One Scary Step Forward
The next sentence is going to hold some information that will surprise you. I have not seen a psychiatrist since 1994, and I have never been in therapy.
I know. Let that sink in for a moment. That seems preposterous even to me after all the writing I have done about living with anxiety and depression. I may be on medication right now for anxiety and depression, but this medication has been prescribed by doctors at community clinics for the last fourteen years after I had a run of bad experiences with three different psychiatrists in the early 1990s. This is not a route I would recommend. General practitioners are not trained to have expertise specific to mental illness, and although I have been able to remain somewhat even keel with their prescription help, they have done nothing beyond blindly fiddling with pharmaceuticals. Not only is this not the best alternative trained psychiatric treatment, but it is also not the safest, physically or mentally.
At the beginning of August, I finally admitted to myself that it was time to look into real treatment, and I went to my medical doctor for a referral to a specific psychiatrist whom I had heard was good. When I saw my doctor again in September, he was surprised that I had not yet been scheduled for an appointment, so he called the psychiatrist's office and asked that I be put on a short list so that I could get in sometime before Christmas. CHRISTMAS. It can take three to five months in this city to get in to see a decent psychiatrist, which is ridiculous, but I was willing to wait rather than see the alternative immediately whom I had heard was merely a pill pusher. In October, my doctor was clearly angry that I had still not been put on the psychiatrist's schedule, despite having been put on the short list as an urgent case, so he called the psychiatrist's office again. The receptionist told him that WHOOPS, IT SEEMS THAT THE PSYCHIATRIST ISN'T TAKING ANY NEW PATIENTS AT ALL, SORRY.
Sorry? As in, you have just wasted three months waiting for an appointment with this psychiatrist sorry? As in, now you will likely have to wait another three to five months for another psychiatrist to have time for you sorry? Because I feel like taking those sorries and shoving them up through somebody's nostrils with a bottle brush. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the psychiatrist in question, an opportunity to use that bottle brush would require waiting lists and promises and could not arrive before February.
I know that the recounting of these details is a little tiresome. I know, because this has been my life since August, and I am pissed about the ongoing tiresomeness of it. When I realized that this limbo I have been hanging in since the middle of summer could possibly go on for another three months, I just wanted to lie down and sleep until spring.
I do finally have some good news, though. I was, quite miraculously, able to find a counsellor over the last week, and I will be seeing her for the first time on Saturday morning. That's TOMORROW. This turn of events is completely freaking my shit out, people. As much as I have needed and wanted help for a long time, I have spent my entire life carefully folding away all my uncomfortable knowledge and symptoms into small, narrative packages that I can deliver or shelve without too much mess. It doesn't always work, and it doesn't make for the happiest of lives, but it is what I know. It is what I do. I am an archivist.
In short, whatever it is, I don't want to talk about it, I never wanted to talk about it, and now I am going to have to talk about it, whatever it is.
This is how I felt the day before my hysterectomy last year. I had a cancer that needed to come out, but I still wanted both to run as fast and far away as I could so that I could save myself from the inevitable and to run as fast and far forward as I could so that the pain would already be over.
I hope that this counsellor has some good questions for me, because I have over thirty years of pent up crap in this head and heart. Do we start in 1975? 1982? 1994? Yesterday? I don't know where to start, but I supposed that is what I am going to a counsellor for, isn't it?
I am a participant in NaBloPoMo 2008, a challenge to write 30 posts in 30 days during the month of November. "National Blog Posting Month is the epicenter of daily blogging!"