Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sometimes to Move Forwards, You Have to Take a Step Back

Last week, I had two hours of unescorted leave and there was talk of me getting off my section today. This week, I've been given two hours of escorted leave and am staying on my section. (Unescorted means going out by myself; escorted means having to have a member of staff with me.) At first glance, this seems really unfair. However, I requested these two changes myself.

As the title says, sometimes you have to take a step back to move forwards. I have been struggling with the unescorted leave a lot and there's been two occasions where I've had to take a lorazepam (AKA Ativan - a sedative) on my return to help calm me down. The temptations and thoughts I get when I leave the grounds by myself have been really intense at times and when I was brutally honest with staff about my thoughts, I ended up having my room searched. There was nothing in my room - like I told them - but they were very concerned about me. So now that my leave is escorted, I feel a lot more at ease. My psychiatrist told me that he would reinstate the unescorted leave as soon as I felt able to, but for now, he's very pleased at me for being sensible and asking for things to be taken away, even though he knows I desperately want out of here.

As for the section, he probably would have taken me off it today if I had felt able to. But I know full well that if I'm taken off the section, I would be able to leave the grounds as often as I wanted and with the thoughts and temptations as they currently are, that would be a really bad idea. They did say that they could put in a plan for how often I could leave, but I pointed out that when I get in a certain mood, I will lie and tell staff I'm fine when I'm not. Once out, the temptations would be strong and if I acted on them, I don't even want to go into what that would mean.

With regards to the meds, he's said that I can change to oral medication next week. I've had to have the depot today (had it less than an hour ago) but that'll be my last dose of it. It'll either be quetiapine (Seroquel) or aripiprazole (Abilify) that I'll be put on. I'm just so glad it's not the clopixol anymore. The akathisia (restlessness) side effect from clopixol affects me quite badly and last night I was in floods of tears from having to walk around my bedroom when all I wanted to do was sleep. It stressed me out so much that I had to have a lorazepam, my third one in a week. So it's good that the clopixol is being changed to either quetiapine or aripiprazole. I had very few side effects from those two so I'm hopeful that the akathisia won't return as badly as it did last time. I know some people have horrendous side effects from quetiapine and/or aripiprazole, but everyone's different. Those two gave me few side effects so I'm glad those are the two being considered.

There was also talk of me moving into supported accommodation on discharge from here but thankfully that's been scrapped. I don't want supported accommodation, I want to move into a flat of my own. My psychiatrist has agreed to this and is sorting things out for me. I'm also going to start having my support worker sessions back soon, another positive.

So basically after last night's realisation that I wouldn't be safe off my section, I've got everything I wanted from today's ward round. I know the change to my leave and staying on my section are steps backwards in terms of what I could have had, but this is a step backwards that I need to take. I feel no shame in taking a step backwards when I know that this is the only way I can move forwards. There is no shame in taking a step backwards, even if the step backwards isn't initiated from yourself, because sometimes backwards steps are the only way to move forwards.

So if you've recently taken a step backwards with mental health, don't beat yourself up about it. There's no shame in backward steps! Just make sure you keep aiming forwards and don't lose heart. After all, if you've been moving forwards and take a step back, you're still further ahead than where you were at the start. Keep ploughing on, just like I am, and you'll soon be exactly where you want to be.

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