Small World, Big Problems
“I didn’t tell them when they were actually going to die, though. That’s a very false rumour,” Teddy said. “I could have, but I knew that in their hearts they really didn’t want to know. I mean I knew that even though they teach Religion and Philosophy and all, they’re still pretty afraid to die.” Teddy sat, or reclined, in silence for a minute. “It’s so silly,” he said. “All you do is get the heck out of your body when you die. My gosh, everybody’s done it thousands and thousands of times. Just because they don’t remember it doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. It’s so silly.”
‘It’s all about perspective.’ This is what I have had to re-learn today. This idea seems so very straight forward. Easy to understand, even. The strangest thing happened to me today. I met an old ‘inmate’ (we were never allowed out, hence this) from one of my psychiatric clinics. I’ve been allowed to call her by her first name here, Joanna. Anyway, Joanna was discharged a few days before me (we’d had the briefest of conversations throughout my stay) and I met her a few hours ago in a small café, in a small village, in the middle of the Cotswolds.
The thing I’ve noticed about other people with bipolar and depression is that we can really understand each other without needing to speak much, and we even finish each others’ sentences. As fantastic as some medical personnel can be, nothing beats the immediate ‘click’ one makes with a fellow ‘bipolarite’. Even more so one who was in the same clinic as you.
I talked to her a lot today. About my family, friends, relationships, suicidal thoughts, etc. She was very perceptive and understanding but it was what she said on perspective that really made the most sense. I don’t think anymore needs to be said about that. It’s all very self-explanatory, even to those of below-average intelligence.
One other thing Joanna said that really got to me was to do with the current state of mental health care in the UK, with special regard to the crisis and home treatment teams (the 12month ones in particular) – Union House I’m looking at you. You see, most of these places try and fix the problem where it is, not where it started. It’s like realising you’re five miles off course in a desert…The mistake isn’t where you are, it was that first step that you took off course.
Too many times we are given quetiapine (seroquel), venlaflaxine, zopiclone, sobitex, diazepam, etc. These drugs are meant to help us but, from my experience, they only seem to help with immediacies. Never anything long term. I once met a chap who’s been in and out of the system for 13yrs! His body is so used to the drugs that even 600mg!!1 of quetiapine did nothing for him.
I’m meant to be seeing my psychiatrist (lovely chap) once a week for a year. I have 49 more appointments left. That’s 73.5hrs of our time until next August. Is that enough time to ‘undo’ / ‘redo’ over a decade’s worth of issues? I feel as if every hour spent is meant to make me cope for a week until my next session. Obviously I don’t want to die and neither does he want me to die – it’ll look bad on his medical record and bank statement. Perhaps I’ll ask him this tomorrow and see what he says.
Another point off topic, my grand-father always used to say to me that I should be more mature but it occurred to me that for those of us whose lives might suddenly end tomorrow, it is necessary for us to grow up?