Time Out – Honesty Time

Time out – As of today I have been put on a ‘time out’. Last Thursday was my first day back at daycare since I went on holiday (so it had been a week and 3 days). Thursday morning was weigh day, I did loose on holiday meaning I was now under band (we all have bandings put in place to show us were we should be in relation to weight gain). I had my review also on Thursday and it was decided on holiday I should have at least maintained my weight, but because nothing was really set in stone before I left they gave me a choice; go on timeout straight away, or wait till Monday and see if I could gain 1kg to get back in my banding. As to say that hasn’t happened as I have been struggling a lot since Holiday so I have been sent on a weeks timeout. So for the rest of this week I don’t go into daycare, I stay at home to “think” about what I actually want in terms of recovery, life, if I want to continue on etc. You may be thinking, logic? Is there any logic in that? Surley if you are struggling more you should get more help? Well that isn’t exactly the case as I should have cooperated and kept fighting but I have semi given up; so in their eyes I need time to think. Which isn’t wrong, I do need to think about what I want, if I want recovery, how much motivation I have. So over this next week the rule is I have to at least maintain my current weight but preferably they want me to gain (or should I say restoring) at least some of what I lost before and during holiday.

I have to admit, for the last two and a half/ three weeks I have really struggled and the thoughts to relapse/loose weight have become extremely strong again. Which I hate. I have struggled with recovery but these last few weeks have been the first time in this recovery that I have truly wanted to give up, to just throw in the towel completely and resort back to where I was. I have partially given into that thought – I have gone back into/thought lots of behaviours I haven’t done for a while. I’m really struggling with knowing the difference between what are ‘my thoughts’ and ‘the eating disorders’, making it extremely hard to know whats right and what’s wrong. This week is going to be very hard, I’m exhausted from fighting and my motivation is low – I’m scared to go backwards but I’m scared to stay where I am and I’m scared to recover. So really I cannot win. I’m going to have to try to fight everything in me to not do these behaviours or at least do them least often. I’m not sure what is going to happen; there are lots of pros and cons that I really do need to sit and think about. I hate how my mind is at the moment and I am feeling very fragile, I’m lucky I have the support from my family around me.

At least one of the positives of this week is I get to spend more time with biscuit and save A LOT of money on doggy day care!!

I hope everyone is well and enjoying (or tolerating) their first weeks back at school/work – whatever you all are up too!

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Update – Holiday Drama!

Hello guys! As I’m writing this I’m currently sat on a plane jetting off to Sardinia with Dionne, to join my lovely parents and sister.

The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster. I had my 4 weekly review a week before I was due to go away, and got told I couldn’t go on my 2 1/2 week holiday – that I could only go for a week, or they’d discharge me. Which was devastating, and very stressful. The thought did run through my head – hmmm I could go for the two weeks then just loose weight again and relapse, but I didn’t.

I had a lot of support in making the decision, so as had to rebook my flight. It was particularly stressful as Dionne was coming for the 2 weeks too. I can’t even say how supportive and amazing Dionne has be; she was so understanding and said it was fine if we only went for 10 days. (I was cheeky and booked for 10 days instead of 7 and I’m really away from the unit for 12 days… oops😂). I rebooked our flights which left another daunting thing across all our heads, my ed team included, I’ll be home alone for a week – this for me is hard, I think 95% of the time my parents have gone away and I’ve stayed at home I’ve ended up in hospital. And with my current state everyone was concerned. But I did it!! I survived!! Yes it was extremely hard but I had day care during the days then I made sure to plan stuff in the evening to keep me entertained and busy, including going for drinks and a walk with a friend, going to someone from day cares house for dinner – and I even ended up doing housework 😂 star daughter award? I think so.

Over the week I did end up loosing weight which part of me was so happy but I felt an overwhelming feel of guilt – like I’d managed to keep myself safe but I used a different coping mechanism. Which has just made the urge to keep loosing even stronger, but I could still go on holiday which is the main thing!!

So much has also happened in day care which has left not just me but everyone there extremely vulnerable, stressed and triggered. I’m very glad to be getting away for a while!! We’ve had new patients, and some other patients leave, who I am so proud of but also I am going to miss so much.

In the last 3 weeks I’ve managed to move into the “stage 2” dining room with another patient I’m going call her L. The staff mainly wanted us to get away from the new patients as they knew we’d find it triggering. We basically eat in a separate dining room together with staff and get to do more groups. But I think I’ll do a separate post on that all together.

So all in all it’s been a rollercoaster of the months of July and August! I’ll blog throughout the holiday if I have time. Hope everyone is well! And that you’ve all had restful summers! Enjoy the bank holiday weekend whether!!

Jas xx

P.S. A massive thank you and shout out to Dionne for being the most amazing friend I could ask for. She has been so considerate, kind, compassionate, caring person. She is absolutely amazing. Thank you for being so understanding!!

Emerge – my voice of hope.

Seeing as Emerge are currently celebrating their 3rd Birthday, I thought it was about time to share my views, experience and downright love and gratitude for this group of exceptional people; especially a certain few who saved my life.

Emerge is a charity set up by Joy Wright. Joy has set up  Emerge in 2016 to support young people who enter a&e with anything self harm or suicide related. Currently only based in Royal Surrey County Hospital their website says;

“One of our team of friendly youth workers will come straight away to sit with you, listen and try to help you make sense of why you’re at hospital and what you need to say to those looking after you. Or if you prefer we can play cards or chat about random things… or a bit of everything. That’s the great thing about youth work, it’s based around what will be the most helpful for you and its your choice whether you would like our support and what you want to tell us”.

Emerge is a project run with the support of local churches who exist to help and support young people of all faiths and none.

My experience of Emerge summed up in a few words would be “they saved my life”. And they did, I’m not just saying this or was asked to say this and put out a good word but Emerge have been such a big part of my journey even though it was only a year out of my 7 year journey, they have stood out from anything and anyone as the ones who saved me the most. I first met someone from Emerge in June 2017 (if I remember correctly).  I was in hospital from an overdose and I’d never heard of Emerge before, so when the nurses asked if I wanted to see someone from Emerge I had no idea what they were going on about, but I got given their little flyer and thought sure I’ll grab any help I can get right now. It was late at night around 10pm and in comes Tracy and Sarah they came and sat with me and asked if I was ok, if I wanted anything, if I needed anything, they straight away made me feel at ease. They sat there, they didn’t force me to say anything, I was rather unwell but they stayed and told me it was OK and I didn’t need to be sorry for anything. I was doodling in my sketch book and both Tracy and Sarah said I was really good and they looked through both my Happy and Sad sketch books (yes I had two sketch books with different kinds of drawings in). Tracy asked if she could write me something in my book so I said of course, and I still have the drawing to this day Screenshot 2019-07-29 at 17.37.25and I look at it if I need a little pick me up. It’s the little things, that always make the biggest difference. They stayed till probably around 11:15pm and said someone would come see me tomorrow if I wanted and I said yes. So the next day Joy came to see me and again didn’t force me to say anything, she just sat there and if I wanted to talk I could. I remember feeling safe, for the first time in a while. I wrote some things down and showed her and she made sure I got the help I needed, she spoke to the nurses and liased with the people who could help me. When it was time for Joy to leave she asked if she could message me and maybe make a catch up meeting to see how I was getting on etc, I said ok. I can’t remember how long it was when I received a message from Emerge asking if I was free for a catch up coffee, of course I said yes. A few weeks later I met up with Joy and Tracy at a local coffee shop we had a catch up and I opened up a bit more about me, my story and what has helped and not helped in the past. It was just so relaxed and easy, and for me opening up has never been easy especially not to people who I’d only met once or twice. We had a few laughs and jokes which always helps brighten the mood, making it more chilled and easy-going, and of course with me as some of you may know I get through my dark times by most of the time making sarcastic jokey remarks (which both Joy and Tracy learned to laugh with too!). I finally thought I’d met some people who actually get me and can maybe make a difference in my care and life; I was very right.

I met up with either Joy, Tracy or both as and when I needed too and Joy always kept messaging to make sure I was ok and what was going on etc. We met up at least once a month, things were hard for me but Joy was ALWAYS on the other end of the phone and would be the first to make sure I was safe. There were a few times I got admitted back into Royal Surrey A&E with suicide attempts and Joy always made sure someone was with me and I could talk to someone. Joy and myself got so close, and so did Tracy and I; I found two people I trusted and who actively tried EVERYTHING they could to help me. I’d be sat in hospital and we’d play cards, we’d draw, colour (I think I have coloured at least 6 of the Emerge flyers).

Things were very hard for me, I was transitioning into adult services from CAMHS, the only stable thing I had in my life was Emerge. They helped me open up to my new adult care co, Joy even came to a few appointments with me to help get across what I needed. One night I was struggling a lot and Joy met me at a safe haven and helped me talk to the crisis nurse there, she knew that I needed someone with me or I ultimately wouldn’t have gone and probably would have ended up in hospital by the end of the night. Joy knew me so well, after 6 months I’m pretty sure she could just read my mind or by my facial expressions knew exactly how I was feeling, which was, VERY annoying but good at the same time!

We did some random activities together – In the November Tracy and Joy decided that because I was doing alright and had been out of hospital for X amount of weeks we would all go ice skating together. Which was so nice, it was different, it was something I was looking forward too. It was hilarious and I’ll always remember how awful I was to begin with but by the end I wasn’t clinging to either one of them for dear life, I was moving on, I managed on my own. Their words were “we feel like proud mums that you managed to do it without us”. Which I guess is exactly like my journey with them. To begin with I was clinging to them using all their support and by the end I was managing more without them, using everything they taught me to grow and flourish. Joy and I also went rock climbing (Tracy totally chickened out last-minute 😉 ). As we kept seeing people rock climbing in the sports centre so we went and had a laugh, I found out how extremely hard rock climbing was but I was so proud of myself that I could do it.

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(In order from left to right Tracy, myself, Joy)

Of course not all of the year Emerge were supporting me was easy, we had our arguments, there were tears, there was storming out of hospitals, police being called, ambulances, you name it I think I put Emerge through it all. But, through it all, everything I put on Joy, Tracy and the entire team; they didn’t give up, they didn’t leave me, they stuck by me and listened. They knew what I needed and how to help me and for that I am and will be eternally grateful. Without Emerge I don’t know where I’d be or if I would actually be here today. There were times I HATED them, I wanted them to leave me alone to die, to destroy myself. I actually said goodbye to Joy but she was on to me and after a few complete breakdowns got me to hospital in one piece. No matter how strong I pushed them away they always pushed back further.

Near the end of my time with Emerge one night I was in hospital and Joy said is it alright if she brings along a new work colleague, I said yes and that’s when I met Kathleen. Who gave me so many life lessons in such a short space of time. I was physically so ill when I met Kathleen but she did everything in her power to make me feel a bit better, and to feel safe. We all played cards until late (I’m pretty sure they both worked past their shift and ended up leaving later than planned which just shows how caring they all are), then Kathleen told me a few stories to distract me, she made me feel so safe, her presence, her aura was just so reassuring. I will always remember the inspiring story you told me Kathleen (I know you’re reading this), that will stay with me forever, that will give me hope on my dark days.

After a year it was time for me to say goodbye and move on from using Emerge, it wasn’t the easiest or most natural of goodbyes, it was kinda of a forced goodbye due to my care team at the time saying I needed to distance myself. To say goodbye we all went out for a Bills lunch, which was so lovely. Joy, Tracy and Kathleen all got me cards, which I still have to this day and will never get rid of. They’re full of positive memories, inspiring words, they’re all just so lovely. It was a very emotional meal, there were tears, tears of sadness because we’d all grown this very special relationship but also tears of happiness/proudness because over the year although very difficult and a rollercoaster of emotions I had come so far and grown as a person. Which without them I couldn’t have done. No team throughout the 4 years of previous services had managed to bring that out of me.

Joy, I can’t thank you enough for setting up Emerge, it has helped and saved so many people, one being me. You never gave up on me, no matter how much I tried to get you to leave me alone, you didn’t. Thank you. All of the team I met were so (excuse my language); bloody amazing. Tracy, you are just such a caring, compassionate person. You’re so thoughtful with everything you do. You were always there for me through rain or shine, you were a light in the tunnel for me. Kathleen, although I didn’t know you for as long as I have Joy and Tracy it was like I had. Kathleen you taught me so much in such a short space of time, all your wise words and stories I’ll never forget. The entire of the Emerge team are amazing, but I am mentioning these three because of the huge impact they have had on my life. I wouldn’t be here writing this without them. Thank you. All of you, never give up what you do, you all have such an amazing gift of helping and supporting people. I apologise for my… shall we call them, moments?

Since our goodbye, we arranged that in 6 months time we’d meet up (January 2019), we have since met up, it was so nice and I got to tell them what I have done and achieved in those 6 months. Although we don’t speak often or see each other as we used too, I will always know that they are thinking about me and wishing me well.

Out of all the services I’ve been with, Emerge will always have that special place in my heart, what they do, for young people, services, hospital staff everyone, is just extraordinary. Emerge were my lifeline, my life savior in rough waters, they were always there in their life boat ready to throw me a buoyancy aid to help me at least stay a float till something could be put in place. They never let me drown, and I am eternally grateful.

My first week – struggles

So I’ve officially been in day care a week now and all I can really say is mentally I’m struggling loads. My first week there was very hard and it didn’t help it was only a 2 and a half day week (so I realise technically I’ve only been there for 4 days but you get what I mean).

Albert Unit Day Care is very different to any other treatment I’ve been in; its your responsibility to a degree but also they challenge you a lot with ‘scarier’ foods to which you can’t get out of and you do eventually have to eat (realised now after many attempts at trying I’ll be honest they do not let you refuse a meal or snack!). The ‘scary’ food parts I haven’t really had to combat yet as I’m not on full diet (this is due to starving myself for so long I have to gradually increase my diet with help from the dietician) which I’m kinda dreading and I did have an increase yesterday but I still don’t have to do certain things. But they also have loads of different types of groups including after lunch everyday we have a “food and feelings” group where we openly talk about how we feel about the food we’ve eaten, any issues in the dining room, how we overcome certain feelings etc. This is strange for me as I’ve never openly said how I feel about what I’ve just eaten especially  not in front of other people who are struggling as I’ve never wanted to trigger them but we have to openly discuss to get over triggers which in the long run I guess will be beneficial. My first food and feelings group after lunch last Tuesday I sat there rather upset anyway after eating but also rather triggered by what other people where saying, but, as the week has gone on this trigger has gotten less and less which is good. There’s also DBT skills, CBT, relationship group and creative expressions. We also have community meeting every Monday, which yesterday I found difficult, we had just had weigh in and then we spoke about how our weekends where and then the part that shocked me the most we openly discussed what happened with our weight and how we felt about it. Not only did I find it triggering, I also hate talking about my weight to people so it was rather uncomfortable! But I’m hoping I’ll get used to that one. So overall the programme of day care is very supportive and I do think it could be benificial – it just is petrifying.

Petrifying in the sense of letting myself accept the help. At the start I was positive and wanted to change and now every passing day I find myself doubting if I can do it, do I deserve to be day patient? Do I deserve to get better? Can I do this? Do I want to do it? I have spoken to the staff at the unit and I’ve recognised with their help that it’s the eating disorder making me want to doubt myself so I give up and go back to how I was, dying. It’s still extremely hard though and every meal and snack just seems like a chore and I catch myself trying to do every little thing to have the least calories, least of everything but I can’t seem to change it. The staff are pretty on it and strict with me which I guess it’s what I need. I am so good (and I will admit it) at putting myself down and saying I can’t do it, can’t gain the weight, cope with the weight gain, just generally can’t do life. I am finding all the emotions very hard to deal with and the not being in control of it very difficult. So I feel like a bit of a downer really and hate the fact I can’t say it is all bright and rosy but I guess I knew it wouldn’t really be. But the programme seems positive which I guess is the good thing to take away from this.

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Relapse.

Relapse. What does this word mean to me? By dictionary definition the word relapse means as a verb “(of a sick or injured person) deteriorate after a period of improvement.” and as a noun “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.” To me this word sums up my last four months. I hate to admit it, I still am trying to admit that this is what has happened; but I have relapsed badly with my anorexia.

Over the last 3-4 months I have quickly deteriorated and it is actually scary how quick it took back control. These months have been pure hell. I had a pretty ‘free’ one maybe one and a half years from restricting, purging etc. I had my bad days within this time but not like this. Back in February I was doing ok in terms of my eating – going out having food, weekly trips to nandos, enjoying takeaways, enjoying food. Then suddenly I found myself in this extreme state of control, perfection and torture. I’m still unsure on what bought this on, what ‘triggered’ this relapse and I don’t know if I’ll ever know for sure. How I can go from enjoying food to completely fearing it and wanting nothing to do with it in a mater of days is pretty mind screwing. I can barely remember the start of my relapse, I don’t really know what happened, when it really started, but my head is like mush at the moment anyway. Maybe at a later stage i’ll figure it out with help so then I can make sure I am aware of my triggers and know how to manage them to prevent a further relapse.

This relapse has been extremely hard on loads of people including myself, but I know that recovery is going to be an even harder journey. But I do have the support of so many people who I am so grateful for.

On another note, I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up with this whole blogging malarkey but I’m thinking I may try use it more now, to document my recovery. So I apologise for being absent and we’ll see where this takes me.

Transition from CAMHS to CMHRS

Most 17-year-old are so excited, counting down the days until their 18th Birthday. The day then can officially drink, go to clubs, have fun with their friends. Well for me it was the exact opposite. Turning 18 for me was a mixture of feelings; for those who don’t know CAMHS stands for Child adolescent Mental Health Services and CMHRS or CMHT stands for Community Mental Health Recovery Service or Community Mental Health Team.

Now what is the difference between CAMHS and CMHRS? Well, CAMHS is mainly the professionals making the decisions along with your parents and carers. You have some say in your care but they help you a lot more in decision-making and what they think is best for you, they work alongside parents or carers to create the best care plan for your needs. CMHRS on the other hand, the decisions are in your hands, from the moment you turn 18 you are expected to make the decisions about your care and what you want to do. You have a care coordinator but it is all you, you decide what you want; even if what you want isn’t the best for you. Suddenly your parents can’t have anything to do with your care unless you specifically ask for them to be involved (this is something my parents particularly struggled with). Also CMHRS works with a lot more variety of people and have a wider age range to deal with meaning they are cut very thing when accepting people to help. It may not seem like a lot but for this to happen basically overnight is very stressful and unsettling. Most people have next to no support with this transfer, making it extremely hard for them.

The thought of my 18th Birthday was daunting going from a Day Patient to a lot of responsibility and only weekly appointments with a new person who doesn’t know me. It was petrifying and I’m sure a lot of people who have gone through that felt the same. In a way it was nice, a fresh start, more responsibility to do whatever I wanted, even if the responsibilty wasn’t a good thing. Now my transition it was OK as far as ‘transitions to adults’ goes. I had a lot of support and a few months of getting prepared up until I turned 18. But the difference between CAMHS and CMHRS is so so different, the amount of support you get goes drastically down, I didn’t really like my new care co and found it hard having my diagnosis change where I didn’t think it fitted me, the only stable thing I had, was Emerge (another blog post coming soon about Emerge). Leaving day patient and CAMHS was emotional, I finally though I was getting somewhere then I had to go to adults and start all over again. It was a hard time, it was almost 2 years ago now and a lot has happened in those 2 years and I probably have had my worst times in these 2 years but I now have *another* new care co (due to lack of funding and staff I had to move CMHRS teams) but I’m having DBT therapy again. It may be slow but “it does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop”.

What’s going on

Hey guys,

I first apoligise for my absence. Things have been hectic and I haven’t really had the energy or motivation to do any blog posts. The past few weeks have been hard for a variety of reasons. I was in hospital two weeks ago then been just wiped out from how bad I have felt. I promise I’ll be doing some more blog posts soon. My brains been so full of other stuff its been so hard to think about what to actually write. I don’t want to bore you all the time with whats going on in my life, because I don’t really do anything other than appointments, walk biscuit, have some more appointments, see a friend and repeat each week really.  

This last weeks probably been the worst; was in hospital and started having unknown caused seizures. I’m still waiting to find out what caused them whether it was an OD or it was stress or something else. 

I promise that this next week I’ll get on top of doing some more posts! 

I hope you’re all well.

Who am I?

Its taken me a while to write this because half way through, I had a block. Who am I? Who actually am I? In short terms I’m Jasmine, I’m a 19 year old girl from the UK. But who really am I? I feel like my Mental health has taken away who I actually am. Who was I? I was a girl who loved food, loved dance, didn’t like school that much and a family girl. Oh, how that changed. I don’t feel comfortable going into loads of detail now but maybe as I get more comfortable I’ll say more.

But, who am I now? A 19 year old paranoid, depressed, anxious, girl. Scared of the traumas that still haunts me and my every move. Scared of gaining weight, with my fear of food is still ongoing; not as bad as it was but still there. A 19 year old scared of, well, life. Yep, life. Most of you just see a smiling, ‘happy’, bubbly, sarcastic girl. But I am also someone that loves dance, family, my gorgeous puppy, campaigning, helping people and caring.

Who am I? Or who do I want to be? I don’t think, in a bizarre way I’d want to change; who I am, what has happened to me because well, that’s made me who I am today. That’s given me the amazing people I have in my life and made me cherish the little bits in life. So who am I? I am Jasmine, I have mental health issues and I am not ashamed. That is also me. I have been through hell and I haven’t quite got back from there yet. But slowly I am getting there. fullsizeoutput_bb2.jpeg

Welcome!!

Hi Guys! Welcome to my blog!

Someone told me I should start a blog, so I sucked up those nerves and have done it anyway! “feel the fear and do it anyway”

This blog is going to be sharing my experiences, my life, my struggles but also the good side of life (when it happens). It may get sad at times but it also hopefully will be inspiring. Honestly I’d be lying if I didn’t say i’m hesitant about putting my life online like this. But it also may be a great way for me to keep everyone up to date with whats going on in the mad world of Jasmine. I’d also be lying if I said I knew what I was doing because really I have no idea how this works. But we’re going to go with the flow and see what happens.

Buckle up guys, its going to be interesting!

Jas x