The Unpredictability Of Life With Mental Health Problems

Nobody can predict the future (except for Raven Baxter of classic Disney Channel hit “That’s so Raven”…anyone else miss that show? SOMEONE REMINISCE WITH ME).
Predicting the future is, however, a hell of a lot harder when you are living with mental health problems, aka almighty inconveniences that could pop up and smack you right in the nostril at any time. Of course everyone has the risk of things popping up unexpectedly in life and smacking them in the nostril, regardless as to whether they have mental health problems or not (which is why I always keep mine protected and am currently running interviews to employ my own personal nostril body guard…applications are still open for any hopefuls out there), but I think when you are mentally ill, the chances are increased and you are far more aware of them.
It is like leaving the house and wondering whether or not to take an umbrella. Some people may look out of their windows and see a blue sky with no sign of anything to suggest that an umbrella will be needed in the near future. Maybe a storm will randomly come along out of nowhere and surprise them, but they are not thinking about, nor are they aware of that storm before it has arrived. With mental health problems though, you always know that the chance of rain is there, you can always see the black clouds looming and can’t risk planning a picnic too far in advance or leaving the house unprepared without your wellingtons, just incase.

It isn’t that I particularly want to predict the future, but I cannot stand the swirling uncertainty that being a bit bonkers in the head can cause. Take right now for example. Okay I am in hospital so we have my current location all clear, but other than that I have absolutely no idea as to what on earth is going on.
Being under a section, I can’t exactly decide on discharge dates right now, so I do not know how long it will be before I am home. I don’t even know where I might be in the coming weeks as things are currently not going particularly well and there are talks of me being moved to another unit, one of which could be in Glasgow which is a long way from my hometown of Bristol and is terrifying the life out of me (if you do not live in the UK and do not know how far apart these locations are, all you have to do is get out your Atlas and find a map of the UK. All good? Ok, now put one finger on the very top of the country and the other on the very bottom in the little denty bit. That is how far away they are, aka THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THIS TEA OBSESSED ISLAND. It is so far that there are airports in both locations so that you can fly between them because nobody has time to sit on a train or in a car for three million hours.) Everything is being done both by me and staff to prevent that from happening, but all in all, it is not my decision and more down to professional people in suits. Then if I were to be transferred to some currently unknown location anywhere across the country, I have no idea when it would be or for how long I would be there.
When it comes to medication I am similarly in the dark as to what will happen because a certain medication I have a problem with and do not want to take, has now been approved by a second opinion doctor, so legally if I refuse to take it orally, I can be injected with it. IN THE REAR. People really should not be stabbing that area with needles. I need it kept bruise free for me to sit on!
I don’t know how long I will have to take it, what will happen with the dose, if it will change, or how I will feel if it does (I am really not a fan of the current side effects).

Then there is my appeal against my section at a tribunal in a few days time, again a place where I can share an opinion but not make a choice. Being in hospital means waiting for a decision to be made and permission to be given on EVERYTHING, even whether or not you can go to the toilet, have a shower, or whether you are allowed to have a cup of tea in your room with your friend, aka things you would generally take for granted. You want to pee? You pee! You want tea with a friend? You tea! In hospital though? We are going to have to “discuss that with the team”. Good lord do they love to discuss things. It isn’t even just short term plans either, because things get even more foggy with a chance of showers and a few tornadoes when looking to the long term, especially when people consider their lives outside of a hospital setting, where things can be even more uncertain.

I love to keep things organised, I love to plan and I have always liked the idea of those huge calendars that big families buy brightly coloured magnets for, to stick to the fridge. In my mind every square and every day is scribbled on in black marker with holidays, social occasions, appointments and of course Great Aunt Enid’s 94th birthday. How can you book a holiday to the Canary Islands though when there is a 50/50 chance as to whether or not you will be well enough to go. Maybe when you book the holiday things are fine, but how can you guarantee they will be the same in a few months time? How can you be certain you will be able to make Little David’s football match on the 12th when depression could strike you down into immovable zombie mode ten minutes before the big game? How can you guarantee your presence at Aunt Enid’s all night rave at 2am? (She may be 94 but nobody can control Aunt Enid. When that woman wants a party, you had better be ready. With glow sticks.)

Obviously the only thing you really can do in these situations is to go ahead and agree to these potential plans and hope for the best, but as ok as that is in theory, it doesn’t take the uncertainty of the future out of the equation, sometimes financially worrying uncertainty if there is a risk that your flights to the Canary Islands and all inclusive hotel resort are going to have to be cancelled.
Aside from long term social activities, there are long term considerations like job courses to consider or places at university. In 2014 I was given a place at a university nearby to study to become a teacher, applications, exams, interviews, all done and ready to go…then I went into hospital. No worries we thought! The children can wait an extra year for my excellent teaching skills. Maybe it will be a good thing, give me more “life experience”, “develop me further as a person”. I asked if I could defer my place to the next year, all was agreed and the plan seemed back in place. I left hospital, I started to prepare for a life in the classroom teaching children all the reasons as to why penguins are awesome (might chuck in some lessons on times tables and ABC’s to keep OFSTED happy…Penguin starts with a P…One penguin plus another penguin equals two penguins…potentially three if dinner and a movie goes well).
Then, unexpectedly and unplanned, I ended up in hospital and my 2015 teacher training once again had to be put on hold. I asked if they would let me defer the place one more time but that request was denied and to be fair that is probably a good thing, because since then my mental health has been even more unstable.

Due to this I haven’t really been able to make any future plans because I never know how well my brain will be functioning, so whilst being unsure of the current plan here in hospital, things are even more uncertain when we look to the future. I often see people making “5 year plans” and “10 year plans” involving things like “get married”, “Become manager”, “own first house” or “give birth to child”. 10 year plans? Good lord I don’t know what is happening in the next ten days! Ten hours! Ten minutes (actually that last one is a lie…I am going to finish this blog, make a cup of tea and then mum is coming to visit. YAY).

Like I said, regardless of whether someone has mental health problems or not, we are all going to get unexpected storms that crop up and throw our neatly colour coded calendars from the fridge and into the recycling. It is however made even more complicated when you can already see the clouds forming, have a brain that is known to explode, and you are constantly aware of that ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

Take care everyone x



14 thoughts on “The Unpredictability Of Life With Mental Health Problems

  1. So very true. Sorry you are having a tough time in hospital. I like plans to be clear and can’t bear it when I don’t know what is going on, especially in relation to my own care and treatment. When it comes to making plans it’s fraught with difficulty, will I feel calm enough to catch a bus (don’t drive a car), how will I eat and get there at the right time, where I am meeting someone (is it safe and familiar) some times these decisions are so overwhelming it’s easier to just not make a plan or to cancel a plan. I have a daughter in her teens and agreeing to plans for her is tricky too, it may feel fine to have noisy friends around when I am feeling fine and agree to it, not so fine when on the day the world is closing in and I’m desperate for silence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is so nice to hear that other people hate this whole lack of plans thing too! I have friends who like to be spontaneous and do things “in the moment” (I know people who have booked trips to Mexico or New York the DAY BEFORE they actually got on the plane and went there), and I just cannot understand it. I am exactly like you in the liking to know what is going on! Take today and tomorrow for example…two big decisions about my care are being made both days but I have no say in them so am having 48 hours of limbo! It is a nightmare! I also really relate to your difficulties with the difficulty of making plans even though knowing what is happening is helpful. It is all so confusing! Thank you for sharing this with me and I really hope that today is not one of the days in which the world is closing in. If it is, I am sending very silent gentle hugs. Remember I am always here if you need and very grateful for your support xxx


  2. Sorry you are having such a hard time. I hope the plans as to what unit you will be going to gets sorted. I was in exactly the same situation a few months ago. I was first put in a unit 100 miles from home and after 2 months was moved 200 miles away so I know how unsettling it is. Still thinking of you and wishing you the best x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I am hoping to find out more about what is going on with my care by tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday afternoon) at the latest so keep your fingers crossed that it is good news…and that it arrives before the afternoon preferably! Really sorry that you had the experience of being moved so far away from home yourself. That must have been incredibly difficult. I think I have been lucky in only having been 30 minutes from home in pretty much every admission I have ever been…hopefully it stays that way. Damn it they need more NHS beds across the country! Hope you are ok and you are, as ever, in my thoughts. In it together xx


  3. Sending you lots of love. Please let me know whether they are going forward with the transfer and if so, where to. Thinking of you and sending you heaps of support. You know where I am if you need me 😗❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. Not sure what is going on today but I should be 100% clear on plans by the end of tomorrow (aka Wednesday) afternoon. Fingers crossed they are good plans and there is no delay in getting them to me! Lots of love xxx


      • Sending heaps of luck and love to you. I have everything crossed that they are good too or at least not being transferred far from home especially as you know the people at STEPS ans you are close to your family. I am so SO proud of you for carrying on fighting despite how hard and exhausting it is (I’m sure words can’t even begin to describe the extent of this). Sending silent hugs and you know where I am if you need anything 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My only real advice is to try not to think too much about the future right now, because obviously that’s just going to cause anxiety. Try to be present-focused. Fortune telling is never a good idea, mental illness or not (but especially w/ mental illness). Don’t worry about the people that have 5 or 10 year plans. I personally can’t do it, and I don’t even know if I want to. It’s good to have goals, but I’ve never really cared for the way some people go about it. It’s just not for me.

    Also, I totally used to watch That’s So Raven (although didn’t see all of it). Did you know that there’s a new show on called Raven’s House now? It’s about her kids (and Chelsea and her kids). I only saw one episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh I heard about that TV show and I really want to see it but I don’t know if it is available in the U.K.! I need to find it! I think focusing in the present is the best idea ever tbh as looking at the future certainly isn’t helping me right now and as of today the future is more scary than ever. Must try to take it minute by minute I think…OH AND USE MEDICATION BECAUSE GOOD LORD THE ANXIETY

      Liked by 1 person

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