Getting Support During A Mental Health Crisis: My Experience

On Monday, this week, I started to get my telltale signs that a crisis was on its way.

Over the next four days, my mental health rapidly deteriorated, and I realised that I may end up dead if I do not seek immediate help.

I needed to practice what I preach and not just hope that my low mood will pass.

My first port of call was googling what to do in a crisis, like I have many times before and it never changes. I was yet again disappointed by that lack of options for a crisis.

It was a setback and it was a few more hours, just before I was supposed to leave for college, when I just cracked.

My hands were shaking and my heart was thumping, trying to escape my chest, each breath felt like a dagger. I used my now clammy hands to call up a local mental health service, who had seen me in January.

The receptionist immediately put me through to the on-call psychologist, who got me to talk through my feelings and then spoke to my husband and let him know how he could support me.

Ideally, the psychologist wanted me to be seen by the Crisis team right away but the crisis team demanded that I be seen by the on-duty first. I was called in and within half an hour I was sitting in a room with a psychologist.

She was a nice woman, she was very understanding and wasn’t overly intrusive. She calmed me down and was good at not using triggering or upsetting language. I very soon felt like I could trust her, trust is something I never have.

At this point, I was suffering from various physical symptoms and had become even more hypersensitive than usually, things were making wave-like movements around me.

It was suggested that I had many symptoms of someone with Autism, though not a formal diagnosis, it was nice to hear a professional agree with my theories, without even telling them.

At the end of the session the psychologist told me my options, I told her that I did not want to see my GP, as she did not listen and that I was scared of being sectioned.

I was reassured that I wouldn’t be sectioned and she encouraged me, as it was her opinion, that I go to A&E right away. She told me she would be at the hospital later anyway so if any problems arise, she would sort it out.

I headed on my long and anger-provoking walk to the hospital, I binge ate to calm my nerves and eventually we made it.

I waited in the queue to talk to the receptionist, the wait made me anxious.

I was trying to figure out what to say, I was certain I would be judged.

To my surprise, the receptionist was kind and very gentle, which helped with the anxiety.

We waited around 45 mins to see a triage nurse. I became very aware of the noise and the disease around me, I felt like I was going to get flu and die, the lights also gave me a raging headache.

The triage nurse was surprisingly kind, she kept it brief but without being rude. I was out of this process in minutes. I felt so silly for believing the nurse would be as bad as all the ones in my past experiences.

At this point I had felt very guilty by being in A&E. It was a busy night and I felt like everyone was more in need than me, like I was wasting time.

It made it worse that a major crash had occurred locally, meaning the hospital would be stretched, I felt pathetic compared to the poor victims in the crash.

The part that was a problem in this whole crisis was the waiting time, I was waiting almost 3 hours to see a psychologist.

The time went so slow and It made me want to leave, I was winding myself up and I just wanted to be in bed, the environment was making me mad. I felt in-prisoned.

At about 10:45pm I was finally seen. The psychologist was understanding and very wise, he was kind and made my options very clear, he was patient with me until we came to the best decision for treatment. I felt listened to, like I was finally being treated with respect and dignity.

We got home very late, I went straight to bed, it was still after 2am before I slept as my head was banging and my mind was racing, the important thing is that I did rest.

Fast forward to today, I’ve taken it easy and about 10am I got a call to say that I would be seen today, which was unexpected as I thought I’d have to wait through the weekend to be seen.

The problem was saying someone will show up between 1pm and 5pm, so naturally, I don’t eat and I do nothing but wait by the door the whole time because I’m a restless waiter.

At around 4pm I finally got a visit. We spoke about what support I needed and decided that I will go to the hospital next week for my medication to be looked at so I can sleep.

He suggested that I may have BPD (behavioral personality disorder) which I have previously considered as a cause. The man was very nice, kind and understanding, his whole body language was comforting.

I will be visited over the weekend to be checked on but for now, I think that my call for help has been received and I will be able to get treatment soon and formal diagnosis.

Honestly, I was pessimistic and wary of the NHS and Crisis team due to past experiences but I have had nothing bad to say about the staff.

I’m being looked after, so if you are avoiding seeking help as you are scared or skeptical, take it from someone who understands, it’s a good thing to get help.

Once you’ve got the ball rolling, the only way is forward, it’s not a weakness to need aid in your battle against your mental illness.

Keep fighting, don’t suffer alone.

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