Today I am able to breathe. And in doing so, I realise that I haven’t actually been breathing properly for weeks. What changed? I finally, finally, got an appointment with a private psychiatrist. He comes recommended by my counsellor, and although based in Dublin, I’m more than willing to travel. At this stage I would probably fly to the moon if I had to.

A huge, huge part of the problem this last few weeks, months at this stage, is that I have felt completely powerless in all of this. I’ve been waiting for other people to make the necessary phone calls and referrals, I’ve been reliant on doctors who don’t know me, and I’ve been caught up in the absolute disgrace that is our public health care system. I’m starting to realise that there is no place in that system for people like me, people with a chronic, long term illness. There’s crisis intervention – if I had actually made an attempt on my life I would have been admitted. But anything up to that point? Not serious enough to warrant taking up valuable and overstretched resources. That leaves me, and no doubt thousands of others like me, in a truly horrible position.

I’ve said it before. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, in that I have a lot of support. But, having said that, this last few weeks that support has been nowhere near enough. I’ve completely resented and fought against having people stay to help. It hasn’t felt like help. It has felt like I’m being watched, like I’m an imposition, a burden, and something everyone could do without. All I’ve wanted is to be left alone. I’ve resented coming to work when I’m not able to perform as I’d like, and I hate that my boss has to make allowances for that, despite the fact that he’s more than willing to do so. I feel as though I’m doing it to reassure people that really, I’m ok, because if I’m at work then things can’t be that bad. I’ve resented Therapist for only giving me an hour a week of her time, when I’ve needed so much more. When the anger takes over, my head – no, my whole body – feels like a pressure cooker and I’ve almost no control over how it will release that pressure. I’ve hurt myself so many times. I’ve cried. I’ve felt completely alone, hopeless, a drain on my family and that things would never get any better. I think unless you’ve been in this position, you simply cannot (and I’m really glad that you can’t) understand just how terrifying that is. To feel that there are no more options, no one to talk to, not one single thing you can do to make it better……………it’s suffocating, paralysing and completely overwhelming. I’ve thought frequently about suicide (although without actually wanting to do anything about it, just the thoughts are there, they’re strong, and they’re ever present). Above all, I have utterly and completely hated myself for being this person. Perspective is well and truly gone.

This is not ok. It’s about as far from ok as it’s possible to get, but sadly, that’s how things are here at this point in time. Right now, in this moment, I’m feeling better than I have done in weeks simply for having taken some control and made the decision to accept an appointment in Dublin (that and after a monumental meltdown this morning I had to resort to medicinal aid). Nothing else has changed. The next few weeks will still be extremely tough, it’s still almost two weeks to that appointment. But, for the first time in quite a while I’m starting to feel hopeful again. The prospect of meeting someone who will actually listen, who will take the time to hear what I have to say, and hopefully make a balanced decision based on that – well that feels incredible.

Feeling even the faintest glimmer of hope for my future is just lovely

As for the hospital? I’m due to attend next Tuesday. Who I might see is anyone’s guess. I’m not inclined to go, but Hubby thinks it best to at least hear them out and give them one last chance. Dublin isn’t the most convenient of locations for appointments and cost is a serious factor. For me, I have absolutely no faith in them any more. None. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve walked out of there feeling worse than when I went in. But, Hubby has said he’ll come with me. I’ll hear them out. After that? Well I guess I’ll either cut my ties or I won’t. Only one way to find out!

This article has 7 Comments

  1. So relieved for you about the private appt. And Hubby going with you on Tue sounds like the best available plan in the meantime. I can only guess at how far away those appts are going to feel to you right now. Good luck getting through the minutes as gently as you can until then.

  2. This country is a disgrace. I suffer with depression and was hospitalised 3 years ago now. When I hit crisis and a public referral was made, it took 6 months for an appointment with a psychiatrist to come through even though it was an urgent request. Thankfully I had private cover. I spent 10 weeks as an impatient and a further 10 attending an outpatient programme and now attend twice a year for check up with my psych. If I had to wait , like so many do , for that public appointment , I would not be here today. It's a sad thing to say but if you don't have health insurance in this country then pray you do not suffer with mental health issues. My health insurance cripples up every month but my husband is insists that to him it's as important as paying our mortage as he almost lost me 3 years ago.

    Sorry for the long post and know Fiona that you will not regret paying for the care you deserve. I think of you daily as your journey has be very similar to mine and I wish you lots of good mental health.

    1. It doesn't make sense, does it? If I had private health insurance we could have sought alternative help long ago. As it is, we thought the best thing was to keep going with the hospital, in the misguided belief that the continuity would be helpful. Sadly we've been proven wrong. Just one more week to get through till private appt, really hope he can help

  3. "All I've wanted is to be left alone" – Story of my life! Most of your third paragraph is familiar to me, just wanted to let you know that

    I am glad you have your appointment and some hope 🙂

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