Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Are you there Freud? It's me Po(Margaret).

Issues, issues. I have issues. I think. I am 90% sure I have lots of issues. 

Don't we all.

Yes but I would like very much to deal with them. But I don't have the foggiest clue where to begin. I may even be too old; maybe I am beyond repair?

The obvious solution is a shrink. But here in the UK, unless you are diagnosed with something serious you are unlikely to be referred to a specialist on the NHS. Which leaves a private practice. Even if I were working I could not afford a private shrink on a regular basis. Could I somehow convince my GP to send me to an NHS shrink? From previous NHS experiences I can foresee the process:

ME: Doc, I have issues. I need to see a shrink.

DOC: Take these painkillers. If the symptoms persist, come back in two months.

ME: But I don't have any pa-

DOC: sorry your 10 minutes is up, please make a new appointment.

2 months later:

ME: Doc, same problem, symptoms still around, need shrink.

NEW DOC: Um, who are you? Look, if you really feel the same way in 6-8 weeks                     then come back to me okay?

500 million years later (dinosaurs once again roam the earth, but are vegan and gluten-intolerant):

ME: still same old same old.

DOC 3: Okay, phone this number. They will give you an appointment.

After 4 days of trying to get through to the number, I get an appointment for 8 months later.

SHRINK: How can I help you?

ME: Actually, forgeddaboutit. I bought some Bovril, a weedwhacker, a slinky, a        man's entire life, a vintage postcard with sexual connotation, an ant farm, a worm farm, a seamonkey kit, and some lederhosen on ebay, and I feel just fine.

So yes. Perhaps a book? I have a feeling that a book will not work for me for obvious reasons: I have to be the one who self diagnoses and actually does what the book says. What if one of my issues is that I am a lazy unmotivated drifter?

I have come to the point that I acknowledge that my issues are affecting my life and holding me back. But perhaps I am not committed to solving them yet. The thought of actually talking to a shrink makes me want to scream/run/eat slugs. I can't cope with talking about stuff until at least 12 years has passed since said stuff occurred. I am a clam.

I know for sure that my low self esteem, negative thought patterns, general fear of everything, and probable suppressed pain/anger/confusion are wreaking havoc upon my life. Euugh. But what to do?

What the fuck to do?


redsaid said...

Oh, girl... I wish I knew what to tell you. I was diagnosed with severe, chronic depression and anxiety in the States. I didn't have medical aid, so my medication was state-funded for about six months. And then they had to wean me. So I went off medication. A few years later, I didn't even bother getting out of bed for months at a time.

It was only after the proverbial shit had hit the fan, and I returned to South Africa, that I got help again. So all I can say is please get help if you suspect that you need it. I know you have tried, and I know therapy there is expensive, but trust me, the cost will be far greater if you DON'T get help.

Good luck! Keep us posted...

po said...

Thanks redsaid, I know the feeling of not bothering to get out of bed. Oof. it sounds like you had a tough time.

One of the big problems at the moment is that I am not working, and there is not alot of work in my field, and I am not hugely experienced and qualified, and I am sitting around feeling useless and not doing anything. Eugh, if I could just find a job it might help. I hope.

But I know I have a lot of issues that I have ignored in the past and I want them to BE GONE! I mean seriously, I have no confidence, I don't even believe that it is possible that I could learn to drive!

Thanks so much for the message. People put on these brave faces but really are struggling so much and you wouldn't even realize. It reminds me of that song "Smile like you mean it" by the Killers.

redsaid said...

You are so right about people struggling, but putting on a brave face and others not realising what they are going through. For example? I NEVER would have guessed these things about you. But please, I'm not saying it as if it's a bad thing. (It's NOTHING to be ashamed of.) It's just that I ADORE your writing. You are so witty and funny and you are clearly intelligent. (So I'm flooooooored to read that you have no confidence! But yes, I understand. I really REALLY do.) And my gosh... look where you are and some of the experiences you've had! You live in Ingerland! I've never even BEEN there!

May I ask what your field of expertise is? (E-mail it to me if you don't want to publicly announce it.)

Do you have someone else you can speak to and confide in? Like a friend? An acquaintance even? In fact, the further removed you are from the person, the better for both of you. (That whole, easier to chat to a stranger on a bus phenomenon.) Also, sometimes a virtual stranger can offer remarkable perspective. Thing is, when you live in your own mind (and oh... some of us are damned to!), you just lose all sense of perspective later on. I'm speaking from own experience here. My anxiety bordered on total paranoia later. I once didn't set a foot out of the house for THREE WHOLE MONTHS. That's an entire season! I can't even begin to tell you how many days of my life I have lost...

Does your family have ANY idea what you are going through? (Mine absolutely didn't... I hid it from them. Which was very easy to do from overseas.)

You need to get out of the house, for a start. Could you perhaps volunteer your time somewhere? I also didn't work for about 3 years and it totally pushed me over the brink. However, about a year after my unemployment, a friend found me a volunteer gig. It was HARD, and I had become so agoraphobic and terrified at that time (and yes, needless to say, my confidence was SHOT), but I stuck it out for a year. (It wasn't even daily. Just weekly.) Things started going really REALLY badly when I stopped even doing that. Yes, I know it's work without pay, but at least you get out and get to be with others. Also, doing SOMETHING (especially for a cause you believe in) does wonders for your self-esteem.) I know I'm a total contradiction, because now I'm in a position where I work from home again. I know it's a dangerous thing. I'm trying to use the Twist contest to maybe get something else though.

Sjoe, sorry. Writing you a novel here. But this is SO important. More than you might realise even. And you want the help! So it's soooo frustrating to me that you are unable to get it.

Hang in there, kiddo. And please, please feel free to e-mail me ANY time you want to chat. I'm HARDLY an authority on the matter of depression, but at least I can assure you that you are NOT alone!

po said...

Hiya red

You know what you said about talking to a stranger really really helping...

Well talking (writing) to you is certainly helping in many ways. I definitely see a lot of the same issues that I have in your story! I definitely live in my mind!

And weirdly enough I did think of volunteering. I would love to volunteer in South Africa though...

My "area of expertise" hehe, is biology. I am certainly no expert though. In the UK it is PhD or nothing. There are so few jobs for someone with a degree only. But this is not even the main problem. The main problem is that I am just not passionate enough about the work. I loved studying it but the reality of the work is so so different. I know I am not cut out to be a scientist, so I worked as a research assisstant which is fun but has no future.

If I knew what I was good at and found something to be passionate about I would be so relieved. But it just aint presenting itself to me.

I think I have realised now that life is what you make of it, and how much your own mind holds you back. That is why I want to get my brain sorted out, because I am sure 99% of my problems are my own thinking patterns. Now I just need to figure out how to correct that.

Redsaid, I can't tell you how grateful I am for you sharing this with me, it really does make a big difference knowing that other talented people like you have been through rough times and know the feeling. Its weird I have not met many people with the kind of confidence problems we have. But maybe this is cos they are hiding away! The internet really helps loads.

redsaid said...

Just to let you know I've read your comment. Boss man just sent me two briefs of copy I have to write (and it has to be done like... YESTERDAY), so just want to tell you that I'm NOT ignoring you!

Hang in there, girl... And thank you for all the sweet things that you have said to me! (I'm working on actually believing any of it... yeah, ha ha. It's part of the nature of this beast.)

Have a lovely day!

P.S. Royal girlfriend comment will also follow later.

P.P.S. Are you on facebook perchance?

po said...

Indeed I am on facebook. I think I shall resort to email to reveal my name though :)