Welcome to my first post for Blog For Mental Health 2015. Please find more information about this fantastic project here: http://blogformentalhealth.com/ Its really easy to take part and help raise awareness.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
- An act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.
- Something I am not yet ready to do.
“You know, if this carries on, I will have to look into alternatives.” The doctor said with a stern look on his face. I asked what he meant by that, it felt ominous. He said two words “Possible referral.” And with that I felt my Doctor had well and truly given up on me.
this nightmare began last september when fluoxetine (prozac) stopped working for me. I was having daily panic attacks, I was cutting myself often, I was crying and hiding in the stock room at work to avoid conversation. I had taken a huge step back, I had regressed.
It’s not like anything specific had triggered this, and in all honesty, it had been coming for a while, just the month before I had terrified a trainee doctor when I came hysterically crying in her office explaining that I couldn’t sleep or motivate myself. “Do you feel suicidal” she said. Yes I replied. “Have you made a plan?” She said, No, I replied. I lied. I had made a pact with myself in February that I would kill myself in August had my life not turned around. Now it was September and nothing had changed, but I was still here. She proscribed sleeping pills doubled my dose of prozac and took a huge sigh of relief when I stopped hysterically crying and began to speak more clearly. She told me that if things got worse, I had to come back earlier than the 2 weeks she had suggested.
I have always hated that about doctors “if things get worse come back sooner” How do I judge when things are worse? When does worse, become worst? I’ve talked before about how I am unable to really judge what constitutes my mental health reaching a point where it is “worse” the gradual deterioration of me, is not great drop, but a smooth slope. I don’t see myself getting worse because I am with myself constantly.
It kept repeating on my walk home from the doctors, my over dramatic brain began playing the song “Say Something” by Great Big World. Why? Because suddenly I felt given up on. And my wonderful autistic brain relates most things in my life to songs, which is why I can no longer hear the song Yesterday by Guns and Roses without getting angry as it reminds me of the death of a friend. My brain, then repeates significant lines of said song over and over until I A) listen to the song and cry, or B) get so angry I go to sleep (Sometimes even this doesn’t help)
But the point is suddenly I felt given up on. My doctor couldn’t help me and now he was palming me off to someone he assumed might be able to. When you become a doctor I assume it’s because you want to help people. Was it ok for me to be upset to feel almost “dumped” by a doctor I had invested my time and honesty about my mental health problems? I wanted him to help me. That’s why I had picked him out of all of the doctors I had seen over the first few months of my diagnosis. After this I always made my appointments with him, because I thought he understood. I thought he could help.
I don’t find it easy to talk out loud about this stuff, especially with people I don’t know and he should know that, it took me long enough to open up to him. Even if when I eventually did I was brutally honest and possibly freaked him out when I showed him the tiger-striped pattern of scars I had been slowly carving in to my lower shoulder.
People tell me frequently, Elephant. I think the referral is the best thing for you. But how can you be so sure? Tell me friends! How can you be so sure? Let’s do a little best/worst case scenario analysis of the possibilities of what could happen.
In this scenario I meet a fantastic trustworthy therapist who I instantly feel at ease with, in this situation, I explain all of my thoughts and feelings about why I am, the way I am. My fears about the possibility of me having several other mental health conditions, or the fear that I am probably just a hypochondriac. I could discuss the theories about my fear of commitment, my parents, my life and actions and I would come out of their office feeling enlightened and like I knew myself a little better, then I would go back to my supportive friends who would be so happy in my knew enlightened knowledgeable self.
My Aspergers would take over and make it almost impossible for me to trust this stranger who is prying into my deepest, most secret thoughts that i only express with strangers on the internet anonymously. Then after lots of pushing and talking around things I would tell them about my fears, they would tell me I am over analysing and everything I once felt was true about my mental health was a lie. I would leave feeling disappointed and even more depressed. Causing my support system of friends to desperately try to help but ultimately realise they can’t so I would hide in my bed under the covers and go back to eating bags of crisps and large pizzas alone in the dark.
I’m just not ready for the possible worst case scenario, I’m not sure I have a physical support system that is ready to take care of me when I reach rock bottom after I say things out loud I resign to my head and a computer screen. Some of the things I write about here I could never discuss out loud with anyone. Why? Because they hurt that much. I’m not ready. And I’m sure a lot of people with mental health problems will understand the idea of “not being ready”
I’m not sure if I’m not ready to be referred because it might all go wrong, or because it might all go right. I’m not sure I am ready to be ok yet. I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t know how much of my personality is mental illness and how much is me. Mental illness is like one of those friends, that’s bad for you, you know you need to stop hanging around with them, but you can’t because they make you feel like you have someone. My relationship with my depression and anxiety has become very toxic. But i’m not sure i’m ready to talk to someone who just wants to fix that just yet.
The Elephant in the Room