Covid-19: It isn’t a Joke!

It is boring tonight! I am up late again, and it is 4a.m. in the morning. I have never been a particularly good sleeper, sometimes I can go weeks without sleep. Thats the annoying thing about insomnia, it can keep me up all night. To make it worse, I guarantee when I finally drift off to the land of nod, I’ll be awake again early in the morning.

It isn’t always like this. As we speak, I’m burning a patchouli incense that I use as a sleep aid. However, my sleep has been interrupted severely through this pandemic. Now, I am looking after my husband who has been left with triple the amount of pain from his disabilities thanks to Coronavirus which has increased it severely. He already had chronic pain from his car crash accident which occurred a few years ago, and it has gotten worse since he had the virus. He also has a right sided weakness brought on by cancer removal from when he was just around 3 years old, and that can cause him to feel weak, tired and fall easily. Our local council and the community nurses have made some adaptations to the home, such as an extra stair rail, and an extra grab rail in the bathroom which help him get around, however when he is in a lot of pain, he also has sleep problems and to add to that he wakes up in the night or early morning, sometimes confused.

I have PTSD which can make the insomnia harder. However, right now I am a carer to my husband, which can make the insomnia harder. I somehow manage to get through it, and I manage my husband’s disabilities well and yes! I am proud to say that, because in the past, at a time like this, I would have fallen apart under the stress, especially with the interruption to my sleep pattern. However, without my support, the strain would be harder on my husband.

Things were much harder for me 10 years ago when I was on a rollercoaster of emotions and mood swings, I could barely get through the day without tears and tantrums. As much as I am stronger now, I have some anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and after my husband caught the virus from work, not a day goes by when I don’t panic about myself or my family catching it, and I worry he will get it again. Call me an over-worrier, but I know if he gets it again, it will be much worse, and after seeing him exhausted, dehydrated, doubled in pain and not being able to walk, I am going to be wary.

We have measures in place, and my home is kept exceptionally clean. However, when we go outside, we see people behaving recklessly and not following rules. Large gangs of young children, adults and teens hang out like it’s just a joke, and people are still having large parties at home. Where I live the rate has been down compared to other places, however I expect they will start creeping up if this keeps happening. Yes, I understand, The Prime minister has made things a bit stricter, including pubs shutting at 10p.m. but is it enough? In my town, it’s mostly the younger generation breaking the rules when out, and some are still insulting and spitting at others, using the pandemic as a joke to cause mayhem. I worry that these people are putting themselves and others at risk. There are many vulnerable and elderly people in the area where I live, and the police are not around often to see what is happening. These occurrences are not just going to strain our Doctors and Nurses, they are going to strain the police and other emergency services too if they keep happening.

I remember when my husband first started with the virus. It wasn’t fun seeing him like that. He started getting symptoms a week before it came out full blown, and he followed the NHS instructions. However, he came in from work one night completely exhausted and in mild pain. Within a split second, he was crippled with pain to a point where he had to crawl back to bed, he couldn’t see properly or stand up, he couldn’t stay awake, he couldn’t drink anything or eat and I had serious issues getting just water down him. He was very feverish. When he was admitted (twice) he was on a drip. The first admission wasn’t bad, his fluid levels came up and he was able to return home to recover. However, no sooner had he been returned, he was admitted again. This time, he completely dehydrated, and he was in more pain, and he could not breathe. I couldn’t keep him awake at all because the exhaustion was much worse, when he was admitted, nurses were topping his drip up within seconds because it drained fast. His veins also kept collapsing, and they had trouble getting the drip to stay in. When he came home, his disabilities had worsened and sadly, some of those are now permanent. He has been home for a few months now, and he is still in pain and very tired. He went back to work after feeling well, and he is now off work again because he is exhausted again and in more pain with his legs. It will be a long time before he recovers.

As a carer now to my husband and seeing what he has been through. I can clearly say this virus can make people seriously ill. I was sceptical too at the beginning, and none of us thought one of us would get it either. We follow social distancing strictly because we are in the group who can’t wear masks. My husband has all safeguards in place at work, and he still caught the virus. It doesn’t matter whether you think you won’t get it because your ‘not vulnerable.’ There is evidence to say that people without vulnerabilities have had it and been left with disabilities afterwards. Noone is immune, and yes, some get it mild, but my husband started with it mild too. Don’t think that just because you might only get it mild, it will stay that way, and don’t tell people it is a hoax, because it isn’t. It is real, and I have lived experience of looking after someone who has had it to be able to say that! There are consequences to this virus that can affect anyone, including the vulnerable and your loved ones, so I ask, think twice before you break the rules, and help us to protect ourselves and those around us.

http://buymeacoffee.com/carolt

Toxic Relationships

Toxic Relationships

I have spent all my life dealing with toxic relationships, and these types of relationships do not just include intimate relationships. What happens when friendships turn toxic? People can be friends for years before they realize that a friendship is toxic, and ‘friends’ may appear close to others on the outside, but can you really tell?

Society tends to focus on abuse from family and intimate partners. However, what goes on behind ‘closed doors’ and from the perception or view of another looking from the outside is not always as it seems. I spent many years from childhood dealing with abusive partners and abusive friendships, however abusive friendships are often seen as taboo. The problem with this is that an abusive friendship can be as severe, and as with domestic abuse in relationships, the victim may not recognise it, or be able to talk about it. I actually found it harder to talk about the abuse I was faced with from so-called ‘friends’ and other people in the community, and I suffered worse abuse from them than I did my partners.

Read more by clicking my link here: https://medium.com/p/beware-of-toxic-relationships-4231643fdc57

http://buymeacoffee.com/carolt

It is time to be caring, and not a time to fall out.

Everywhere I go, outdoors or on the web has become a volcano of attacks and abuse. We are letting the pandemic destroy us and we are all behaving in uncaring ways without realizing it. Of course, there are many things we disagree and agree on, however does that really mean we should be abusive towards others?

My husband had Coronavirus a while back, and I have never seen him so ill. I was scared he was going to die, because it was a struggle even for the hospital to keep him rehydrated and he was exhausted and unable to walk or breath well. I had to manage, mostly alone without much help, and I know there are many vulnerable people out there in the same boat, or those who have been through the pain of seeing loved ones die without them there.

Read my article about why we shouldn’t let the pandemic destroy our caring nature: https://medium.com/p/dont-let-the-pandemic-destroy-our-caring-nature-96e907ada11a

Make Your Writing Time Time-Less.

Time is something I just don’t seem to have, and in todays busy world I am sure many of you would agree. I’m not just a student. I’m a wife, writer, upcoming author, parent, mental health champion and a carer. However, all is not doom and gloom. Your probably asking ‘How do I do it?’ I simply turn the concept of time into ‘Time-Less’. This means when I write, I do not set limits or allow distractions to get in the way. Of course we have priorities that need meeting, however, if you use your time wisely, it gets easier to grip the idea of being timeless, and writing using this method will enable you to focus on your work and finish your work because being timeless means prioritising your writing and leaving distractions such as housework until you have finished. It doesn’t mean finishing all your work in a day, sometimes that can be impossible for the majority of writers. It means working out what your writing and finishing what you planned to do for that day. Interested in my concept? You can read more here: https://medium.com/p/time-is-time-less-when-i-am-writing-articles-and-my-book-aa1493d14ce8

Now a 2 part story

I originally wrote this as a 1 part short story. However, after discussion, I decided it was a story worth working on, so I turned it into two parts. Follow the young people in this story as they investigate the myths in their hometown Kiatica to be true. That isn’t the only thing! They each know they have powers of which they are still learning about, but must be kept secret.

Anthony, Jade and Elliott go on an adventure to seek out the Dragons said to protect treasure stolen from Pirates. Only they end up fighting two others along the way. Can they complete their mission? Read more to find out: https://medium.com/@caroltownend/dragons-treasure-e4f67dfdc9f3?source=your_stories_page—————————

Enjoying Writing to its Fullest

I love reading and writing. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and as an upcoming author with a book, it is a good job I do. However, a person can lose momentum, especially when writing becomes difficult. For example, I study many complicated courses and in return I get many complicated essays to write, therefore I use methods that enable me to enjoy writing to its fullest, I would get bored fast. The same applies to reading. a story is different to reading and studying coursework, in the sense that you have no choice but to ‘study’ the coursework, and then you have to write the essay clearly to reflect your answers to the assignment. Regardless of this, there are many ways in which you can enjoy reading and writing to its fullest, without turning it into a chore, whether its an article, course material, an assignment or a story. Simply by looking at the way you are doing it, and making a few changes to enable you to continue in your moment, and not get bored with your work.

I also write to earn, however I write for leisure. Sometimes I come across a professional piece which enables me to learn many interesting things I can apply to my writing. Other times, I will read an amateur piece, because amateurs make the best teachers, in the sense they are still budding writers themselves.

Whatever the reasons for writing, it should be a pleasure to do, and the ‘pleasure aspect’ is more important than what you are able to earn from it. I wrote an article in which I explain how to turn writing into enjoyment, whether for leisure or building a career. No matter what your goal, writing should always be fun and enjoyable. You can read my article by following this link: https://medium.com/@caroltownend/enjoying-writing-to-its-fullest-64c3c00fca8d?source=your_stories_page—————————

What it feels like to be married to a Nurse on the Frontline During Covid-19

photo of person wearing surgical mask
Photo by EVG photos on Pexels.com

Every day is a hard day in my house.  I have to work triple times harder every day to stop myself from panicking and triggering a PTSD attack, and this means I also have to try hard not to over-worry about my husband who works in a psychiatric hospital with extremely vulnerable patients, some of who can’t say how they feel, feed, dress, bathe and do the many things we do to care for ourselves in normal everyday life.  only at the moment, our life is far from normal, and some of these patients have no idea what is going on.  Many of them need protection not only from the danger of COVID-19 but also from the harm they often inflict on themselves and others without being aware of it. My husband works in private healthcare, and they do have protective measures in place, however, this is not to say they can’t catch the virus and are not free from it.  At the moment, they have an isolation ward in place for the pandemic, and they also help the NHS by taking referrals from others affected and at-risk where beds are scarce.

When my husband comes home from work, he is tired and some times very stressed out. He takes his uniform off which needs to be washed straight away and separated from other washing to reduce the spread in our household, as three of us live here. He will eat sometimes, but other nights he is too tired to do that, and he tells me about his day and the struggle to make sure patients understand COVID-19, which can be very frustrating because many of them have such difficulties they don’t and cannot understand it.  He also has to explain to relatives why they can’t visit, and why he can’t hug the patient.  Many of these patients also have their lives threatened by other major issues, and it is heartbreaking when he has to tell a relative that their loved ones have died, especially because they are strictly not allowed to visit them at this time, and also when they die alone because no one is allowed near them, and can’t hold them during their last hours either.

My husband was off work last week under NHS advice.  He had a cough and chest pain but was advised by the helpline to refrain from work due to COVID-19 because his cough was dry and quite severe.  That was a very scary moment because there are other vulnerabilities in our household and my own immune system is quite low.  He did recover and go back to work, however, no one really knows whether he was clear or had the virus because testing was unavailable to him at that time, and he was never tested before going back.  This causes more worry for us as a family and for those who work with him, and also the patients.  Surely if you have been advised to stay off work because of symptoms of COVID-19, testing should be important and prioritized to frontline workers whether you are in the private sector or the NHS?  No one is immune from catching this virus, and nurses, keyworkers, etc are all at risk because they come into contact with others who have the virus or are susceptible to it every day they work.

Coping by myself can be very difficult.  I often wonder when I am going to be told my husband can’t come home from work due to being locked down because of the virus, or I dread the day I’m told my husband has to be hospitalized because of it.  I try to get through my day by doing essentials like housework and concentrating on my courses and my book.  I send him messages so I can get updates to be reassured he is ok, however understandably due to his job, he doesn’t always reply which can send me into panic mode.  I often wait eagerly for him to come home, and when he gets in, all I want to do is hug him.  Unfortunately I have to wait for him to get changed, even when he uses protective gear, as a precaution to prevent the spread.

The stress on nurses of all kinds is really hard, and I applaud every single one of you out there for doing such a fantastic but difficult job during this time.  However, it’s not just the NHS, I’ve seen the frustration, heartbreak, tears, and tiredness when my husband comes home.  It is really difficult to explain to a family member that someone they love is dying, has died or is unwell.  Sometimes family members will ask if he can give their relative a hug, as that is what the caring staff have always done before the outbreak for these patients.  It causes my husband much sadness when he has to explain why he can’t do that, and it is extremely painful for any nurse to have to explain that a patient has died alone.

Nurses like my husband, have been caring for some of these patients for many years.  They get to know the patient, their families, and their friends.  Seeing the patients, family, and friends suffer times without the virus can be extremely heartbreaking in itself, so having to explain things like why a relative or friend can’t visit, when a patient has died to a relative, and sometimes that the patient is seriously ill during COVID-19, and having to tell relatives and friends that the patient has contracted the virus can be triple the pain.

With this in mind,  I’m asking those praising NHS staff who indeed deserve the praise they get for the extremely tiring hard work they put into this, please have a heart for those in the private healthcare field who are also overworked and very stressed out by this pandemic.

 

 

Coping with Lockdown when you have a mental health problem

The repeat cycles of traumatic events that I went through many years ago, left my mental health in a very serious place. I am happy to say that I have recovered from many of them now, however, I still have to deal with the issue of PTSD.  We are at this time living through a very difficult and scary period in our lives.  We have had our lives put on hold, and we are having to cope with social distancing methods.  This is understandable as COVID-19 is making people seriously unwell, and many have sadly died from it.  The situation of feeling safe after rebuilding my own life to no longer feeling safe in my world, no longer knowing whether we will become unwell and survive the outbreak makes me very anxious and as some may understand can be very triggering for my PTSD.  I have days where I no longer want to go for a walk and a simple trip to the shop can send my anxiety out of the roof.  These are times when we must stick together, and by doing that we are saving those precious lives including ours, and protecting our services which are vital to our well being.  My other half works on the front line as a senior mental health nurse in a private hospital.  They use protective equipment in his hospital, and they have an isolation ward, however, every day he is at work I have this gripping fear that he will be the next victim.  Regardless of this, I have to keep going for my family and I have to retain my strength to make sure that we are all well, and to get him through the stress of what is happening.  I know that every time I stay strong, follow the rules and be as supportive as I can, I am helping him, the many others in his position and our NHS staff while protecting the lives of those I love and those around me.

There are days, where my fear can grip me, and when I see others breaking rules, I fear for our professionals, their families, my family and the ones who are the victims of this horrible illness.  Every time we break rules and hold social gatherings and do not distance ourselves, we risk catching the virus or passing it on.  The virus needs a ‘chain’ in order to survive, and every time we don’t distance ourselves we are feeding that chain and enabling it to thrive.  However not only are people not experiencing mental health problems finding this difficult, but those who have mental health problems are also finding this terrifying and stressful because it is now a time when it is hard to find their support systems or get the help they need, and this can create more fear and frustration.  In my story which you can read by clicking the link, I have written tips that I use to get me through this. If we stand together, we can make it through this, so read my tips and I hope they help.https://vocal.media/stories/coping-with-the-lockdown-blues-when-you-have-a-mental-health-problem

The consequences of misdiagnosis in mental health

I have a long history of lived experience with mental health problems, and it took several diagnosis’s before I was correctly diagnosed. Every professional makes mistakes sometimes, however it is unacceptable when misdiagnosis goes on for so long that it causes pain, heartbreak and trauma to a family over a period of many long years.  Being misdiagnosed can also mean that a person is likely to receive incorrect treatment for their mental health problems.

Besides issues with treatment, an incorrect diagnosis and perception of mental health, in particular with a vulnerable patient in circumstances where that person may be a parent, can cause misunderstanding amongst professionals as to the care of the children involved. It can also lead professionals to misunderstand a vulnerable patient who may be in an abusive relationship.  Just like there is a stigma that patients who have certain mental illnesses such as EUPD are violent, there is a severe stigma that people with mental illness are lying about their abuse and they often go unheard by professionals when diagnosed with certain illnesses.  I am one of these people, where my abuse happened behind closed doors, and due to the nature, it did not always leave visible scars and there were no witnesses either.  I was diagnosed as having mental health problems after speaking up, and while going through care concerns raised over my children.  As a mental health  champion, and after spending many years of having to be supported before I could talk about my story, I have chosen to share it, in a bid to help others going through it, and to help professionals understand how misdiagnosis can have severe consequences on a persons life.  I have also shared it, to try and help local authorities understand that with some illnesses, one cluster of symptoms does not mean a person will have all of them, and to put the consequences of not listening to someone who is vulnerable when they speak out about abuse.  To find out more please read my article at http://psyche.media/what-it-feels-like-when-professionals-get-a-diagnosis-wrong-and-how-i-am-living-with-that?_ga=2.238536323.20067498.1552927802-271812434.1552404381