M is not particularly good at communicating, while she may have a solid reason for any decision, this is often no communicated well to the rest of us. So when she was reluctant to call the crisis team, I thought she was blocking our attempts to achieve safety, or possibly protecting the young ones in her care from the trigger of going to hospital. I was wrong. Her greatest fear was realised, the crisis team can’t do anything to help us stay safe. She wasn’t worried about the respite care or the hospital, she’d prepared her young ones for that; she was worried about them not being able to do anything. In some respects, what happened was worse – we had several phone conversations with a very nice and understanding crisis nurse who explained about coping mechanisms and grounding techniques, but informed us that there were no respite beds available. After referring to our notes and talking to us for over half an hour, she assured us that the nearly full local psychiatric ward wasn’t the right place for us. Instead she encouraged us to continue with our coping mechanisms and taking it a day at a time.
It was the worst case scenario, the crisis team were trying their best, but don’t have the resources to help us. The were polite, friendly and called back twice to check on us, and to try reassure us that we can do this. It was devastating. This was M’s biggest fear… we need safety and we can’t get it. We’ve now officially tried all of our options. There is nowhere else to turn. Sometimes when we’ve called the crisis team, the service has been so bad that it’s kicked us into a release of anger that has driven us through the suicidal ideation and out the other side. It’s acted like a release on the pressure valve. We couldn’t even get that today… the nurse was so polite and trying to suggest ways to get appropriate boundaries in place with the mother etc.
In many ways our suicide attempts have appeared impulsive… there’s been a final trigger that has pushed us over the edge. But the plans are well thought out, just waiting for that final trigger. This is what we fear may happen again. In many ways we’re calm and functional – when we told the mother we were calling the crisis team she asked when things had got bad again, we explained that they’d never been good. I know this could be an indication that the mother has no clue as to our true level of functioning, rather than any indication of how we appear to be coping, but it gives a hint as to how we appear to the world. The crisis nurse could see through the veneer, she said we sounded in trouble, she just couldn’t do anything about it.
When the crisis nurse confirmed that there would be no assessment and there were no places, we were in tears. We were crying because we gave up on getting help. We know that no one can do this work for us, but we’d really like some help to get us through the rough patches…