Saturday, 1 December 2012

Another day, another overdose

One of the most frightening aspects of Gareth's illness is dissociation. We all go off into our own worlds at times but when that world threatens your life it's not daydreaming it's a nightmare. Gareth ran upstairs in the early hours of Thursday morning to tell me he thought he'd taken an overdose. He has no recollection of it at all and only realised when he lay on the couch and heard the empty tablet packets rustling under him.

The ambulance came and we asked them if he was going to die but they didn't seem as certain as last time. He took about 30 dihydracodeine which has paracetomol content. This happened a few weeks ago and Gareth ended up on a drip for 24 hours. I stayed at home with our two dogs whilst Gareth went to A&E. As the ambulance drove off I sat and sobbed. The idea of losing Gareth was just too much to bear. Gareth phoned me numerous times during the night when we spent most of the time telling each other how much we love one another. You could tell we were both scared.

During the night I tidied the kitchen, scrubbed the dishes and cupboards, tidied the bedroom, sorted my dressing table out - anything really to pass the time. My adrenaline was pumping and what are normally very difficult tasks for me (having ME) were quite easy as the adrenaline took over. Looking round our house, looking round my craft room, none of it meant anything. I didn't want any of it without Gareth. It struck home to me just how much I love him and just how much I treasure our relationship. How people and family are so beyond important.

Finally at 8.45am we got the news that the blood tests had come back ok. His paracetomol levels were raised but not enough to warrant a drip. It turns out that because he takes the tablets regularly he may have built up a tolerance to them and this went in his favour. I went to work, told them about the previous night's events, left to pick Gareth up and take him to my mum's, went back to work... and the day just seemed to become like any other. No one is shocked any more and I never talk about it for long - I suppose that's why I have this blog. It may seem to be another day, another overdose but I was frightened and I was alone and really not many people understand. I'm angry, as usual, with the mental health service because this isn't the first time this has happened but up until now we've been offered no support or help with it.

Last time it happened I had a go at the mental health team. I cried at some woman down the phone and told them that they get paid but I'm doing their job. I asked how my husband could have been on a drip all weekend then the MHT come in, speak to him for 20 minutes, discharge him and not even follow it up afterwards. That was the extent of their involvement. I informed them I was in the middle of writing a long letter of complaint to the manager when a few days later Gareth was finally given a CPN. It's short term - very short term - 3 months but she is fantastic, she understands personality disorders, she is interested in Gareth, she listens to him, she praises him and she is showing him how to deal with his emotions. She cares. That's all we want. Not someone to roll their eyes... another day, another overdose.... but someone to take us seriously, realise the impact it has and offer us some help.

On Monday the Mental Health Team becomes the Recovery Team. In theory the concept of "recovery" is fantastic, in reality it means service users taking responsibility for themselves and the team having much less involvement. You tell this to a service user whose been in the system for 20 years and see how fabulous they think it is!! I'll explain more about "recovery" next time and you can see what you think! For now I'm hoping to put our Christmas decorations up and keep positive for happy holidays. Good mental health everyone - Sian xx

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