After languishing for an epic 19 months on the psychological services waiting list, my day finally arrived. I was called up for an appointment with a psychiatric nurse who was going to assess me, I’d still have to wait months and months to receive any treatment, but it was a very slow step in hopefully the right direction.
With anxiety being my middle name, I sat in the waiting room struggling to breathe, tears pricking my eyes and a huge lump in my throat as I struggled to stay calm, or calm enough to articulate myself properly. I just wanted to make myself heard and after 19 months I felt I needed to be heard.
Over those 19 months I’d been left to cope on my own, leaning on a select bunch of close friends for support when I needed it, retreating into myself when I had to, and trying to manage my behaviour and change the way I coped with things to make them less harmful and more positive.
I have struggled to curtail my go to solution, which was to drink copious amounts of alcohol, I’ve started to try and eat better and take some exercise when I felt able to, I’ve largely stopped self harming, and when I feel myself dropping down into depression, or swirling into anxiety, I’ve reached out to friends to help centre me. These are all quite positive steps. Steps I’ve learned to take myself having had no support from my GP or local mental health services during that time.
It’s not all been good though. In order to cope on a daily basis I’ve returned to old habits, swallowing down my feelings, burying them away so I can’t think about them and I can’t acknowledge them. I had no outlet for them, no one qualified to help me deal with them, process them, accept them and move on. So they have been locked away, with a few extra shards of pain added over the years for good measure.
My appointment was the first part of a two session long psychiatric assessment process. The nurse (who was lovely) had a big file of paperwork to go though, but allowed me to talk at my own pace about what my problems were, asking some questions and wanting more detail on certain points.
I had a big snotty cry for a good hour, which was basically the whole of my psychiatric assessment. Thoughts and feelings which I’d locked away and kept hidden from myself for so long were suddenly naked and exposed to the light, highlighting my shame and self hatred. Today I touched on pain I’d not acknowledged, or allowed myself to acknowledge for years.
I know I need to open myself and my problems up to the light, but it is so incredibly painful and I wonder if some of it will do more harm than good. I’m writing this 12 hours after my appointment, I feel drained and a bit confused. When I got home I hastily shoved everything back in the box and buried it all deep down again, I just can’t let it escape, not yet, not without someone there to catch me.
I’ve got the second part of my psychiatric assessment next week, I’ll open that box again and I’ll cry my little heart out. I know it will be months and months before I can access some help. But until then I’ll carry on as I have been doing, because despite everything I’m actually doing ok.