The Women in White Coats

Last night the women in white coats arrived at my doorstep, armed with straight jacket, electric prod and an order to section… Well… that’s how it felt!

My doctor decided to refer me to the crisis team in my area as a result of suicidal thoughts and behaviours that I had been demonstrating. Doc only knew about it as I went to speak to him as my new meds (Venlafaxine) were not working. I’d been having vivid nightmares with a frightening realism coupled with waking with cold sweats throughout the night. My already fragile emotional and mental state could not deal with waiting for the side effects to pass (if there were going to) and I stopped my dosage after a week.

The next few days were spent with ‘pepper in my eyes’ – the need to cry – constant. I found myself in the depths of darkness and started to write a goodbye note to my children. In fact the thought of them and the potential legacy I would leave my children, along with the fact there is no one that is truly able to care for them, removed the possibility of hanging a rope or counting out sleeping tablets with a large glass of wine. The seriousness of these thoughts however rocked me at my core. I feel OK some days, happy, engaged, able to  ‘live’. These OK days though are interspersed with such sadness which I just can’t shake. I cried these fears to the doctor (not my usual doc but one that is covering as my doc is having surgery) who called in the mental health team. Crisis.

I didn’t expect them at my door. I’d actually picked my son up early from school and left his sisters at after school club. He and I walked through the park in the late afternoon sun, ate ice cream at a delicious Ice Cream Bar and just talked and time together. I felt renewed, I wallowed in the ocean of awe that my son often plunges me into -he is an amazing young man (and very witty).

My dear friend was due to visit us that evening – she is over from Amsterdam. When I collected my girls and got back home all talk was on my friends arrival. The door knocked and screeches fled to the front door, quickly silenced and replaced by. “Mum… there’s some ladies at the door!”

I rushed to the door and a very unfriendly woman barked my name, the other just sneered. I was taken aback. She then stated she was from the crisis team and asked to come in, all three of my children attached themselves to me. I refused and then they pressed me for when they could come back – come in. I said I’d be in touch and then shut the door on them. They were scary, unfriendly and definitely unwelcome. Is that the face of mental health care? There was no empathy or support in their approach. I felt quite frightened by the large aggressive women who might as well have had a straight jacket in their hands and an electric prod.

I complained this morning and made it clear that I do not want these ‘people’ invading my safe space – my home – my children’s lives. They insisted I make an appointment to come and see them at the mental health dept of the local hospital – which I begrudgingly agreed to. Has it come to this? I need to climb out of this dark tunnel… or they’re coming to get me! Or… so it it feels!

 

image: http://viceandvengeance.deviantart.com/art/White-Rabbit-Straight-Jacket-448759445

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