Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Damage limitation

I've been trying to think of one word to sum up the absolute shittiness of today, and I'm not sure any one word is strong enough. So here are a few - emotional, exhausting, terrifying, heartbreaking, infuriating, discouraging...............I could go on but I'll spare you. So why all the adjectives? Because today, I saw my psychiatrist again. I'm sorry, allow me to rephrase. I saw A psychiatrist. There's a very important distinction there. My psychiatrist implies someone who knows me, someone I have an actual relationship with. Today? Not so much. Yet again, I met a new doctor. I was trying so hard to be positive, and so hard not to be on the defensive, but when I was faced with yet another new doctor, that resolve crumbled, and crumbled yet more at his opening question - 'What can I do for you today?'

Honestly, I was at a total loss as to how to respond to that, and I may have gaped blankly at him for a good ten seconds or so before managing to squeeze out that I had no clue how to answer that question. I explained (and I started quite calmly) that I have been in the system for over 2 years now, and am utterly disillusioned at constantly meeting new people. Had he read my notes? No, he admitted he had not. Last remaining shreds of resolve and dignity vanished at that point, and on came the tears. He managed to understand (no mean feat) through the sobs that I really didn't see the sense in having the same conversation, yet again, with another doctor, and fair dues to him, he went and got somebody I have seen before, and who I had previously found to be very helpful. Unfortunately today, less so.

Before I go any further, I do want to make it clear that I don't hold the doctor I saw today responsible for this sorry mess. She was doing her best. They are working under impossible conditions, are woefully under-resourced and quite simply do not have the capacity to provide the service that people like me need - in a word - support. I feel for them, I really do, because I'm reasonably confident that working under such circumstances must be stressful in the extreme, not to mention extremely dissatisfying. But I digress.

Bottom line is that medication doesn't work for me, or at least nothing we have tried to date does, and they're not willing to try me on anything else at this point given that I react badly to most dugs. But the alternative?? Well, a whole lot of nothing really. They know I have a good relationship with Therapist, and so far have been reluctant to interfere with that. But now they think it's time I see their psychologist instead. One tiny little fly in the ointment?? There's only one psychologist covering the entire of Galway county. And he works just two days a week. So that's a non runner before we even start. Other helpful suggestions?? Resign. Work, and the demands of trying to balance family life with it, never mind trying to find time to do the things I know help keep me well, are clearly a stressor. This I'm very aware of, but unfortunately can do absolutely nothing about - I work because financially I have to. Again, not a helpful suggestion. Final suggestion? Accept that our situation is difficult and learn to live with it. Come back and see us in four weeks.

Wow. So now maybe you can understand some of the words I've listed above. But further than this, what made today so, so hard to handle was how all of this made me feel, and that was the truly terrifying part. I felt hopeless. Utterly and completely hopeless, helpless and useless. I was on my own, and Bitchface was having a field day. Black and white thinking came out in force - this is who I am. I will always be like this. I will never get better. I am a curse on my family. Hubby and the kids deserve better etc etc etc. Nasty in the extreme.

It took every shred of self control I had to get myself on a bus and home. I cried most of the way. I am not a fan of public transport snotfests, especially not when I'm alone. I made it to the house where I proceeded to scare the life out of my dogs by roaring at them for barking when I wasn't expecting it, followed by an absolute opening of the floodgates due to guilt caused by said roaring. I rang Hubby. I'm reasonably sure I freaked him out. I rang my folks. I'm even surer I freaked them out. I did not know which way to turn or what to do. Mercifully, my brain had decided it had had enough at that point and I simply passed out asleep. THANK FUCK.

I think I slept for about an hour. However long it was, I was certainly calmer when I woke. Just one short conversation had managed to almost entirely undo so much of the work I've done this last few weeks. Self doubt reached a whole new level. But now? I've had time to calm down and think. I've done a lot of reading. Hubby has done a lot of reading. What I'm experiencing right now is apparently textbook for those of us who don't do well with stopping psychiatric medication. I'm taking solace from the fact that my eyes are still making noise in my head. I know for sure that's a withdrawal symptom, so as long as that's happening, then I can put the epic mood swings down to that as well.

I'm taking some more time off work. I have GOT to start being kind to myself. I could kick my own arse, go into work tomorrow, and come home a seething ball of fury. Or, I could hold up my hands, admit temporary defeat, and retreat and lick my wounds. I'm going with the latter. It's less damaging all round.

2 comments:

  1. You have a greatvway with words....What a jorrible day you had, you were so rightvto spezk up as you did..good god I never gsve it a second thought when I hesrd of people trying to come down of meds..Your so strong..unknowns to yourself.Take your time off work, our mental health is the one thing we need to get us through life, and your so going about it in the right way..love you, you sweet sweet young lady

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  2. I am aghast at the sensless inhumane wasteful bureaucratic system that is supposed to be your support. Setting aside the immensley important issue that you are a person and deserve better, it's insane economics. You only posted recently about how many boxes on the red traffic light system you were ticking - it must from a financial perspective at least make more sense to offer you proper help now to stop you ending up in hospital again. Obviously that kind of budget decision is not in the power of the staff you actually see, so they can't be blamed that they don't have the resources to offer you the counselling (or any thing else) that they think you need, but the inhumane insanity of it all makes me angry.

    Anyway, my anger doesn't help you, you who are clearly doing all you can with exercise and diet and meditation and counselling and writing and talking and supportive family and friends to help yourself as much as you can and loads of others at the same time.

    So I'm going to tell you that it's not your fault that you're ill, that it's not your fault that despite everthing you're doing you're not better, just like that it wouldn't be your fault if you had cancer and it wouldn't be your fault if you didn't cure that cancer with a positive attitude and eating your body weight in blueberries (or whatever the latest superfood is). I know that saying this won't help much, but I'm hoping that if you get a whole stack of support then you can shove it at Bitchface like some giant petition when she opens her mouth and maybe she'll shut up for 5 mins and give you a break.

    Having some time off sounds like a good plan in the short term. I wish I had a good idea for how to help in the medium to long term.

    R

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