I realised this week, whilst relaying my week to a friend, via email, that I have been “out of bed, dressed and functioning every day”. So again, I must be “getting better”. Now I’ve been here before at least once, thinking “this is it, I’m getting better” only for everything to then go tits-up and start cascading into another “crisis”. It’s a funny word crisis, it’s one of those words that takes on a whole new power and meaning when your lexicon has its origins in the world of mental health (that is the shittest theme park ever by the way). Again, going back to my love of discussing semantics, crisis is an everyday kind of word- broken washing machine? Crisis. Going overdrawn? Crisis. Late for work? Crisis. In mental health terms though crisis generally means threatening to kill one of your care team (sorry about that fantastic CPN), an unscheduled trip to your psychiatrist, more drugs and the threat of hospital. Well it does for me anyway, individual experiences may vary……. I’m hopeful that this time will be different and I actually think it might be (I probably said that last time too).
So what leads me to believe that this “getting better” may be different? Well…………………………………….. I AM GOING BACK TO WORK! At least that’s the plan, my old job is there if I want it (and I really, really do) and my plan is to go back. What I hadn’t realised is that once you’re certified mental and are “in the system” every Tom, Dick, Harry and GP gets to meddle in your previously autonomous decisions. I announced my intention to return to work to various members of my “team” last week and they all chipped in with their concerns and conditions. There is a general fear that I will rush things, take on too much and in my lovely GPs words “have another breakdown”. Gee thanks!
So what have I done to guard against my (almost overwhelming) desire to go back to work, get back on 15 committees and erm generally just take on too much? Well I’m not going back to work at all for around 6 weeks, even then I plan a phased return, to date I haven’t joined any committees (though I have taken on a little extra work for the one committee I remained a member of throughout my period of acute mentalism) and I’m generally just trying to be sensible.
Being sensible is actually a million miles away from where I was a fortnight ago- my original intention was just to go straight back to work and use it as a handy tool to ditch the world of mental health (very scary rides, no height restrictions, guaranteed to make you throw-up) my cunning plan was to become “too busy with being normal” to bother with therapy, CPNs, GP’s, psychiatrists et al. To be honest I’m still not convinced I can or want to combine mentalism with normality (ooh good example of black and white thinking there for all you CBT fans) so I’m kind of a work in progress. I’m not 100% convinced that I’m the best person to oversee this work but I’m all I’ve got- or am I?
So herein follows a rather boring diatribe about MH care for those of you of a political or parenting disposition, you have been warned. I will do my best to make this part as accessible as possible for those who haven’t paid the (extortionate) entry fee for the world of mental health.
I am fortunate, I have a very comprehensive care team, every aspect of my mental and physical health has a professional to bolster it and I genuinely like them all, they’re all good people- until they try to get me to do something I don’t want to do or disagree with me. I don’t mind being challenged so much- it’s kind of an essential part of getting better but I do so hate to be forced into a corner or told I am wrong! I never expected for a second that my decision to go back to work would be anything other than that- my decision but I realise now that my GP holds all the cards- she has to sign a “fit for work” certificate and now, “thanks” to new legislation it’s not just as simple as a signature on a form, she gets to suggest how long I should work for, what I do and also gets to drag me back in and reassess her initial decision. My last hope was that all I had to do was get her to sign me fit for work and then never see her again. It would be just like the old days and save for waking up finding a limb hanging off I would never need to see the lovely GP at all.
I’m coming back to this post a day later as I encountered a bit of bloggers block whilst writing it and now, to be honest I’m not exactly sure where I was/am going with it. I’ll just keep rambling, do keep reading it’s bound to get good at some point.
I’ve had another good day, in fact it’s been a good weekend, lots of parenting, lots of politics and very little mentalism- so of course I feel that urge to “get back to normal” even more patently now. Again, thanks to recent experience I find myself wondering if it was bloggers block or that “poor concentration” the lovely GP was questioning me about last week. I think the self-doubt that poor mental health leaves one with is probably one of the hardest obstacles for me to overcome. I’m so used to every little nuance being medicalised and mentalised that I question every mood, every decision, every desire. I’m doing exactly the kinds of things I used to do but I see them through new eyes and I’d really rather not.
So all in all, things are good- I have plans (and not the “buy a giraffe, name it Toby, get a tattoo, write a book- no 2 books, take over the world” kind of plans I’ve had in the past) I have interests and best of all I got a lovely warm welcome from all my Fife Labour colleagues when I returned to meetings this week. I feel like I am back.