Tip-tapping on the keyboard is honestly my saving grace right now. If I didn’t have this, at times when things are difficult on the ward (patients struggling, having outbursts or incidences) I would probably give in to the self-harm urges. Not because it’s contagious, but because the amount of guilt from knowing people are suffering like that, and I feel I should be punishing myself too. Yesterday was a difficult evening. They say there’s no sun without rain. I guess yesterday, my sun was the day and my rain was the evening. I didn’t give in by the way. I just had a cry.
Of course, there’s also the deep desire to help that person – and when I cannot help I feel like I’m failing at being a human. Such cake-mixed emotions. They say “stay focused on your own journey”, but it’s such a challenge not to take on peoples’ pain, and also the guilt. This recent feeling takes me back to being in Therapeutic Community – where I was before the acute ward and then here at the PICU. Doing all therapy as a group and hearing others’ past trauma in the past group makes me feel guilty for the feelings and struggles I have. They feel insignificant. But I KNOW I need to work on this to get better in the long-run. It’s easier for me to focus in that way here, because I know there’s a reward to come soon – going home. But in the community, you have to take that all home with you and the reward feels less obvious, if that makes sense. But I know it’s there in gradual, subtle ways – using the coping skills we learn, which will all add up to a full toolkit for the future.
Yesterday during a DBT group, we played an exercise with a light ball filled with glitter. Making sure we use our ‘wise mind’ in preparation for attempting to get the ball inside a plastic bowl. The idea was to be aware of emotional and reasonable mind taking over, such as the frustration of not getting the ball in. To be non-judgmental of ourselves was the aim. When the ball got placed in my hands, I wasn’t bothered about getting the ball in as much (of course I was a bit), but what was niggling in my mind was how stupid and embarrassed I felt I looked, standing there in the middle of the group and what I looked like. So, I definitely had some practice of what thoughts bother me, and the psychologist to remind me of these are the thoughts that interfere with our ‘wise mind’. This is the part of our mind that brings emotion and reason together to form a sense of intuition. A much more content place for ourselves. It was a very interesting exercise and one I’m going to take home with me to the Therapeutic Community.
MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL: last night with a real duvet, bottom sheet and a pillow gave me an insanely better night sleep than all the ones before that. It was bliss.
Tesco was a success; I felt like a kid in a candy shop. The walk there was bizarre – it’s a main road and it was so strange walking out of those gates. I’ve never been out in Baldock before. We saw 5 dogs during the 5-minute walk there, and that reminded me of my love for Hagrid (my dog). The Tesco building was beautiful, as if it used to be a giant bank, swimming pool or library. After starting to fill my basket like I’d never been clothes shopping before, at the end I disciplined myself on what to keep and what to not. Afterwards, we sat in the Costa there and I sipped with joy in my heart, an iced soya latte with sugar-free caramel syrup. Then we had to rush back, because as you have to be on 2:1 when on ground/community leave you have to hunt for a spare member of staff. The staff member was the security person for the day, serving tea. So we had to rush back for that.
Today – all good so far. Except the daily friction with the real ‘time’. The dining room clock is about 6 minutes slow. Sometimes they say we need to follow that for fresh air breaks, ground leave etc. Then when it suits them, they use ‘real’ time which is 6 minutes ahead. Until next time…