Today has been the first day in a while when I have genuinely and seriously considered just stopping all of my engagement with mental health services.
For an assortment of reasons – layers upon layers of insecurities, deep-seated fears, personal inadequacies, and reinforcing (but rare) extremely traumatic and distressing ‘treatment’ from a different Trust – I find trusting, or even speaking to, any kind of mental health professional extremely difficult. In fact, when I moved into this Trust’s care, I swore that I would never engage with a mental health professional, ever again. Luckily, my amazing care coordinator somehow broke through those barriers and won my trust wholeheartedly, as well as my unreserved respect and gratitude. It took a long time for that circle of trust to expand slightly, but I’ve been fortunate to come across other exceptional mental health professionals since.
But those layers are still there, and they regularly cause me anguish and pain beyond compare when even the smallest of things go wrong, or there is the tiniest hint that I might be betrayed by those who look after me as I fear they are heading down the same paths of ill-treatment and cruelty that I experienced before. Even though I know logically that these things could never happen again, the pain and fear I still experience while in contact with services fight a constant battle to try to destroy and overwhelm the positive effect that these hardworking professionals have on my health and wellbeing. The one thing that has always outweighed the demons has been my conviction that my care coordinator will protect me unwaveringly.
Unfortunately, my poor care coordinator has been off sick (but expected back imminently) for some weeks and today I found out that she’s expected to be out long enough for me to need someone to step into her shoes temporarily. This, while a seemingly small blow, has tipped the scales for me from just clinging on to thinking the good outweighs the bad (and, again, I emphasise here that the ‘bad’ is NOT a reflection of the actual care that I’ve received, just the anguish that I experience due to my difficulties and my past) to catastrophic end-of-the-world despair. I’m sure this new care coordinator is brilliant, but everything is so complicated and messy and contrary and against expectations and raw and precarious and painful and incomprehensible, and I am paralysed in silent fear for the first few times that I meet a new mental health professional – so I just don’t see how I can possibly expect someone to navigate all of that, make sense of it, and gain my trust quickly and strongly enough to anchor me and become my primary support from tomorrow.
- the new care coordinator and I meet for the first time
- I will be discharged into her care, from the crisis team who’ve been looking after me and helping me so much over the past few months
- then somehow I’m supposed to compose myself and rush across town to a psychology appointment. And then my psychologist goes on leave.
So, today I go from full crisis support, psychological support, and believing that my care coordinator will be back soon to what feels like my world crashing to dust around my ears.
I don’t want to get up tomorrow.
I don’t want to get out of bed.
I don’t want to anxiously wait through the two hour timeslot, panic growing all the while both about meeting the new person and the fact that the later they come the shorter the time I will have to get to know them before dashing to psychology.
I don’t want to let yet another stranger into my home.
I don’t want to let the crisis team in.
I don’t want to have my care relinquished to another stranger stranger.
I don’t want to explain everything again.
I don’t want to lay myself bare and admit how pathetically, pityingly weak I am again.
I don’t want to have a rushed handover because time is ticking away to my psychology session.
I don’t want to have to allow my mum to come out of work in her lunchbreak just to act as a taxi to get me to my session.
I don’t want to have a panicked car journey, hoping that we don’t hit traffic.
I don’t want to stress myself out about letting my psychologist down.
I don’t want to have to walk 3 miles home (and I can’t get the bus), using up every drop of physical energy after already exhausting emotional reserves.
I don’t want to arrive home knowing that next week all that’s left is a stranger that I can’t bring myself to call upon or open up to.
I don’t want to be tormented by the constant anguish and pain that this causes.
I don’t want to be reminded of my failings and inadequacies, full of self-criticism that I am ungrateful and should be able to cope.
I don’t want to do this any more.
I just don’t wanna.
Postscript: I know that I sound like an ungrateful, spoiled brat of a toddler throwing their toys out of their pram over nothing. I know that I should just be thankful to have a great team around me who are trying to do right by me. I know that it’s my fault that I can’t deal with any of this. I know that this is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond anyone’s control. I know that I’m fortunate. I know that I’m pathetic. I know that I’m a mess.
That just makes it all worse.
I’m sad and scared. I can’t cope. I can’t bear to go through this all again. I can’t stand the fear. I’m tormented. I’m overwhelmed.
I need my care coordinator. (and I’m worried about her, too)