This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
Monday morning is never much fun for anyone, right? There is even that advert on TV which says, “Do you dread Monday’s?” Who answers no to that I wonder? Today, I am on go slow. I am really questioning going in. I am meant to have a psychologist appointment at 0900 and then day care plus a 1:1 with my psychiatrist. Just to drive the first world problem home a bit more, today is also cleaner day. No, not that I do all 42 items on my excel list twice, but a very lovely cleaner comes and does 51 items instead. It’s very awkward being at home when she’s cleaning up my mess though. As you may have guessed, I don’t leave very much mess but still… it’s awkward. So, what to do? I decide to not go to my psychologist appointment. I am not 100% sure I am completely comfortable with her and, me being me, I don’t want to offend her so cancelling seems the best way to tackle this (I realise it is not the best way to tackle this, it’s merely the easiest way). I text her and lie! I say I’ve been ill during the night. On a minor technicality, this isn’t a lie. Depression, anxiety and OCD are illnesses. But, as you may have guessed, that’s not the illness I alluded to in my text. Having hit send, the guilt instantly hits me. Oh shit, I shouldn’t have lied. This is going to stay with me all day now.
So, that’s one thing not happening today, what about day care and my psychiatrist? I could always go in just for the Dr. E appointment? Then I remember the cleaner again. No, I really can’t face being here whilst she is sterilising the already sterilised worktops. So, up and out I go. Taxi of course, when the opening paragraph of a post is as long as this one, it was always going to be that way.
I make it to group a couple of minutes late but thanks to Patient J3, Therapist W is allowing me in. We have a new member in the group. Thankfully, having stared directly at Patient M2 for quite a few minutes, I can confirm she is NOT a colleague of mine. Well, that’s a relief isn’t it. The check in feels hard today, we all seem to have had a mixed weekend. I check in with feeling low, worried about asking for more help and the confusion over how both my parents are reacting to all this. The help part is an interesting one. I’ve mentioned before, I feel like I have to be the perfect patient to my psychiatrist. I have to get better ‘correctly’. Sadly, there is no such thing as correctly getting better so I’ve defined the rules and they are impossible to meet. If I was getting better correctly, I’d already be back at work with shiny tv ad like hair, perfect make up and a size 10 body all whilst magically juggling a 15-hour work day being the perfect employee. Sadly, I am many thousands of miles away from that place right now. Back to right now though, and because I want to be the perfect patient, I am not telling Dr E everything. I am hoping she doesn’t see that I am actually bad deep down inside. This is where the very wise Patient L steps in. She puts this into language I can understand. If I were at work and had been asked to present on something but with only 30% of the information, how would that go? Well Patient L, that is a very simple answer, it wouldn’t go well and I wouldn’t be able to problem solve with such a limited data set. Ah, hold on a minute, I see where this is going… Dr E has been given a limited amount of data about me. I haven’t told her the ‘full’ truth. So, how is she meant to help me properly if she doesn’t have all the data. Well done Patient L, this is very clever of you.
Basically, what this all boils down to is that, including today, I only have 6 days of day care left before the insurance runs out. Dr E has already decided I will not be fit for work in two weeks so that means, I’ll be off work but with no purpose. Apparently putting time into myself is not a purpose. Problem 1 right there for you! So, I need to ask Dr E if there is any way around the rigid insurance limit. Right now, I am panicking that there is no more help available but I don’t know that for sure. Ok, you win Patient L (you could also have a job as my life advisor if you were willing to work in exchange for cat hugs?). I write some bullet points of things I need to raise in my 1:1.
Whilst talking through another patient’s thoughts, Therapist W gets up to remind us that when we are in crisis, focusing on the external things in our lives to cope (i.e. my binging, people pleasing and incessant list making) is only a distraction to allow us to ignore how we feel. Yes, I am becoming acutely aware of this as I sit here with my gut kindly taking up far too much room.
It’s lunch and phew, I am relieved. I only wobbled a little bit in that last session. Lunch is a ham and cheese panini followed by a rather strange coffee and orange cake. The main meal options didn’t take my fancy and the cake is most certainly a let-down. I head to a local newsagent to pick up an amazon order – a swearword cat colouring book, what could be more perfect than that I ask you? Then I stop via M&S to stock up on yum yums, iced & spiced buns plus, lest we forget, WINE GUMS!
I head to the waiting room for my 1:1. Dr E is notorious for running late and my appointment is at 13:40, this does not leave any wiggle room for overrunning as IPT starts at 14:00. I’m early in the hope she’s had a cancellation. No such luck so instead, I may as well finally renew my home insurance given this is the 15th letter I’ve received telling me my cover runs out today. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but still, why do such adult-like responsibilities crop up at the time one is feel least adult-like in life? I have no idea if this is a complete con but my credit card takes a £300 hit. Maybe that £4.99 swearing cat colouring book wasn’t such a good idea. Nor the £20/ day binge habit I’ve formed – damn you M&S, and finally the £30/ day taxi’s. All in all, this is pretty shit really.
Dr. E is, miraculously running on time! Well I never. Ok, can I be brave enough to ask for more help? Urm hello Patient C, look who got brave.
“Dr. E, is there any leeway in the insurance to have extra day care?”
Not no, I haven’t asked, no is the answer from Dr. E. Insurance firms are insurance firms (as I’ve just discovered by giving them £300 for my contents insurance) and that is the limitation on my corporate medical policy. I am not trying to sound ungrateful, even having the amount of help I’ve had is extremely lucky but oh boy, this doesn’t feel fair. How, or what, am I going to do? Dr. E won’t let me put day care on my credit cards. She’s got a point there. More debt isn’t going to make me any better. Instead, why don’t I do 2 days a week for the next 3 weeks and then put in place more 1:1’s with her – apparently 1:1’s are something the insurance is still willing to fund. I feel like crying. I don’t, but it’s very close. Dr. E wants me to put my OCD to good use, devise a daily timetable in extreme detail, which has to include teeth brushing and washing, to define how I’ll get through sick leave whist at home. She wants to see a copy by Thursday. So, off I trot to IPT with homework and a very worried mind.
I check in by stating I feel deflated and low. Therapist G doesn’t push me on this, which I appreciate. As we kick off with Patient K2, I tune out and start writing. My notebook is covered with my jumbled thoughts… what’s the point, might as well stop day care now then. Whilst at it, may as well eat myself to oblivion and rack up a bit more debt! I tune back in to hear that Saturday therapy was a rather eventful session. Now, on top of feeling like what’s the point anymore, I have FOMO about not being inpatient (FOMO for those not in the know – or like me had to google it – stands for Fear Of Missing Out). Come on Patient C, pull yourself together. A kick up the metaphorical backside and I am back in the room. Just as Patient L3 is about to walk out. Therapist G handles this very well. Patient L3 stays and more about the disastrous Saturday session gets talked about. On reflection, I am really pleased I wasn’t inpatient! Patient L3 then uses another metaphor which I am going to steal as it sums this whole process up brilliant. Therapy is like exfoliating (those who’ve read last Friday’s post know how I feel about the cost of exfoliators at the moment!). You have to scrub away at the top layer to reveal the new, and sometimes raw, skin underneath. This then allows the skin to heal.
Patient L3 triggers another patient in the group. That patient needs to leave for a few minutes but promises to return. When they do, I see it. I spot what they’ve done. They’ve made themselves sick. How can I tell? Takes one to know one right? The knuckle is bleeding. Often, when making oneself sick, the front teeth scrape the knuckle. Yes, everything about bulimia is horrible. Please never try it. I’ve been there, done that and got the big enough t-shirt to prove it, learn from my mistakes. I don’t want to call the patient out in front of the group for being sick as, to those not in the know, they probably haven’t noticed. I don’t think Therapist G has noticed either. Instead, I offer some advice directed at said patient. You need to let go and fully open up in group. Don’t worry about how we will react or if you will trigger us. In the same way, you took yourself off when Patient L3’s story got too painful for you, trust that we will all do the same if we need to. We want to help support you. Let’s be honest here, that wasn’t advice only directed at them, it was advice I want to direct at me too. There is something I am holding back and now the clock is ticking on day care, I need to work out how to face up to it asap.
IPT wraps up and I feel thoroughly rotten. Taxi home, stuff the walking. It’s time to tuck into these yum yums. The cats are less pleased to see me as the cleaner has obviously been lavishing attention on them. Makes sense I suppose given most of the flat was already clean. Into clean pjs I get and then sit down to do some colouring. Stuff the blog write ups which are currently piling up, they can wait for tomorrow. Instead, I will colour for a few hours and then move onto Sudoku in bed. Tomorrow is a day off from day care and I’ve arranged to meet Friend KT. They’ve messaged saying it’s not a problem if I am not up to it. I really wish they hadn’t as that makes me feel I cancel. I tell her no, I need to get out the house. Let’s see. Will tomorrow be the first non day care day I actually walk around outside?