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NSHN Forum Support & On Topic Forums. Some additional boards are viewable to members only => Survivor Room => Topic started by: Terri on January 08, 2021, 02:59:04 AM

Title: Progress.
Post by: Terri on January 08, 2021, 02:59:04 AM
Hiya! Sorry it's been a while.  :waves: 3am seemed like the perfect time to pop in. ::)

Things are progressing somewhat and in a rather positive way. I know I've still got a way to go, but a few good things have happened recently and I thought I'd share them. :)

- I have accepted an unconditional offer from a local university to study a BSc(Hons) in Public and Environmental Health. I'm off to study in September and, though I'm somewhat apprehensive, I'm also rather looking forward to it. I applied some time ago, but was almost certain that I would not get a place on the course. This just shows that my thoughts/feelings are not always facts/reality, even though that feel like they are at the time. Work have said I can keep my hours (my uni hours will be two full days) so financially I'll be OK.

- I have started my second round of DBT. I completed my first round at the end of 2020 and the second round started this week. I was in a lot of turmoil over whether or not to continue with therapy, for a whole variety of reasons, but in the end the decision was taken out of my hands and the MH team told me I shouldn't have been given a choice - 2 rounds was what was happening. ::) I've already started taking the repeat more seriously than the first time I did the modules; I've started making notes on worksheets and I've looked for and printed some of my own materials, rather than just shoving what I've been sent into the (very unorganised) folder as soon as the session was over. I now have 6 folders - one for each module (2 lots of 3 modules).

- I have lost half of my body weight. It sounds a lot, but I was morbidly obese and now I am not. I've still got a way to go in that regard (I'm still overweight according to medics), but I'm so much healthier now, especially as I also do a lot of physical activity. I walk, do workouts on my TV (from a subscription service with some equipment I have), swim in the sea and cycle (not always using the battery   ::P:). Weight is far from everything, but I was lugging round an awful lot and it made everything so much harder. Things are tough anyway when emotional dyregulation is a challenge you face, but not being able to tie my shoelaces without getting out of breath did not help the situation. I have found that eercise has been really beneficial to my mental health. It certainly doesn't solve everything, but it does give me another outlet and I tend to want to look after my body more when it feels stronger, which reduces the urges to self-harm.

- I may have met a boy. ::) It's really early days and meeting is not a thing right now, but we've been chatting via message and video chat and it's pleasant. He's funny and kind and clever and it might not go anywhere at all, but I'm enjoying it for what it is and will see what happens. It's a nice place to be.

- I have improved some of the relationships that I've got with various people. My sister is having a baby so I'm going to be an Auntie. :) I've been keeping my flat tidy and haven't lived with flies since I moved in 4.5 years ago. Alec the cat is still wonderful.  :chococat_h4h:

Things are still very fragile and I still have to be very careful with regards to emotions and triggers and balance, but I'm slowly becoming more aware of myself and how to manage things more effectively. I hope not to have another episode of being self-destructive, but that is not necessarily completely realistic - so I will take it day by day, use the skills I am learning to the best of my ability and if I slip, I will try not to make it too horrific and then pick myself up and try again. Aim for the best possible outcome, but plan for mistakes - just in case, to make the transition back to OK possible and more smooth. Or that's the idea.

I think about you all often.  :hug1:
Title: Re: Progress
Post by: Tucan on January 08, 2021, 12:12:48 PM
Well done, that is great to hear. I am happy for you.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Terri on January 08, 2021, 03:42:50 PM
Thank you, Tucan.

Things are still up and down, you know? But there's a general upward trend when it comes to mood and coping mechanisms and things. Last year was the most dangerous year I've ever been through with regards to self-harming behaviours, so if I don't want to be dead by my own hand, I really need to try my hardest to work on my 'stuff.' There's the possibility that I may need further therapy after I have completed DBT in order to address some trauma I've been through, which could be delivered either through a local issue-specific charity or the cmht depending on what's going on towards the end of 2021. I'm already apprehensive about what it could bring up, but I'm more confident about having the skills to manage whatever that involves in a safe way than I've ever been.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Vermilion on January 08, 2021, 04:27:55 PM
You sound loads better than you were which is fab to hear!  :hug2:

Well done on getting to uni, you'll do great and working at the same time is incredible.

Congratulations on the weight loss too, that's incredibly difficult. I'm medically overweight too so I know that it takes such a long time to lose weight that it's hard to stay motivated if you have a lot to lose. Well done!

You're brave to go for another round of DBT, it's incredibly hard to do eh? I've just started DBT and I'm already on the verge of chickening out!

Just an idea but it could be worth contacting the issue specific counseling services, I'll bet that loads of people have concerns about it and don't forget that even the volunteers will be trained so they will know not to push things too far. Maybe consider how long the waiting list is and, if it's easier for you, ask if they do counseling over zoom or Skype. It just find it reassuring to know what my options are and to get an idea of what I can expect. Could that be helpful?
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Terri on January 15, 2021, 09:37:17 PM
Thank you, Vermilion. :) :hug2:

I'm really pleased that I lost the weight. Not only has it made doing things easier, but it's also meant my BMI is low enough for me to be able to train to be a vaccinator for the covid vaccination programme. It has to be below a certain number because of the increased risk of severe disease if you catch covid and it's above it. I would not have been eligible this time last year, so I'm feeling really glad that I did/am doing it.

DBT is really, really hard. Well done for starting! I was in such a mess before I started the first time and found it almost impossible, but I'm so glad that I stuck with it. :) You've got this too. :hug2:

I'm already on the waiting list for the issue-specific therapy. I was put on the list after an assessment at the end of last year and the waiting list is about 12 months long. I am not sure that it's something I want to/will want to do, but they said that it was worth putting my name on the list for 1:1 stuff as the list is so long and I can still change my mind when I get to the top. Everything they're doing is online at the moment, so I'd guess that facility would be available even if things are a little bit more 'normal' by the end of 2021. They've got a helpline that I've rang a few times and the women at the end of the phone are always really lovely.

I spoke to my social worker earlier today and she said that it seems as though I've made a lot of progress. She said that I wouldn't have ever applied to go to university because my confidence was so low. She said that the way I talk about myself and how I talk about therapy is very different these days, and that she has faith that I can have a bright future where I live my life. It's weird, isn't it? I've spent so long trying to destroy myself (quite literally at times) because of thoughts I've had about myself that I'm starting to accept might not have been quite right. What utter chaos faulty thinking has caused. ::)

I'm doing alright.

Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Tucan on January 15, 2021, 09:50:01 PM
I'm so happy to hear that Terri. You are doing so well, especially after you have been so poorly. I hope that things continue to go well for you. You have put in so much hard work into it.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Tigger on March 22, 2021, 09:18:15 AM
Terri this sounds so great. I have  come backwards and forwards to this forum for years, so have followed you along the way.  I'm really pleased you are doing so well and glad you have shared as it gives hope to everybody struggling. Keep yp the good work  :emot-thumbsup11:
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: so sad on March 23, 2021, 11:16:42 AM
Hi Terri

What a brilliant post to come across  :yahoo:

You really have made a tonne of progress - very proud of you.  You are living proof that things can change and for the better. DBT is incredibly hard so well done with sticking at it and making it work for you.

Congratulations on the weight loss. That is also a really tough thing to battle with but clearly you are winning. It does make a bug difference to how we feel and the exercise is a great thing to be doing and enjoying.

I have to admit to being envious of you going to Uni (maybe I should use DBT to manage that  :XD:) - I wish I had your strength and courage.

Please keep us informed - I always look out for your posts.

Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Terri on April 10, 2021, 12:05:49 AM

Thank you for all of the lovely responses.

I just wanted to say hi and update you a little bit. Had a blip a little while ago, but things are much improved now. :)

University is definitely going ahead. I had my DSA assessment a few weeks ago.and I'm being provided with some equipment, software and a mentor for an hour a week during term time. Student finance has been agreed to cover tuition and maintenance and work are changing my hours to accommodate the days I have lectures (8 years later and they are still being incredible.)

I'm finally getting to meet the boy I've been talking to at the end of the month. He lives in Wales, so we haven't been able to see each other in person, though we video chat regularly and message daily.

Weight loss and staying active is going well. I've been going to some outdoor classes since the end of March and it's been so nice to exercise in a group again. The gym opens on Monday and I'm booked in for some personal training starting in a couple of weeks.

I've got two modules of DBT left before I'll have completed my two rounds. I'll then be doing some work with my SCM practitioner as well as some trauma work if I feel I want to/it would be helpful. DBT is blooming difficult, more difficult than anything I've ever done. It's becoming clearer how worth it it is though, even if I still sometimes really fight against it. I'm scared I don't know enough and that I'll not be able to keep up with skills, but I know I have to try my absolute hardest if I'm going to live the life I'd like to.

I still have my wonderful friends, my family and my cat. I still have my beautiful flat with a bench in the sunny courtyard. I still have hope that things can get better and that perhaps I can actually do this.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Tucan on April 10, 2021, 09:27:37 AM

Happy to hear that there is improvement for you. I wish
Sh you well with your endeavours. You are doing so well. I hope you are proud of how far you have come.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Lorien on April 13, 2021, 03:30:51 AM
 :hug1: So glad to hear that all your hard work is paying off. You definitely deserve it.
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: so sad on April 13, 2021, 03:09:29 PM
What a great post to read - I am so proud of you. You have worked incredibly hard to get to this point - enjoy it and please keep us updated.

Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Terri on June 29, 2021, 12:54:34 AM
Hey. Thank you for being so kind and encouraging. :hug2:

I'm doing alright, you know? It's my 34th birthday and I've had a lovely 3 days of celebrations. So many people telling me they're proud of me and what a lovely person I am. It feels weird, the praise. It's not that I don't usually get praise from other people - I'm lucky enough that I do - but it doesn't sit right. I'm really,  really trying to accept the positivity coming in my direction. It's certainly taking practice.

I start university in just over two months. I'm excited and nervous, which I think is pretty 'normal' when it comes to new adventures. I'm trying to go in with the attitude of 'I'm going to give it a go and if it doesn't work out, that's ok - it'll have taken courage to have even tried.' I think that if I can keep reminding myself of that, it'll take the pressure off and I'll be far less stressed about the whole thing. I'm going to try really hard to accept that what will be will be.

I've got 9 weeks of DBT left. 8 weeks after tomorrow's session. I'm a little anxious about finishing. It'll feel sad to leave the group and I'll miss my 1:1 therapist. We've been working together a long time (she was my CC before she was my therapist and before that she knew me from the local psych ward.) I'm not too terrible at endings, as I know they are part of life and have to happen. They're still painful though, you know? I know that I'll cope ok and that finishing this piece of work is a positive thing. I've only nearly gone and done it. Two rounds of DBT!

I think, post-DBT, I'm due to try doing some self compassion work with my SCM practitioner. I'm a bit apprehensive about it, and also a little sceptical, but I'll give it a shot. We're also going to work on reducing medication with the view to coming off it completely. It's going to be done slowly, under the guidance of my consultant psychiatrist. It's the venlafaxine I'm most concerned about coming off of. I've been on a reasonably high dose for about 13 years and it's notoriously awful to stop. A day at a time with that one, for sure! It'll be nice to be med free. It'll be the first time in about 20 years (I was put on fluoxetine when I was 15.)

At some point, I will need to think about whether or not to do the trauma work I've been offered. I am leaning towards doing it with the MH team initially, if I can crack the self-compassion stuff. I think if I launch into trauma work without working on the way I view myself, I could really struggle. Something to talk about with my SCM person when I next see her.

I'm hopeful. :)
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: so sad on June 29, 2021, 11:51:51 AM
Hi Terri

Happy Birthday  :bdayhappy_balloons:

Your post sounds incredibly positive. A lot going on, things you probably didn't dream were options not that long ago.

Uni - very brave, very exciting and a huge step in the direction you want to go. How many hours a week is it? You've got the right attitude as well, if it works, it works, if it doesn't, then you tried and you will still have gained from trying. What course is it again?

DBT - 2 rounds of DBT is a huge achievement and apparently not very common. Can you stay in some sort of contact with the group? Just after I left, someone set up a messenger group which we all dip in and out of every now and again but I know they are there if I need them. I really struggled with losing my 1-2-1 therapist. I get very attached and I knew that would be all part of the journey and the battle. I need to make a huge effort to practice the skills - I didn't do too well when I first finished but that was because I didn't make the effort to use the skills. I learnt the hard way!

Self compassion work will be very challenging but you've obviously identified the need for it and have sought it out rather it being forced on you. I did a self-compassion group after DBT but because it was a group it was a bit too generic for me but I do try to use the principles as much as possible. Good luck.

I came off a high dose of venflaxine a few years ago - I took it incredibly slowly and did it over a long period of time - I didn't find it as bad as I had feared.

Good luck with everything Terri - you have made so much progress, battled all the way and I know you find it hard to hear, but I am SUPER proud of you  :yahoo:.

M x
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Terri on January 14, 2022, 07:46:46 PM
Hey.  :waves:

It's been a while. I do pop in occasionally, but thought I'd post a bit of an update for anyone who might remember me. :)

I finished DBT at the beginning of September. It was a hard couple of years, especially to begin with, but it is the most helpful type of treatment that I've ever had. I've also completed the SCM program and I have my last appointment with the CMHT next week - I'm being discharged! I am so, so pleased. I'm 34 now. I've been in services since I was about 15 and I self-harmed from the age of 11. It's a really weird feeling, the feeling that I'm not going to be under the MH team, but it's definitely the right time and there's a solid plan in place for if things ever deteriorate to the point of needing intervention.

I no longer work in the pharmacy. I was there for almost 9 years, and my goodness they were amazing. I honestly don't think I'd be alive if it hadn't been for the job/team, but it was time to move forwards. The pharmacy I worked in was based in the hospital where a lot of negative stuff happened around my emotions and behaviours, and going back to the building twice a week was detrimental towards the end of my employment there. I now work as a coder in a GP surgery and it's amazing! The team is great, the job is interesting and it's better money than I've ever earned before - and that makes a difference as I'm now off benefits. It's sometimes a bit scary knowing that my financial security is reliant on me being able to go to work and attend university (student loan), but it's also really nice.

I've started university, studying towards a BSc. I've submitted four assignments so far and passed them all (with marks of 67, 69, 77 and 78), my lecturers are frequently complementary and best of all - I'm really enjoying it. University is never something I would have managed pre-DBT; life was way too chaotic, with frequent self-destructive behaviours and regular admission to hospital. The pressure would have gotten to me and I would have cracked, but as of yet, I haven't. I'm keeping up with the work, I've made good connections with fellow students and my attendance so far has been 100%.


I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I'm awake because I'm living a life that I didn't ever think was possible. There have been times over the years where I have been very, very close to dying because of my behaviours. Times where I've thought I've wanted to die, and have wished there was such a thing as palliative mental health care. I am now so very glad that I made it through alive.

Keep going.  :hug1:
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: Turtle on January 14, 2022, 08:30:15 PM
Terri, this was so so beautiful to read! I think about you often on this site, so it's nice to hear you're getting on so well. It sounds like there's so much good and exciting stuff going on - a huge well done to you for all the work you've put in to getting to this point! :hug2:
Title: Re: Progress.
Post by: jackgrillo on January 15, 2022, 10:02:05 PM
Terri, that is amazing news! You've worked so hard, and you've come so far. It is amazing to hear all these positive things about you and your life - you so deserve it.

You are amazing.