If you haven’t read last weeks post I suggest that you do so, it is the basis for this post and will give you a brief overview of what I have been going through. If you want the full story read the Category posts under Mental Health.
READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED, THIS POST DISCUSSES SUICIDE OPENLY AND FRANKLY.
This past week hasn’t improved on the last, if anything it has continued into steady decline. I had an appointment with both my Psychologist and Psychiatrist, both of which where planned, and we discussed where I was at mentally and what to do next. The unfortunate side of things was that due to my mental state, thought patterns and suicidal ideation and planning, a serious discussion was had regarding treatment, and how that looked moving forward.
Firstly, the week that was. My overall mood can only be described as low. I found little joy in the week, and the joy that I did find was short lived and circumstantial. My thoughts were often of self loathing, self hatred, and self defeating. I would think that I was worthless, useless, un-wanted, un-necessary, inadequate, and hopeless. these thoughts surrounded every facet of my life; whether work, home, or otherwise. These thoughts would give way to thoughts of suicide, which I will cover later in this blog, and its comforting finality. I was bordering on the edge of crying, screaming, and everything in between every day. I felt that all eyes were on me, and none of them were thinking nice things. Every whisper, hushed conversation, or comment was immediately translated as someone poking fun, talking negatively, being critical, or spreading rumours. This just continued to fuel my negative thoughts and ideations.
During the past week my brain has betrayed me and continued its constant barrage of suicidal ideations. For those of you who don’t know the ideas surrounding suicide are broken down into three steps; Ideation which is the thoughts of suicide, Planning or Intent which is actually organising the method of suicide and collecting equipment, and Attempt which is when the person actually makes an attempt to end their own life. I have struggled with ideations for months. They started off as fleeting thoughts that I found disturbing and actively tried to squash, dismiss, or otherwise rid myself of. This progressed to the thoughts no longer being disturbing but still sporadic. About a month or so ago the thoughts became constant and almost comforting. My ideations have either been generalised thoughts of suicide or thoughts of opportunity, that is driving my car and thinking about driving into a tree, or cleaning my bathroom and having thoughts about drinking bleach. Often these thoughts lead to a rather clinical process of working through the likelihood of success, likelihood of survival or reversal, resultant physical outcome following survival. This week I had moved into the Planning stage.
So on Thursday I had my appointment with my Psychologist. Like all meetings it began with a risk assessment and overview of the week to guide the conversation for the rest of the appointment. After telling them about my ideations and planning, they became quite concerned. Concerned enough that they left the appointment to talk to my psychiatrist. After a couple of minutes they returned. They began by saying they were both concerned about my mental state and level of safety. They also agreed that immediate and decisive action was required. Thats when the discussion moved towards ECT, or ElectroConvulsive Therapy, again. We had discussed ECT months ago, but I dismissed it as I didn’t feel I was bad enough to warrant the treatment. Now, however, I was a little more convinced. For those of you who don’t know what ECT is or have a image of ECT like the one below from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, I encourage you to watch the Insight program around ECT at the link here.
The treatment involves an electrical current running through your brain to induce convulsions in the hope of curing or lessening Depression. This in now done under a General Anaesthetic with muscle relaxants and looks nothing like what is going on in the above image. The treatment can be either bilateral, unilateral or bifrontal, as the image below shows. The treatment I will be undertaking is unilateral. This approach still induces the seizure without undue damage to the brain, which is great. There is still the possibility of side effects like; short term memory loss, cognition issues, headaches, nausea, and all the normal anaesthetic issues. However, My wife, my family and friends, my Psychologist and Psychiatrist, and myself all agree that this is the best treatment for me, at this current point.
In addition to the treatment planning, I have also been placed on suicide watch. My wife has been instructed to make sure that I am in constant company to limit the potential risk to myself. I have endeavoured to reinforce my support network by keeping them in the loop with what is going on, giving them all the Acute Care Teams details in the event I am unable to be dealt with or have an acute deterioration.
For now, I play the waiting game. I am waiting to find out where I am going to undergo treatment. There are three options currently on the table; one of the two hospitals here in town where I will undergo treatment as a day patient, or a hospital in Brisbane where I will be an inpatient for nearly 4 weeks. Me, and my family, obviously want the option that keeps me here at home. Though due to the fact I work at one of them, and the other tends to have a huge waitlist, which both my Psychiatrist and I agree that any undue waiting comes with increased risk.
So that is where we are currently. I wait with baited breath for a call from my Psychiatrist with the when, where, and how. Until such time, my life continues, with most things on hold. I am in constant company, my mind is constantly betraying me, but I have a way ahead. For now thats all I can hope for.
Maintain The Rage