This is really hard to write, so much so that I have gone over the same bit a few times now, I will try my best for this to make some sort of sense, The first couple of weeks in hospital passed quickly and one Friday night my friends & daughter came to visit me. I was shaking so much and I felt freezing but it was a different kind of feeling than just being cold it was awful my teeth were chattering uncontrollably, and I had shooting pains all over my body, I think they gave me oral morphine and paracetamol, I was also spiking a temperature.
I’m not sure what happened next but the next thing, I remember it was morning, I have no clue what time it was but there was a doctor in green scrubs and he was saying, I’d gave him quite a scare through the night, I think they had trouble controlling my blood pressure and my heart was racing, over the next couple of days I don’t remember much. I just have flashes like… I remember seeing my sister and nephew the next day I think, I remember they took blood from my arteries, I’m not scared of getting a blood test but bloods taken from the arteries is so much more painful and they had to do it a few times, both wrists were black and blue, the bruises took weeks to go but it had to be done as it gives a better idea of what’s going on. I also had a chest x ray and I was told I had a blood infection caused by a water bug and the chest x ray showed I had pneumonia, the intensive care team came down various times as they monitored me, I remember telling them I wasn’t gonna need them as I was fine and I was staying where I was, I was telling myself that too. I was on a massively strong dose of iv antibiotics which made everything taste funny and my mouth very sore, I was put on oxygen as my oxygen saturation levels were low, plus I had sleep apnea (when you don’t breath properly when your asleep) a few days before I asked to try the cpap machine, you wear it when your asleep and I have to admit it terrifies me, I had tried to use it before, it blows forced air up your nose, you’re meant to keep your mouth shut, but every time I started to dose off my mouth would open and I’d feel like I was choking, I had been turning blue at night a few times and because my oxygen saturation dropped more, when I became poorly that the doctors said I had to use it so over two weeks, I forced myself to put it on I was terrified and had massive panic attacks because of it, I couldn’t sleep because I was so scared and the few times I fell asleep with it on I woke with it off as I must of pulled it off while asleep, during this time I started to question everything why I was on certain tablets for my heart and blood pressure as I didn’t remember being put on them, but I hadn’t remembered much of the weekend as I was so poorly. I started to panic over certain words mentioned like heart for example, I couldn’t read anything bad and in fact, I lost all concentration, I constantly felt on edge, I couldn’t relax, didn’t want to be left alone (in a side room that’s quite difficult) the panic attacks continued to get worse and the anxiety was just horrific. I couldn’t concentrate on anyone talking to me, when the staff came to roll me, they’d be talking about life etc and I’d pick a word out the conversation or they’d ask something I’d already told them before but I’d wonder how they knew, I remember thinking at one point, they knew what I was thinking somehow. I kept asking them to get my sister for me, as my whole life she’s always been there and fixed things as have all my family, I remember ringing her loads of times and her telling me, I was panicking to much to calm down. The nights were extremely terrifying, I wasn’t able to sleep and I would be so frightened, I would grip the bed so hard my fingers ached I had chest pressure that felt like I was being crushed and hot and cold sweats, I started getting flashes of my life, like everything hit me at once.
I had spent years using food to bury everything that bothered me and especially when things got scary in the past, but I wasn’t able to use the food now, I would just lie there and constantly go over things, I started to question my memories, I also remember thinking I had died at one point, I remember seeing my reflection and thinking I wasn’t blinking, obviously you don’t see anything when you blink but staring in at my reflection that logic just didn’t see to exist to me anymore, plus the room was so cold but it was February, I just needed to get the heating turned up but I just couldn’t think logically at all. I was so frightened I remembered thinking them evil black spirit things were gonna come for me (if you watched ghost the film you know what I mean) that would set me thinking, I must of been a horrible person, I’d lie wide eyed staring at the ceiling trying to remember what I’d done that was so bad, one night I looked at some scissors and thought stab them in your wrists and then being horrified that I thought that and for a good few days I couldn’t look at them as the thought would come back.
I used to get such intense headaches like my head was being squeezed from all sides, it also felt so heavy like it was gonna fall off. I’d also get a pressure across my face mainly my eyes, nose and then there was the chest pressure like someone was pressing down hard or a pile of encyclopedias were placed on it, the constant hot and cold sweats which washed over me and I had this constant feeling of fear and dread. It get so bad I stopped eating (and I’ve always ate) and wouldn’t take my tablets. I remember one day my brother came and he doesn’t really do hospitals, but he was really worried about me. I followed him walking round the room, I was thinking I was hallucinating he was talking to me and I remembered something he’d told me a few days before I was poorly, that I burst into uncontrollable sobs. I did this quite a few times with my children too it must have been awful for them all.
Things got so bad that I couldn’t speak I tried to talk and noises just came out, they sent the stroke team to see me. I remember shouting I have not had a stroke it took everything I had to scream those words. I was really scared started thinking I would never be able to speak again, this all went on for about 2/3 weeks and then one night, I was gripping the bed panicking, sweating and terrified and I heard my sisters voice in my head saying I needed to fight this and to use my logic. I slowly ungripped the bed while trying to breath calmly in and out slowly, telling myself I was ok. I still didn’t sleep that night but it was easier and slowly over time I got better the panic & everything calmed though I still feel it come on if something bothers me but I’m able to get through it.
I don’t know really why it happened partly the infection maybe, or the strong medications or maybe the lack of food as I used to eat to block everything out. My brother thinks I had a nervous breakdown all I know is I was so so scared, I didn’t feel like myself in fact I thought I would never feel like me again. I really hope it never happens again, it made me look at mental health in a whole new light, though I have always sympathized. I never realized how much it has affected me over my whole life, our own demons are the hardest we face but you can battle and win, get help, talk to someone, don’t suffer In silence, the mental health team have been amazing and I’m not ashamed to speak about what happened to me, because if one person out there has the courage to speak out and get help its worth it, every single person suffers with their mental health in varying degrees, there’s no shame in looking after your mind, it has a lot to deal with because life is never easy for anyone no matter what you may think…..