What happened in Bournemouth

So now I’m home, I feel safer, I’m still very unwell but I am home with my family and will be seeking extra help this week.

Last year I was offered the chance to be tattooed at a convention in Bournemouth, I have always wanted to be in a tattoo magazine and win an award for a tattoo at a convention so I saw this as the perfect opportunity, I wasn’t working at this point and wasn’t receiving much money, but still- I scraped by and started saving!

Come March, I had secured a job and had found an apartment to rent for 2 nights in Bournemouth on accommodation site Airbnb, very close to the town centre and had transport links to the convention venue, now all I had to do was save for travel to Bournemouth and the £350 sitting for the tattoo, still very hard for me but much easier now I had a job and more money coming in.

Before I knew it, it was October 28th and time for me to travel to Bournemouth, I left the house at 7am and caught all 3 of my trains with no problems at all. The day previous my Airbnb host had stated as soon as I arrived at Bournemouth I could check in and leave my suitcases and relax and if I wanted I could literally dump my belongings and explore Bournemouth.

That wasn’t the case when I arrived at Bournemouth train station, I got a text saying that I’d have to wait until 2, I arrived at Bournemouth at 11am and had 3 hours to kill in a place I had never been before, in half term with a humungous suitcase, I suffer with anxiety anyway but already I was starting to panic, I managed to catch a bus from the station to the beach where I attempted a visit to the Oceanarium (an aquarium) I lasted an hour. Loud, screaming children and tight corridors were enough to scare me out, I texted my host again and asked if there was any chance I could check in sooner, she agreed.

I arrived to a multi storey apartment block, on top of a steep hill next to a dual carriageway roundabout and made my way up to the apartment, I was greeted by my host who showed me to my room, which had an en suite. I would be sharing this 2 bed apartment with 3 people, another 2 guests would sleep in the 2nd bedroom and the host would sleep on the couch. This confused me as the accommodation advert hadn’t stated that I would be sharing the apartment with strangers. My room door did not have a lock and the front door would be open at all times to allow me and the other guests to come and go as we please. This made me extremely anxious, I did not want to leave my room at all, I had packed my laptop and my camera with me and these would be too heavy for me to carry around in my backpack, I hid my laptop under the pillow and packed my camera in my backpack  and read the guest handbook I was given. I had to pay £5 per meal when I was staying here.

I left the apartment to check out the shops which were conveniently only around 200metres away, I was gone an hour tops when I returned to my room and had found my laptop ON TOP of my pillow- my host didn’t want me lying on it apparently. I pulled my £1.50 Tesco sandwich out of my bag to eat it and was shouted at for eating my own food in her home, it was £5 a meal!!! I had to bin the sandwich, luckily I had bought 2 sandwiches as I intended to eat the 2nd as my lunch at the convention the next day so I locked my self in the en suite and cried into my ploughmans sandwich, it was the first thing I’d eaten in 24 hours.

it was now around 4pm, I could only sit in my room at this place, I didn’t want to leave again incase my belongings were moved and I messaged my friends back home whilst crying tears of frustration. I was in this unsafe place, away from my home,away from my friends and family (those with BPD/ EUPD will understand that we get very attached to people we feel safe with and once we are away from them it destroys us).

And then the intrusive thoughts started, intrusive thoughts are those in which you vividly envision yourself killing/ harming yourself, your friends or family, or anyone. I began having panic attacks hallucinations, dissociations and I then became physically unwell due to stress, I messaged to say that I wasn’t in a fit state to be tattooed the next day. I needed to be home, I needed to feel safe. I rang Bournemouth and Poole crisis (emergency mental health team) who advised I go to the closest A&E immediately and be assessed so they knew I was out of danger, but I didn’t want to chance being admitted overnight in a hospital in a place I had never been to before, so they advised I go home to my family at the next opportunity, so they could support me and help me seek the treatment I need. All the trains back to Weston had now stopped until 07.22am, I had to suffer the night out. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t breathe, I spent 75% of the night locked in my ensuite and I just wanted to be home. Luckily I had 2 people messaging me and trying to make me feel better, it was nice to feel like I had a bit of company.

The next day rolled round, I had an hour sleep, could barely see and my head felt like it was in a vice. I had obviously upset a few people by cancelling a day session of tattooing, which even now I’m still incredibly guilty and still crying over. But by 5pm, I was home. I failed.

I should have enjoyed my first ever weekend away, won an award for my tattoo artist and come away with my 3rd Halloween tattoo. But I didn’t. My health problems won again.

3 years ago I was agoraphobic and did not leave my house for 7 months, Bournemouth should have been me winning.

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