Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Rest in Peace Vickie

Tomorrow (14.03.2013) will be three years since my friend, Vickie Brown killed herself, though it still feels like just a day has passed without her.
I met Vickie on a surgical ward when I had a cyst on my ovaries. Vickie had had a cyst in her stomach that had meant she couldn't eat properly but once it was repaired... Well she never did start eating properly. It got to the point where she had to be PEG fed (when a port is inserted into the stomach to be connected to a feed... similar to NG ((tube up the nose))) and it was so upsetting to watch how thin she became. We both hated the hospital food and discovered we could keep the nurses happy by still ordering a packed lunch but we could also then hide the food because it was packaged. We didn't bank on it going mouldy and the nurses being able to smell it from our nightstands! And then when I was discharged before her, I visited her on her birthday with brownies and a balloon. She loved the balloon! And the brownies were really just to prove I could bake but she ended up eating them. For me. She had no idea how much it meant to me that she was able to describe how lovely they tasted because she actually ate them! It might not sound like a massive deal but it was to me, and it is for any Anorexic to eat for the sake of others. I knew it was important. It was so annoying that the professionals didn't click. They just stuck to the idea that her lack of appetite had a medical reason behind it. It didn't. She told me so herself but she didn't say much else. Vickie rarely spoke about herself; that's one thing I will always regret; not making her speak more. She always listened to me and she ended up being the first person I told about my 'trauma.'
I remember when I thought I saw her at the bottom of my street at a bus stop and I texted her to check it was her before I went to speak to her. I got no reply so I carried on walking. Two days later I got a text off her sister telling me Vickie had taken an overdose, choked on her vomit and died, so it was impossible for it to have been her at the bus stop. My Mum said she thought that was Vickie trying to say bye to me.
Her funeral was one of the worst days; I genuinely thought her Mum was going to jump into her grave with her. It was so sad, and it made me think 'I can't have my Mum go through this.' But that didn't last long; it soon gave way to me wanting to join Vickie and on a particularly bad night, I even sat at her grave overdosing. It didn't work and my Mum said it wasn't my time. I hope that when it is, Vickie takes me.
I'm still so angry that no professionals picked up on Vickie's mental health and it makes me realise that I'm actually quite lucky. One of the reasons I'm in this long-term residential hospital is that I exhausted all of the community resources; meds weren't working, psychology in the community wasn't containing enough, short acute hospital admission didn't break the overdosing cycle, the appointments with my CPN (community psychiatric nurse) and Psychiatrist didn't make a difference. Nothing was working and my community team could've so easily given up on me and thought that if nothing has worked then nothing will. But they didn't. And by chance, an in-patient Psychiatrist told us that these hospitals existed. In the NICE guidelines it states that patients with BPD shouldn't be hospitalised long-term so everyone had to make the big decision of whether it was worth it. Whether I was. I'm pleased they think I am. But, so was Vickie.