**TW: contains references to behaviours associated with disordered eating. Please proceed only if you are comfortable with the subject matter.**
This is a post about how difficult an appointment can be when Mental Health is on the table. On Tuesday, I saw my GP for a review session, but I didn’t get what I wanted in the short time that we had (10 minutes, plus he was running late which tends to mean that I end up feeling even more rushed). Had I had the time, or the capacity to speak coherently to Human Beings in our native tongue, this is what I would have said:
It’s difficult to summarise the past six weeks in as concise a manner as you’d probably like. It hasn’t all been positive, in which case I could tell you things were improving and I feel well. But it hasn’t all been negative either, in which case I could tell you things are a struggle. Instead, my mood has been mostly stable with the occasional extreme thrown in for good measure.
Extremes such as episodes of SH that mean, two months on, I’m still having dressings changed three times a week. Or episodes of rage that have seen me throw my fist at a wall. There have been several occasions on which I’ve stocked up on ‘harmful objects’ with every intention of using them against myself, and I’m not always able to dispose of these items as timely as I’d like. I think that SH is my way of being heard, and that to stop would mean the incorrect assumption that things are getting easier for me. My fear of abandonment is confusing…I know this is a symptom of yet another condition, one that carries greater stigma than any of my current diagnoses.*
There are also a couple of things I felt I highlighted as important, and then promptly dampened by using words like ‘sometimes’ when I should have said ‘every day’. I told you about a certain tablet I’ve been taking at bedtime, to help me sleep. Actually, it knocks me for six for twelve hours at a time. I only have a limited supply of these tablets, and running out frightens me. I wonder if this makes me a drug addict? I also told you about my binge-eating habit, and then played it down by telling you it only happens three times a week. I should have said that it happens every day, and that I panic if there’s no way I can restock my supply of chocolate without being found out. I should have told you that this means I attempt to compensate by walking long distances, or eating as little at meal times as I can get away with. I should have told you that I want referred back to a Dietician, so that I might be able to talk it through and come up with a plan. It’s not something my Mum can help me with (she deals with my Anorexic behaviours well, but I’m too ashamed to tell her about behaviours that are more Bulimic in nature).
So, in summary, when I come in and sit before you, mumbling and fidgeting like an idiot, these are the things I really want to communicate. I understand you must look at the nervous wreck I am and think immediately of Diazepam, but there is so much more to me than what you see.
So this is where I am. With my next appointment looking likely to be into the New Year, and with my Therapy sessions skirting round the food issues (probably because I’m not being honest, but also partly because it doesn’t really have a place in the type of work we’re doing in Therapy) I’m feeling a bit disappointed at another missed opportunity.
*For the record, the condition I am referring to is Borderline (or Emotionally Unstable) Personality Disorder. I know a number of wonderful people that carry this diagnosis, and wouldn’t be offended if someone labelled me with it. But it’s not one of the better received MH conditions, and this needs to change.