Things aren't getting easier. I am still feeling really desperate, and really like I am going to fall off the edge of this cliff I am clinging on to by my finger nails. Tonight I made the decision to call the out of hours number. This is not something I usually do. I have called before, but I don't remember the last time, and I have called perhaps once in the last year. I find it really difficult to phone and say I am struggling - I even find it hard to call L when I am going through a bad time, as I just don't know what to say, and it is like my entire vocabulary disappears from my body apart from a few words like 'I'm not feeling very good' or something equally ridiculous and meaningless. But when I call and speak to L, I know the sort of thing she is likely to say, and it is safe - it doesn't feel scary, apart from my dislike of phoning anyone, and the knowledge that I won't be able to express how I am feeling. Calling the CMHT when she is not there is more difficult because I don't know who I will end up speaking to, and it makes me far more anxious, and so I have to be more desperate to do it. However, once I know who I am talking to, again I know what they are likely to say, and what I feel able to say as a result. For example if I end up speaking to my old, shit care coordinator, I know not to mention the word suicidal, even in passing, as I will be told to go to A&E. If it is one of the women I can say pretty much anything, and won't be told to do that, but they will almost certainly suggest I go for a walk or have a bath, and ask when I am next seeing L, and tell me to wait until then and talk to her about how I am feeling. Calling the out of hours number is a whole different situation, as I don't know anybody, or at least occasionally I have spoken to someone who has said they have talked to me before, but I never remember. So I find that a really difficult and scary thing to do, which is why I ring so rarely - I have to be really desperate to even consider it, and I have to feel right on the edge to actually call. I don't know what I expect them to say - I know they can't change how I feel, but a couple of times I have spoken to people who have been really helpful and understanding and who have helped me - other times it has been completely unhelpful, so it is pot luck really. Anyway tonight I decided I had reached that point and so called the number I have been given, which goes through to the local psych ward - you can't call the crisis team unless you have been referred to them, so if you phone out of hours you speak to one of the psych ward nurses. I rung and asked if there was somebody I could speak to, and she asked if I was a service user, and said I needed to phone the main hospital switchboard, who would put me through to the crisis team. So then I had to try and make myself make another phone call. Calling the crisis team is scarier than calling the ward for some reason. Anyway, I rung the main hospital switchboard and asked to be put through to the crisis team. She asked for me name and asked if I was a doctor or professional, and I said I was a service user. She said that they can't put service users through to the crisis team, only professionals, and that I needed to call the psych ward. I said that I had just done that and been told to call them. She sounded slightly confused and said she didn't know why, as they used to be able to put people through to the crisis team, but now they had to give people the number of the ward. She gave me the number, which was a different number again - I now have 3 numbers for the psych ward - there is the one on the trust website, the one I was given and told to use out of hours that I have called before, and now the one that I was given tonight. At this point I gave up. I couldn't face making another phone call, when I had already gone through the anxiety of calling the ward, to be told I needed to call the switchboard and put through to the crisis team, to be told I needed to call the ward, who would probably have given me yet another bloody number. So I just gave up. I am pretty unimpressed with the quality of the out of hours services in the trust though. Other people seem to just be able to call their crisis team out of hours. In fact, I could in the other trust I was under. It is frustrating that on an occasion when I am really struggling, and could really do with talking to someone, and I actually manage to pluck up the courage to ring, I can't actually get through to anyone. Ironically I received a Service User Questionnaire from the MH Trust in the post today. I may not be overly complimentary.
I don't seem to have been functioning very well the last couple of weeks, particularly this week. My personal hygiene is terrible - showering seems to have dropped to a once a week activity. I don't remember the last time I put any make up on, and I actually have to think quite hard to remember the last time I got dressed. It must have been Monday when I went to rehearsal, and of course I would have had to on Wednesday, but I didn't feel up to going. When I do have to leave the house it takes so much energy, and just feels so hard, that I can't even think about what I look like, and so I turn up to rehearsals looking a complete mess, in whatever clothes were at the top of the pile on my floor and with no make up on. I have to go to a rehearsal tomorrow afternoon and I am dreading it. I envisage it being a repeat of last Sunday, when I looked like shit (as my mother kindly pointed out, although not using that term), felt like shit, desperately wanted to go home, and was probably a nightmare to work with, as anything that anyone said just pissed me off. I tried to stay calm and professional, but inside I was feeling incredibly tense, and could just feel myself getting more and more irritated, and just wanted to collapse in the middle of the room and sob. Sometimes when I feel like this I just reach such a level of desperation that I just want to beg someone, anyone, random strangers in the street, to please help me somehow, to make it stop, to kill me, to make the pain go away, to help me find a way of having a break, anything. Of course I would never do it - I put on my happy face and pretend everything is fine, but inside I'm screaming.