, which dentists are sensitive to and understand, you have to try and get yourself to your dentist. I honestly start to relax as the dental procedures begin.
Tomorrow I am seeing a website designer to spruce it up a bit and add a professional's touch.
It'll be interesting to see if he tries to fleece me, not that I'm paranoid.
I had a filling on a molar on Thursday the 24th.
The pain before that would fluctuate between a one out of ten and a seven out of ten. At times it was pretty awful, but I would honestly rather have that than anxiety that won't go away. I think this is a great way of describing how you might feel about your anxieties to a person with no experience of panic or anxiety.
Since my filling last week I am still in pain, fluctuating between a zero and a five, so it's still quite bad. I am now able to identify the guilty tooth, before the filling it felt like my whole left side might need extensive work, and I couldn't explain it. At least it's only one tooth now, a pre-molar, and I'm seeing a different dentist tomorrow.
I have been working out a lot recently which for me releases lots of good, pain killing chemicals in my brain, which stay with me for most of the day, which has helped with the toothache very much.
One thing that also helps to make me feel better is the reflection that 'at least my mental health is very good'.
It feels nice to think that my current problem, toothache, is completely normal. Most of my problems of recent years were due to mental health issues. It's like being back in the real world, and having such normal things happening makes me feel in step with the world. After so long in a deluded and psychotic world, with anxiety on top of that, feeling normal is nice and it's nice to be back! I know now that if I want to keep it that way, I need to make efforts to keep well.
For me, being about 90% recovered, it's just small steps a couple of times a day, like looking at clouds for twenty minutes (as well as continuing to take my meds), or anything really, it's almost like what you do doesn't matter, as long as you remember to tell your brain to do it (and keep taking your meds).
Don't forget to keep keeping well!
Just a quick post today.
I went to the dentist to have my poor teeth looked at. It seemed a little unfair to be having such mysterious pain in them, I take care of them well. The dentist was helpful, she took an X-Ray and identified a slight fissure and I've booked in to have a filling, but apart from that she said they looked well, with no sign of acid erosion, so the pain throughout most of my left side doesn't make much sense.
She gave me a temporary fluoride barrier which has helped a bit for the sensitivity and I also bought some codeine which I think is doing a good job. I feel better from the simple action of seeing the dentist too.
I always felt better about my mental health after the simple action of seeing my psychiatrist.
And when my back was playing up in a minor way five years ago, I swear after the doctor felt my spine and poked around a bit, it cleared right up and I haven't had problems since.
It seems that for me when I am feeling under par, I just need to form a plan of action and do something about it, and the process helps. If you are having 'unsatisfactoryness' with parts of your body or mind, just do something, anything, about it.
See your GP or whatever and you might be surprised how talking about it and persevering with a plan to help yourself can be helpful.
I have not been up to my usual self for the last four days.
My small problems with anxiety have been interrupting things and building without me really noticing. My mum went on holiday to Amsterdam this morning, something that has made me anxious in the past, but that was a long time ago.
It's been over seven years since the last time her going on holiday has caused me anxiety. These days I find myself enjoying more independence, saving money on dishwasher detergent and eating as much steak as I want when she holidays. So I've been sat down, chilling, playing on my phone since getting home from work, waiting for the anxiety to pass. The whole day I've been wondering whats wrong, and thinking to myself 'I thought I was over this sort of thing'.
And then it occurred to me.
Since the hecticness of looking after my nieces for a week two weeks ago, I have neglected to remember to do things to keep well. I have found, and even written about (in an article on this website, click on the article page with the picture of Lake Como and scroll down) the importance of doing small, regular things to keep well. If you don't keep up small amounts of effort to stay well when you have had and recovered from a mental illness, you increase the risk of having a partial or more acute relapse.
Keeping well by doing small things is essential for me, it's very easy really - just remember to do it!
Aside from that things are okay. Except from tooth pain. I have sensitive teeth and recently tried switching toothpaste. I have sensitive teeth because, according to my dentist, I spent a few years constantly snacking on Satsumas without realising that the acid in them can wear away tooth enamel. Sensitive toothpaste works in one of two ways, it either deadens the nerves, relieving pain - or it fills the holes that lead to the nerves, relieving pain.
I tried switching, which hasn't worked, so I'm going to switch back and hope I feel better, if I don't I fear it might be time for some serious tooth extraction, as most of my left side is painful. I'm sure the dentist can suggest something though.
To end on a lighter note, congrats to Prince Harry and Meghan. I've always liked them.