Hello, my dear and wonderful zine friends.
Oh, what a day it has been.
I woke up this morning feeling similar to how I have the past few mornings. Only this morning, I knew something was actually wrong. I knew that a person should not wake up immediately feeling awful. The mental kind of awful that drifts in like the fog with no hints to where it came from or exactly when it will leave.
I tried my best to make it through, but in the end, I spent the morning inflicting my baseless anger at the weeds in the front yard and Spotify. (Why do I have to pay to NOT listen to Christian rap music, Spotify?! Let me love you!)
I knew I was already on a possibly-months-long waiting list to see a psychiatrist and get my medications back on track, but I asked Wanderer to call the intake nurse. I’d been taken off previous meds due to a possible allergic reaction, but surely I could give them a go again just to be sure it was the meds and not something else, right? Just for the time being? I wanted to feel close to normal again.
The news was good. I could give them another go for the time being.
Most of my spoons spent by hurling them at weeds and music I don’t like for a few hours, I later collapsed into my office chair and tried to mentally prepare myself for the work of the day. Lo an behold, an email came in with no message but only the subject line “call mental health – we’ve had a cancellation”.
So Wanderer called. Appointment today. In less than two hours, in fact.
I cleaned myself up and tried to stay calm. After experiences in both the US and Australia, I have an inherent distrust of psychiatrists. I prepared myself as much as I could for the invasive questions and myriad of ‘hms’ and ‘I see’ noises.
And the questions were invasive. This kind-but-firm looking person got to the heart of things – the heart of my anxieties, my distrust, my hurts, and my heart. We covered everything from where I was born to what a zine is.
(Always carry a ‘what’s a zine’ zine in your bag, kiddies. You never know when you’ll need one.)
I was used to this part. I’d been through various systems often enough to know I’d be poked and prodded until feeling raw an vulnerable.
This time was a bit different, though. This time, I found what I’ve been looking for in a mental health professional in more than a decade.
I found real, and genuine help.
This psychiatrist reiterated that people are people, and there for what they shared was only an opinion. I’m an adult, and so I can disagree. They provided a sympathetic but logical assessment of what my childhood was and how it fed into who I am now. They actually addressed my concerns as well as the complexity of the situation. I wasn’t just a mental illness – I was a woman who had more than one mental illness and physical conditions that also feed into my mental state.
What’s more? They have me a plan. A real, actual plan that involved more than a sheet of paper and a ‘you can have 10 free appointments this year if you can find someone who does it’ before sending me on my way.
I have a group to look forward to.
I have an inpatient study that has the possibility of really helping one of my conditions.
I have referrals that address my mental as well as physical conditions.
I also have recommendations for what to do while I wait for these things to start happening.
There is a multifaceted plan in place that looks at me as a complete human with multiple issues to address instead of forever hammering away at a single nail hoping it’ll all turn into a house.
So why am I sharing this? Why do I think people will care.
Honestly, I don’t know if anyone will care. The thing is that I want to share this story because I have been looking for this for over ten years. I have two countries’ medical systems experiences, and nothing has given me a sense of hope and possibility like the few hours I spent this afternoon has.
I am sharing this story for everyone struggling with the system and feeling like it’s hopeless. For those who have an inherent distrust of the various systems and those who work with it. I hope with all my heart that it doesn’t take you ten years or that it isn’t taking you longer than that.
I want you to know that there are competent people out there who have the ability and the desire to get you to where you need to be to get help. It can take a long time and a lot of not-so-great people to find them, but they do exist. Don’t give up.
Lots of love. Until next time,