I have an illness. You cannot see it. That’s obvious.
I’m not sniffling, or coughing. You can see quite clearly I have all my limbs and am able to walk and move around freely without any physical restriction. I may look slightly tired and run down (who doesn’t) but you know I don’t have pneumonia or meningitis. I look fine, normal even, but I’m devastatingly ill on the inside.
This lack of signalling for help or inability to show how my mind explodes daily is really quite a hindrance. Theres alot of us in hiding, fearing our lives, struggling, not coping, unable to eat, function, work, enjoy life. Where can we go for help?
I find myself in a crisis episode. And theres nowhere to turn.
You break a leg, you get swept to a&e, they take an xray, plaster you and you’re saddled with a few weeks off your feet followed with some physiotherapy. Worst case scenario, you loose your leg. Horrendous (and please don’t think I’m portraying this as a good thing) but you’ve still got another leg. With a little help and assistance you can go about your daily life again. You’re fixed to some degree. People will see you in the street on your crutches with a plastered leg, or an amputee and they know instantly whats wrong.
But when I’m hurting, theres nowhere I can really go. Yes A&e is an option, but have you tried to calmly ask for help and sit waiting patiently as bodies are whisked past with doctors and nurses frantically trying to keep them alive. See, its not an emergency in that sense, and you can’t blast me with machinery or antibiotics or sew me up to fix my leg back on.
My mind is gone, and I don’t have another one.
There not handing out brains from a vending machine down there.
If anything, going to A&E makes it worse, because you feel like a right ninkenpoop and a waste of resources. No surgeon can rewire you’re neuroscience if you’re feeling the verge of a crisis. So you keep walking, none the wiser to your inner turmoil or suffering.
What next, ok so theres the doctors. Their options are limited, they can refer you onto a waiting list for psychotherapy (which is currently pushing 6months) or give you numerous leaflets of ‘helpful’ charities and contacts for you to get involved in for the mean time. They may pump up your tablet intake. Again you walk away, no resolve or any better. No-one can see why you’ve come in or what you’ve left with. Little do they know you came in empty and somehow ended up leaving non-existant and worse.
So you look at the leaflets and you contact them all. Most can’t offer you immediate care, you can sign up for their community activities, shit like art therapy, dance and football. Thats not what I need right now. If they offer crisis, and this is the right kicker… there only open from 4.30-6pm. So make sure you plan your crisis episode appropriately, wouldn’t want to miss these opening hours.
All hope is going, everyone you contacted can’t help you or doesn’t have the resources right now. You’re at a dead end. You didn’t have your crisis at the correct or convenient time for them to be able to receive your cries for help.
You drive to samaritans. The whole way, your infuriated with everything, and your fighting the tears. You pull over a few times as you can’t breathe. You turn around and try and go home, but you fight one last time and get back on track. You arrive exhausted and ready to fucking collapse. As you swing into the drive, your heart plummets and everything in you goes numb. You’re nerve endings are on fire and everything is savagely aching from the distress.
Thats all you see.
You realise, no-one has time for mental health, no-one has time for helping others, no-one can scoop you up and guide you on your way, no-one can stop you from your own pain. The world is closed to mental health.
And its not just on these crisis days that we feel lost or abandoned. Everywhere I go for help I get redirected elsewhere. Half the people I see aren’t trained in mental health nor really have ever heard of Emotionally unstable personality disorder, and its quite rare they’ve actually encountered someone in a real crisis. Even when I do get to meet someone with some hands on experience of what I’m going through, i literally get told, ‘We cannot help you, there aren’t enough resources’. I once found myself at the community mental health service centre, a place they refer you for mental assessments, recovery and psychotherapy etc. Only to be told they don’t actually have a psychotherapist or psychologist on site, because on is on maternity leave and the other just quit. Right so even then, there were only two trained professionals serving the whole community at the mental health centre?
Everywhere I turn or place I get referred to doesn’t have the resources, funding or staff. Everywhere is under managed, overstretched and left on the sidelines for a trickle of money if theres some spare from the government. No-one cares about mental health, how it affects lives, society, the economy even. They can’t see it, so it doesn’t exist.
Well it fucking does. Its fucking shit. No-one gives you sympathy or help. No-one can fix your mind like they can re-adjust a spine. No-one can see the daily struggle you go through and what happens when it all gets too much. No-one sees the scars, and if they do they daren’t ask. When you have mental health, you are very much alone. You have to look after you and your mind. No-one else cares too.
There are simply just too many resources.
ps how has everyone else’s use of services worked out for them? I’d be delighted to hear that somewhere people like me are being looked after!