And finally this morning a letter arrived in the post from the Community Pain Team, talking about their waiting list for psychotherapy/CBT for pain (Yes, that waiting list that I’ve been on since before this blog started).
No, it’s not a letter saying “You are now definitely getting an appointment, here’s the date!” it’s a letter saying “Please ring us and tell us if you still want to be on this waiting list.”
Yes, I do still want to be on this waiting list. I am currently on a LOT of ambiguously long waiting lists;
CBT for pain
Specialist surgeon, hips
Getting a pre-A+E checklist
And that’s just the ones I can remember.
Some sort of psychotherapy will definitely do me good. This week has been lost in a blur of nothingness and self-harm and feeling guilty about needing to be cared for. Disturbingly, non-suicidal self harm seems to temporarily numb the pain I’m experiencing in my joints. I don’t want it to be my coping mechanism. I need to work on it. My seasonal issues are in full-swing right now (The clocks go back tonight, so this isn’t a shock. It’s still sad.) Very difficult reminding myself that I want to be alive right now.
In other news – My disability bus pass has arrived, and thus I’ve got my council card to get cheap swimming (£2.20 per session now, to spend forty-five minutes to an hour in the local pool, which never has more than about seven people in it, and is never less than a pleasant 30 degrees (written as 86 Fahrenheit on its ancient pool thermometer). For two nights a week, I swim lengths in the open sessions, and as the lanes begin to empty near the end of the hours, I begin to walk instead of swimming, slowing down and working harder, the water taking most of my weight and making falls an inconvenience rather than a nightmare, reminding my back how to carry my weight and my knees how to progress without buckling. After that, when I get out, I shake for hours and need morphine to get as far as wrapping myself in a towel. On a Sunday afternoon, I either spend forty five minutes being privately coached in technique on the four main strokes, or share the pool with at most three other people. On a Friday night, the lane ropes are taken out, and I have the chance to float gently or turn cartwheels in four-metre-deep water. I’ve been going regularly since Spring, and I can feel myself getting better. I still can’t walk on land, and I’m getting no closer to that, but my hundred metre freestyle is creeping down below the 1-minute mark, and I’m looking fitter again. I may be horribly underweight and never more than ten feet from enough morphine to kill myself, but my shoulders and thighs are looking fuller, and my stomach and back radiate clean heat when I curl up in bed after a long swim.
And the final bit of news, I suppose, is that my disability benefits have arrived. I was awarded higher rate for both mobility and home living, meaning that in the eyes of the government I am a very, very ill pigeon. And I can use that to pay for the things that I need most to make my life worthwhile – First, better bedding and better lighting (An electric blanket and a SAD light of my own), then a cleaner and possibly a carer, cheap and edible food, and, absolutely definitely, taxi fares to go places. To meet my friends. To go to the pub. To get to the fifty-metre international pool outside the city and absolutely cane it.
And an old friend from Before has got in touch, which is bizarrely reminding me that I am still me, despite feeling like an empty shell nowadays.