Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day 87

A man started talking to me in the local "Mental Health Services Centre" today. You could have knocked me down with a feather. Nobody, but nobody, says anything to anybody in these places, and yet here he was as bold as brass, making light conversation. It was quite refreshing actually.

So he asked me if I'd come far, and complained about the horrific weather of the day. He asked if there wasn't a health centre closer to me - I said "No."

He asked if I'd been to "the hospital." I asked "which one?” and he said somewhere I didn't know. I told him the one I'd been to and he said, "Oh, I didn't know they had a mental health unit there." I nearly fainted. He said "mental health". How did he know I was there for mental health problems? Did I 'look' like I had mental health problems? He didn't know anything about me after all, not even my name and I certainly hadn't offered up the former nougat of information. I should have realised where we were. (In my defense, I didn't know it was just 'mental' people that came here.)

I took a breath and carried on. "Outpatients", I said. "Oh, so you haven't been sectioned then?" (Holy crap.) We talked about the (illusive) senior psychiatrist and he told me how he felt they all thought "taking a pill would sort everything out." All he wanted was a cuppa and a chat sometime. I bit my tongue (and felt terribly guilty) for not offering my ear, or tea appreciation skills to him.

Anyway this conversation lasted for all of about, oooh, 5 minutes, and then his counsellor came to pick him up. He said "Hello" to her - explained why he was late and then said, "Bye Rosalind" to me. I nearly fell off my seat. How the hell did he know my name? After thinking, "Oh my God he's a spy for my father." Then I realised that he was behind me when I checked in for my appointment and gave my name. Weirder still he pronounced it (my name) exactly the right way. This is usually, and no offence here, hard for us Scots, (including myself) to say correctly at the best of times, never mind translated from my inarticulate mumblings when I entered the centre.

I was so amazed by the whole affair that I wrote it down in my trusty notebook before I could forget it.

Then I had my appointment with the NHS psychologist. She has a very slow voice. It sounds irritating at first, but as you sit there, you sort of get hypnotised by it and all you can think about is what she is saying. It is a very sooooothing voice.

We talked about how I had been, and I talked about how up and down things were. I also explained that today was not a good day (because it wasn't). She mentioned a lot of things of note, but a few things that stuck out: 1) That she thought we were in for the long haul with my counselling and that she would be seeing me for a while yet. 2) That she was glad I had told her about my increase in 'checking things' before leaving the house and going to sleep at night. (I was late leaving the house today because I got 'stuck' checking things were off.) 3) That she thought the 'ex' wasn't very nice to me. 4) That she agreed with my not increasing the Lustral just yet. She also mooted her concerns about my current penchant for turning night into day (crazy sleep patterns) but told me not to concern myself with "changing that too much just yet". Soothe, soothe.

I said to her that everyone (my "team") had been saying to me that my 'recovery' would come through a combination of medication and counselling, so I asked what I had to do to keep up my part of this equation? She didn't answer that. Then I asked her if my depression was something I would have to cope with for the rest of my life. She said "Let's talk about that next time."

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