This is the latest in a series of posts about a breakdown I had in 2010.
The first post is here.
I have no idea how to live my life. I feel like the last couple of months I’ve been in some sort of weird stasis; whole days and weeks have merged into one. I couldn’t tell you what I did last week with any certainty, much less how I spent the month I was signed off work. I don’t know how to change this. I can’t even think what to wear to work tomorrow. The simplest of decisions is beyond me; I skip meals for days at a time because I just can’t decide on what I want.
I am aware that this has been going on for far too long now. Several of the people who were very sympathetic and nice when I first started showing signs of being a bit “off” have either mysteriously disappeared, or openly told me to just pull my socks up and sort my shit out. I don’t know if they’re right or not. I probably should sort my shit out but I can’t even sort out doing the shopping. I can’t remember anything I used to do, how I used to function. I can’t decide anything, it’s like I’m just stuck. And everything is black and sticky.
The lady from Psychiatric Services calls me. We discuss my situation. When I tell her I am taking 25mg of Sertraline, she suggests I increase it. I speak to the GP about it, and we discuss the potential side effects of doing this. I go away with my prescription for the stronger dose, and try to watch myself for signs of further mentalness.
A few days later, I have my preliminary meeting. It is in Fountain Way, the local mental facility on the outskirts of town. I sit in a room with too many chairs, a table and a box of tissues. The lady wanders off to get my file, then comes back. I tell her all the same things I have told everyone else: I am broken, it’s not fixable, I want to die. She tells me I should think of my younger sisters, and how they would feel if I died. I do not find this helpful.
On the phone, the lady said it would take “45 minutes to an hour.” It takes two hours. There is a lot of crying.
The lady is nice to me. She tells me she has to go back and discuss my case with the rest of her team, and then I’ll get a letter. They’ll send a copy of it to my GP as well. She tells me that with the increase in my medication I should see an improvement. I tell her I have been self harming a lot; she doesn’t seem bothered. I leave, feeling drained, and cry on the way home.
I know that these people cannot help me. Even if they do decide they will refer me for “treatment,” the lady has already told me they have a “fairly long” waiting list, so I won’t get any help for a while. I feel like I’ve been tricked; I sat in this too-hot room for two hours, dragging up all sorts of crap from my past that I generally just deal with by not thinking about it. Now I am left with it all spinning around in my head, and no clue how to deal with it. I feel like I have gone right back to square one, feeling worse than I did when I was originally signed off work – except now I have to get up and wash and dress myself and speak to people every day.
For the last few weeks I have been “hanging on,” waiting for my next appointment with the GP, or the counsellor, or for this assessment, thinking “ok, just hang on until this appointment, and then you’ll be okay.” And every time I get to the appointment, and I’m in the room, I have this thought, “well, you managed to hang on and make it to here – but nothing has changed, you’re not magically fixed, things are not okay, and when you leave the room it’ll all just be the same.” Now I’ve spoken to Psychiatric Services, I’m back to sitting in limbo, waiting for the next thing to hope will offer salvation.
I go home, and sit and stare into space, thinking to myself, “what are you doing? You can’t just sit here and stare into space.” The lady from Psychiatric Services had suggested I go for a run. She has clearly never been in my position, sitting in the house, petrified of going out and bumping into anyone I might know.
A letter arrives from Psychiatric Services a while later. There are leaflets for “group therapy.” I put them on the floor next to my bed, and forget about them.
I tell the GP I think “group therapy” is not for me; it seems stupid and a waste of time. She tells me that perhaps it will do me good to have a reason to get up and out of the house every week, now that I’m not working. I can’t find the words to form an argument against it, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the only help being offered, so I say okay, and leave.
A few days later, the lady phones. She tells me she thinks I would benefit from going to the group therapy for depression, but that the group is currently full, so I am on a waiting list. In the meantime, what do I think about the leaflets she sent me? I quickly pick the leaflets up and blag my way through the conversation: “er yes, I was thinking I’d do the Assertiveness, the Goal Setting and the Relaxation…” She seems pleased with this.
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