The appointment with my case worker from the CMHT went well yesterday afternoon. She wasn’t the person I saw before as I had originally thought. She was however very professional and empathetic, listening to everything I had to say in response to her questions. She was clearly well prepared too, with frequent references to details that she must have read in the notes held by the CMHT. The meeting lasted an hour and a half, longer than the scheduled hour, within which we discussed many things.
First I described some of my issues and the causal events in my life. I stressed that the events themselves were no longer a source of anxiety or depression, and that as far as I was concerned the issues themselves were crippling my ability to function normally and in turn causing the depression I have suffered for so long with varying degrees of severity.
On a couple of occasions I admitted fault in reference to specific recent events where I exhibited certain negative behaviours triggered by corrupted perception. I was told with sincerity to take ownership of my actions and to give myself compassion, but not to take blame. Blame is for the people and events that have caused the damage from which the behaviour stems.
We discussed the questionable efficacy of the various medications I currently administer, along with many prescribed in the past, and the doubt I have that any further changes will deliver anything but an improvement in mood. Although I’m hoping, admittedly quite foolishly, that I will be the recipient of a powerful stimulant. I am kidding, but it would be favourable…
There was also discussion of my safety. It was made clear that in the event I am considered to be a danger to myself I would likely be admitted to an NHS psychiatric ward. Whilst not as horrific as they were during an admission 24 years ago, modern NHS psychiatric wards are in no way as comfortable as their private counterparts and apparently not a very nice place to be. I was asked if I had felt unsafe at any time recently to which I admitted at least once a day. This would range from a resurgence of my underlying feeling of not wanting to exist to literally rooting myself to the spot for fear of taking action to end my life. When asked if I felt I could lose restraint I said no – but I do wonder if the warnings of admission to an unpleasant hospital environment biased my response.
On a more positive note I provided detail of the constructive activities I am occupying my time with. Reading reference books on various mental health issues, excercise, learning to speak German, writing notes about my life and issues, and of course writing my blog.
Over the last few days I have also started reading about Buddhism. Its teachings are so obvious in hindsight that for it to be the basis of so many western therapies comes as no surprise. Whilst I generally have no interest in religion I have always felt an affinity towards Buddhism and it’s focus on peace and a connection to nature – I have always felt so much more comfortable in a natural environment than an artificial one. I’ve started a journey along a route that is both challenging and compelling. There are however a couple issues that I have. One would be a requirement to refrain from the consumption of meat or any products derived from the suffering of animals. This is somehing that I feel could be acheived but would require considerable change and commitment, time will tell. The other is the linked concepts of reincarnation and karma. Whilst I could conceivably live a life practicing the teachings of Buddha I could not in good conscience do so without a genuine acceptance of the complete belief system of Buddhism. I suppose it would be the equivalent of being Christian yet not believing in God.
There was also discussion of the arrangement of private DBT therapy. The referral has been made as promised by the private psychiatrist I saw last week but there is now a bureaucratic block due to an uncertainty as to who will be responsible for my psychiatric care once my therapy starts (hopefully in 5 weeks). I have been assured that this will be resolved but I worry that in actuality the rigid rules that both the private and public services operate under may not be in the slightest way accommodating.
The meeting with my case worker concluded with scheduling weekly meetings for as long as is required. For the first time in what I feel would be my entire history of psychiatric care I finally have a mental healthcare professional who is genuinely concerned and prepared to delve deeper than the surface.
My rising mood was reversed in the last moments of that meeting. As I entered the details of the recurring appointment into my iPhone calendar an email from the Human Resources manager of my employer was displayed as a notification. She wants a telephone meeting today to ‘catch up’. This concerned me since she has to date been dealing with my fiancée so this shift is a little disconcerting. I have asked my fiancée to be present and to lead for me as I am certain that nervousness and my poor memory could leave me at a disadvantage if I were left to my own devices. I would like to push for one more week on leave and then a phased return to work starting with a few mornings in the first week. I also need to I determine the actual amount of reduced income I will receive as I need to plan the household budget for the coming months.
Later my two youngest children called me and both of them asked, during desperate discussions, when I would see them next. It’s obvious that they are missing me, which is both comforting and painful. As one of their birthdays is in two weeks I committed myself and my fiancée to seeing them on the day in order to relieve this extended absence, and of course to deliver presents.
The communication from my employer and arranging to resume paternal visits has hammered home the pending return to normality. This in turn has caused a high level of anxiety as I don’t feel at all ready. I will try my hardest, and hope that I have the strength to do what needs to be done on all fronts – it was inevitable anyway. Yet, the overriding feeling is that I’ll simply be treading water until I can start DBT.
Do I need to put less emphasis on DBT, just in case it can’t be arranged?
I will continue exploring Buddhism – I feel it could be very beneficial…