We Need To Talk

Rethink and a whole host of other leading Mental Health charities and organizations have launched a campaign to try and persuade the NHS to offer Talking Therapies to those diagnosed with severe mental illness within 28 days. You can read the We Still Need To Talk Report here.

I’d like to tell you a little about my journey with Talking Therapies in the past. Continue reading


Yesterday was a day that started way to early and finished way to late. With the exception of roughly 5 hours it was spent in hospital waiting rooms and other sundry hospital related rooms.

I was sat in an out of hours Doctors waiting room at about 11pm last night and started writing this blog post and once I finally got home at 1am this morning, I really didn’t have the where with all to finish it off. So this post is an abbreviation of what I had to say yesterday.

I had my CPA meeting yesterday. As I tweeted last Friday, I was preying for a Belfastian Snow Storm, it didn’t arrive so I had to go. I have made no secret that I have issues with my Consultant Psychiatrist. She has made some rather crazy statements in the past and I haven’t agreed with her very often. I do have to thank her for reawakening me 2 years ago when she saw that I was obviously over medicated and she was very quick in reducing my medications and really restoring me back to the world of the living.

Yesterday, I acknowledged this and we started the meeting off on a surprisingly up note. I didn’t see what follows coming. It really was a bolt out of the blue. For a start she didn’t mention the BPD/EUPD (whatever). She did however refer to my condition to be so much better than it was when she first met me. I had to agree. I have been pretty much “stable” for the past 6 months. There have been ups and downs as there always have, but with what I have learned through the groups I have attended, I have handled the issues better and better. Over the past 14 weeks with what I have learned and tried to put into place with the STEPPS group things are falling into place more and more.

One thing I have realised is that I am unsure what I should be diagnosed as. Yes, I believe I have Bipolar Affective Disorder and yes I do have SOME traits of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. I don’t fit all of the criteria of the latter, but I do think that everyone in society will have traits of that, but when you add in Bipolar to the mix things are amped up and can cause some rather funky results.

Back to the CPA.

The whole meeting carried on in a similar vein. She praised me to the top of the hill and back. It was like things had magically solved themselves over the past 6 months. I felt more and more empowered by what she was saying. She made points to me that made me realise the great strides I had made.

It was decided that there would be no changes to my medication and then it happened… the BUT in every conversation I had ever had with my Consultant came. The BUT this time floored me like a prize fighter with a glass jaw.
“We are going to release you back to your GP at the end of the STEPPS group in 6 weeks time”

I was dumbfounded. My CPN had been hinting at this for close to a year, but he always made it sound like it was something happening to other patients. It was always the discussion that the services they were offering were by and far over stretched and things were changing in the way they offer their services. Yesterday I became one of those OTHER patients and my heart skipped a beat and then I revelled in the joy that other were seeing in me that I was getting better.

They laid out the plan for what will happen when this current group ends. I will be placed in to what they called “Shared Care”. I don’t know if that’s just a name they have created in my area or if it’s a national thing. It was never mentioned back up in Corby (EVER). I had questions that I needed answers to, but yesterday wasn’t the day for them. I do know that my care through the CMHT will not end they after I finish the group, there has to be a crossover period where everything is explained in full to me and my family. So you could say I found out what my birthday present will be a couple of months early.

One thing I am going to do before this whole thing happens is change my GP. I am more certain now that my current GP is not the right person for me to go through this process with. By his own admission he refers people very quickly if he is unsure. I really need support from people who will refer me if it is deemed totally necessary, but will also have the ability to take a look at my notes and be able to try and rationalise what is happening in the present moment with an eye on the past. It has always been my goal within Mental Health services to NOT be in Mental Health services. I really don’t want to be bouncing back and forward on a whim, which is what I think would happen with my current GP. So that is one more thing to be added to my list.

As the meeting was drawing to it’s natural conclusion, we discussed what I had been doing to keep myself occupied. I told her about my work with Rethink and that I had been writing more “offline” stuff. When she heard that I had been writing more it seemed that a light switched on and she remembered something she had been meaning to say. She had been to see a play about Mental Health and people who suffer from illnesses like the one(s) I do and she suggested that that could be something I could do for this area. She also suggested that I try and get involved with speaking to groups of people about my experiences within and without the CMHT and living with the Mentalz. Again this just spurred me on even more at where I cold be going in the next 12 to 18 months ahead.

I am under no illusions that it’s going to be easy out there on my own, but I do know that I have a few new gadgets to play with that might help make my days a little easier.

As a short footnote… I started writing this at 10.30pm Monday night in a Doctors Waiting Room and it is now just after 1am on Wednesday. It’s not that I am a slow writer, it’s just that I got distracted with a life that no longer revolves around my own worries of how my Mental Health is affecting me and how  I can best beat the situation.

Until Next Time…

NB – *When you read the word yesterday.. Imagine yesterday was Monday*

Wants And Needs 2012 – Revisited

At the start of the year I posted a list of “resolutions” that I hoped to achieve through 2012. I thought I would take a few minutes to get back to the point and see how well I did.

You can read the original post here

  • Writing More – Well, my output didn’t increase massively. I did however stretch my reach a little away from my own blogs. I contributed a couple of times to the most excellent This Week In Mentalists strand over at the The World Of Mentalists. I also joined the team over at Scribes of Metal a new Rock and Heavy Metal News and Reviews site. I have given a couple of reviews for albums this year (the new Rob Zombie Remix album and the Led Zeppelin Reunion album Celebration Day I hope to do more with both sites in the following year.
  • Reading More – I have certainly read more in the past year than I have in any year since I left college. Having said that I can’t quite recall if I have read more than 12 books. I do know I have had more than a few very late nights where I have gotten caught up in a book and not been able to put it down. The most memorable would have to be “The Heroin Diaries” by Nikki Sixx. It is a collection of diary entries from one year leading up to his choice to get himself clean. The honesty in that one book alone had a profound effect on me. He was able to show an honesty and a trust in his readership to take his story and run with it and make their lives better and more productive. I am currently half way through his follow up memoir “This Is Gonna Hurt”. Sixx once clean needed a new outlet for his creativity and he used Photography. Again another massive inspiration for me. Briefly, Brendan o’ Carroll (he of Mrs Browns Boys Fame) has had me in stitches at ungodly hours of the morning with his first two novels about Mrs Brown. They were such easy reads that I really wish that they were twice the length so I could have had more to read. I have one more to read in the series and I am saving it for a time when I am a bit down.
  • Website Theme – The website design that is in effect at the moment is the design that I set out to create. I didn’t 98% of the work myself. The other 2% came from my Brother and the guy who designed the base theme. Yes I know I wanted to create a whole theme, but I found a theme I thought looked pretty good out of the box, but I wanted a more personal stamp on it. So, I went down the route of a Child Theme. It’s the best of both worlds and I now have something to work on when I want to move forward.
  • Other Sites – My other website phurwood.co.uk is no more. I don’t know why but I went out and purchased the domain paulhurwood.com. It was a spur of the moment thing and it sat there for quite a while whilst I decided what I wanted to do with the domain. I don’t do much of anything really so it was doomed to another blog. In reality it has taken the content from every site I have ever had through the ages (with the exception of this and Spnak in it’s photographic guise). It is now a website that I plan on focusing more of my time on in 2013.
  • Other Health – I mentioned before about taking better care of myself, health wise. Well that pretty much didn’t happen. I am now eating a lot less than I was this time last year (and it wasn’t much back then). I seem to have developed an aversion to certain random foods. My sense of taste is buggering everything up. Food tastes off or not quite right. If I do manage to eat a regular meal it is a 50/50 chance that it won’t make a reappearance. My GP has no idea what could be causing the problem. The diabetes is still out of control, but I have had my injection medication changed to a once a day kind so I should be able to get the doses I need to help bring it under control.

So that’s how the last year has gone in relation to what I set out to achieve. I am not sure that there will be another resolution based post on IJAR this year. All I do know it that in 2013 I HAVE to focus on getting better and getting my life back to some kind of order. 2012 had a lot of bad points that knocked me back far to much. I am only now just getting back to a semblance of normality after the whole Insomnia and Voices issues. hope you all have a great 2013. Be safe and look out for one another

I hope you all have a great 2013. Be safe and look out for one another.

Until Next Time…

The Next Step

So, where to begin. There is a post that is sat in my drafts section that I just cannot bring myself to post. Even by my standards it’s a whiny pile of crap. Yes I guess if you read it you could feel a modicum of sympathy for my current situation but in the long run I really should just take the ball and start running my flabby arse off to get to the next part of my life.

As with everyone who is reliant on Benefits there comes a time when you realise that things cannot go on they way they are and you have top make a choice about where to go next.

In short, my family doesn’t have enough money to get through the month. It is no ones fault. We are a medically crocked family. E.S.A. is what it is and as I have mentioned before I have gotten away with more than my fair share of luck in the whole process. I have been in the past so wrapped up in my own claim I let matters that effect others in my family slip by. So whilst I was defending myself I was letting down others and not fighting their corner. I can’t change this situation now, but I can alter how things are ahead of us.

On Monday of this week I had a CPN meeting and I spent pretty much 50% of the meeting explaining about our situation and my CPN asked me outright if I was willing to go and meet with some people who MAY be able to help me out in search for work. Put on the spot I had to think quick. Of course ever since October 2008 I have thought about the prospect of going back to work at some point. At 38 I am to young to be on the scrap heap of life. I know I have more to offer, more to give someone who could be willing to give me a chance. I agreed to meet with these people (hoping that they weren’t some kind of slave traders who sold the disabled too unscrupulous employers for peanuts.)

That night was the night Panorama and Channel 4 broadcast their programmes about ATOS and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) I have only seen the Panorama show so far but one line of narration in that programme pricked my ears up on stalks, it went something like:

Employment Support Allowance recipients in the Support Group are the group who are not expected to ever work again!

Other things in that programme gave me conflicting thoughts and gut reactions. There were people who quite plainly had more (different) healthcare issues to myself and in my eyes most were worse off than I personally feel at this time. Without getting into the debate of who is more entitled, I had to think more on the subject of the question of could I work again if given a chance?

I spent the rest of this week up until today (Thursday) thinking about how I could go into a meeting and explain my situation. I did what I always do.. I winged it. I just answered the questions as I was asked them in the most truthful way I could. The lady I spoke to listened and wasn’t at all pushy and has left it up to me to decide if I want to go forward with joining them in my efforts to find paid work. She was adamant about a couple of things though. She insisted that I sign up to Do-It and at least apply for one volunteering position. This is an easy thing to do as I had been on this site before (albeit at 3am one morning where I didn’t sign up to anything for fear of it coming back in the cold light of day and biting me on the arse).

So she sends me off with an information pack about their organisation and an agreement to get in touch in a week and let her know what I had decided. I headed home with so many more questions in my head than I had before I had gone in there but with one firm resolve…

I had to start somewhere to get somewhere.

As the title suggests, there IS a next step and I have started that ball rolling. I have signed up to Do-It and I have applied to the local branch of Rethink. I had met one of the people who run that branch during my Recovery Group sessions and bad health had stopped me from getting in touch before hand but I have now made the leap and I now just have to wait and see if they get back in touch. I am formulating a plan in my head that will help me help myself with help from others. It’s not going to be a quick over night transformation, but I have a goal now and I have the startings of a purpose again.

Until Next Time…


***Warning. This post is pretty intense in places with talk of Suicide and other triggering topics.***

This post could quite easily become one big cliché. I don’t intend it too but I am going to explain what has gone on over the past couple of weeks.

I want to say that men bottling things up is a misconception that I would never fall into, but the past two or three weeks have proved that I too am just as guilty as the next (literal) man. I always thought that I communicated my feelings to my family well. I thought they were on top of things when I was in a funk.

This past Wednesday proved that wrong. In the most heart breaking way possible. Continue reading

….and then I burst…

Howdedoo neighbours… Yet again I seem to be left playing catch up when the world changes. Things around here have been of on a tangent recently and I haven’t been able to post… now I catch you all up with the gory story.

When I started back to work during May this year, I was going great, my Bi Polar was kinda under control I was feeling reasonably good working in an office with no air con… only one thing nagged me and that was a smallish lump at the bottom of my back that kinda hurt when I sat down.

Now having Cystic Acne I get used to these little lumps popping up now and then and try to just get on with things and forget them. But after two weeks this sucker is getting bigger and not making any attempts at leaving… so I show it to my good lady wife (she gets all the good jobs you know..lol). She too thought it was just another lump and we took care of it the same way we take care of all the others… keep it clean and try and burst the bastard when ever we think it’s not looking.

Well being the stubborn bastard that I am, after three and a half weeks I start refusing the talk of my going to see doctors. I will not see another doctor about these lumps after being put on that Ro-Accutane bullshit and having it do nothing but drying me out like a Florida retiree on an august Sunday afternoon trip to the solarium.

I struggle through the week and finally give in and get dragged by horses and roman slave beaters to the doctors and get told that it’s nasty but you just need Anti Biotics and LUCK…. FUCKING LUCK. Apparently I was on the cusp of self healing or becoming deathly ill ( I think that’s what he said.. it could have been something less dramatic… i dunno). Anywho I go home and start taking the pills.. and lo what happens… the fucking thing starts to get fucking bigger and it’s now leaking again.. oh lordy I’m having fun now.

Anyway… I went to work Monday thinking that the anti b’s would start kicking in and doing the right thing for me. I get home after work and the daily ritual of looking at my butt begins.. and no one likes the look of it so the decision is made.. YOU ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL… yay… FUCK.

(By the way there are pictures coming soon..lol.. they are real fun too look at)

It’s a family outing when I go to the hospital.. Mum and wife in tow we head for Kettering General in what can only be described as a cab ride from hell. The driver hit every pot hole and speed bump he could.. not only was my head hitting the roof of the black cab but my arse was hitting the badly upholstered seat twice as hard (gravity sucks).

Once at the hospital I got out of the cab and stood upright only to feel that warm feeling on my legs… said growth and been exploded by the Michael Schumacher of Corby. I made a beeline for the bathrooms whilst my mother and wife tried to explain what was going on and what had happened. I got myself cleaned up as best I could. It was ugly. I did have some spare clothes with me as I had a sneaking feeling that I may not be home that evening… wooo psychic me.

After a bit of standing around and seeing one nurse and explaining that I didn’t want to sit down due to the fact I would leave a bigger trail that Brian the Snail from The Magic Roundabout. I explained to her what the problem was and that I was now in quite a bit of pain and discomfort and that I would be waiting outside for my next call. Which surprisingly came pretty quickly. A nice Irish nurse called me into his treatment room and in I went.. accompanied by Linda (Hey I needed someone lucid in there.. I had a hole in my ass that wasn’t there an hour ago.. i was kinda freaking out… and beside she is nosy like that..LOL).

I felt like I had to apologise to the nurse as the shit flowing out of me stank the room to high hell and back.. he didn’t seem to mind said he had smelt much worse. I dropped my jeans and laid on the bed and apologized again for the smell. He started cleaning me up in between small talk…

Nurse: It’s a big Pilonadal Cyst by the looks of things

Me: Oh Yeah? I saw one of those on the Internet

Nurse: Fuck me another homemade Doctor

Me: No not really I was looking for fun ages ago

Whilst he was cleaning me up he put the dirty swabs on a tray about 6 inches away from my face. I decided to drop a hint..

Me: I really am sorry for the smell

Nurse: Stop worrying I have really smelt a lot worse.

Me: I haven’t

Nurse: Well when you have been doing this job for a while you get used to things like this.

Me: (turning a slight shade of “here come my guts”) Any chance you could move this stuff from in front of me I feel sick.

Anywho he moved the offending matter and then excused himself as he wanted some surgeon to take a look at the extent of the infection and get a second opinion. It was at that point I knew I wasn’t going to be sleeping in my own bed tonight.

The surgeon came in.. I didn’t see his person but I saw his Shadow take over the room and felt like I was being invaded my something from Lord of the rings. He clasped my buttocks freshly swabbed like the deck of a tall ship and stuck a finger in my new hole. I launched myself from a prone position to a OH MY FUCKING LORD DO THAT AGAIN AND I’LL KNOCK YOUR BLOODY TEETH OUT YOUR HEAD position. He didn’t apologise… I’ll get that bastard I thought. They moved me to a side room and asked me to wait while the discussed my case.

About an hour later another Doctor came to the little cupboard room they left us in and said that I would need surgery to remove the offending infected tissue from my back. Wooooo Go me.

Well that was it. I was admitted to hospital that night and I spent the weirdest night listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and White Stripes new one. I didn’t fall asleep until around 5.30am and they came around to wake me up at 6.30am to take my obs.. great news I was having problems with the oxygenation in my blood.. so they gave me a O2 mask and told me to keep it on. I tried but it kept falling off when I smoked a cigarette.

A nice chap arrived at about 11.30 to collect me to go see the nice surgeon who was going to mutilate me he threw me on the bed and took me for a ride and that folks is pretty much all I remember. I remember looking at the anesthetic dude pumping white junk into my arm and the next thingI knew I was awake on a ward feeling no pain and thinking it was all pretty much like Disneyland. Morphine and me could be great friends if I could afford it.

As i say.. I don’t remember a great deal after my ride with the orderly, but that night I didn’t sleep to well and spent most of the night outside smoking and talking to the other smokers who were in hospital trying to be medically saved by being allowed outside to smoke.. ahhh the memories.

They let me home the next day and I now have to have the wound cleaned and dressed every day… (Linda loves me she really does)

I was gonna go into thePink Floyd live 8 thing in this post but I’ll save that for ya for another time.

Until Next Time…

Oh wait… the photos Muhahahahahahaha.. these are pretty graphic so those with a weak stomach PLEASE AVOID.. don’t say I didn’t warn ya

The Wound undressed – NOT for the SQUEAMISH