The Day Before

TODAY IS THE DAY BEFORE. It’s the day before I see my counsellor (C). She was away last week, so I’ve had to wait two long, painful weeks for an answer. Tomorrow is the day C tells me whether I can continue to see her after my last session, which is due on the 21st of December this year. Up until now, my therapy has been free under the council-funded Eating Disorders service, where I got six months of treatment, for which I’m very grateful.

However, now I cannot get any funding to continue seeing C under the general health team at that counselling organisation. It’s not just that, but there is a waiting list of ten months to even be considered. I can afford a little, but not the average fee for counselling, which is in the region of £50 – £60 per session. On the improbable off chance that C can continue with me without the ten-month wait, I will have to find the money. As it is, I struggle to make ends meet, and because of the UK cost of living crisis, I can’t even afford to have any heating on this winter. Being cold is miserable, but I’ll put up with it if it means I can continue to see C. I’m counting the hours and minutes until I go for my session tomorrow. I feel absolutely sick with worry.

All that aside, I have also lost three people this week (not through deaths, thankfully.) Their losses have been a blow, nevertheless. I had a Befriender from the Hospice who had phoned me every Friday – we’ve been chatting for nearly a year – just day-to-day stuff, like friends. She called me on Friday to say this was her last call as she was leaving the service to work with her daughter.

The same day, I had a call from my lovely pharmacy assistant, who’s been dispensing my medication for the last ten years, and whom I got to know on first-name terms and almost like friends. She always had time for a quick chat.

Finally, I had a call from Amy, who works for the NHS Wellbeing Team. She told me, very kindly, that because my mental health has deteriorated, she can no longer work with me. I just can’t figure that one out.

I’ve seen images on Google that say something along the lines of the picture below. Sadly, it’s no consolation to me right now. Please, wish me luck for tomorrow and keep your fingers crossed that the decision goes in my favour. I will update my situation either tomorrow or within a few days depending on the outcome.

Thank you to all my amazing and beautiful friends and readers who have been there for me on every step of my recent painful journey. Love Ellie Xx 🖤

(Image source – main photo – Photo by Liza Summer: https://www.pexels.com)

Home From Hospital

I just thought I’d pop in briefly to let you know I’m home from hospital now. My friend came and collected me from the hospital this morning and was kind enough to stay some of the day at home with me. You’ll be pleased to hear my operation was successful. There was a minor complication, but the hospital really did look after me well. I have to visit my GP in ten days to have my stitches taken out. I’m also on antibiotics, still somewhat wiped out and have very little energy. Not surprising, though. Early days yet.

I was lucky to have been on a reasonably quiet ward, or as quiet as wards can be, with the general hustle and bustle of hospital staff being as busy as they are. That, along with a variety of pings and beeps from hospital equipment. The doctors and nurses were all lovely, and so were the care workers and cleaners, and I feel grateful for being cared for so well. What would we do without the NHS?

My home help, a good friend, is coming over a couple of extra times over the next week to make sure I’m okay and see if there’s anything I need. It’s very kind of her, and I appreciate it. My neighbour got some shopping in for me yesterday, so I’ve got food, although I’m not very hungry. The hospital food was yummy, and they even had a good choice of vegan meals which surprised me. I think food always tastes nicer if someone else has cooked it for you!

I probably won’t write much for a few days yet as I’m still pretty exhausted. I don’t think I’ve got all of the anaesthetic out of my system yet, either. I will try and catch up with some of your recent posts as soon as I can. I’ve missed you all being part of my life. It’s funny how people we don’t really know away from WordPress can become a big part of our lives.


I’ll say night-night now as I’m going up to bed early. I might even let Peanut, my cat, come up with me as I think she missed me while I was away. A neighbour popped in a couple of times a day to ensure she had enough food, water and a clean litter tray. I missed her too.

Mostly, I wanted to thank all of you, my blogging buddies and readers, for your very kind comments and good wishes – I’ve just had time to read some of them. It’s lovely to know people care, and it means a lot to me. See you all soon. Xx .💟

MY RECOVERY COLLEGE IS AXED!

a college

Why can’t the government leave things alone if they are working well?! They have decided to stop the funding for my college which is a Recovery College. It’s a college for 500 people like myself who are living with or recovering from (or trying to) mental health conditions. It’s a great place and has really helped me gain my confidence and learn new coping strategies. I’ve also made lots of friends of all sorts there and got to know all the tutors and other staff really well. We’ve been running for nearly four years now, learned a lot, shared a lot and had a lot of fun. Also, on a more serious note, I and we have all learned so much about coping with our lives with a mental health disorder and some of us have been able to move along to voluntary or paid avenues. I attend there 3-4 times a week and have benefitted enormously. It has given me structure to my week, a purpose and a social life, all of which have contributed to my improved mental health.  I am upstet and devastated.

The government promised that they would spend more money on mental health yet they are shutting down organizations like ours all over the country. We are campaigning and petitioning fiercely to defend our college but it is not looking promising and students are becoming very down and disheartened as a result.

The government say they want to save money yet can’t they see how bloody and stupidly short-sighted they are! As a result of the college closing, our students will need more support from NHS services such as the Acorn Centre (inpatient), the Crisis Team, our Social Workers, Psychiatrists, CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses) and GPs which will in the long run cost far more money.

I will be lost without my college which is set to close at the end of June this year. I have spent hours there, learning, studying, buddying, getting excellent advice and support, socializing and making good friendships and relationships with staff and managers.

So far, we have had a photo and article in the county newspaper, we have been on the radio, have been to see our local MP, have put a petition out there etc, etc, but all to no avail. We are NOT giving up and will continue to fight right up until the doors have to close. We must keep fighting!

As per my following my post, for anyone reading this would you PLEASE PLEASE sign our PETITION to keep this college open. All information is kept strictly confidential. THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH.

https://www.change.org/p/mid-essex-clinical-commissioning-group-reinstate-funding-for-the-mid-essex-recovery-college-and-hub

DISCRIMINATION, DEGRADATION AND HUMILIATION

 Image

I am sooooo ANGRY!!! ….. Yesterday, I had to go to the dentist with my Support Worker, H, obviously in my wheelchair. I don’t have a fear of dentists anymore…I’ve had so much dental treatment over the years, I’ve just got used to it. Nevertheless, like most people, I don’t find it a pleasurable experience either. But this wasn’t about an unpleasant experience in the dentist’s chair; more about being able to even get into the dental practice in the first place!

I’ve been a loyal NHS patient at this particular dental surgery for 34 years. I wasn’t disabled at first, although the very early signs of my condition were just becoming evident but now I am confined to a wheelchair as most of you know. My dental surgery has a step up to the front of it which I am unable to use and there is no disabled access anywhere else to the building. Up till now, it’s always been a couple of dentists and maybe a couple of unfortunate patients in the waiting room who have rather ungainly lifted my wheelchair over the threshold. Now, suddenly, no-one there is allowed to help me in any way because of insurances reasons which I can appreciate as H. isn’t insured to lift or move me either. I have been asking for months if they could get a cheap fold-up ramp to give access to their wheelchair patients but no, nothing so far.

I was sitting by the entrance door, waiting for someone to come up with a solution. In the meantime, I was blocking the entrance door so no-one could get in or out (I felt like an exhibit in a Victorian freak show). Eventually, the head receptionist decided that she would get me in over the step! (Where the insurance regulations went at that moment is anybody’s guess!). I felt totally humiliated being hoisted over the threshold as if I were a piece of luggage. It was most undignified. She pushed me into the waiting room and said, patronizingly, “There we are, I’ve put you by the window in the sunshine!”, as if I were a plant pot!

I eventually got to see my dentist (by which time I was in tears), he was really kind and apologized on behalf of the other staff. I was in and out in ten minutes. Then he said, “You’ll need to come back next week”. Aaaaargh!!

In the meantime….I have contacted the Equality, Advice and Support Services who have assured me that I was correct in my thinking. All public service providers must, by law, provide access for people with disabilities. I now have a template to write the correct letter to my dental surgery advising them of this and I am being backed up by the EASS who are an official body. OK. I know I won’t be very popular with the staff after this but hey, I have the satisfaction of knowing that every disabled person who attends that surgery will have dignified access and will not be discriminated against.