It’s been three weeks since The Appointment and because of Easter holiday blocking the four week mark I’ve been to see my doctor again today. She was still wonderfully calm and relaxed even though the check in system told me she was running about 20 minutes late. I didn’t feel rushed at all and we had another easy conversation about it all.
Unfortunately over the last three weeks I have continued to feel particularly low. Low mood and low motivation has meant that I have actively avoided continuing my seek for help. I know it’s not too much to do, to simply got to the right person and ask for counselling. But it doesn’t really make it any less frightening.
I felt really ashamed to have to tell my doctor that I hadn’t taken that next step. She reassured me that it was pretty normal behaviour. NHS doctors used to make therapy appointments for their patients and been their main port of call for help, but people with depression and anxiety have a tendency to not turn up to appointments. So the NHS changed their set up, now doctors can point you in the right direction and it’s up to you to make the appointment (I guess in the hope that less appointments are missed/wasted). This means my doctor unfortunately can’t make the therapy appointment for me, it’s unfortunate because even in the midst of my deepest depths of depression my anxiety means I’d never miss an appointment, I’d never even be late for it. But I understand why it has to be me who makes this step, it’s just a hard one for me apparently.
We also decided to start me off on some anti-depressants. We discussed two choices, Mirtazapine or Citalopram. The first has the added bonus of helping people get a good nights sleep, which I’m pretty sure really benefits a lot of people. But the trouble is my sleep schedule is all over the place and sometimes I don’t have time for 8 hours of sleep, I can’t be conked out and miss my alarm. So I’m now on Citalopram. One tablet every day. Shouldn’t be too hard. Though she did say that I could feel a bit weird for the first week, or I could feel mentally even worse than when I started but that it clears up after the first week or so and starts to improve. The advantage of this one is that if I don’t get along with it I can just stop taking it, I don’t have to ween myself off. But so far (only one tablet in) I feel fine, which is to say no different at all.
I can’t believe how easy this has been so far, I know I’ve dug my heels in on the therapy front. But I have a great doctor, I have medication and I haven’t violently reacted to it. I’ll take the good where I can at the moment.
The only part of this process I haven’t enjoyed has been the medical centre waiting room. Not because my anxiety goes into over drive, not because my nerves get worse the longer I’m waiting, not because the waiting room was full to and over capacity. But because there were too many people with zero manners and little common sense. They were all too ready to criticise the work of the staff, all too ready to criticise the wait time. Without consideration for the fact that the NHS is overstretched, understaffed and underfunded. I personally can’t fault the staff I’ve had contact with, they’ve been pleasant and helpful. But apparently everybody else had something to say loudly and rudely enough that I knew the undervalued staff could hear them. Why though? Do they think insulting the hard working staff is going to suddenly fix the chronic underfunding?
Maybe my time working within the NHS has meant I’m more aware of the difficulties of being an NHS staff member, or maybe my parents raised me to be more aware of other people. I always thank every staff member, they all do their part to keep the machine going and I’m grateful. I hope you do too no matter what country you live in or what medical service you have available to you.
P.S. finished one of my many art projects today.