This Week in Mentalists – The Let’s Celebrate Madosphere Positivity Edition

Afternoon all! Pandora here. Sorry for the lack of TWIM last week; someone was lined up for it, but must’ve forgotten (it’s easily done!), and as for TNIM, unfortunately (as usual) no one volunteered their services for it :( In relation to this and other issues, there has been some discussion regarding the direction of TWIM as a blog, so we’ll be bringing you some posts additional to the usual from now on – watch this space :)

Right then, housekeeping over, so let’s get onto teh bl0gz. Most of what follows should be trigger-free, though there are references to child abuse and welfare reform issues. As always, do tread carefully if you’re not in a good place right now.

First up is LittleFeet of Chaos and Control. Remember her quest to clarify the position of her local mental health trust on the use of inpatient blogging and social media? Well, it seems she’s (finally!) got a satisfactory response from the Ward Manager, who writes:

Having spoken to staff involved in the decision making process they were motivated by concerns regarding staff and patient confidentiality and as such, I believe acted in good faith, on the basis of limited information and the resources available to them. I am happy to acknowledge (having had time to read it) that your blog did not breach confidentiality, and that you would not wish to do so. Had you remained in hospital I believe the decision would have been reviewed with your Consultant and Senior ward staff.

We acknowledged that you have found blogging and social media to be a very helpful and protective factor for you, and that the decision to ask you to desist whilst on the ward is one that you found distressing and unhelpful. For that I apologise on behalf of the ward and the Trust.

The Trust is seeking to develop guidance around the use of mobile phones, including smart phones and internet usage. I have forwarded your offer to assist in any way with the development of such a Policy to the Lead Nurse responsible. I think this unfortunate incident has the potential to be a positive learning event for the Trust and it’s [sic] staff, that will help in providng [sic] better patient care.

Great news there, LF. Well done you for not taking this lying down and for steadfastly pursuing the matter :)

My Crazy Bipolar Life managed to get through an appointment with her mental health team, and actually found the meeting quite productive. Yay!

So the meeting came to an end. We went through the keypoints which were something like:

  • Medication to be increased

  • Monthly appointments with social worker

  • Start seeing new CPN

  • Stick to crisis plan

  • Resume sessions with addictions nurse to do relapse prevention work

  • Appointment with addictions nurse on Tuesday 2pm

  • Sometimes I might need help to get to appointments

  • Possible support worker until new CPN starts

  • See psychiatrist in May

  • Another CPA meeting on July 5th at 4pm

I guess all in all I’m glad I went. It was horribly anxious and yet at the same time it was productive. I just hope all the things we talked about actually happen and don’t just end up as words on a couple of sheets of paper somewhere. Things are still pretty fucking rocky and I’d really like to be able to try this approach out before things hit the next crisis point, I’d like to avoid there being another crisis point, but Satan is the one in control and all I can do is walk quietly alongside and try to steer things in the right direction.

I hope the Quetiapine and support helps put Satan well and truly in his place, MCBL.

More good news: Katie from katieinwonderlandx has realised that she hasn’t experienced suicidal urges for several months.

But I don’t know when the last time I wanted to kill myself was. Ahh wait yes, December. Still!? December is like….three full months ago. What the hell?

So this is mind blowing. No? I’ve obviously not been skipping through the woods with a smile plastered on my chops for months. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had little crying sessions in the bath, and I’ve had big smiles.

But I haven’t had that out of control downward spiral that I became so accustomed to. I haven’t gotten to that sort of…peak where there’s no going back and you can’t stop yourself, and there’s no way out, and it’s never going to get better and you need to just die to escape it all.

Faith Allen from Blooming Lotus discusses how she and her sister confronted their shared history of child abuse.

I finally reached a place where I was ready to know. I was accepting that I must have been abused as a child, but I didn’t know by whom or how. (I didn’t think it was physical because I had no medical history of physical abuse.)

I called my sister (she lives out of state) and told her that I had a suspicion that I had been abused as a child, but I had no memory of it. I asked her if she remembered anyone abusing me as a child. At first she said no. I asked if it could have been our father (because it always seems to be the father in the made-for-TV movies). She said, “No. I don’t think it was him, but I have always had this bad feeling about mom.”

I immediate experienced my first body memory. I could feel my mother sexually abusing me and knew with absolute certainty that it was true, even though I had no idea what a body memory was.

From then on, my sister was great. I could talk to her about anything, and she could “open the box in her warehouse” and confirm or clarify a memory. She helped me work through some of my memories by adding a different perspective of the same event so I could figure out things that made little sense from a child’s perspective but were clear through adult eyes with her added information.

Joseph Brugo, the psychologist behind After Psychotherapy, has an interesting post explaining why he chose to become a therapist.

When people find out I’m a therapist, they usually assume I chose my profession because I want to help others. While I derive a deep sense of satisfaction from doing just that, I mostly chose to become a therapist because it was the only line of work I could envision that would support me and a family, while at the same time holding my interest for a lifetime. Human beings are deeply intriguing to me, at least once (if) you get past the veneer, and I can’t imagine a more fascinating job. During my last vacation, I thought more deeply about the work I do and the ways it satisfies me. I came to some new insights about myself and how I feel about my clients which didn’t entirely surprise me, but that shed some new light on the way the practice of psychotherapy “feeds” me. I believe many therapists feel the same way.

…working with my clients and entering into their worlds fills an important place in my life, even more important than I had thought. In the end, connecting to their emotional experience keeps me more firmly rooted in my own feelings, deepening the sense of personal and interpersonal meaning that defines “me”.

Speaking of therapy, Seeking Myself has just left it, and muses on how commencing that experience was for her.

A couple of sessions into my assessment, I already had a handle on what would turn out to be the advantages and disadvantages of the whole experience. I loved how seriously GT took my issues, that he’d obviously read my questionnaires closely and remembered what was in them, and that he seemed to understand what I struggled with. He was the first NHS professional who, I felt, recognised the extent of my problems and was willing to help me for as long as it took. At the same time, he didn’t seem to acknowledge my strengths or show much interest in the things that had helped in the past. His ‘style’ of therapy was uncomfortable, and so very different from what had worked for me before – I was open to trying something new, but I still worried that perhaps he was adhering to a model just as rigidly and inflexibly as my CBT therapists had refused to budge from theirs. You’ll notice that the final disadvantage I gave was also one of my advantages: “He takes my issues far, far more seriously than any mental health professional I’ve ever seen before.” This turned out to be a real double-edged sword.

Paul from It’s Just a Ride – a keen photographer – has started attending a creative arts group. Good luck, mate!

I mentioned in my mini update that I had been referred to a Creative Arts Group. Well the first session was last Tuesday and feeling rather apprehensive I showed up and decided to give it my best shot. Now I have NEVER EVER proclaimed to be an artist (maybe a piss artist in my youth.) I don’t create art, I do STUFF. It’s the way I have always been. You need to have a set of skills to create art. If I create anything that resembles good, “it’s a fluke, I got lucky that time.” I don’t count my leanings to photography as Art yet.. I see that as a stepping stone to finding something I can finally learn to be good at. So attending a Creative Arts group would help in seeing the things around me in a different way.

The first session was Still Life Drawing. There was a 3D collage of items set up in the middle of a few tables pushed together. We were asked to draw what we saw. Be it the whole collage or just one section of it. I knew, for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to draw the whole thing so I chose a Jar. It was kind of like a Pasta jar without a lid. I spent the first 45 minutes fumbling around trying to get it right, but basically came out with a bunch of stick figures that tried to look like a jar. I think the facilitators of the group could see my frustrations as I spent more time with an eraser in my hand than a pencil. It just so happened that on the whiteboard in the room the resident artist had drawn a diagram of how to draw the jar I was attempting. He explained to me the principle of blocking out the Jar and drawing it in sections. Slowly I started again following his instructions. Over the next 40 minutes my stick figure jar actually transformed into something that actually resembled what I wanted it to. I even got cocky and drew in some detail and shaded the jar. At the end of the session both group leaders commented on how good it looked, and you know what, I was actually pleased that I had improved over the 2 hour period. It felt good.. an instant boost to my self esteem.

Congratulations to CimmerianInk from Living and Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, DID and Childhood Abuse, who had the courage to stand up for herself – not something we metals always find easy.

I just felt the need to put my foot down on a conversation being had between myself and someone who decided to comment on my previous post. If you read the exchange you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Regular readers of my blog know me and they know that I am always open to their points of view and their thoughts and suggestions even when they think or feel something different than I do. That’s because I know them and trust them, because we have always shown each other respect even when we disagree about something. I’ve always said that the blog is here, in part, for me to hear different points of view from people who can offer me another way to look at things or reasons for why I may be experiencing something or feeling something. However, they have a basis for their comments and the fact that we care about each other sincerely is always evident in the conversation.

Ali from Purple Noise has had ostensibly good news; she has been placed in the support group of Employment and Support Allowance. The cloud that comes with that silver lining is that Ali, like all of us dirty lying tax-scroungers, is at the mercy of the DWP and ATOS :(

Because I know that at any time they feel like, they can choose to assess me all over again. We’ve all heard stories of people being reassessed after just three months, or of winning appeals then getting fresh forms a week later. I do have an idea when my next assessment is due, I don’t want to say when it might be but it’s not too far away. And then I’ll have to go through the whole thing all over again. Looking in excruciating detail all the things I find hardest. Explaining to complete strangers the most embarrassing things I face on a daily basis. Trying to explain to someone who doesn’t know me the context of my voices, my OCD and other difficulties, and how it all fits together and how it affects my life. The CAB helped me with my recent ESA50, it took three and a half hours and that was after extensive preparation both for dealing with the appointment itself and notes that I had taken with me written by people who know me best to help explain what should go on the form. It’s safe to say I got my money’s worth at my local A&E department in the weeks following that appointment, I crashed completely and went into self-destruct mode with the inevitable consequences.

And they want me to do it again. And again, and again…

On the subject of ATOS…

Time for a wildcard. Owners of certain smartphones will be elated and delighted beyond measure to learn of a fascinating and truly essential application available to them.

Visit the Android Market to get your incredible version of ATOS News Reader now!

On an iPhone or iPad? No problem. Everyone’s favourite corporate (non-)medics have thoughtfully remembered you too.

Do yourself the biggest favour you’ll ever do by dropping everything – literally or metaphorically – and getting to the App Store right now to download the indescribably amazing ATOS News. It’s so achingly educational, yet simultaneously thrillingly entertaining, that delaying the download any further will result in a self-imposed failure to embrace the chance to significantly enrich your life.

(OK, I know, I know – these apps don’t specifically relate the especially heinous form of ATOS that is used for social security assessments in Great Britain, but I found it so hilarious that they exist at all that I simply couldn’t resist :))

Have a great Easter weekend, everyone! Take care xxx

About Pandora

Award-winning ex-blogger. Complex PTSD, (predominantly depressive) bipolar disorder with psychotic features, and a side order of severe anxiety. So basically mental.

8 Responses to “This Week in Mentalists – The Let’s Celebrate Madosphere Positivity Edition”

  1. Thanks for the roundup.
    Just to let you know the “last night” link doesn’t work, the date in the link is 2011 not 2012 so it goes to an error page.

  2. Thanks for the round up Pan and of course the mention :)

    If you need someone to do TWIM next week just give me a shout, I should be around xx

  3. Fantastic round up as usual! :)

  4. katesdepression 7 April 2012 at 6:17pm

    Brilliant TWIM as always Pan :o) thanks!!

  5. Great round up Pan. Many thanks for including me :)

  6. Many Thanks for the round up Pan and big thanks for including me. I guess I should open up my blog again. I guess I picked the wrong time to Referb the place. :)

    Please disregard the last comment.

  7. Great round-up.

    I was going to comment on the previous post about the direction of TWIM but see it has closed due to getting a bit off-topic and personal. I would be interested in supporting further development of TWIM, I guess the thing for most of us mentalists is that often despite our good intentions we get bogged down with being ‘unwell’ mentally and things lapse – even our own blogs suffer at times with us not posting. I hope some good plans for the future can come about and when I am in a well-enough state I will be happy to do my bit to help :)


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