The past two days haven’t been the best in Mybraintown. I have been fortunate enough to pass GO without collecting depression, but there’s always a chance I’ll grab me some on my next turn.
At 5am this morning I woke in a sweat with a furrowed brow and tension a tight rope walker could balance on. I had an NHS dream. A tall, handsome doctor in a lab coat stood in front of me and smiled as I handed him a slip of official paper from my psychiatrist in the US: a prescription for my ADHD drug. The NHS doctor took it from my hands and smiled down at me — I must have been child-sized in the dream — and said, ‘Awww. That’s nice. But there’s nothing wrong with you.’ He then tore my paper in half and handed it back to me. (His attitude reflected the ignorance of one of the real-life doctors I saw last year at my local clinic who had never heard of ADD or ADHD.)
I wigged out and started fighting, crying, screaming and attempting to pull the very flesh from his smiling asshole face. I could not hurt him. I left no marks. He was untouchable and I was helpless and small.
I woke up sweating and could not sleep for an hour.
I never did get treated the last time I confronted, pleaded, and phone-tagged with the doctors of the NHS. I came near it, but then the clinic said that my doctor had put me down as ‘private’ care and it would cost loads of money to begin my assessments. I gave up. I’d been fighting the system for the better part of a year and had lost all strength to continue. I surrendered myself to taking the good with the (often very) bad and live as I had before my diagnosis and medical treatment in the US. I had managed to live a manic and unfocused life for thirty years before someone noticed my issues and diagnosed me. (I wasn’t even looking for a diagnosis!) It is very emotionally painful to know what it’s like to be ‘well’ and then told you can’t be ‘well’ if you can’t afford a private appointment, but that’s what I was and am left with. It has been several months since I last tried to get seen, though I still think about it often.
Speaking more positively, yesterday was pretty good. I don’t talk a lot about my ADHD/depression issues on here but the beast still lives in me. Yesterday I put a metaphorical saddle on it and rode it around until I bashed out nearly 1800 words for a fiction piece I’m working on. I left the keyboard when I lost focus and returned when I felt I could sit and work a bit more. Back and forth I went all day until I felt happy with my progress. I can’t do this on a day when I have my part-time job as well to work around — can’t tell the boss, ‘I’ll be away for a random amount of time at random times throughout the day but I promise I’ll work my little heart out when I get back.’ This is what medication is for. This is also what gives me nightmares– I know what it’s like to be in control (medicated) and if the NHS doesn’t modernise and reform its acceptance policy for mental health patients, then I fear I may never feel that control again. Most days don’t work out well like yesterday.
I named the user home folder on my new MacBook Pro Firewalker. I have walked on fire– it was a women’s afternoon retreat thing I attended with a couple of good friends many years ago. We built the ceremonial wood fire, tended it, and raked it into a glittering carpet of hot coal thickly dotted with little orange flickering suns. It was about six feet in length and I walked it with bare feet. I did not burn or feel the ‘kiss’ that reminds you to focus on the moment. The retreat taught about mind over matter and the power of the brain. In a sense, I named my home folder after myself. I walk on fire; I am a firewalker. It’s a word that even years later gives me a little buzz of power. And sometimes it’s OK to lie to yourself that you are infinitely capable, even when you do feel the kiss of the flames.
I felt the kiss yesterday, but the important thing is that I did everything I could to keep walking.