Greta the Garish Reindeer

Every year, my sister and I get a new Christmas bauble to go on our tree.  Last year, my sister found a bauble that looks like it has a lacy stocking top around it – we dubbed it ‘Brothel Ball’.  Neither of us can say it with a straight face, our mum is torn between wanting to join in with the giggles and not approving and our dad is remaining deliberately and blissfully unaware.

Brothel Ball

This year, my sister is stuck in London until the 20th so she would miss out on the annual hunt for the perfect tree, the getting angry at each other in the process of finding the decorations that are lost somewhere in the depths of the loft, and of course, the actual decorating of the tree.  So we did all the tree bits without her, but I was charged with the task of improving on Brothel Ball.

This turned out to be impossible.  I look ALL OVER the internet (because, you know, going outside isn’t happening at the moment) and found nothing suitable – nowhere could I find that perfect something.  I decided I would make one, so (accompanied) I took a trip to Hobbycraft (yay!).  For only £10 and half a day of manic giggling amusement, I created this monstrosity.

Greta the Garish Reindeer

Greta the Green-Nosed (or Greta the Garish) Reindeer.  She’s about 20cm high.  Her sides feature glittery green pipe cleaner spelling out ‘Merry Xmas’, because ‘Christmas wouldn’t quite fit…  She has silver glitter… things… attached to her antlers, glittery sliver pipe cleaner feet, a Father Christmas beard and the green nose.  She’s papier mâchéd in red tissue paper using glitter glue.  She’s now been shoved unceremoniously into the tree.

I think I win this round Little Sister.

A Long One

I’ve been out of hospital a few days now.

As I walked into my house after two… three… I don’t know… weeks, something felt off.  I couldn’t tell you what, it was like something had been moved or was missing.  I couldn’t put my finger on it; maybe it was nothing tangible, maybe it was, but for that moment it was out of my reach.  The lights were just the same low energy dimness, the smell was the same nothingness, the sounds were the same clanging of unnameable equipment in the kitchen.  But I hadn’t been there, I hadn’t been active in the house and it felt almost empty without my presence.  Other people live there and had lived there while I’d been gone, but I hadn’t.  So perhaps that change I felt, the something, perhaps that was a lack of my own presence.  Then again, I’d never felt it before.  Never when I’d been away on holiday with everyone else, or when I’d been away alone in hospital.  It was almost as if something had left.

Maybe that something had left me rather than the house.  Maybe it was a change I felt inside.

I’ve felt quite low since coming home, but that’s not surprise.  I wasn’t ‘better’ immediately on leaving hospital, I still want to kill myself, die, be dead, or a combination of the above, but now I have hope that at some point I will feel better.  I can put off the date of my death – push it back and push it back until I feel better and it’s gone.  I’m not in danger.  I can, I will and I AM fighting this.

The days seem to be going by somewhat slowly, and I am filling them to the best of my ability.  Each day I aim to achieve one goal, be it small or large.  Some days that goal is merely getting showered and dressed, but other days I can do things like washing clothes or drawing a bit.  Soon I hope to move on to baking and going for short walks, but I’m not there yet.

There was some question that perhaps I’d come out of hospital a few weeks too soon, but I couldn’t stay there, so alone.

My discharge ward round with the consultant was a strange one.  He continually asked if I would be safe at home and I continually evaded the question until eventually I had to explain exactly why it was that I would be safe – there is hope.  He still didn’t want to let me go without a fight but I won in the end of course.

I went to the ward round with bare feet.

Apparently that is an unusual thing to do.  Question upon question: why aren’t you wearing shoes?  Why don’t you like shoes?  It’s simple – I grew up running around barefoot and now I’m comfortable sockless, shoeless, wiggle-toed.  I used to run around the neighbourhood with the other children, all of us wild and barefoot.  Over pavement, gravel driveways, grass, we were comfortable and free.  I have thick skin on my soles to this day.  But the lack of shoes, socks or slippers seemed to aggravate the consultant, it seemed to make him want to keep me in the hospital more.  I still won.

Well I’m out now.

My CPN phoned today.  We were meant to have an appointment this afternoon, but she had some gall bladder issue that had kept her at home so we had a phone appointment instead.  I had seen her the day of my admission.  I had explained to her that I was feeling awful, I had cried (for the first time since March, when my grandfather died.  No small thing), and I had admitted that I had tried to kill myself the night before.  She carefully asked if I would like to talk about it, I explained the feelings I’d had to the best of my ability, words were hard.  It was a huge thing for me to admit.  I’d only tried to kill myself once before, some years ago, it was not some common thing for me.  She sent me home with an appointment to see her in two weeks time.  Today she apologised for not realising how bad things were for me.

When I got home after the appointment I cried heart-deep sobs for an hour straight.

No one was going to help me.  It felt like the pain would never end.  No one would help.  I told my husband and mother what had happened and was marched down to A&E later that day.  The triage nurse called me in within minutes – unheard of – and called the crisis team down.  It was agreed that I should be admitted as I couldn’t be kept safe at home.  Unfortunately there is something of a bed shortage at the moment so they sent me home for the sake of comfort until they could find one.  I was to be watched constantly.  I went to sleep.  I was awoken at around 1am and told I’d be going to a hospital in Roehampton – approximately a two hour drive away.

When we arrived I was stunned.

The place was like a fairy castle, all white crenulations and enormous windows. It turned out to be a Priory hospital, frequented by the very rich and very famous (although none were there during my stay, so far as I know).  My bedroom was huge and all mine; I had a double bed, a TV (on the shortest cable ever), an en suite toilet and bath/shower.  It was like a hotel.  I also had a phone, but that was removed due to ligature risk.  I believe I received exceptional care there, it’s all a bit of a haze and I was really not with it at all.  They immediately increased my antidepressant.

I was moved after a while back to my local hospital.

The care there was good too, just as good.  I’m proud of the NHS.  They put me on quetiapine instead of haloperidol.  The antidepressant increase began to kick in and I began to see light at the end of the tunnel.  I wasn’t feeling better exactly, it’s just that there was hope.  I have explained.

So here I am.  Let there be Hope.