The GP referral was fast. I had my IAPT assessment this morning. I met an amazing woman who I will call Jill, who listened to my shit for 50 minutes and then gets to go away and sort out what kind of help I need and how best to deliver it. Good luck with that. She was wonderful though. I felt completely safe and cared for, and she understood every little horrid thing that I have rattling round in my offensive, loud, obsessive head. She made me feel less insane, more real, and that my stuff is important. I walked out after 50 minutes of crying and vomiting up all the mess that I’m carrying round and I found myself humming. I was singing and I felt lighter. I went in there this morning feeling hopeless and stupid and weak and frightened and I came out feeling brave and tall and so very positive. If I can just try and access that memory of feeling confident and brave then I can manage this. It’ll be a wait for the help, but I think I can do it. I am sure that I can beat this new round of crazy. Or if not beat it, live well with it. That’s the key. Living a good-enough life in spite of the symptoms. I might always be obsessive/compulsive. I might always have anxiety and panic. I might never get out of this pattern of high and low but if I can be happy and manage the thoughts and behaviours so that my life is good anyway that’ll be wonderful. I think it is possible. After today, after talking to Jill and hearing her clearly and kindly and confidently tell me that I AM NOT MAD and that I am ok, I think it is possible.
What saddens me is that access to this quality of care is not easy. I wish it was available to everyone, but I know from bitter experience that it is not. It should be. Because it is life-saving. Over the last 20 years I have seen eight different therapists, three of them for long term treatment. Getting the right person is essential and it is so difficult to do. I have been lucky on those three occasions and I hope I’m going to be lucky again. I have had appalling treatment too, and I think maybe I’ll write another time about the pitfalls of therapy, how to get yourself out of terrible therapy and how to survive the long and tiring search for better.