So, I’ve just demolished two apple turnovers and I have a bottle of orange Lucozade by my side. Husband has Lady smooshed up next to him while we watch wrestling (she keeps falling asleep and waking up only to get his attention so he’ll stroke her some more) and I feel okay. My appointment was at 3.30pm and I didn’t leave until 4.15pm, which is the longest I’ve spent with a professional in a very long time, but the nurse actually listened to me and talked WITH me because it’s MY treatment for MY mental illness.
From this day forth, she shall be known as Nurse Awesome. Because a) she is, and b) anonymity for blogging reasons.
I’ve been feeling mostly pessimistic since I eventually got up at 11.30am this morning. I was supposed to be at a Recovery College For All workshop on personality disorder awareness but I just felt too bloody sad to get out of bed. I’ll book another slot for sure, because BPD. I got up in the end, managed to shower and get dressed, start drafting something for Some Nerd Girl and got an Uber to the medical centre. I felt like crying before I even got into the room. When Nurse Awesome called me in, we spoke immediately about the letter I’d received where my hope for DBT was shot down pretty coldly. When she asked me why I felt so upset by the news, I told her that it was because for nearly two years I’d had DBT in particular dangled in front of me like a carrot to a donkey. From diagnosis until my last appointment, DBT was always the focal point, and after that letter I felt abandoned.
I started crying at the thought of being a lost cause. I grew up knowing that I wasn’t ‘normal’ and that the way I looked at the world was a little warped. Whenever I was sad, it was like the world was ending and the only way to feel okay was to cut myself – and I never told anyone the real reason, instead conforming to the idea that I cut myself because crying made me weak. I cried all the time, it’s just that no-one saw it. My mom pushed me to be more ‘normal’ despite her own fight with mental illness so it stayed buried. Nurse Awesome was nothing but calming, passing me over some tissues and staying quiet until I spoke again.
Do you want to know why she is so awesome? Nurse Awesome not only acknowledges my life with mental illness and the experiences from that, but also my huge interest in psychology and mental health as a whole. This means she doesn’t spend half the appointment patronisingly describing terms, medications and effects because we both know I’m already aware of what she’s talking about. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I am sick of having the same explanations given to me about a condition I actually live with. (Yes, we know that exercise is good for our moods – it’s pretty fucking useless when our mood is so low we can’t even get out of bed!)
“Today is a fresh start,” she said to me as she pulled out a sheet of paper to start jotting on, “From today, we’re going to start looking for something that works – we’re not going to focus on one treatment or one path, because there are going to be many.” It’s going to be a long journey, there’s no point in pretending otherwise, but for the foreseeable future at least I am going to be under her care and will also be having a conversation very soon with the psychologist about where I go from here.
As far as medication goes, I am now on 100mg lamotrigine (the lowest prescribed dose, it’s only taken five months to get on it!) and 150mg venlafaxine. Hopefully that’s not going to change for a while, at least for the sake of the pharmacist of whom I’m sure is fed up of having to retcon my prescriptions every few months. In my next appointment I may very well ask about the use of diazepam in my treatment, as it does work in preventing episodes and that’s been seen by myself, Husband and others too.
So, things are alright. Calm. Almost positive. Let’s hope it stays that way for a little while.