The conference ends and I am so relieved I want to celebrate by sleeping for a week. I actually request some annual leave on that basis, and my boss looks baffled but agrees. My low self esteem thought filtering is at an all time high, and I spend quite a bit of time re-running things over in my head. I work hard at letting it go, but I've got too tired so it seems to be off and running on its own steam. I feel rubbish and I'm hoping catching up on some sleep will help me out a bit, but my mood is definitely going downhill and although I'm trying my CBT techniques, resting and eating well, it isn't working.
We begin the week with my son going to see the hospital fracture clinic for a check up,and his arm is fixed. Its slightly bent but we are relieved that he seems ok and they take off the plaster cast. Its only been 4 weeks but the consultant says that it is common practice. They do the regular post fracture chat, saying not to hang off his arm like a monkey, no high contact sports etc, and that he is at risk of re break as the bone is soft, but don't worry. Take it easy and all will be well.
The following week at work, if I were to rank my self on the scale of mental wellness from 1 - 10 (10 being fabulous), I'd say I was about 2. My mind is racing, racing, racing and I cannot concentrate or make decisions, and I'm so agitated I feel like I'm constantly jumping up and down on the spot. A colleague comes to my desk and asks me to do something for him in the next hour, and basically I turn round and say, "Oh just fuck off!" My fellow work bank members stare at me, and I realise that I'm at a jumping off place. This is not good. For anybody that knows me well, this is way out of character. I am generally more loving, tolerant and accepting of others, and I would never abuse you so obviously and terribly in front of others or by yourself.
I walk at a fast pace to my bosses empty office and call the mental health team. I request a quick chat with my old CPN as I need to touch base with a sensible person. As soon as she comes on the line, I "Vent my spleen" hardly drawing breath, and when I finally do stop, she tells me to slow down and sit still if I can. All is not well in the garden of sanity, and she tells me that she'll get me an appointment with my psychiatrist as soon as she can. I start crying with relief and she tells me to rest lots, and if I go completely bonkers before she gets back to me (My words, not hers of course) to call the out of hours crisis resolution team, or, go to A+E (in the little white van, with little yellow wheels as people used to joke in the 1970's). In her words I am "Terribly jumbled."
I spend the weekend trapped in my head. The only way I can describe it, is an internal mind experience of having the whirlies. You know when you drink too much scrumpy cider and you come home only to find everything spinning around. Then when you shut your eyes its actually worse? Well, being hyper manic is like that but in your own head. You cannot hold a thought and it splinters at high speed, and when you think you've caught the thread it disappears. It's like thoughts teleporting around your brain with you running behind it.
When my lovely cpn actually calls me back she says the earliest I can be seen is in about 2 weeks time and can I hang on that long? I take a deep breath and say "ok" but again she stresses that if I am really frightened or lose it completely, that I need to access emergency care. I promise her that I won't do anything stupid and that I'll see her soon. At this point in time, although I feel very ill, I still have insight and I'm still functioning - Just.
I never work on a Monday, so on the Tuesday I go to a multi agency meeting at the ambulance service headquarters. My luck is running short and our car has broken down yet again, so I get the train and walk to HQ. Whilst I'm there I start to feel physically ill. I begin to wonder if I have some kind of nasty virus as physical illness can really effect my emotional and mental health.Maybe this is why I feel so crap. It feels like I have food poisoning as I start to feel very hot, I feel nausea and I have pains in my tummy. You know that weird griping and then the watering mouth when you think you're going to throw up? Well this is how I am, so at the end of the meeting, I politely ask if anyone would volunteer to drop me home as I feel terrible. They all remark that I look a little grey, and laugh and chortle as all the ambulance staff I am currently talking to are off duty! HA!HA! they cry!!!
I fall into my house and strip as I am burning hot and lay on my living room floor. Any mothers reading this will recognise that this is serious stuff. Mothers, unless they are knocked over by a bus, or strapped to a chair, function in all conditions. My stomach hurts so much I have to roll up in a ball and I cannot straighten my legs very well. I call my GP surgery and plead for someone to come and see me. I have no car and cannot imagine calling a cab, waiting for a cab, etc etc. Thankfully, they agree for a GP to at least phone me so I can discuss my symptoms. I shuffle to get my pyjamas on and then lay on the sofa with the phone. My husband arrives with the kids, and amazingly, my GP. I have no idea why they actually sent her but she is an image of salvation. After a push and a prod, she confirms my fears. Its not an enormous poo that has got stuck somewhere or food poisoning. Its either an ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis. Shit. She calls for an ambulance to get me within 2 hours. I'm not at the dying stage apparently, so I can get admitted to a ward and be sorted out in real time, not another cut and shut emergency. My husband gets me a hot water bottle as I have the shivers, and we wait. By 9pm I am squealing, "Like a stuck pig" I think is the phrase, and my husband is ringing the number of the non-emergency ambulance to find out where they are. They arrive in the next half an hour, then immediatly fill me with morphine and request I take off most of my clothes as I am cooking. Morphine injections make you feel like someone is injecting concrete into the back of your head, that your eyeballs are rolling and you're falling backwards into candy floss. They pop me in a wheel chair and both they and I complain as the drive is filled with pot holes. They can't push and every time we drop down a hole I yelp. Its not going well.
When I am finally admitted to the ward I am almost beyond communication, so when the registrar comes and pulls my legs out flat and pokes me I almost punch her in the face. She kindly reminds me that she is trying to help me. I kindly remind her that I am in huge amounts of pain. We reach an impasse and decide that actually I need my appendics out. She's going to knock me out with pain relief for the night, and I'll go down to theatre first thing. Well Thank God for that.
When I come round thay have sucked out the wretched and quite frankly, useless part of my stomach, via keyhole surgery. I am done and dusted and home by tea time, although I'm not allowed to do anything for 2 weeks like lifting, driving and all of that. I have great joy in using my work blackberry to e-mail my colleagues about my adventure. They are contrite and apologetic. So they bloody should be! I hope that this medical emergency was the root of my mental ill health and wait for a recovery of both mind and body.