An extract from the coverage my story received in the Mansfield Chad newspaper.

An extract from the coverage my story received in the Mansfield Chad newspaper.

Hi, everyone!

Following my entry yesterday… writing the blog made me feel good and more positive. My job as a paramedic involves helping others and I’m hoping that writing this blog will go some way to helping others. Hey, maybe it could develop into a kind of support network for fellow survivors, carers and healthcare professionals?

Over the past week I have had a real battle on the ward. The ward staff here are fabulous and really caring and supportive. However, when they are ruled by Notts County Council and Higher Management in the hospital they are unable to care for me properly.

Absconded

I’ll briefly explain. I came into hospital just over a week ago. Since then the emergency duty team (Notts County Council) gradually, over the week, ground me down to the extent where I could take no more and absconded from the ward (which is against the rules of the section).

Forbidden to see my daughters

Anyway, the week started well. I had loads of support from my named nurse, A, who was trusting. That, and continuing support from my husband Andrew, began to provide me with the safety I needed. By Thursday, however, things had deteriorated. I couldn’t have any section 17 leave, had to remain on ten-minute observations (they checked me every ten minutes, depriving me of privacy), I couldn’t leave the ward to go into the garden without a member of staff, and contact with my children was prohibited. I decided to abscond (or as fellow service-users would say, “leg it”) and insisted that I would not return to the ward until the ridiculous constraints were justified or resolved. I informed Andrew I was safe, a police search party was organised, the police searched my house and stayed at the address until 3.00 a.m. They rang my friends and family and continued the search until the next day. Meanwhile, I was with friends offloading my stress over a glass of wine. I can hear you all say that is shocking and irresponsible of me. However, Andrew constantly told the police I was safe, at a friend’s and would return to the hospital once I had calmed down and he had spoken to NCC social services department to find out why they were controlling my care and failing to provide a therapeutic environment.

Portrayed as a child-killer

Friday 3rd July 2010, 9.00 a.m. I rang Andrew straightaway to say I was still safe and well. By 11.00 Andrew had spoken to social services, the Notts Healthcare NHS Trust Manager, the Chief Executive of the safeguarding team at the hospital and the ward manager. It transpired that NCC emergency duty were interfering and portraying me as some kind of child-killer.

At 11.30 I returned to the ward, to be greeted by M, my other named nurse, who is also fab, and he and the ward manager informed me that contact with my children was back on and I could see them off the ward. I agreed that due to my consultant being on leave that I would have to remain on my section and my observations would remain the same until 6th July 2010. I would have agreed to anything so long as I could see my girls!

Painful memories

Over the past few weeks I have been conscious of the 4th of July being my Grandma’s birthday as well as American Independence Day. For those of you who haven’t read my book, I was very close to her and she died a few years ago. I understand fellow survivors find significant events and dates are a real negative trigger that affects our mood. Whilst most people feel a little sad and then move on, we spend a lot of time dwelling on painful memories and struggle with what to do with those memories and emotions which then leads to destructive/maladaptive behaviours. We internalise our feelings which then causes further pain. The actual trigger itself is no longer painful; it’s the emotions that come with that trigger. That’s my take on it anyway, and I hope it makes sense.

Being positive

Yesterday I decided to deal with the emotional trigger of 4 July in a different way. I read Dr Chris’s chapter (in Disruptive) and took his advice of trying to move on and focus on the positives instead of the negatives. I turned that round and decided to make a conscious decision to be happy on my Grandma’s birthday and keep reminding myself that she would be disappointed if I was distressed.

All day I have had to force myself to be positive and happy, and do you know what? It really has worked, and right now I’m feeling good and proud that I have got through a difficult day without harming myself emotionally or physically.

Elastic band therapy

The moral of my story tonight is no matter how hard things are, you have to keep fighting in a positive way. Anyone reading this who can relate to some of what I have written, can I ask a big favour? From now on, can you go to bed and tell yourself no matter what you are going to have a positive day and do positive things and enjoy what you are feeling or doing? If need be put an elastic band round your wrist and just twang each time you get a negative feeling, and make sure you tell yourself you have to “crack on” and “keep smiling”. See how long you can do it for, and I’ll do the same and report back soon.

Take care everyone and love and best wishes to you all!

Angela
P.S. Please feel free to post a comment. I’d love to have your responses!

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