I have a few things to talk about, a couple of things to get off my chest. Today seems like a good day- I’m back in London, missing J enormously, and my family, but overall I am feeling ok. Balanced. Happy. At long bloody last!
The journey back here was pretty good- I travelled down with a friend. She drove, I chatted at her from what felt like the wrong side of the car (apparently, I’m too used to American cars now!). I spent the first half of the journey trying to explain to CK what my depression, PTSD (finally, I got told that part of what I have is PTSD, after I don’t know HOW long telling mental health professionals that was what it was) and voice-hearing experiences were all like. She’s a kind, sweet girl, is CK, and she listened well and asked questions.
Before I came back to London, I had the appointment with the psychotherapist that I was dreading. I am now so scarred by psychiatrists and fucking assessments that I was sure this would be another put-down: “Get back in your place, crazy bitch. You’ve already got a diagnosis (lies), why the hell do you need or want help?”
Actually, it turned out to be a little different.
I brought my mum with me- she of the awesomely strong backbone- in case I needed her to back me up. I wanted to get across that my personality is NOT fucking disordered, that I NEED help for the trauma I have suffered, and that I am really quite desperate to get better and not worse.
The receptionist gave me the same bloody forms to fill out, and I filled them back out again with impatience. Seriously, I had done this so many times I was bloody sick to death of the sight of the stupid fucking forms. Mum looked over my shoulder until I got to the difficult bits, and then I turned so my back was to her. She stroked my back and said she was sorry, she was just being nosey. I didn’t mind, it’s just hard to write about voices that want you dead with the mother who still sees you as her baby watching.
When I gave in the forms and was called in, the psychotherapist said to my mum that we would only be half an hour, to which mum said that she would rather come in with me. So with a little bit of further argument, we all went in.
At this point the psychotherapist, M, explained that if therapy was to work for me, I would really have to see her alone. I was still like an abused dog at this point, distrustful and ready to snap, so I told her I understood that but my mum was there to tell M that I truly did need therapy, and to be my backup in case I wasn’t believed. M was shocked, I think, beneath her professional demeanour, by how determined both my mother and I were about me getting help. Also, I think the fact that I told her that so far, I didn’t feel helped or believed must have been a bit of a blow to the gut for her. It’s true, though. J is shocked by how little help I have received, as was his good friend.
We came to an agreement- I would stay alone, and M would listen to me. Mum left, and I felt alone, skeptical, and desperate.
M and I didn’t really talk about the symptoms I was experiencing too much- she wanted to know why I wanted therapy. Why the fuck do they ask these questions of someone who has been asking for therapy for months is beyond me. I did tell her, like I have told many other mental health professionals, that I am desperate for help because I cannot manage my distress. I cannot live life searching the street for a tall, broad-shouldered man with curly hair. I do not want to wake up screaming from my nightmares any longer, nor do I want to lie awake in bed and pray that eventually, I will be able to sleep without seeing images of the assault/s (yeah, I’ve deduced that every time I didn’t want to but I was too frightened to say no was the same) flooding my mind.
I told her how frightened of strange men I am, how much fear floods me if I think I have seen him in the street. I told her how the voices will still tell me I am making this up, and I told her how I hear three of them.
I think I’ve been listened to, because M finally told me she was putting me on the waiting list for therapy. She challenged some of my thought processes, too- the mark of a good therapist, I feel, especially if thee thought processes are irrational or frightening. She told me I would have to be back in my hometown for therapy, and that I might have to wait up to four months for therapy.
So far, so good, ish. At least now I have a chance to heal properly, with help from a professional. I wanted this, and I finally have it.
Moving on from the appointment and its fantastic outcome, I had the most amazing time in America. I know I’ve already written about this before, but I have a head flooded with memories of the calmest, safest three weeks I have lived since becoming depressed again. Certain turns of phrase will have me laughing out loud, certain songs make me shiver or smile or just feel safe. J sent me lots of silly e-cards on Valentines Day, featuring our favourite serial killer, Dexter. Seeing those made me forget the horrible Valentines Day argument with my ex and remember instead the cosy, warm nights we both spent on the couch, curled up together and munching through season after season of the series.
I loved it so much out there that I am already £70 up towards my goal of going back there asap. I have already done two shifts since arriving back in London, and my social anxiety whilst working is minimal because I am so focussed on what I have to do.
So, a mixed bag… but in all, there is a reason I am feeling positive, and that reason is that I can finally stop grasping at straws and reach for my life again.