The Appointment Part 2

The doctor I saw at the appointment was a nice lady, as far as I could tell. She opened by telling me that through that intake appointment, I was officially in the system of the centre and also her patient, and that she would find out what was available in terms of programming and help me get access to anything I decided might be helpful. 

But she told me she thought I had PTSD that had lingered untreated and gotten worse, not generalized anxiety. That were it to have been GAD, the treatment I’ve received to date should have led to me feeling a lot better. 

Maybe I mentioned this earlier in the blog, but it’s always been easier for me to look at the world as though everything is my fault, the fault of something inherent to myself. GAD would have in a sense allowed me this – allowed me to face the smaller things that are difficult for me, then tackle bigger and bigger challenges. Health care as self-improvement. 

Check marks on neat little lists. 

However, as hard as I try, I just get more tired. I have small victories in the short term, but in the long term, I never move on to the big things that terrify me the most. I can’t do, because it would interfere with me going about even the simplest tasks of my day. My most difficult challenges are like monsters whose eyes I cannot meet for more than a second.

The doctor asked me if I live life like I’m in survival mode, and I can’t deny it, that’s exactly how it is on a GOOD day! And I’m grateful to be doing it even, because on the bad days, it stops looking like I’ll survive.

I look at my choices, at my hard work and my most carefully considered plans, and I realize I’m never thinking of happiness. I’m thinking of making it to the next day, the next month, the next year. Of holding on to some integral part of myself during what I assume will be a storm.

And I’m just so tired. 

I don’t know what to think. But I do believe that a diagnosis is only useful insomuch as it allows you access to the most helpful health care. 

No, right now I am not comfortable with the very serious title, which I often worry should be earned by something much more difficult than anything I have experienced. But if this doctor wants to use it, I have to believe that it’s for the very good reason of giving me access to more helpful services for my particular situation. 

Also, I didn’t have to PAY to see the doctor!

*aaalelujah!*

It will be very important to me in the fall and later to make whatever therapy becomes available to me through public health a priority. I couldn’t be more grateful that I have this option, because I do not have money of my own and having to beg for and justify gift money for brain appointments is not especially good for my brain. I can’t imagine how much worse this issue would be for someone sinking deeply into debt trying to get their mental health on track, only to have it destroyed by financial ruin. Horrifying. I am firmly in the “health care is a human right, not a consumer good” camp here. Support public health care!

And stay ‘tuned for the appointment part 3 🙂

– Catalina

 

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The Appointment

Next week, I have an appointment to be assessed as a potential participant in the only publicly-funded day program I’ve found in my region for the treatment of anxiety disorders (private ones will run you upwards of $15 000, which is just not gonna happen – I’m no Lindsey Lohan.)

I got lucky – they were booking for September, however they had an unexpected opening. Now, this program is part of a larger program within a really large institution. I spent quite a while on the phone with various representatives, each qualified to give out a very small amount of information. All pretty grumpy. I get it – is there anywhere left in this world where public health teams aren’t overworked and underpaid? But I hope, I hope, I hope that the doctors won’t be like this as well. I get sassy when psychiatrists can’t find it in themselves to be sensitive enough while asking incredibly personal questions.

This program does not run in my town, but in a larger city a few hours away. It spans the 9-5 workday, 5 days a week, for about two months. It will require a substantial amount of planning on my part to be able to participate. So, when I was on the phone with representatives, I tried to inquire about the dates of upcoming sessions of the program. They were not able to give me any information, instead telling me that I have no guarantee of being able to participate at all; that that is not for me to determine but for the doctors that will be assessing me in the intake appointment.

Well, fudge. Now this feels like a test. Not to mention, as with many of my mental health care experiences within the public realm of health care, I can feel my independence, my role within my own health care, slipping away. Will my sass make me fail the test? Or will I overcompensate, working to appear less affected by my anxiety disorder than I am, since I sure practice that skill a lot, and it’s lead to inaccurate diagnoses and health care in the past? Will these doctors weight my ‘performance’ in this quasi-interview more heavily, or will they put more weight in the detailed letter they received from the psychologist that lead my treatment for over a year? I have no way of knowing. At least I will come out with a little bit less uncertainty, a little bit sooner, with regards to my future plans.

So – next week I will walk myself in there, see what happens, and if nothing else, bring you back some ‘inside info’, should you ever need it, about the process.

– Catalina

Ooooooops

I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t go back to the lead-up to my hospital stay. And it’s given me writers block! I have learned that there will be some goals that I just won’t meet – and there are definitely a bunch that I won’t meet on my questionable schedule of when I can do things. Will you accept an IOU on that rather difficult story?

 

Tales From The Psych Ward – Intro

62856_436468245804_2911966_nRecently, I spent a night in the emergency room and two in the psych ward mental health floor of my local hospital. If you’re a regular reader, please don’t worry! It was voluntary, I was not physically hurt, and I am glad I did it.

But it did happen. If I am asked outright, I don’t want to deny it. So I’ll be interrupting other types of posting and making a goal to describe my experience in four parts. A good friend of mine told me to not pretend it didn’t happen, not try to chunk the Catalina that found herself in the hospital – the way I wanted to chunk myself out of life.