I had my second session of group therapy today, last week's session was a bit of a nightmare. I basically spent the whole two hours of last week's session sitting in a corner by myself, fighting back tears and trying not to throw up. This week however, I had another person sitting by me and while I started off staring at the floor, fighting back tears and saying nothing, I eventually managed to pluck up the courage to speak without being asked.
It was about halfway through the session when we were taking a break. The psychologist in charge of the group had asked us all if we had a care co-ordinator. A couple of people weren't sure and so she said that she would mention it in the team meeting they would be having tomorrow. I asked her if she could mention the fact that it's been nearly three months since I had had support despite being told that I would be receiving weekly sessions with my social worker. She wrote my name down and told me that she would look into it and asked me if I had any other support. I shook my head and couldn't stop the tears from falling.
Once I had started crying, I couldn't stop. The psychologist came over and sat in the empty chair beside me and asked me if I had phoned at all to ask for support. I told her that I had been phoning ever since my social worker went off on sick and that no one would give me the time of day. She told me that she would definitely raise this with the team the next day and that she would get someone to phone me or phone me herself tomorrow.
The second part of the session started and to be honest, I can't remember a thing that was said. I was too busy trying to stop myself from crying. I asked to speak to the psychologist after the session was over, as did a couple of others. I can remember some things that were said in the first half of the two-hour session but I won't write them here for confidentiality reasons. I will only write about what I did and said in the session.
While it's the rules of the group that say I can't write for confidentiality reasons, I also keep confidentiality because I respect all the other members of the group. We're all in the group for some mental health reason(s) and we all face the stigma of our illnesses. There's no way I'm going to disrespect them by writing about them when what they've said could well be things they can't tell their friends or family and what I say could identify them.
When it was my turn to see the psychologist after the group session, I told her more of how I had been treated by the CMHT. Like how I had initially got my dad to phone weekly with no success and then over Christmas, I plucked up the courage to phone myself. I told her about the duty worker slamming the phone down on me and about the man who had told me to 'keep busy' when I had gone down there in person. She was appalled by the way I had been treated and apologised on behalf of her colleagues to me. She reiterated about getting someone to call me tomorrow or phoning me herself and told me that a manager I had met whilst in hospital was now back after a long period away from work.
This gave me hope. The manager who was now back was one who had fought to get me support both before I'd gone into hospital and whilst I had been in hospital. When I had been refusing to do things or take certain meds in hospital, she would talk me through my refusals and make me see sense. She saved me from at least one injection, possibly more.
I had told the psychologist that I would be out tomorrow afternoon so she assured me that she would make sure she spoke to me sometime tomorrow, even if it meant phoning late in the afternoon. She was so reassuring that for the first time in a long time, I felt like someone in my CMHT was actually listening to me. Although I left the CMHT this afternoon still in tears, these tears were now relieved ones.
So now I'm just waiting for a phone call from my CMHT tomorrow. I am going out tomorrow afternoon to meet up with someone from Time to Change Wales to see if I could maybe become a volunteer. I don't know if I will become a volunteer yet, I want to learn more about it and if I'm not up to doing it yet, it can be something I do in the future. I'm nervous about meeting this person but as I've been able to walk into a group environment with several other people I don't know and not throw up, run away or wet myself, I think I can meet up with one person I don't know.
So good news at last? I'll hold judgement until I receive this phone call tomorrow. After all, I could well be (again) told that there isn't enough cover in the CMHT to give me any support. What I fail to understand is how people with a care co-ordinator who isn't off-sick are still receiving the same amount of support and then those of us with an off-sick care co-ordinator are left with nothing? Surely give those of us with an off-sick care co-ordinator some time with a care co-ordinator who isn't off-sick? Yes, it would mean that everyone got less time with care co-ordinators but at least everyone would get something? Right?
I dunno. Maybe I'm living with my head in the clouds. Maybe common sense doesn't exist in the real world anymore. Maybe I should get my head out of the clouds and realise that support doesn't grow on trees. Maybe I should miraculously pull myself together and get to a place where I don't need support with my mental health. After all, I only have schizophrenia. It's not like it's serious or anything.
Yes, I am being sarcastic with a hint of cynicism. Maybe tomorrow I'll be slightly less cynical. It's either that or I'll be way more cynical!
Watch this space for how my CMHT reacts!