A worrying time

(This post comes with trigger warning, as it’s talking about overdose.)

Yesterday was a worrying and stressful time. My mum is hearing voices. (Possibly.) I say possibly because I keep an open mind in case something is going on outside, down the road as it was supposedly. But I do wonder if she is hearing them and this is her form of tinnitus, because as usual, it happens when quiet.

Me and mum did have a tiff when I said that she had to keep an open mind it could be tinnitus.
I have tinnitus all the time every day of a high pitch whistle in my right ear, but randomly in the past, I have heard car alarms and smoke alarms. Now when I say I heard these, I really thought I did and it did freak me out on these ocassions for each, because as for the car alarm that happened as I was going to bed and so my hearing aids were not in. I don’t hear car alarms in the home with hearing aids in, so not going to hear them when out. But it took me twenty minutes to register this as I was looking for this car going off.
When it came to the fire alarm one, I was standing under my fire alarm when I was convinced it was going off. This happened in the day and so I was wearing my hearing aids. When I walked away from fire alarm it seamt quieter, but when I walked back, it was loud and so I was really convinced it was going off, regardless that visually it wasn’t and I don’t hear the fire alarm anyway because of my deafness, but this never crossed my mind at this point, because I was so convinced. I also use an alerter to help me hear the fire alarm. This flashes and has a loud alarm that I do hear and this wasn’t going off either. I could have easily argued this one, if I was with someone that day. It was doing my head in and I left the house, taking the fire alarm in my head, proving what I kept telling myself in the house, that it’s not going off.

As I said to mum about my weird, caught me out moments of tinnitus, they really did freak me out and they caught me out. I really believed it was happening, because it felt real. I said to mum that she can’t hear me with her hearing aids in when she is in the kitchen, while I am sat in the living room, so she is not going to know what is being said down the road when she is not wearing her hearing aids. I said to her you may hear noise and know if it’s a man or a woman down the road. But not the details.
Mum argued that it is very quiet. I did hear it. And I responded that yes, I know it is very quiet and I also know how tinnitus can really get to some people because you are aware of it more when it is quiet, because you have no distractions like the day. But again, it doesn’t mean you can hear the details of what someone says down the road when you have no hearing aids in, because twice, so far at this point, you have not heard me in your home when I have spoken to you and when I ask you exactly what has been said you can’t give me an answer, even though you are convinced someone is talking about you.

This isn’t the first time since my mum has been home that readers will know that my mum has heard voices. The difference this time is that this one is now a nasty one and so I can see how it’s affecting my mum.

Whether real, or tinnitus, it is real. It is real to my mum and I have said this. But whether real, or tinnitus, as I have said to mum, you have to find a way to deal with this, to help it stop, or something, to make it better for her.
Regardless of this tiff we had, we are fine.

Mum wasn’t going to tell them that visit her each afternoon, because she was scared she be sectioned. But as I said to her, if you don’t, I will. I said to my mum, I am worried, because I can see how it’s bothering you today and I said for them to know, doesn’t mean you will be sectioned, because that won’t happen. It’s about helping you to settle back in and as the doctor said at the mental health unit before she was discharged, it’s about preventing you from coming back.
I continued to remind her, that as long as you take your meds accordingly and don’t harm yourself, you will not go back.

So yesterday, I ended up being really stressed and worried for my mum. Mum has not been in her home for quite a month now and as I said before she was discharged to the doctor and my mum, my worry is when we get the two week, or four week mark whether it starts again (voices) and how my mum will cope. I can support my mum, but mum had to do the work too. My mum has to find the ways to cope. I have suggested in the past what to do, but my mum doesn’t follow it through.

I am scared I will find mum on her bedroom floor like before. But this time, not surviving.
Mum may have her meds weekly, but it doesn’t mean she is not stashing them away, not taking them again, saving them up.
It doesn’t stop mum going to a different shop to buy a pack of paracetamol and taking them all, regardless that walking wise it would be hard work.
I hope my mum is taking those meds as promised and not binning them. Do I ask her this, or does it cause damage to ask her this? But at the end of the day, she had stopped taking them and saving them before taking them, when I found her overdosed. Mum has promised she won’t do this again, because of the damage and upset she seen caused by her actions. But my mum has a history of overdosing. So yes, after seeing how she was yesterday, I can’t help but worry.

Mum did tell the person who came to see her yesterday and that person who came to see her yesterday is there today. There’s a nurse who is coming today too. This was mentioned before he knew about these negative type voices she heard and so they will both talk to her about the voices today. As tempting as I want to turn up, I won’t, so they can both have time with her themselves and me to do my own thing.

I see my mum next on Tuesday at the hospital. My mum has an audiology appointment. But only because I pushed her to make this appointment now, because she had not got round to doing it as promised. Whether mum will get a hearing test that day, I don’t know. I doubt it, as usually you wait longer than that. So I hope that one isn’t done that day, she can have an appointment made, because mum has had no hearing test since she has had those hearing aids and I think one is due, in case her hearing aids need to be adjusted. She talks if difficulties with her hearing aids, but yet again, doesn’t do anything about it and it takes me or a medical person to push her, to do something about it.

How has stigma around mental health affected you?

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is how stigma affected my mum. This affected me because of the awareness mainly from my childhood, but still parts as an adult.
My mum has paranoid schizophrenia and having the title schizophrenia is enough, because of the stigma I remember around it. The stigma may not be as bad now as in my childhood, but I believe it’s still there, like any mental illness.
I remember as a teenager that schizophrenia would get bad press in the newspapers. It gave those with this condition a bad name, making it look like they were all dangerous, or violent if you had this condition, when it isn’t true. This condition would always be mentioned in the bold part of the newspaper when someone with this condition killed someone. I remember seeing this making the front page at times. This was newspapers in that time trying to give a sensational story line that sold their papers, not realising just what damage you were causing. I remember feeling really angry how the newspapers did this.
Thankfully now, newspapers have to watch how they word things, but I feel the damage from those days is still there. Do you?

People with schizophrenia are not violent people, but they can be a danger to themselves. But there are some people who will be quiet by withdrawing into themselves, as in my mum’s case.

I don’t like the word schizophrenia. But when I came to not liking this word, I don’t know. I don’t know if I hated this word when understanding my mum’s condition at a young age, or if it was the bad press if the newspapers.

But as I say, I think there is still stigma around mental health and because of this, it’s not something I will bring mum’s mental health particular condition into a face-to-face conversation with someone and mum is wary to do the same.

As you know I suffer with depression and anxiety. Depression has been good but anxiety shown itself since last year, as I blogged about. The past month or two, anxiety has not been too bad.
I have experienced stigma with my own mental health, things like people saying “chin up,” is not exactly helpful. Also, when you start talking about how you feel to some people, you realise from their responses they don’t get it after all as you first thought and that I am expected to snap out of it. Snapping out of it is not easy as you think.

It’s bad enough when people have to deal with their own mental health day in and day out, but when you receive unhelpful comments, cruel remarks, or just plain ignorance, that can create as much damage as the illness itself.

We have come a long way since when I was a child, but there is still more to be done. The royals are doing good with their Heads Together campaign I think.

How has stigma around mental health affected you?

I hope my mum thinks of her words…

I am looking forward to going home, but looking forward more to when I live with my daughter. – As said by my mum.

The above words, as said by mum when the people involved in her care asked her how she was feeling about going home, or similar question of that nature.

I hope my mum holds onto this, when ever she may have hard times, as it is some months to go before I can bid on a ground floor council flat, with me being tied into a private contract until October.

Until that day happens, where we live together, I hope my mum does reach out more at her difficult times she may have. Also, to have a night, or a weekend break at mine every so often, just to break things up a little for her.

A distraction for mum

When I went to see mum yesterday and mum was filling me what happened day before, I as getting ready to go up to the mental health unit to see what they were playing at. But before I did, I asked a nurse, to make sure my mum wasn’t confused by it all.
It turned out she had been told that originally, but since, not long back yesterday when I was chatting a different discussion was given. So I had gone from highly stressed person getting ready to fight, because mum had no care plan in place and going to be sent home, which was total opposite to what a manager on the mental health unit told me, to stress reducing because there was now going to be some care plan in place on Sunday. But Sunday still being unknown, until it happens.

When mum is discharged from ward where she was looked after for her chest infection from flu she had, they will send her back to the mental health ward she originally came from. But this does not mean there is a bed there, or at any other mental health unit. She could be sent home still. But a care plan would be in place for that, as this was mentioned in discussion when someone came to see her yesterday, about maybe two visits a week at her home to see that she is ok.
If it turns out there is no bed there, but a bed is available at one of the other mental health units, mum has said she is not going, because of knowing how I would only be able to get once a week at one and not at all at the other.
But if there is a bed where she was before, she would stay there.
So this is the unknown and me and mum discussed options if she ends up going home. Especially if she is discharged before I get there, on Sunday and that is that day, mum is to stop at mine. We would then go back to hers the following morning, where I would have day with her, before going to work.

I observed how this was playing on my mum’s mind after I found I was repeating myself a fourth time and my throat feeling tired and sore, so I distracted mum onto something else. Mum admitted it was going round in her head as I suggested something else to chat about.
Mum has a notebook for her poems she writes out in rough, before copying neat into another book. I already had written my address earlier at the back of the book, just in case she was making her way back to mine in a taxi on Sunday, before I got there.
I got the notebook out again and wrote her a plan of action that she would be doing later when home, in preparation for moving out prior.
This plan of action was basically just a to do list, of what we talked about before. But I put it in writing, so she could focus on that, but also so that if she forgot, she could see it there, then let that play on her mind.
This list has three things at this point. Two which mum is doing and the third is what I am doing in May, but only what mum needs to plan for and just know about, which is me painting her bedroom walls. Her bedroom walls will need re-painting from observation and not something that can be left, because the council would likely say something. So by getting the walls in that room painted, mum won’t face any issues.
Just by writing that action plan in the back of her book, helped her to re-focus and think about something else, than let her mind wander on someone we can’t control.

I took mum’s mobile phone in yesterday, because of not knowing where mum would be originally, so she could contact me and keep me updated. Making sure I knew what was happening. It helps for mum to keep in touch with other family members too.

You are not a burden

Depending on your circumstances, you may feel a burden to others. This could be because of a mental health, or physical health issue.

But you are not a burden.

My mum doesn’t want to be a burden. She had expressed this to me and staff members. But hopefully, by listening to me and the staff members on the ward where she is, that my mum realises that she won’t be.

From what mum told me recently, a staff member that had spoken to her, to put a long conversation short, she said, “… Mum was there for me and now it was time for me to be there for her…”

I said to mum, “By being with me, I won’t worry as much as I would have, if you were still living on your own.
I need you close to know you are ok. To support you when required, while you continue to be as independent as possible.
I want you to feel safe.”

I have had a couple say that it’s a big then by getting my mum to live with me. I am in no way offended by that comment. But when I was told by A&E staff that my mum was very unwell and to be prepared I could lose her, this decision of me and mum to live together was not a hard decision to make. In fact I did not need to think about it.

If my mum one day has to go back to her bungalow, before the time comes to us living together, I will be feeling very uneasy. I will be scared that my mum could do it again.
Mum has promised she won’t take an overdose again, because she knows how much it has hurt me. My mum can see how much it has hurt me. But the mental health team, like me, as they talk to her, need to know that when it gets difficult again, that she doesn’t try it again. There will be more talking by the different mental health team members in some way, while her medication is adjusted. The mental health team can see my mum will be better with me, then on her own. Mum has admitted that going back to her bungalow, she is not thrilled on, even though one point my mum wasn’t thrilled about staying in, after admitting her overdose.

When a family member wants to help some way, or for you to live with them for what ever reason. You are not a burden.

You may be reading this and in a position yourself where a family member has asked you to live with them and you are thinking you don’t want to be a burden to them. I would like to say that you would not be a burden, because you will be a much-loved family member. To them, you gave them support. You were there in their time of difficulties. You gave them joy and so all they want is to support you and help you in what ever way.

You are not a burden.


Related posts:

Blog post re-share: Why Those of us That Can, Must Fight — The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

I would like to share this post with my readers, from The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

I also agree with the first commenter in that blog post too, by Alanpenrose5654.

Do take a read of this blog post and the comments. Also, if you are not already following this blog, I totally recommend you do.

I hope that all of us in the mental illness blogging community have the same goals–to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. I believe that to keep the fight going and maybe educate those that have never walked a day in our shoes, it is imperative to share your story. We are all unique, and though we may share similar symptoms of our collective illnesses, it is how you deal and your past that might help future mental illness sufferers.

via Why Those of us That Can, Must Fight — The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

I really wish others knew this about me…

I’m not boring and I am approachable

People in the past and some probably now, not that I don’t care what others think now like I once did, but some thought I was going to be boring. These were proved wrong and they held their hands up to their wrong assumptions. The conclusion to why they thought I would be boring, was because of me being quiet and also how I was dressed, as this particular occasion was my hen night, all those years ago. (The first relationship, that I was abused in.)
I would like you to know that I am not boring because I am quiet to start with and you will find me approachable, should you choose to speak to me. We may even find common ground.

I do have a sense of humour

Just because you may find me quiet at first, as I have mentioned​ above, when it comes to talking to me, you will also discover I do have a sense of humour.

I people watch

I people watch sometimes. Imagining what they may be like. Observing their relationships with their family, or friends.
I especially like seeing elderly couples holding hands, while walking in the street. It’s so lovely to see and I wonder just how many years they may have been together.

Just because I have an invisible disability, doesn’t mean it don’t exist.

I am deaf and, I have depression and anxiety.

Unless my hair is tied up, you won’t see my hearing aids, until I mention I have a hearing loss.
People say, ‘ I speak ok,’ but like my hidden disability, it doesn’t mean I am not deaf. I am deaf, but to hear you better, I have to see your face to lipread, while hearing what I can with my hearing aids.
I would also like to add that my hearing aids assist me, but they don’t magically give back my hearing I once had. I also watch your face expression and your body language.
I will need you to be patient with me, as I may need you to repeat if I miss something and I will be very appreciative of this.
I will be able to tell if you don’t have the patience to chat with me, don’t want to be there in general. I may also pick up on if you are not feeling yourself, which if I do, I am known to ask if you are ok

Depression is another invisible disability. On the surface, I may seem fine to you, but underneath, I could be the total opposite.
My depression is not bad like it used to be. Being in a new job has helped greatly, as well as counselling for other matters already blogged about here.

I have anxiety and depending how it is, you may see it, or you may not. Again, like my depression, it’s not bad as it was, but it does like to creep up more, than my depression.

I can sketch

From the age of 9 to early 20’s, I was regular sitting at a table sketching. After that, I stopped, until the artist side of me crept out again with ‘Sharpie Sunday’s‘ and other prompts. Although it’s not got me back to my sketching route I once did. I would like to though.
I am not saying I am good to sell as an artist, but if I had kept it up as I once did, then they may have been.

One time, I couldn’t look in a full-length mirror

I hated looking at myself in a full-length mirror one time. This started after I left the first relationship. Although I don’t own a full-length mirror still, I know I wouldn’t have a problem looking in one.

I give 100% in the workplace

I give 100% in the workplace, but sometimes I will give a 110%, because I love my workplace so much.

What do you wish others knew about you?