Monday, 30 July 2018

Stereotyping Self Harm

On Saturday night, I popped into Tesco on my way home from work to pick up some flowers as it was my mum's birthday the following day. Despite it being much cooler than the week prior, it was still warm and I had just finished my shift at work and therefore I was wearing short sleeves.. not that I should have to justify myself. Usually when I wear short sleeves out in public, I switch off from other people, I avoid looking at people because if I can't see them looking at my scars then I can't be upset, I did exactly this, until I got to the till aisle and started packing my bag when I noticed the employee staring at my scars whilst scanning my shopping, I looked at her to see if she'd stop if she knew that I had realised but she continued, staring at me so I looked away and continued packing my shopping as fast as I could as I was already feeling extremely self conscious. When all of my items had been scanned, I did not expect for this employee, who is at work to right out ask me "have you been bullied?" with nothing more than a shocked and curious look on her face, I quickly stated "no" because I haven't been bullied, paid for my shopping and left. I was angry, I was so incredibly angry, what gives her the right to ask such a sensitive question when she doesn't even know me? What gives her the right to presume that because I have obvious self harm scars that I was bullied? The thing that made it even more infuriating is that she clearly knew that my scars were from self harm because if not, she wouldn't have even asked if I had been bullied. Another thing that annoyed me, was that this was one of the few times that I had been to a till by myself, no other customers or employee's were around and it felt like she took advantage of this and therefore thought it was OK to ask me such a damn right rude question. I can guarantee that this wouldn't have happened if I was with somebody else and how uneducated and obnoxious can somebody be, to presume that if you have self harm scars, then you've been bullied.

Nothing bugs me more than people creating and promoting stereotypes surrounding Mental Health Issues and Self Harm, absolutely nothing. We are in 2018 and people are still stuck in the ways of stereotypes despite all of the awareness, research and news that is thrown into the world in order to try and change peoples perceptions on Mental Health. Just because you have self harm scars, does not mean that you have necessarily been bullied, I understand that there are people who self harm as a result of bullying however, less than half of the people that I have met, who have experienced self harm were bullied. How about, instead of judging people, being nosy and making individuals feel self conscious, you actually educate yourself because then maybe, you will come to the realisation that Mental Illness is a very real thing and that self harm can be a side effect and coping mechanism for dealing with emotional distress and even many other things. If you don't know the person, let alone their story, you have absolutely no right to ask them questions about their scars because they're not going to waste their time telling you and you've already proven that you're judging them.

I know that there will be people out there saying how I am over reacting which I may be, but these things need to be spoken about because if not, the stigma and stereotypes are only going to remain in place and continue to upset people. Self Harm is not always due to being bullied, Self Harm is not always due to abuse, Self Harm is not always due to distress so don't you dare have the nerve to ask such a ridiculous and offensive question, especially when you're at work and are meant to be giving good customer service. Thank-you for the lady who decided to query me on my scars for inspiring me to write this post but I am afraid that you will not stop me from going out in short sleeves, I think you may have even encouraged me to do so more.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Zoe Sugg: Girl Online | Book Review

Girl Online was never a novel that I intended on reading, I didn't like the cover of the novel; I liked the idea of fairly lights but I feel that the photos attached to the fairy lights made it look far too busy, considering that they are real photographs and I didn't really feel like the novel was my cup of tea. I did however, like how it appeared to be heavily based on Anxiety, which is something that Zoella has struggled with throughout her life. I will just add in here, that this review may contain spoilers.

I actually came across this novel in Audio book format which is something that hadn't really appealed to me before and I hadn't tried, I found the full audio book on YouTube (shh, we can't always follow the rules) and thought that if I could listen to it for free then I may as well. The audio book was over nine hours long which really puts into perspective how much time we all can spend reading a book and although I am not sure who read out the book, they had a very calming voice which I think is essential when finding an audio book for you because if you don't like the voice, then it'll probably ruin the book for you.

Upon starting this novel, it became very apparent for me that this book was targeted for much younger readers, it seemed that it should have been written for around the twelve/thirteen year old mark and it gave me some serious Angus Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging vibes, which I am pretty sure that I read when I was in year seven. This novel was full to the brim of words that make me cringe, I lost count of the amount of times that I heard the words epic and cool and everything just seemed a little bit over exaggerated. There was also a couple of parts really early on that made me wonder if I am actually going to be able to get through this novel such as a part where Penny; the main character uses the phrase BFIS which means Best Friend in School and another part where Penny is talking about a teacher and says "that's another cringe factor about him, that he calls us by our nicknames". It all just seems a little childish yet on the other hand, there were references that are a bit more up to date where Penny refers to Bridget Jones, Jeremy Kyle and even Snoop Dog. I could honestly go on for hours about all of the comments that made me cringe, but I will leave you will this one before I move on; "his grin is puppy dog cute".

One thing that really got me and I couldn't avoid talking about was when Penny used the phrases "must think I'm crazy" and "looking at me like I'm demented" because these words have been used in a negative way and can really offend some readers, you would also think that Sugg would know better considering that not only her novel is based on Anxiety, but she had experienced Anxiety herself and she is a fully grown adult. It wouldn't even have been bad if it was a case of making a negative statement and then challenging it, but it was just thrown out as if it was nothing.

Having said that, I did like that Zoe's life had been shaped into Penny who is in year eleven at school and experiencing all of the high school drama. Penny experiences Anxiety and Panic Attacks throughout the novel and lives in Brighton, she even starts her own anonymous blog talking about her experiences where she signs off as Girl Online, Going Offline. At the end of some chapters, she would add in her blog post which made the novel slightly more unique and interesting.

The story line of this novel was completely unrealistic but I can't deny that it was quite sweet. Penny's mum has a wedding dress shop and gets asked to organise a Downton Abbey themed wedding in New York City just before Christmas. This news comes to Penny just after an awful day at School where she tripped on stage and showed her underwear off to the entire audience (are you getting Angus Thongs vibes yet?) and a video of her doing so had just gone viral on Social Media, she was also at a time where her Panic Attacks weren't manageable and her parents had no idea what was going on, the only person she had told was her next door neighbor and best friend Elliot and the readers of her blog. When she gets the news that they had all been invited to spend a few days in NYC, Penny, her older brother and Elliot were all rather disappointing; Elliot was worried about what he'd do with time away from Penny, Penny couldn't even think about getting on a plane without worrying and her brother was looking forward to seeing his girlfriend. The truth comes out and everyone is so supportive of Penny and a few days later, they all, minus her brother heads off to NYC. 

Penny has never had any luck with boys, she always manages to make a fool out of herself in some way or another, whether it be by falling over or saying the wrong thing, such as telling somebody that she has fleas. However, she unexpectedly stumbles across a guy whilst in New York that doesn't judge her, doesn't laugh at her and that she feels incredibly confident and calm around; she meets Noah who she refers to on her blog as Brooklyn Boy. Noah is a charming teenager who is a few years older than her and the two of them spend a day together, despite only just meeting. They bond instantly and even talk about their deepest secrets such as Penny's panic attacks and Noah loosing both of his parents. Penny feels like she knows everything about Noah, until she arrives back home in England where she discovers that Noah actually has more secrets that Penny is completely oblivious of and the truth all comes out within the end, it always does right? But not without even more drama floating around the internet about Penny and her secret identity behind her blog is revealed.

One thing that did surprise me, was that this novel had a relatively good ending and I actually enjoyed the ending, to the point that I feel that I need to read the next novel within this sequel because I need to know what happened. I also read some reviews and the next novel is apparently, slightly more mature and the story line flows a little better. Overall, I gave this novel a 2 out of 5 because I'm not sure if I would have gotten through it without having somebody read it to me, I must admit though, I did like being able to listen to it whilst getting on with other tasks but I wouldn't say that this novel alone is really worth reading, unless you are into unrealistic, teenage relationships and dramas.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Monday, 16 July 2018

I have been SHORTLISTED for an AWARD?! | I need your help..

It has taken me an entire 14 days to write this post, firstly because I am completely baffled by the entire concept and secondly because I have been so busy. Where do I even begin? I have somehow managed to be shortlisted for the Best Illness Recovery Blog Award which was created by the Health Blogger Community and That Protein as part of their annual Health blog awards. 

When I started this blog, adamant that I was going to speak out about Mental Health Difficulties in order to break the stigma, I never imagined that two years later, I would not only be nominated for an award, but shortlisted; I have made it into the top three for my category and that blows my mind. I am so thankful for each and every one of you, who always clicks onto my blog to read my latest posts or who have messaged me to say how beneficial or inspiring my posts have been. I cannot explain how much the messages, comments and conversations surrounding my blog means to me, I am quite honestly, just a girl who is fed up of the world shitting on not only myself, but so many people and although I can't cure other peoples illnesses, I can try my hardest to give advice and I can speak out, in the hope that it breaks some of the stigma, even if it only changes one persons mindset surrounding Mental Illness.

However, in order to get a shot at winning, I need your votes. You can vote more than once and I will give you the complete rundown on how to vote..

  1. 1. Click this link to the Awards Event website, it may take a few seconds to load which is normal. You will be directed to what looks like a website full of photos but this is the right page.
  2. 2. Scroll down, if you're using a mobile then it may take a little longer to scroll down but you basically need to keep scrolling (past my face) until you get to the bottom of the shortlisted bloggers where you will find a section titled 'Vote for your favourite Bloggers' which has a big green button underneath that says start.
  3. 3. Follow the instructions, you will be asked for your first name and email address, you will also get the option to opt in for receiving an electronic newsletter.
  4. 4. You need to chose my category within the list which is 'Chronic Illness & Illness Recovery'.
  5. 5. Click on my face with my name and blog name underneath.
  6. 6. Press Register.

And that is it. As I mentioned before, you can vote multiple times and every single vote counts, I would appreciate every single vote and let me know if you have voted for me, as I would love to be able to say thank-you to you personally and thank-you to everyone who has already voted!

Voting is open until the first week in August, so there isn't much time! The event is taking place on the 15th September in London and tickets are on sale right now for £21.79, which can be found here if you are interested in attending.

Thank-you for reading & thank-you all so much for giving me this opportunity, Tay x

Sunday, 8 July 2018

25 Things Nobody tells you about taking Psychiatric Medication

For this weeks Mental Health Monday, I thought that I would do something a little difference which is what nobody tells you about taking Psychiatric Medication, Anti Depressants and Sleeping Medication in particular. I have asked a few friends about what they wish they were told before starting medication and have created a list of a few things to keep in mind when starting medication.

  1. The constant fatigue - I cannot explain to you how tired and exhausted I can get over doing the simplest of tasks, I can go for a ten minute walk and feel like I need a rest but this is definitely a common side effect of many medications used for mental health which can be quite frustrating, especially if you have a lot to do.
  2. Missing out on things because you have to take your medication on time - The amount of times that I have had to turn things down, or make pit stops at home to pick up my pills is ridiculous. Medication should be taken on time every day, and I have had to turn down nights out, last minute staying at somebody's house and even going out late at night because I need to take my medication.
  3. The hot sweats - Hot sweats are just as grim as they sound and are particularly common with sleeping tablets. I have had countless times where I have woken up, soaked in my own sweat because my medication didn't let me wake up and notice that I was too hot. I find that also, you can often wake up freezing cold but sweating and it really is disgusting but it is the reality.
  4. The lack of appetite yet sudden weight gain - Most medications have side effects of either weight gain or weight loss; some even both, but I also find that quite often, my medication causes me to lose my appetite yet I still manage to gain weight.
  5. The almost non existent sex drive - This point came up so many times when talking to others about side effects of medication and it really is true, before medication, you feel so bad that you have no sex drive but with medication, you have almost no sex drive so its a bit of a no win situation and can really put a strain on some relationships.
  6. The unknown - I always think to myself, how would I be without my medication? Would my head be different? Would I actually feel worse? Would I be somebody else? Would I have a completely different personality?
  7. Acne - Spots and blemishes are common for everyone, but usually it is only occasionally that a spot would pop up but with medication, you may as well still be a fourteen year old with the amount of spots that pop up, at the most inconvenient of times.
  8. Feeling numb - Most people say that feeling really down is the worst feeling but I have to disagree, feeling numb, to me personally, is the worst feeling because you don't feel anything, you're desensitised to everything and everything is blank. Something terrible could happen and you'd shrug it off, but something amazing could also happen and you'd shrug it off, it can even come across as having no care for anything, or being grumpy.
  9. How difficult it can be to come off of them - Everyone is different and therefore, everyone's bodies react differently to coming off of medications. Withdrawal symptoms are horrific, for me Sertraline is almost impossible to come off and I am still trying to reduce it, but the headaches, the nausea and the random aches and pains are horrific, and do not benefit your mindset. I have a friend who struggled to come off Venlafaxine, another Quetiapine and another Escitalopram yet had no problems coming off of medications that caused other people withdrawal symptoms. Nobody knows how your body will react to coming off of a medication so it is quite difficult to tell before even starting it, how easily you will be able to come off it.
  10. How much courage it takes to start them - Many people really struggle to find the courage to start taking medication, they worry about what others may think, the side effects and even if it'll make them feel worse. Nobody tells you that you will have to think carefully about taking medication and doing your research into if they're beneficial.
  11. The headaches and other random aches and pains - I always get random headaches and random shooting pains over my body which I never got before starting medication, they're very random and quite short but they can be so inconvenient, painful and annoying.
  12. The after taste - Some medications, especially sleeping tablets can leave a horrible after taste that I can usually taste up to 24 hours after taking the medication. I find that I often get a horrible, stale, metallic taste that lingers in my mouth and makes water taste vile, which isn't ideal for somebody who drinks a lot of water. It can put you off eating and drinking and is really not pleasant.
  13. The price of prescriptions - My friend mentioned this point to me and despite the fact that I know people are going to have lots to say, it is still a point that nobody tells you about. I completely understand that prescriptions have to be paid for, considering that we are lucky enough to have the NHS but prescriptions can be expensive, especially when on multiple different ones. Luckily, the NHS have a prescription scheme service where you only pay a set amount each month and covers all of your prescriptions but before finding out about this, I was having to pay around £40 a month for medication that I wasn't even sure if worked.
  14. Having either two or ten hours sleep - This is such a valid point and I have been so guilty of this, some nights, despite the medication I just can't sleep, and other nights I don't seem to be able to wake up, there is no middle. Some medications can even make you sleep more of make you struggle to sleep.
  15. Not knowing how long you'll be on your medication for - When I first got put on one particular medication, I presumed that it would be for about a year at the most, I never thought that more than four years down the line, I would still be on that same medication and I honestly have no idea how much longer I will be on this medication, it makes me somewhat stable and therefore I don't think that I am going to be rushed off of it anytime soon.
  16. You should not drink alcohol - This stands for almost all medications, alcohol is a no go because it can react with your medication, make your medication not work and can even harm your liver. Even when you are going out, you have to make the decision of if you're going to have just one drink and still take your medication or if you're going to drink a lot so you can't take your medication, which can make you feel worse the next day as not only would you have a hangover, but you will have missed a dose of your medication. I am probably the worst person for this because I seem to take my medication no matter how much I have had to drink which often leaves me with three day hangovers, which I don't recommend and isn't fun.
  17. You rely on them just as much as you would a person - I am guilty of often relying on medication, if I am having a bad day and want to sleep, I will take my medication early and rely on it to help me sleep, same with PRN (medication that is taken as needed), you can just take one to calm you down and make you feel better.
  18. You become afraid to come off them - I know I have already spoken about worries about starting medication, but coming off of them is another big worry because you know how you were and felt before you started medication and its a risk to go back to that, you also worry that it'll send you backwards or even that you will feel the same and you've wasted years and lots of money on medication that hasn't worked.
  19. Having the shakes constantly - If you know me, you'd know how much of a shaky person I am, I can't help it but it is something that happens as a result of my medication. This is a particularly common side effect in SSRI's and SNRI's (types of antidepressants) and some people get it worse than others, but it can be very frustrating, especially if you're trying to do something such as sew or draw.
  20. Feeling sick a lot of the time - I am always complaining about how I feel sick and I do tend to feel sick a lot of the time but often, without being sick, this is again due to my medication which can be frustrating because I have often cancelled plans because I don't feel well.
  21. In most cases, you'll have to come off of your medication if you fall pregnant - This can be very stressful if you've just found out you're pregnant, you're already not in a great mindset, your hormones are everywhere and you are having to stop your medication. It can be worrying for many women as they worry that they'll deteriorate whilst pregnant which can ultimately affect their baby. However, if they continued with their medication, it could also harm the baby. 
  22. There is always trial and error - I think one of the biggest misconceptions about mental health medication is that you get put on a medication and you start to feel better. This is so far from the reality, usually you have to trial a number of different medications before finding one that is right and beneficial to you, this can take months and even years and unfortunately some medications, can cause people to feel worse instead of better.
  23. There are certain foods that need to be avoided with specific medication - This is because they can react with the medication and cause the individual to become ill.
  24. Medication does not work on its own - This is such a big one, people commonly think that medication is the answer but it really isn't. Alongside medication, therapy and self care is so essential in order to help someone to feel better.
  25. What works for somebody else, may not work for you - I have slightly touched on this topic earlier on, but just because somebody finds a certain medication really beneficial, does not mean that it'd work for you, everyone's bodies and brains are different so it is important to find what works for you.
Overall, if you're considering starting medication, do not let this post put you off, it is just the reality of living whilst on medication and secondly, do you research, when starting my medication, there wasn't much time for me to research into it but I would highly recommend doing so, so that you can have more of an option and say in what sort of thing you think could work.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Friday, 6 July 2018

Pixie Lott Paint Metallics Wash Out Hair Colour Review

I have been seeing the Pixie Lott Paint non-permanent hair dyes floating around for the past year or two and every time I am drawn to try them out. I am not one to dye my hair and I do not have much experience around the topic at all but I knew that I didn't want to bleach my hair, and according to this pack I did not need to. I also am aware that it isn't recommended to buy box hair dyes and that going to a salon can leave much better results but it was an impulsive decision, and dying my hair once wont hurt, right?

I cannot explain how excited I was to try this product, I bought two boxes as I wasn't sure how much I would need and I read the instructions about five times before even starting the process. According to the box, my hair should have turned a dark silver/grey shade and would wash out anywhere between two to ten washes later. Inside the box, you get the hair colour, which is already mixed up in a tube, a pair of disposable gloves, two sashes of wash out shampoo which can be used to fade the colour if you wanted it lighter and an instruction booklet. 

This product was £5.99 which I am aware isn't very expensive for hair dye but the packaging looked promising. It has a metallic silver box, with a photo of Pixie Lott on the front and the results, depending on your hair colour, on the back. I believe that this product is from a much newer range that didn't launch until last year and I chose the Silver Shine shade, which is number 2 in the metallics range.

I had washed my hair earlier in the day and sectioned out my hair before damping it in order to start the process. I thoroughly applied the colour and brushed through my hair, ensuring that the product was completely covering it all. I used one tube of product and didn't even open the second box, I also didn't use the gloves provided as they looked papery and quite bad quality so opted for plastic ones instead. The instructions stated to leave the dye on for twenty minutes, unless your hair doesn't hold colour well and therefore to leave it on for forty. I left mine on for forty just because in the past, colour hasn't taken to my hair too well and considering that it is a wash out colour, what's the worst that can happen? I had decided that I wasn't even going to attempt to use the fade out shampoo until I had seen the final look. Once the time was up, I rinsed out the product using warm water and did notice quite a bit of the colour come out, which is usually normal when you've just dyed your hair. I brushed and dried my hair and my hair turned out pretty much exactly the same colour as it was prior to dying it, a couple of bits may have gone slightly lighter but no actual silver pigment had taken to my hair. I will add in before and after photos (left is before, right is after), but they were from completely different days and at different times, so the lighting was different.

I cannot actual believe how much of a fail this product was, it felt more like a shampoo than it did a dye and didn't leave any pigment at all. I will not be repurchasing this product again, one thing that I did find though was that there was barely any reviews online at all, I really struggled to find reviews for the entire range, let alone the metallics range. This product was so poor that I would barely give it a 1 out of 5 and would not recommend it in the slightest. I am still ambitious about having grey or silver hair so I am sure that soon enough, you'll see me with another dye review.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

John Green: Turtles All The Way Down | Book Review

I have loved John Green as a Young Adult author since I read and sobbed my heart out to the very well known novel, The Fault in Our Stars back in 2014 and have been on the hunt to find this book in the library, ever since I saw it had been released. It is safe to say that this novel did not disappoint, it contained everything that I look for within a story and I found it painfully relatable. 

Aza has been through quite a lot within her sixteen years of existence and is particularly caught up with the loss of her father which has resulted in her struggling with both anxiety and compulsions, which has been captured extremely well by Green. We learn about the challenges that Aza faces on a daily basis, and we sit in frustration at the lack of her best friend, Daisy's understanding of these challenges but how can you understand something that you haven't been through yourself? You could start by being a little less narrow minded, but i'll leave it at that. I absolutely love how honest, open and raw this novel is, Aza's struggle with mental health is not once put under the radar and is a consistent aspect of the story-line, Green doesn't pretend that it gets better, that Aza is suddenly well again, it is real and it doesn't go away and it adds so much emotion, you almost want to meet Aza in real life and tell her that she isn't alone and that she needs to take her medicine. As a reader, you want so desperately for Aza to get better but she can't, and Green takes a different approach to many other YA authors who write about mental health because he doesn't just make it all go away and he wont sugar coat it.

In all honesty, I wasn't too interested at first in the love story that is present within this novel, I feel like it started pretty unrealistic and I just didn't feel invested but as time went on, I warmed a little more to it and slowly came to love the relationship that Aza and Davis develops, it is sweet, it is sad and it is realistic but most importantly, Aza realises that she isn't alone and that there are people who understand her. When Aza and Daisy decides to make contact with Davis,after finding out about a police investigation that is going on, they take on an investigation of their own which I love and I think that everybody has done at least once in their lives. Aza uncovers a lot about Davis which he equally does to her and despite the pain and grief, losing a parent brought them together.

This novel is filled to the brim with ups and downs, Aza falls out with people and falls in love with others, she has good days and bad, her story is real and sad yet inspiring and comforting. She makes improvements with her health and then has set backs and I love everything about this novel, especially the ending; the ending is everything that so many novels are missing, it makes your heart warm and you feel satisfied and at peace, you know that no matter what life throws in Aza's direction, they'll be some hiccups along the way, but she'll be OK and that is enough.

I would highly recommend giving this novel a read, it is one of the best novels that I have read so far this year and it is one of the stories that you can read over and over again.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Monday, 2 July 2018

Dear NSFT | 20 months later

I have been debating writing a part two to my original open letter to Norfolk & Suffolk Youth Mental Health Team pretty much since I uploaded the post, back in 2016. A lot has happened and I actually have now been discharged from the service, so it is realistically, the perfect timing.

Dear NSFT, when I last wrote one of these blog posts, you had just gotten out of special measures which I struggled to believe but unsurprisingly, within a year, your service was once again rated as inadequate, something that I think everyone was expecting; both service users and employees. I must admit, this post isn't aimed at every aspect of your service but mainly at 80 St Stephens Road, a place that I have regularly visited over the past four and a half years, a place that has sometimes helped me and other times hindered my recovery but it is a place that seriously needs severe improvements because if not, there is going to be absolutely no service and deaths are going to rise up even higher than they already are. Don't get me wrong, I am guessing that the lack of care and the incompetence of some workers is the same across all aspects of the service, but I can only speak out of experience for 80 St Stephens.

4th March 2018

Over the past 18 months, I have had more disagreements than ever with the professionals involved in my care, I have impulsively stopped DBT upon finding out that my therapist was leaving and I am still on the same medication because getting a medication review seems almost impossible.

I feel like I have changed massively too, I was in a psychology review a couple of weeks ago and it was mentioned how I have been in the same services for seven years now which is a long time, I feel like I have exhausted all of the therapy options and I feel like nobody knows what to do with me. I have also turned quite withdrawn and am very reluctant to talk about how I am feeling due to in the past, case managers leaving after I have opened up to them. I struggle to explain how I am feeling as it is which I think is probably more of a coping method than a trust issue. I am scared that talking about how I feel, will only result in me feeling worse so I tend to bottle it up, which I know isn't a good way to go but bad habits are hard to break.

I found this draft whilst writing up this post and felt that it was important to add it in, just to show how this post isn't purely based on the fact that I have been discharged and I think that it is nice to see how I was feeling about the service, a few months before I was discharged.

19th June 2018

I have apparently been discharged, in fact tomorrow is 28 days since I was discharged from your service, over a phone call may I add. I am not going to dwell too much over my discharge as I have already spoken heavily about that in a previous post but what really pushed me to write this post was that tomorrow is 28 days since I was discharged, and a discharge letter has not even been sent out yet, despite my numerous attempts to chase it up. When I was discharged, I was given very minimal advice which has slightly improved over the past couple of weeks, I have been given a bit of advice about what to do about my medication even though this is a bit pointless considering that my medication should now be dealt with by my GP, who wont see me in regards to my medication because as far as he is aware, I am still a service user under NSFT.

Another issue that I want to talk about is support, or my lack of support. I wasn't discharged because I was ready to be in the slightest, in my eyes, I was discharged because I missed a couple of appointments and because they don't know what to do with me anymore and they are under huge demand, so its out with the old and in with the new. According to my case manager, in a psychology review a few months prior to my discharge, I wasn't in a mindset which was ready to engage in therapy, I am saying according because the outcome letter of this assessment, never got sent to me despite me being told that it would be resent. I don't understand how somebody who is unable to engage in therapy, is ready for discharge but apparently NSFT have their own idea of when the right time is to discharge an individual from their care. So it has been almost a month that I have apparently not been within the service, so not only have I had no support from NSFT, but I also haven't been able to receive support by going to my GP because once again, they are under the impression that I am still with 80 St Stephens.

I think one of the key factors in my discharge was that I am not regularly engaging in self destructive behaviours and therefore to them, I am not as worthy of receiving support as other service users who are still engaging in self destructive behaviours. Before anybody gets the wrong idea, I completely understand that these individuals are more of a high risk and that they may need more support, but I also don't see that as a justified reason to discharge another service user. Luckily, I have stayed safe over the past month and haven't landed myself in A&E but if I had, I am wondering if they would too, not be able to offer me any other support because I am apparently still under the care of NSFT. I called the reception of 80 St Stephens today, and even the receptionist said that there is no evidence to suggest that my Case Manager has discharged me and I am sick of being stuck in limbo.

2nd July 2018

It has been a couple of weeks since I started writing this post and my discharge letter actually arrived on the 22nd June; 30 whole days since I was originally discharged although, saying that, the date that I was discharged from services was written as the 20th June, most probably because they know that they should have got that letter out sooner and failed to, despite my numerous requests. Within my discharge letter, it has been stated that I "should be able to stay well if I commit to my wellness checklist", first of all, I should? How reassuring, secondly, this is the first time I have heard about a wellness checklist so I am a little bit confused, and thirdly, If I am classed as well and this is how my life is going to be, I am not sure if I want it.

To be honest, there isn't too much written in my discharge letter but one thing that did stand out to me was the fact that it is said that I can self refer back which I am almost certain is not how it works, could you imagine just calling up and telling them that you want to refer yourself to their service? They'd laugh in your face and tell you that you need to go to your GP.

Finally, in regards to the discharged letter I received, my case manager scribbled a note all over the bottom which I do not appreciate, she could have written it on a separate piece of paper, especially considering that at some point, I may need this paperwork.

Overall, my entire discharge from NSFT was shambles, I wasn't given any professional support throughout the time it took for my letter to be written minus a discharge medication review which I refused because I had already been discharged, so why would I want to go back? I found it really difficult to seek support because I felt that it was unfair to use my friends and family when they don't know how best to support me and also because my friends often struggle themselves and its not fair to put all of my problems onto them when they have their own to deal with, it has made me feel completely unworthy, it has been proven that I am not worthy of help or support, I have been dropped and I don't have any hope left because if specialists can't help me, then who can? In my head, I am under the impression that this is my life, this is how it is going to be, I wont ever get better and that i'll just have to deal with being ill until I die. 

I was going to file a complaint against NSFT in regards to my experience, support and discharge because it should not have taken a month for me to receive a letter, especially when I had queried the service on it multiple times but if I was going to complain, I would want to complain about everything that happened that was wrong, that shouldn't have happened and that could have cost me my life but as my mum said, what is the point when it may turn into my word against theirs and that they may even say that I am unwell and therefore am not telling the truth which as bad as it sounds, I can see happening. However, is it really right to hold back with a complaint out of fear that your words will be twisted? I really can't help but worry that the same thing will happen to somebody else and they will lose their life and therefore, I feel that I have a duty to complain, but I equally wouldn't want to risk a professionals career because deep down, I do have a heart. 

In the near future, I do need to find the confidence to make an appointment with my local GP, I haven't ever met my doctor and I am full of worries but I also have nothing left to lose and I need to get a plan put in place for my medication. Despite all of the stress, worries and emotions, I am pleased to be out of the absolute joke of a service that I have spent more than six years in, my support was very minimal so I haven't seen a drastic change minus the fact that I can no longer access immediate support when required. I am sure that I will keep plodding on as usual, because relapsing isn't worth it, especially with the risk that I could end up back under the care of NSFT.

One last thing that I would like to mention, is that I cannot believe the amount of time, effort and money that went into redecorating 80 St Stephens Road with painting the meeting rooms and buying new chairs when I can think of a dozen other things the money could have been better spent on but that just sums the service up, right?

Thank-you for reading, Tay x
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