Mental Health – Health Update

rhdr

The photos in this post were taken on the day that I tried to end my life. These were all shot near the Barbican in London on an overcast and wet day. It had been a wonderful and enjoyable day. I had no intention of trying to commit suicide, I was just overwhelmed by the suicidal ideation which had been building up in intensity over the previous 10 days. Although it may be hard to get your head around, I wanted to live, I was happy and I had been seeking support to try and fight off this aspect of mental illness.

fznor

The consequences have been severe and challenging, and I’m putting together a documentary photo series to chart my experiences.

rhdr

My mental health has been unstable since leaving hospital. I’ve had intrusive thoughts about being shot and being followed. Sometimes the intrusive thoughts are visual and scary. I get images of my throat being cut and of people shooting me. This has increased my paranoia and I’ve sometimes been unable to move off of my sofa if a car pulls up outside. I believe that if I move then the people in the car will notice me and then attack me.

rhdr

For some reason I stopped meditating a while back, when I was really ill with my anorexia, but I have now returned to my practice. Twice daily meditation has helped reduce the paranoia, and my doctor has increased one of my meditations. Things are beginning to ease off now, such a relief.

hdrpl

My attempt to end my life resulted in physical complications. I developed pneumonia and a septic abscess on my lung. I required surgery to have it removed, along with part of my lung which had died. On the operating table I had a cardiac arrest.

rhdr

As my lung has started to heal I have been able to work at a better pace, and I’m no longer scared of people walking into my right hand side, the side of my body where my chest was opened.

fznor

My memory and ability to communicate is improving. There are occasions in which I get lost in a conversation, or cannot find the right words, but this is happening less than previously. qrf

Fatigue is still a problem. If I have a busy day then I need to have a nap, sometimes I need to have a complete day of rest the following day. I also find that my fatigue gets the better of me, which means that I’m going to bed around 9.30pm, but I’m sleeping for longer and sleeping through the night which is fab.

rhdr

The biggest challenge at the moment is that I have five pressure sores, some of which need dressing three times per week. On top of this I also have weekly podiatry appointments for the pressure sores on my feet, and fortnightly appointments for my arm. Worse still is that I’m scared of knives. The dead skin on the pressure sores on my feet needs to be debrided with a scalpel, and i cant cope with that. My fore arm is covered with a large pressure sore, and I have now come to terms with that being debrided using tweezers and scissors. The same can’t be done on my foot because the skin is different there.

rhdr

The great news is that I’ve got my mojo back now. You can probably tell because I’m following blogs and blogging myself. Such a relief. Most importantly though is that I’ve returned to my final assignment in Foundations in Photography with the Open College of the Arts . The embroidery is going well and I’m more than pleased with my progress. The embroidery is slow progress but it is progress.

 

 

33 Replies to “Mental Health – Health Update”

  1. So glad to hear you have your mojo back, I find I can pretty much operate fully on my mojo alone!

    If you ever want to talk, drop me a message, I will listen. Sometimes talking to someone you don’t know is easier somehow, and I will listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its good to have you back Richard, its funny that you should mention your mojo, I have been in Cornwall for the last couple of weeks with the family for one of the weeks. I was asked by one of the younger members what a mojo was and whether I had one! I’m really glad you physical and mental health seems to be getting better although that pressure sore looks nasty!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard you have had such a lot to deal with. It’s so good that your photography continues to help you heal. Take it easy, keep napping when you feel the need, continue with your mediation & keep improving both mentally & physically. Thinking of you, Judy x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good photographs Richard that remind me of our visit to the Barbican together last summer (in the rain!). Well done on describing your mental and physical health journey. For most of us the pressure ulcers alone would keep us on the sofa. Nothing daunted you are fighting your demons and my admiration for you knows no bounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the update and the history. I’m glad you’re back and that things are starting to improve for you. Restarting meditation is an excellent step. Ideation is so hard to live with and people who don’t experience it can’t really understand the fatigue that comes with it or how compelling it seems at times. You are in my thoughts as you work your way back.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’ll enjoy it. I find meditation helpful, though I keep the sessions relatively short. There are some great apps to. I find meditating in the absolute quiet difficult. A nice soothing background is just the thing.

        Liked by 1 person

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