Anaïs Nin was not wrong

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin

I love that quote. I’ve been showing a certain amount of courage lately, and not just in the area of my mental health. I have some good news, which until now, I haven’t had the strength to write about.

In short, I am now a represented artist with a gallery in Marazion and its sister gallery in St Ives. My work is now on walls with lots of respected artists, both dead and alive. I am thrilled and terrified an equal measure. This step is huge and it is courage that got me there. I wanted something badly enough and so I went after it. I’ll be blogging a little about my approach and success in gaining representation, but that’ll likely be for another day. In the meantime, my art site has several works listed as available through the gallery in Marazion, so you can check that out.

Since posting last month, I’ve shed plenty of tears and been through a mental health care wringer. This is continuing now and will for the foreseeable future. It turns out no one in the chain of healthcare services down here – including my own psychiatrist – is comfortable with the use of dexamfetamine. No one in my Cornwall team of NHS doctors has experience with that drug, and – even though it is NICE approved for use in ADHD patients – I can’t have it. The limited prescription that was initially written for me is about as useful as a pat on the head; no one will fill or continue it. I’ve had appointments, freak outs, and now a referral to the specialist ADHD clinic in Bristol. This is a kind of progress, however…

I got the news that my referral to the Bristol ADHD clinic would be “going out today” – being a day last week. So I phoned the clinic directly yesterday to find out if something had been scheduled and if I could have my appointment date. They have not received the referral and told me that it usually takes a few weeks. See, I don’t understand that. It’s not like the mail gets shipped backwards around the world to reach them. First class mail takes a day. Second, slightly longer. I’d expect to have a referral sorted in a week. But what do I know…

That was not great news, but then the real shit news hit: I was told there is an 8 month waiting list to be seen. I felt my guts hit the floor. The person on the phone was all the while double checking certain things from our conversation with another office bod, and so that estimate got slightly shortened to 5 – 8 months. I’m sorry, but that’s not helping. I will be residing in the UK for ten years in November; I have been trying to get assessed and treated properly for a decade at that point. I haven’t kept up the battle continuously, I admit, as I haven’t had the strength to do that nor money to go private (and there are the years of being on the wrong medication), but DAMN. DAMN.

Anyway. After I knew the referral was going through (I’m backtracking here), I took myself off Strattera. Strattera is helpful, but not quite the right medicine for my particular brain. Because it affects my ADHD, I thought I’d go to Bristol clean and properly crazy for the assessment. Well, I’m back on it again after about a week off. That week was hell. My mind needs help and I can’t manage up to eight months without something making things work better in my brain. It’s funny, I’m on day two of being back on the Strattera and I know it makes a difference, but I still have terrible issues on it. Perhaps I’ll see if my doctor will up my dosage. I suppose it’s better than nothing, and now it’s just a waiting game.

I’m going to phone the clinic every couple of weeks to check for cancellations. Don’t ask, don’t get, as they say. In the meantime, I’ll keep up as much courage as I can muster. I don’t want to live a shrinking life.