Monday, September 22, 2003

Well, they do say you're never alone with schizophrenia. And they're wrong. Nothing is more lonely than being on your own with voices in your head giving you telepathic commands to attack people before they attack you. The medication helps, both the prescribed stuff and the additional PRN for emergencies. But it does make you sleepy. And less worried about the police reading your mind. Its difficult maintaining a critical mass of fear when you're on anti-psychotics (they're also called major tranquilisers) so you're much more controllable on medication. But you can't help feeling you're going to fall between the cracks in the system as your mind wanders away from reality, the paranoia takes hold and you can't easily go outside any more afraid that you might attack someone in a pre-emptive strike. The PRN meds are an older antipsychotic, Promazine and so far I'm not experiencing any major side effects from them. Even though therer are some pretty ferocious side effects. I'm due to be discharged in the middle of October so we'll see how that works out. I'm already spending more and more time at home and that is o.k. I've got Sky TV to watch which is nice and I make sure that I video documentaries making sure I've got a supply of distractions whenever an emergency or weekend happens. And the Assertive Outreach team comes round and says Hello on days that would otherwise be empty and so far that has been a life saver. Sometimes when the voices are too bad to cope with I just go "hull down", waiting it out in my house, not going out, not interacting with the public, thinking this is mad it can't be happening to me, not again, not again. Why me?

Monday, September 08, 2003

I think I'm institutionalised. Don't exactly know what it means and various NHS types may leap at this saying NO!, you're far too independant. But my life revolves around the hospital and its an awfully steep gravity well to escape from. There's this debate about quality of life for schizophrenia patients and it still isn't resolved. Psychiatric hospitals everywhere are downsizing, with more care in the community schemes being implemented instead. Discharge after nearly two years out of the community - its not an easy thing to cope with.

Sean from the AOT says that my blog should be published somewhere, maybe in the Nursing Times, saying that my experiences can be used to improve nursing practice. Well for one thing, the practice of having acute wards and just CPNs and social workers need to go. The acute wards should stay but they need to have some element of rehab built into them so that people get taught about coping strategies effectively. I reckon I could have saved my job in Berwick if I'd known about coping strategies. If there is to be care in the community, there needs to be more than one overworked CPN covering a broad patch. Instead there needs to be more outreach teams. If care in the community is going to work, you need these teams. It seems a bit strange, me arguing the case for more outreach teams, especially as I don't want to be in the community. But to further integrate myself in the community I have decided to buy a Sky Digital satellite system. I've gone for the £18.50 a month version, its got enough channels for me and I've paid for installation - £100. So far, I'm still not on DLA so it may turn out to be an expensive white elephant but if I get DLA it may prove to be a wise investment. I'll be able to drink tea and watch music television at home, something I do in the hospital when the voices get too loud or when I can't think of anything else to do. Hopefully I won't turn into a couch potato, constantly watching TV all the time.