Tag Archives: cmht

Being Invalidated

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

“To invalidate means to cancel something or make it void, as if it never happened. In invalidate you see the word valid which means true or correct. When you invalidate something you are making it less true, less official, or less correct.” (vocabulary.com, March 2021).

The meaning above can be applied to things you experience. It can be caused by other people and events. It can make you question your thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences and reactions. It can make you feel awful. And people sometimes don’t even realise they are doing this to you.

When you tell someone that what they feel isn’t justified or to just stop feeling that way, then you are invalidating the way they feel. You are telling them what they are feeling is not true and not correct. Yes, you may not have felt that way in that situation but everyone is different and that doesn’t mean that what that person is feeling is invalid.

It’s important we think before we speak. It’s what might feel like silly things that can have an effect on other people and cause them to feel invalidated and it can start when we are children. What we are saying may to us sound reassuring but it ccam invalidate the child. Saying to a child who is nervous about an exam that they shouldn’t be is invalidating. Instead saying you understand why they feel that way but you feel like they are well prepared so it should go well is acknowledging their feelings as valid while reassuring at the same time.

Some mental health professionals could also do with understanding the power of invalidation. Telling someone that what they are experiencing is minimal or not that bad can have lasting effects on everyone and especially those with a mental illness. It can cause them to deteriorate further. On my write ups from the psychiatrist appointments it would often say my self harm was superficial and it would make me try to cause myself more harm as I felt they weren’t taking me seriously. I’ve also heard of people with eating disorders who are told they are not thin enough being made sicker.

I know that although having a diagnosis can be a burden I felt it a validation for what I was/am experiencing. It made me feel that someone could see that something was wrong and I needed help. However this means professionals need to be careful about removing diagnoses from patients as it can add to invalidation. You are taking away the validation you gave them. There needs to be a conversation and careful explanation.

It is possible also to invalidate yourself as well. This is harder to stop doing, I know I do it a lot. It’s important for us to try and allow ourselves to experience our feelings and acknowledge them. This is easier said than done though.

So when speaking to anyone try to consider their feelings and not cancelling them out. We all need to think of how our words and actions impact on others.

Therapy 2021: Session 5

Date of session: 02/02/2021

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

Today was my last session of individual therapy. This will be more of a thoughts on things post as there was not much content to the session to be shared. The main part of the therapy today was to do a screening for joining a trauma information group in March.

With the end suddenly happening (it was only mentioned last session, last week) I feel abandoned. I feel I have no support. I feel alone. They say phone the duty worker or crisis team. These are options I can’t do due to my home situation and the anxiety that means I don’t feel able to talk easily to staff I don’t know. Also I know that someone who mans the duty phone is someone I put in a complaint about and so I was removed from her care. She has since blatantly ignored me when I offered a hello when I saw her in the building of my community mental health team and turned her head away from me. She has also said some things for which the complaint was made. I’m terrified it would be her that answers. I have lost so much support in the last year.

I know I’m lucky to move onto this group but it’s a stop gap. I’m apparently not safe to do online trauma therapy so this is a trauma information group. This will just give us eight weeks of generic information about skills. For this I have to be low risk and stable. So that is what has been said while I’m not safe to do the one to one. I find this confusing.

I’ve not self harmed for seven weeks. I hate myself for this. The anxiety is high. But I’m expected to just be OK. That’s how it feels at least. I just want to harm again. I feel it wouldn’t matter anymore. No one would check on it. And so what if I go to far. It wouldn’t matter.

I know I sound pathetic and I probably am. But I’m angry and upset. Maybe I should of left this post for another day but I needed these thoughts out before I explode at someone. Especially as I’ve been told by someone else something that has annoyed me and left me feeling even more left out and alone. It’s left me with suicidal thoughts (I’m safe and won’t act on them). I’m tired of being made to fight so hard.

I apologise for being self pitying. We shall see how the trauma information group goes when it starts in March. I’m unsure if I will record this or not. For now this is the end of therapy.

Therapy 2021: Session 2

Date of session: 12/01/2021

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

This session was an incredibly difficult one. I still feel very unwell from the session even after over 24 hours after the session. Many things were covered.

We started the session by looking at how I am doing with not self harming. At the time of the session I was on day twenty eight since I’d last sef harmed. I explained it was still causing me extreme anxiety that people will become ill. I explained I’m trying to keep going over the rational side of things but it is hard, especially before sleep. We talked again about the rational side and things I can do to make my bedtime easier. She then set me the hardest thing I could think of doing at this time. She wanted me to wish for her to become ill each day.

As soon as she said this to me I felt physically sick. The thought of saying that I want anyone to become ill is just so against what I think and feel and do. I’m still finding it hard to comprehend and my first day of trying it has left me feeling even more physically unwell. I understand the point is to show me I don’t have the power to make people ill but I’m still scared.

We also looked back aty results from the Dissociative Experience Scale (DES) that I completed in the last session. It came out pretty high at 85% out of 100% which says I’m dissociating a lot of the time in different ways. We looked at specific questions I scored highly in more detail so she could get a bit of a more in depth understanding about my dissociation. Problem with this though is that when you dissociate quite often not aware of things so it was tricky.

We also completed the IESR questionnaire which looks at the effect of trauma on my life. This consisted of twenty two questions related to how much certain things, linked to trauma, effected me in the last week. I scored fifty three which is apparently quite high and suggests PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is stressing me to the point it impacts on my immune system. So it’s nice to know I score highly somewhere… 😕 Above thirty seven identifies PTSD. Apparently it was not surprising I scored highly. It was a difficult questionnaire to do.

All the things I’m doing now are working towards starting proper trauma therapy. I’m feeling really apprehensive about it all at the moment. Life is feeling extremely difficult and I’m working on finding new ways to cope. We shall see how things go.

Therapy 2021: Session 1

Date of session: 05/01/2021

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

Today was the first session of the new year after having a two week break. Its been a hectic break that has brought up a lot of issues.

Before Christmas it was decided that I would try and stop self harming. I haven’t self harmed since the day before our last session on the 16th December 2020. That means I havent self harmed for three weeks. She was pleased with this. I have struggled with the anxiety this has brought me.

With an OCD element to my self harm, it means stopping creates anxiety especially surrounding the health of those who are special to me. I believe if I don’t harm myself they will get ill. This has been tested greatly as my mum became unwell and was hospitalised only days after stopping. My friends son has also been unwell and this has added anxiety of whether I’ve caused his illness.

Within the session today we discussed this and did an analysis of all the times my mum has been unwell and whether my self harming behaviour could of been related. Obviously, when you look at it rationally, it turned out it was just a 50/50 chance. Rationally my self harm wasn’t having an effect. Also she pointed out that I was trying to manipulate the facts to fit with my thoughts or as she put it “your OCD”. It has given me a lot to consider. I can see the rationality but believing it is hard.

We also did a questionnaire to start working towards trauma therapy. As I have experienced dissociation she wanted to see how it effects me. The questionnaire we did was called the DES or Dissociative Experience Scale. It was interesting to go through as it made me see that maybe some things I experience are dissociation rather than normal. I didn’t get the results today but will discuss next session.

I don’t know what the sessions ahead will involve but I’m sure they won’t be easy. Thanks for all the support I get. I feel I’m learning a lot.

Therapy 2020: Session 9

Date of session: 28/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

Going into today’s session I was not feeling great. I was in fact dreading it and for the last few days I was considering whether to just cancel it. However I didn’t and so the session went ahead.

When asked how I felt I explained I didn’t know how to explain how I felt and wasn’t even sure I knew myself. We then went through it step by step to try and identify the emotions. This seemed to take the whole session.

Disecting the emotions was something I found difficult to do and to deal with. Emotions to me are so alien in terms of what they are called. To me they are just either good or bad. And disecting them actually made me feel worse. For some reason it made them feel more overwhelming.

My issues with emotions have long been there. I feel stupid that I can’t name them. I just find it frustrating.

I’m finding therapy is making me realise how much I’m actually struggling. I am finding issues I didn’t know were there and it’s demoralising. It’s like I’m never going to be able to function as a normal human being. This happens each time I do therapy. I see things I thought I was managing broken down and show I’m not doing as well as I thought.

I also forgot to do the activity mentioned to me last week which I totally forgot about. This didn’t go down well. There were also some other things that made me want to tell her that I know about mental illness and other things. There are times I feel I’m being talked to like I’m an idiot and have no idea about certain things. This is probably my fault. I struggle to talk. I struggle to find words.

I’m not sure where we are going to go with this next week. I was grateful for cat cuddles and being wrapped in a blanket during this session. I’m still finding the whole distance thing hard otherwise. Dreading next week already.

Therapy 2020: Session 5

Date of session: 30/09/2020

Please be aware that some content may be triggering. Please take care 💚

Today’s session started off with asking me to look back on last week’s session and how I felt. I admitted I felt angry but found it hard to discuss the causes of this anger. I think for me, even though I know she is a professional and I don’t feel we get on very well, I’m still scared that she is going to stop the therapy and abandon me and I’m scared to say anything that may cause that. I’ve waited a long time for this and pinned so many hopes on it that I’m terrified of losing it and losing hope, though some of that feeling is already creeping in.

We went back over the self harm issue again and how I’m loathe to let it be the main goal of my therapy to stop it. We went through wise, reasonable and emotional mind from DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) skills to look at where I’m at. Apparently even when I think I’m being reasonable I’m not. After this we left it to go on to discuss other things, taking away from this being a large goal.

The main part of therapy today was to look at the voice I hear. I was trying to explain how even though I’m aware that it is either a chemical imbalance or trauma based phenomena it does not stop the impact it has on me. I did start to feel invalidated here, which felt ironic as later when looking at something else she stated part of my issues come from being invalidated.

Overall there is not much to discuss from today. I was very frustrated through a lot of it as I felt I wasn’t making myself understood and I couldn’t find the words to make myself understood. There are many things I struggle with and get upset with and this is a big one. It’s why many times in my actual life I don’t talk to others in case I’m misunderstood. Speaking, for me, seems to take away my ability to use language affectively. And even if I write down and read it I try to alter it and again become frustrated.

I was given my first piece of homework today as well. After I informed her I was not worth anything she decided that was not the case and wants me to find ten things that would be different I was worth something. She has no idea of the evidence I have to back up the statement that I am not worth anything.

Dear GP 2

There is an amazing account on Twitter called Dear GP where people write letters to their GP about their encounters with mental health professionals in the same way mental health professionals write letters about their patients to their GP. You can visit the website here. I thought I would have a second go at this below after an encounter during lockdown. My first attempt is here.

Dear GP

Today I had a telephone consultation with care coordinator M due to the current lockdown conditions. This was an unscheduled appointment and was preceded by a text message which stated that she wanted to talk to me straight away and was demanding of immediate contact without considering my prior commitments.

When we spoke to each other on the phone, M was in a jovial and friendly mood. She seemed to need reassurance about our working relationship due to comments from other staff members based on what she had said. She denied she had said anything to other staff members about our working relationship and stated “we work well don’t we?”. Her need for reassurance shows, I believe, an insecurity and possible fear of abandonment.

We then discussed my mental wellbeing. Here M was keen to show that everyone is struggling and dismissed suicidal ideation. Her concentration during this part of the conversation seemed to dip and she appeared to want this to end quickly.

Her next actions I believe confirm her fear of abandonment. She decided to put an end to our working together stating a too high workload. She did however say that I could always let her know good news. She seemed not to wish to cut ties completely showing difficulty with endings.

Overall I think M may need to work on her social skills but I do not wish to see her again and feel she will be fine under your care. Please do not rerefer.

Yours

Jo

Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Kindness At A Higher Level

We live in a society that is often far from kind. I’m not talking about individuals, I’m talking about policy and societal norms. Being individually kind is important but we need kindness as a society to make a larger change.

Unfortunately we live in a world led my money rather than kindness and what is best for people. I can understand this. Money is finite and so we have to spend with care and this can mean cuts that are the opposite of kindness. We see this in mental health services all the time. People are turned away as not sick enough or not enough resources. People are sent miles from home when unwell and needing the kindness of family close by. There are some changes that really need to be made and cutting more and more is doing the opposite of kindness and therefore worsening mental health issues at times.

Also as a society we are far from kind to those who attempt to end their life. Many are labelled attention seeking and selfish. Many a person has been heard on a train that has hit a person berating them for ending their life and delaying people. The kindness that this person needed appears to of been absent in their life and their death. Instead of asking what could of been done to help them before this event they are condemned for seeing no other way out.

Society is also cruel in its use of social media. While social media can be great there are the trolls and the nasties who are far from kind. They band together to bring cruelty to one person. They push people over the edge as they can’t show kindness. They condemn people as guilty before hearing the full story. They forgot that a little kindness could improve the world and keep people alive.

By changing our outlook from the top down we could prevent so many deaths. By acting as a society we could improve life for many. It’s time to unite to be kind as well as individual acts of kindness.

I’d love to hear your views so feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Sunday Night

Please be aware this a personal piece and therefore some of the content may be triggering.

It’s Sunday night. Many people dread it as its the symbol that the working week is ahead. To me that’s not currently an issue but tonight my mood is extremely low. The suicidal thoughts are strong in my mind (I am safe). The voice is loud and I feel isolated. So I’m writing. If you’re reading this good luck as I’ve no idea where this may go. Also sorry as it may get self pitying.

The last few weeks have been hard. Many difficult things have happened and are ongoing. The future is uncertain. As it is for everyone I know. But this makes things hard with my desperate need for control. This makes my mental illness go wild. It sees it as an opportunity to take over even more of my life. It makes me isolate myself. It makes me hurt myself more. It makes me want to no longer exist. The symptoms of depression such as loss of appetite and concentration and difficulty sleeping are back. In my head it is an obvious depressive episode.

I’m also though pushing my way backwards in some ways. I’m trying hard to hide my emotions again which means turning them forever inwards. I’m pushing away the question of how I am and getting others to answer it and forget I never answered. I’m punishing myself in these ways. I’m going back into relationships that are unhealthy. I have no self respect. I have no self worth.

The voice is helping me along with all this. Its a constant torrent of how I should be dead and how much people hate me. It puts doubts in my mind and increases my paranoia. I know people are out to get me or pretending to like me. I understand. I’m unlikeable but they don’t want my death on them and that’s fair. They are lovely people who deserve better than that. They deserve better than me. I’m a burden to them but they are too polite to say it. I’m needy. I’m a pain. I’m selfish.

I’m currently convinced I’m going to be arrested. I’m scared about going outside. I’m forcing myself to do it but I’m terrified. I think Lorazepam is going to be my friend. The anxiety is high. I’m sure I’ve done something wrong and it will soon be discovered. I’m watching out on the local police force’s Facebook page for my picture to appear – without liking the page so they cant find me. Every siren makes my heart beat faster. I’m resorting to pulling out my eyebrows to help me cope with the anxiety.

Also I feel I’m not allowed to feel how I do. That people are trying to take the feelings away and rubbish them. To rubbish me for feeling them. I know they seem irrational. I’m not stupid. But I need to work through them myself to see it. I need to be allowed to feel if I can. I don’t want people to ask if it’s logical or question it. I do that myself. Twitter is my place that I allow myself to currently express myself and I really don’t want people pointing out it’s not logical. I just need to express it.

Physically my body feels like its giving up on me. I feel very unwell all the time. I’m waiting on hospital appointments for different things. I think the current count is five different hospital teams aside from the mental health team. I’m pushing my body all the time. I’m walking about 4k a day. I’m doing things around the house. All on little sleep and feeling pretty awful. I want to give up and stay in bed. It’s just not an option. Other forms of self care are falling by the wayside as well.

I’m also finding the thought of asking for help from my mental health team hard as well. I know I’m a drain on services. I’ve been made very aware of this lately with my care coordinator complaining about her high workload and not wanting me as part of that anymore. It doesn’t matter that a month ago I tried to end my life. Or that in September/October I was with the crisis team. Nope. I’m just a burden and what I feel doesn’t matter. And they’ve lied to me as well.

So there are my current thoughts and feelings. My rant. My Sunday night. Hope yours is better.

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We Need To Talk About… Psychosis

Psychosis! What do you think it means? Does it mean schizophrenia? Does it mean being locked up? Does it mean there is no hope? These things are things I thought before I experienced psychosis and I know many still think this way. This is why we need to talk about psychosis.

So what is psychosis?

Psychosis is made up of many different symptoms. Some people will have many, some only one. They include:

  • Hallucinations (these may be visual, auditory, tactile or related to smell and taste)
  • Delusions (having strong beliefs not shared by others, for example, people are going to hurt you)

Does everyone with psychosis have schizophrenia?

It’s a common assumption that the only people that experience psychosis are those with schizophrenia. This simply isn’t the case. Many mental illnesses may cause a person to experience psychosis. These include bipolar, depression and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Psychosis can also be a result of physical illness or trauma.

Will someone with psychosis recover?

There is hope for those with psychosis. Many people will only have one episode of psychosis. Psychosis can also be managed with medication. There is a variety of antipsychotics. Of course as with any medication there can be side effects but these often are often outweighed by the benefits. It can also be a process of finding what works for you. Sometimes, when the psychosis is caused by trauma, psychosis can be helped by therapy.

What does someone with psychosis look like?

There is no specific way that someone who experiences psychosis looks. The term “psychotic look” which is often used to describe a way someone is looking is a work of fiction. Those with psychosis look like everyone else. The signs are more likely to be in their behaviour.

A last thought

People with psychosis experience extreme stigma. We are made out to be “crazy” and someone to be feared. In fact we are more likely to be a danger to ourselves or be at risk from others. It can be scary to see someone dealing with psychosis but remember they are probably scared too.

For more information about psychosis click here.

To share your experience feel free to use the comments or Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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