(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Friday, 29 October 2010


I kid you not, here lies a blog post about jeans. As in the denim trousers. Huh?! I hear you cry. Well, people, read on for utter drivel about jeans.

I've bought a pair of jeans. To most, I'd guess this is probably not that big a deal, just a new pair of trousers. However to me it is a Big Deal.

I've not really worn jeans before. When I say "not really" I mean never. Staple trousers for summer are linen, during the winter I wear unusual long trousers or mid-calf thicker trousers with bright coloured socks. I don't suit trousers, but being a 'cellist and an organist I don't have much choice but to wear trousers at least 3 days of each week (for rehearsals/services). Other days I tend to automatically go for a skirt on the basis "I can, so I will".

When at my largest, I only could fit into über-stretchy trousers which looked dire, but it was the only option for the ever-expanding waistline. Thankfully I'm not in stretchy trousers anymore due to loosing weight. Still, the stretchy trousers lie in my trouser drawer just in case I'm unfortunate enough to get that big again.

Jeans are informal. Oh how I sometimes wish I could put on "tracky bottoms and a hoodie" (or whatever the lingo is) and feel comfortable. Jeans, even fairly smart looking ones such as I have bought are informal clothing.
My everyday clothing tends to be fairly formal, so then when I need to be smart/formal it is... er... the same clothes as every other day. Which means people don't fully see the difference.
I feel far more at home in a black suit and white shirt with a broach on and an unusual hair clip than in jeans and a t-shirt.

I've bought jeans. I need to work out how to wear them without looking like some men do at wedding ceremonies - really uncomfortable in a suit and tie and itching to loose the jacket and tie and undo the collar, whereas most women spend services shivering due to not realising skimpy dresses aren't warm enough for most days (I've probably done 20 weddings this year, so I end up doing a lot of people watching whilst waiting for the bride/during the service).

So, tomorrow I shall be wearing jeans out on my adventure to the middle of London with a 'cello. Hopefully the 'cello will mean I'll get used to these jeans as I'll be distracted by everything (yep, I am mad, hopefully my 'cello and I shall return to the countryside in one piece). Still going to have a shirt on so still in my normal top-half clothing, but I'm going to try jeans.

So there you have it, a blog post about jeans. Told you it was utter drivel...

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Had CPA thing this morning.
My psychiatrist is struggling with being very pregnant and I very much hope this is her last week before her maternity leave kicks in as she needs to not be attempting the stairs from office space to meeting rooms for much longer. My psychologist has had her baby really early, so wasn't there as was the planned thing. CPN isn't pregnant, you'll be surprised to know (though is currently knitting hats for grandchildren...)

Anyway, the appointment started chaotically, with the window cleaners quickly finishing off the inside of the windows as we all got seated.
"You look really well" followed up fairly shortly afterwards by "So how much weight have you lost?" and a "Wow" after the answer.

Bit of background reading:
When I got too old for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) I was transferred to the CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) who decided they didn't want me as I was nuts so transferred me onto the EIPT (Early Intervention in Psychosis Team). Right. EIPTs only take people on for a maximum of 3 years, then either you get sent back to the CMHT or back into the care of your GP.

I was asked by the psychiatrist questions re: the usual topics (Sleep, appetite, mood, hurting myself) which I answered semi-truthfully. Surprisingly a lack of questions about my alcohol consumption or whether I hear voices... Still, I answered the questions asked with a hint of "not completely fine", but still coping.
I was asked whether I was happy. I said no. Was I content? "Err, sometimes" was the answer I gave.

They talked about the fact my three years are up in June of next year, so one purpose of the meeting was for the change to be discussed. They currently believe if they put in a referral to the CMHT, the CMHT would ask why and they wouldn't have an answer so would feel silly. I'm deemed to be not CMHT material, as I'm too "well".

More background reading:
When seen by the CMHT in June 2008, I hated them. I was told I was being a silly teenager using "anything in sight to hurt herself", I was told I wasn't trying, I was told that I needed to start taking "serious medication that would sort you out" and that I needed to make a decision on whether I wanted my life or not. I had been out of a psych ward for 3 weeks at this point. I saw them once for the hand over from CAMHS, once for a first meeting, and once for a handover to the EIPT. I hated it, I hated them and actually I was rather going to die than to try to get "better" with that support. Thankfully they deemed me to be crazy enough to go straight into a specialist EIP team, who showed a level of compassion at first that was lacking in what I had just been experiencing.

So, it has been decided to discharge me from the EIPT and hand over my mental health support to my GP. Hoorah! No CMHT input.

Then there was an interlude as windows were cleaned on the outside, making it quite difficult to hear each other speak...

A little bit more background reading:
I don't like the GP. Though technically my GP, he referred me to CAMHS without my presence (parents went to say "She won't come here, but needs the help") when I was 13, he gets copies of care plans but otherwise is in no way involved. I saw a colleague of his about my joints, and I am now too frightened to ring up for another appointment about that. GPs scare me. Mental health teams deal with mental health and that is that. GPs, on the other hand, are scary. I'm sure they make judgements based on the MH stuff, on the alcohol consumption, on the weight, on the family, on the occupation, and they are based in this town. MH stuff is based in PsychTown or PsychCity, which is slightly more detached from my community and those who know me.

So we are basically looking at no involvement with anyone about my mentalness. 3 weekly CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) appointments are going to become 6 weekly (One mid-November to check Bonfire Night hasn't sent me too mad, one just before Christmas to check work hasn't sent me too mad, and then every six weeks in the New Year).

The "you will contact us if you need us won't you?" conversation then started. I said I was unable to use the phone to ring them. I can't do it, I can't type in the number into the phone and press the call button. But no alternative was offered, so I'm not quite sure how I'm meant to contact them short of an hour of sitting on buses to stand outside their offices and wail until someone notices and comes out to me. [I didn't admit to the attempted "help" email a few weeks back which bounced back as the email address is no longer valid...]

Mum voiced a concern about if she starts to realise things are sliding post-discharge. She is worried as I'm an adult how she could go about contacting someone if I need intervention again. They said even after they've discharged me, do give them a ring if I'm refusing to go to the GP to be referred to MH support and we shall "Ring up Hannah and tell her to stop being so stroppy and start engaging with services again". Right, glad that's sorted then...

I'm not sure I'm ready to be discharged. At least by being involved in mental health teams and the like, I'm like a fully paid member of the "mentally odd" clan. This feels like I'm becoming considered "mentally OK" so it feels like I should be a coping functioning being again. It takes human interactions in my life down to either the "leading groups of people"(work) role or the "being in a group being lead by someone else"(orchestra/tutorials) role - taking away that "being able to rant and shout or say I'm struggling without too much difficulty" interaction that my current support technically offers. I don't have real life friends who I could lean on for support, if I'm out with others in this town, it is in my capacity as someone with a job that has a social element. Internet is great, but not the same. It feels like the ability to go and crumple on someone that isn't my long-suffering parents is being taken away. I might be able to answer questions in an appointment which give me the "well" status, but I'm not sure if I actually am. [Me? Dependent on my crap support? Surely not...]

I leave you with the quote of the day from CPN: "We are humans too, you know". News to me mate, news to me...

Next thing on my to-do list is to get Mum to ring up the GP surgery to try and see what the situation is there. Betting is now open in the "how long from phone call will they offer as the first appointment with the same doctor" stakes. (And I can almost guarantee that it will be a 7.30am appointment...)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Running away.

Is not going to work.

If my mother hadn't become unwell and had gone to visit her father as planned, I would have spent yesterday morning eating the contents of the kitchen and then being sick. It had become the plan for yesterday - everyone else was out, I could return to an old behaviour just to see if it helped. It won't help, I know that, the binging/purging/whatever you call it didn't help then. I felt horrifically bad when I was doing that. When I felt I needed to do it.
Now, I have the choice. But unexpected events reduced the choices from "doing it" or "not doing it" to simply "not doing it".

I've got a huge schism between the outward and the inward me. The outward me is in pain with my joints, currently has a dead leg as I was sitting on it until 20 seconds ago, but still doing everything that is expected/required. The inward me is destroying the inward me. Running away from this isn't going to work. The voices are back with horrible things, and without any nicer things (piano scales thundering about in my skull weren't that difficult to live with). The destruction is back. I'm knowing things will make me feel worse, knowing I have a choice, but still doing that thing. And then feeling worse. Then feeding that feeling worse, by... err... feeling I need to do more things that will make me feel worse. Rather detrimental to the inward me, non?
I found my diary from the few months before I was admitted to hospital the first time. It was my academic planner, so had various homework things in it, college each day, 2 possibly 3 hours of teaching after college, then a music rehearsal, then I came home and did my revision. I fitted in so much into each day, I wasn't sleeping much because there was simply too much to do. It is a frightening amount when I look back - no wonder I crashed and outwardly destructed. Running away didn't work then, running into the world of being some Superwoman just led to huge failure. In the front of the diary it had some work I was doing with a youth worker who I had burst into tears on, who decided to sort out a plan to function. Knowing she wasn't attached to a hospital, or with powers to section me, she decided to help as I was likely to be slightly more honest with her than the others involved in my care. However, the plan written on paper never got implemented as I became more petrified of everything and destructed some more.

Running away won't help. Running back to old behaviours won't help, I'll get caught up in them again and that won't help. Running away from the reality of things becoming slightly wobbly, of precariously shaking at the top of a big drop means I'll wobble into the drop.

I feel I've got a choice in this madness. Like I can either properly turn mad outwardly as well as inwardly, and end up in hospital somewhere, or I could unite the inward me to the outward me and just keep on going. Keep smiling, keep trying to change my little corner of the world for the better, and keep going. Problem is, the choice seems like it may turn to the first choice rather than the second. I'm feeling like consciously deciding whether to go mad. Which probably makes me utterly mad in the first place, but it is quite scary.

In fact, I'm alone in the house right now. I've ended up refusing to let my body move from the seat as I know I'll do something stupid. I need to get up now, to go to prepare for tomorrow's services at work. To put on music, to walk to church, to sort out everything before saying Evening Prayer. Where I'll appear a bumbling idiot because I can't read aloud very well, so will end up with jolted antiphonal psalm reading as I won't manage to get the words to come out of my mouth. Such a stupid freak. Best get going...

Running away from whatever it is it not going to work. I have no hope in my ability to tell my care team at the CPA on Thursday, so I need to find another option. Running away will not work. And repeat, running away will not work. And again, running away will not work. Damn, I'm going to have to face this, aren't I?

Saturday, 16 October 2010


If I was sane, life would be boring.
If I was happy all the time, I wouldn't know how to appreciate it.
If I was without exhilarating music in my life, I'd feel dead.
If I was without emotive, heart-wrenching music, I would be cold.
If I was alive, I'd feel alive.
If I was sane, I'd feel differently about all the world.
If I was happy at all, I'd appreciate it.
If I was finding the exhilarating music exhilarating, I'd feel alive.
If I was with emotive, heart-wrenching music, I would feel like I do now. Heart-wrenchingly destroyed. I'll never see the world with innocent eyes, never hear the world with innocent ears, never experience it without thinking of other things.

The realisation is horrible. I've grown up. I'm not the troubled child any more. I'm the functioning adult. However, the adult who wants to scream, and shout and rant and show everyone that she really feels rubbish... but won't. I'll outwardly be alive, smiling, functioning, kind. It is all a huge façade. Someone was saying to me today how keeping the inward and outward views of the him separate was tricky for him. I completely agree. Except no-one knows in the "real world" how utterly torn I am. How I feel I've ended. My innocence is gone. I'm not sure I've had this innocence for some time, but tonight it has hit me. I've grown up. I don't like it.

If I was innocent, I'd view the world in an innocent way.
Now though, now, now I don't. It is heart crushing. Soul destroying. Horrible.

Tomorrow, in fact 12 hours time, I'll be directing a choir. Playing music. Feels impossible to do so with any emotion, instead I'll just be doing the technical drills. Otherwise I'll end up in a heap over the organ in tears. Just sobbing.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Y'see, it isn't difficult

Just received a text message. A fairly unusual occurrence for me.

Was from my old support worker. The one I stopped seeing about a year ago as I was transferred to the placement year idiot.

I understand you have exams this week. Just texting to wish you good luck and I am sure you will do well. [Her name] [The name of the team in case I didn't know]

It might be a simple gesture, obviously I was mentioned in the office and she decided to sent a text message. My CPN is away this week, so goodness only knows why she even knew. Anyway, even with the word "texting" which isn't actually a word, I still feel touched. It isn't difficult to send a text message, but it is a step that isn't usually taken by the team.

I'm as prepared as I can be. Done all the past papers I could get hold of, revision exercises, re-reading tutorial notes. I'm ready. My great dislike for revision which has slightly stifled me in the past turns out to be unfounded. I've made a revision timetable of sorts, stuck to it and discovered it isn't difficult to get to 28 hours before the first exam and feel prepared.

It isn't difficult to put one foot in front of the other and just walk. Well, except when my joints are playing up, but still the concept holds. I'm trying to "just live" rather than thinking a bit too much and ending up thinking the world will implode as I'm this crazed loon. OK, yeah, I did end up forgetting to eat until quite late last night as I got distracted by some fun maths (yes, kids, it does exist...), I still haven't quite got the balance between sleep and awake times sorted, I haven't got a tidy room. However, the day to day "sleep, get up, work, eat enough but not too much, piano, drink, sleep" routine is getting perfected.

Y'see, I'm coming to the conclusion lots of stuff isn't too difficult to do. Things I do, things I'm involved in, things I plan to do, it isn't too difficult. Yeah, there'll be hurdles, but occasionally someone unexpected sends you a kind thought, a text message, a smile and the hurdle will be overcome.

Talking of hurdles, I had great difficulty not jumping into a 5ft high pile of sand that was outside the cottage next to church this morning. However, the builders wouldn't have really appreciated a red-head-wearing-a-green-coat-and-stripy-tights dive-bombing into said pile of sand, so I resisted. Just. I hope they have used it all up by the next time I go into church, otherwise they may have such a situation on their hands...

Monday, 4 October 2010


I'm having another CPA (Care Plan) meeting. At the end of the month. It was only the end of June I last had one. I'm meant to be on yearly CPA's. So why, you may ask, am I having another one?

Well, my psychiatrist (who isn't really my psychiatrist as I'm not on any medication) wants to have a "positive" meeting before she goes on maternity leave. Apparently the world of psychiatry is proving a bit depressing, and so she wants to see me for a pleasant chat. How nice. *sarcasm*
I last saw her in November the week before she went on maternity leave. She told me that she was going to write in my notes that I shouldn't see her replacement, as she knew how much I hated medication. Anyway, she came back from that leave in July, and is going on maternity leave for her second child in November. (see previous comments about having a fertile care team)

So, I'm having another CPA. 4 months and 3 days after the last one (Which, by the way, resulted in this blog post being written). My brilliant position as a "success story" means I've got to travel to the centre for a 10am appointment during half term week (so less early starts for the rest of the family). I feel I've got to paint on a smile, say things are fab, that I'm looking at life through wonderful rose-tinted glasses and though I still hear odd things, it isn't too bad and though I currently feel on the edge of a breakdown all is well. Ahhh. *fake grins and laughing and skipping through autumnal leaves in an idyllic way*

Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely CPAs are meant to have some purpose? Surely they aren't just meant to be a nice hour spent with me talking about my plans for the life I say I want to lead and about the year I've had? Not just making the care team feel all warm and fluffy and nice inside?
Thinking about that report from the last meeting (I can't find the paper copy, it is probably filed in a box somewhere), I realise several things have slipped. However, I couldn't tell my CPN today that yes, I have parts of my body bandaged up. She squirmed when asking about my "lesser" harm, I couldn't tell her what has actually happened recently after that reaction.

I know if I don't tell them, they'll never know. I know that. But I just wish sometimes that it was easier to say what I wanted/needed to say without words being put into my mouth or being told how well I'm looking or being told what a wonderful thing it is that I'm functioning so well.
Seemingly the deceptive looks have deceived them...