223. The best day.

Today has been fantastic. The sun was out, little man was in good form, and a dear friend came to visit.

For the first time in quite a while, I felt…. . I felt normal. I was in control of household chores, in control of little man, and in control of my emotions. There were no inexplicable outbursts today, no desires to burn and no little voice in my head telling me I’m awful.

To see my friend, who is doing so well, was great. We played with little man, walked on the beach and basked in our freedom.

I need to remember today. I need to hold on to this good feeling and remind myself when dark clouds ascend; that I am capable off normal, I am capable of laughing and smiling with a friend. I am capable of finding joy whilst dancing with my 2 y.ear old.

Tonight I shall begin prep for a lecture I’m due to give on Friday Tonight it doesn’t feel so daunting

There will be more good days Loopy. Honestly there will.

Loopy x

219. The hardest thing to let go off.

In the quest for better mental health and a better life balance, I’ve made some huge changes. What may surprise you, is the thing that I’ve found toughest to let go off.

IRONING!!!!! I’m an obsessive ironer. Every little item packed in little man’s nursery bag was maticoulsly pressed, and folded. It was ironed again if staff disrupted his bag through out the day

My work clothes were also pressed into oblivion, and I couldn’t leave for work if I noticed a rogue indentation.

Creases made me cringe. Creases induced anxiety and frustration. Creases were my nemesis. Creases noticed on other commuters clothes irritated me, and honestly made me think a little less off them.

During my stay in hospital, it was not the patient outbursts, lack of liberty, mediocre food or lack of mental stimulation that tortured me.

No!, by far the hardest thing to cope with, was those gut wrenching moments when I had to remove my laundry, all wrinkled and deshevelled from sitting in a dryer over night. I remember once asking the nightstaff if I could get my clothes at midnight. The dagger stare that I was met with, whuch screamed: piss off, was rage inducing. What they didn’t know was that leaving my clothes to wrinkle overnight, meant sleep was hard to come by, as the anxiety took hold.

The thing about ironing and ‘re ironing after every wear, is that it eats up soon much time. It takes away from time spent with little man and OH. It reduces down time, and for what????

So I’ve let go off ironing. I no longer steam little man’s clothes obsessively,. I allow myself weekends in slightly wrinkled clobber.

As for my work clothes????? Well come on now. YOU HAVE TO IRON WORKWEAR!!!

Loopy x.

217. Snowballing.

I’ve gone back too soon. I’m fragile and teary, and they’re piling too much on me. It’s too fast!

I can’t prep for practicals and lectures, and moderate modules and mark scientific reports

It’s too much to plan, to organise and prioritise. My threshold for stress appears quite low. How do I tell my boss to hit the brakes? How is my career ever going to survive this?

Myself and OH also had a family therapy assessment today before I went to work. I have no optimism in this regard. I can’t be fixed, nor can I speak freely in front of OH. The damage is too ingrained.

There’s too much stuff in my head, too many spinning plates. I’ve phoned and asked for more PRN, until then, I guess I just need to keeping breathing.

I’ve burned and I want to binge. I must not eat, I MUST NOT EAT!!

Loopy x

212. A post from my work desk.

Today was huge!!!! gut wrenching, nausea inducing huge. After 6 months of absence, I made a lunch, adorned my lanyard, swallowed some PRN (lirazepam) and went back to work.

I’m currently sitting in my old office, albeit slightly rearranged. I asked my boss if I could have it back; and he said he’d think about it, but within 20 minutes following our meeting I was informed that its current occupant has been turfed out, giving me my space back. My office space is something that is important to me. I’m on the 3rd floor of the building which means that I’m not subjected to same levels of student traffic as the main teaching rooms are on the floors below. Being “hidden away ” in this manner means less ad hoc student drop ins, less ad hoc concerns, complaints or general chat, which can quickly eat away at time preserved for tasks. I’ll still get the occasional knock but with less frequency than staff on the lower floors.

Coming back to work has been very emotional for me and I’m still feeling a little shaky and overwhelmed. Colleagues have been lovely, with hugs and offers of coffee and no prying questions. I’ve just eaten lunch with a few but i really didn’t participate much in the conversion. I’ve lost that side off myself, lost all my confidence but it will hopefully come back.

A nice little work related task just appeared in my inbox this morning, not from my manager but from one of my previous students, who is applying for PhD’s. I was his undergraduate project supervisor and he wishes to use me as a reference. I am delighted to do that for him, and even more so because his email helped to ground me this morning. His email was my first interaction with any students albeit electronically., but it also provided me with an icebreaker manageable task to get my fingers typing and my mindset back to work. It was exactly what I needed. It also helps that he was a great student, and his reference will reflect that.

I’m now emotionally and physically drained, and really just need to go home. I shall leave soon.

Loopy x.

211. The fear!!!

I’m literally shaking, my stomach is in knots and I can’t control my worrying. How on earth am I going to endure work tomorrow?

On top of that I’m emotionally exhausted following today’s psychotherapy assessment, and CPN chat. I’m also not exactly happy that I’ve finally been allocated to someone new, but she’s off for the next two weeks.

On top of that I’ve walked a total of 12 km7 today, just to attend the appointments and swing by my village pharmacy to pick up my meds on the way home. God I wish I could drive!!

I also bumped into a familiar face today, from my old ward. I was supposed to give her a shout after my assessment, but when I went to reception her name escaped me. I left a half baked message with the wrong name and was a little frazzled anyway as I had to rush off to meet my new CPN straight after. I would have loved to chat to her today though, and I’m gutted that I missed my chance.

This evening I wish I could call my previous CPN, no one else. L would know what to say, L would reassure me. I need L!!! I’m kind of freaking out!!!

Loopy x.

210. Clothes shopping.

As I trecked through outlets I could sense the feeling rise. That knot in my gut that comes with, just kill me now. I’ve always hated shopping. There are some practical reasons (can’t easily read labels, don’t like crowds, always feel like I’m being stared at) why I hate it, but it’s more than that.

I’m going back to work however, and the trainers and hoodies that have become my mainstay, don’t exactly ooze professionalism.

Firstly, i’ve never understood the lighting in dressing rooms. Can we have 10,000 lumens please, but not above your head. Oh no; these should form a strip along each mirror edge so that your necessary squinting masks how groteques you look in that ensamble.

What if you’re in the hunt for something a little sexy. Satin maybe that’s sleek and contours every curve, something for your hubbies eyes only.

This lighting just won’t do. I need those tea candles and a bottle of merlot, that give even Jabba the hut come hither eyes and a sultry demure.

NOPE full beams please, so that you look like your morbidly obese gran, who has a grimace indicating that she may have just pooped herself, and her skin a little ragged, because they didn’t have fancy creams in her day. They used wire wool to exfoliate!!

And what’s with sizes anyway??? They should just rip off all the labels and have rows of super skinny, kinda skinny but could lose a few lbs, a little excess baggage and finally; sorry love,we’re going to need more material!!!!

I pulled on a pair of size 10 trousers, too big; “oh my,! well I have been working out

Size 8 winning!!!!, but oh dear you”re obviously a few inches shy of 6 ft 4 glamoererous. Let’s try it in a short, shall we? They were clearly expecting dwarfism. Outlets nowadays have to be so careful, politically correct and inclusive

They cater for all body types, but only if you arrive at the crack of dawn just as shelves are being stocked to scoop up that 1 solidary item thats in your size.

“Oh store assistant, can I have these all in a regular 8 please (they can be tailired later)” I mean come on, I’m gorgeous, I’m glamerous, I’m positively glowing……….

10 minutes later, I’d pulled of some moves that Beth Tweddle and Michelle Kwan would be proud off. “Oh store assistant, I’m…………….I’m STUCK!!!!!!!….and I fear only a large tub of petroleum jelly shall set me free!!

I shall have to delve deep into the reccesses of my wardrobe, as I left the stores defeated, deflated and with just a little less self esteem than I’d arrived with.

And to think, people actually do this for fun????

Loopy x

208. Wound management.

I really should know better. I’ve been doing this long enough!

Dressing brands make promises of longevity, absorbancies and water proofness. When you’re dealing with burns (often full thuckness) as I do, it requires the Rolls Royce of wound care management tools.

Burns result in exudate (the cells and fluid released during inflammation); copiuos amounts in fact, that can rapidly seep through sleeves and garments.

Burns are extremely prone to infection. The skin is our largest protective organ and our first line off deffence against invading pathogens. Furthermore as tissue dies it provides an all you can eat buffet for staphylococcus and his other microbial buddies.

To reduce scarring and achieve improved pain management the healing environment should be moist, and sealed from the elements.

I use Meplilex border Ag when I can. A foam dressing, with a gentle silicone adhesive boeder that can deal with the exudate, combat bacteria with its silver impregnated layers, and provide optimism healing conditions; or so they claim. It’s also thick enough to reduce the odour that accompanies burn healing. Think of your food waste bin, full of meat, during hot summer months in the run up to collection day.

I’d asked my GP for a prescription of said dressings, but my stock is now low. The reality is that these things bend and flex with the contours off your skin. Inflammation induced itchiness forces you to claw and scratch at them. Burning over,or near to old wounds where kelloid scars have formed creates airpockets and channels in the adhesive. All off these factors render them useless within a day or two or immediately following a shower. When my stock is low I try use them sparingly; if at all. They’re incredibly expensive to buy with regularity.

Today’s decision to ration their use created quite the conundrum for me this afternoon. I was going to the gym and knew I’d be showering after. The previous dressing had fallen apart for all the reasons mentioned above and it stunk, so had to be removed. A new one before the gym would waste it, so I left my arms unprotected, covered only by my rash guard. The wounds continued to weep, and a couple of hours later the fabric of my sleeve had congealed with the wound site. IT WAS STUCK!!!

Many of my burns heal with hypergranulation; essentially a process whereby tissue and tiny blood vessels grow back exuberantly above and beyond the original site, creating little delicate flesh mounds. It was one of these that was stuck!!

I soaked my sleeve with water, to no avail. I was forced to “tug!!!” All I can say is Ouch!!! Newly formed nerve endings were severed, blood vessels burst and flesh ripped.

In the context of lecturing I’m used to creating sessions and activities that have “learning outcomes” This was a perfect experience to teach someone not to burn again, but that’s not what I’ve taken away from it.

Despite the trauma, the pain, the odours, the recovery proccesses and the sheer difficulties associated with exudent wound management, and hiding it all from everyone else; I crave it. I need it! It’s my valium, my reality checker, my grounding strategy and my fucked up comforter. It’s my one controllable constant.

I will hoever, be more careful with my wounds.

Loopy x