[note: this post contains discussion of thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation]
"There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton
This was a massive decision for me to return to the place where my 'trauma' took place but in the end, I knew it was the right decision. I wasn't too bothered about it at first, it wasn't my priority because my only rationale for doing it was that I didn't want to have to avoid that place when I get discharged. But then it began affecting my home leaves; being home means I am closer to the place than I am whilst in Hospital and it felt almost as though a lot of my feelings were stored up in there and that being nearer to them meant I could feel them more intensely. I found myself sitting at home with my Mum and my cat and thinking about returning to this place. Every second I'm at home and wanting to be somewhere - anywhere, else; it's a second wasted. Another deciding factor was how well I'm doing at the moment. On the one hand it made me a little hesitant because I have so much; hourly obs, all the leave I could want and good relationships with staff, the other girls and my Mum - I have a lot to lose. But then I decided it was best to do this while I have so much to lose as it means I have a greater motivation to stay safe. I also figured that it put me in the perfect position since I am mentally and emotionally stronger and therefore more likely to manage the trip just fine.
There was a few doubts in the run up to it;
17.03.2014, 22:18 - ... Tired, and there's rabbits. My head keeps trying to make plans for Friday. Oh fuck - maybe sleep will help?
18.03.2014, 21:57 - Something is telling me to go to _________ because it's something I'd want to do before I died. Annie says once I've done it, we have to start planning. I hate this - I don't want to overdose ever again. Praying the _________ does the opposite and give me motivation to keep trying and fighting.
20.03.2014, 22:21 - A phone call with my Mum has renewed my fight! This bloody ____________ will NOT kill me!
I talked to Chelsea (my best-friend) last night and she was asking me how I honestly felt so I told her that a big part of me is excited to do it because it feels it'll propel me forwards. And a small, bad part of me wants to do it so that I can die in peace. I told her though that the small part had no chance of winning and that I don't want to overdose or die. She told me she was amazed and that it was the first time I'd said such a thing; I told her it's the first time it's been true.
I woke up this morning a little earlier than usual because I'd had an early night. I felt the sort of anxious, nervous nausea feeling I get when I'm planning an overdose so I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't running away. All of the girls on the ward were really lovely and supportive. I went in the car up to this place with my Named Nurse, an NA and my Ward Doctor. At first it was a little strange because obviously the Doctor never takes people out so I'd only ever spent time with her on the ward and she was the only one sat in the back with me. I thought it would be the other way round and that my Nurse would be my biggest support but I guess she doesn't know me as well as the Doctor does so it was just nice that she came along and got to experience it with me. It made me feel a little closer to her too, which is what I'm working on; our relationship being as good as mine was with my previous Named Nurse. And the Nurse cracked the awkwardness with some jokes.
The Doctor was fantastic though; she taught me a relaxation exercise as I was fidgeting and restless and when we got to the place the Nurse and NA got out of the car so we could talk in private. It was so... Strange to be at this place and under the circumstances my visit was. It felt strange to see that the place hadn't changed yet my entire life had been turned upside down. At first, the Doctor asked how I felt and I couldn't even find the words to say that I didn't know because I didn't even know if I actually didn't know! And when I started crying the Doctor was telling me that was a good sign and it's the reason we were doing this; because I'd blocked out all of my emotions regarding the 'trauma' and they had to bring me back to where it took place to make me feel them again. To remember them. So, I broke down my brick wall and let them all flood in, reminding myself that they are just emotions. There's nothing to be afraid of. Emotions are emotions; it's the reactions that can be harmful.
I know they say BPDers are famous for their frequent mood changes but the ten or twenty minutes that I spent sat outside this place... Well, I thought my head was going to explode with all of the changes in emotions.;
I felt weak.
And then I felt brave and strong.
I felt lonely.
And then I felt supported.
I felt hopeless and suicidal.
And then I felt happy and proud.
I felt angry and frustrated.
And then I felt calm and whole.
At the worst point, I was suicidal because whilst we were near the place my 'trauma' happened I saw the other person who'd been involved and I was angry that he was walking about without a care in the world. And then I got it into my head that I would never be ok with this place and everything that went on here and so I might as well die. But, I somehow managed to channel the negativity into a positive driving force. I figured that if anyone had a right to be living their lives without a care in the world it was me.
On the way back to the hospital, my emotions continued to change and the alternating numbness meant I tried to find comfort in pain; an old coping mechanism. I tried chicken scratching (when you scratch over and over at the same part of skin) but the Doctor kept spotting and taking hold of my hand. She went to such lengths to stop me as I tried to hide it under my blanket so she kept peeking under and she kept hold of my hand for a little while. I was getting physically tired by then so I put my cushion on her lap and tried to sleep.
When I randomly started crying and tried to isolate myself from her, she took off her seatbelt so she could move nearer to me and kept reassuring me with how well I'd done and how proud she was.
It's times like this that I really wish I could name my Hospital and the staff to give them the credit they deserve but perhaps that's something to look into for when I'm discharged. Anyway, my point is how absolutely astounded I am by the lengths that this Hospital will go to to keep me alive and on the road to recovery. It amazes me that they don't seem to realise these efforts as though it's natural and every mental health professional is the same. Well, to the Hospital staff reading this blog; they are not. You're all very unique and amazing! I can't begin to explain how grateful I am for the support I received today and to have gotten it from a very busy and popular Doctor gives it that bit more significance.
Now I've been to this place, I can't wait for my next home leave as it means I won't be concerned about not making the most of it and it also means I can properly work on all of the thoughts and feelings that arise from what has happened to me and firmly plant my feet another few steps along the road of recovery.