Posted Tuesday 9 October 2012
Pathetic Fallacy is what they call it when the weather reflects the mood. As I trudge through the campus of my university towards the medical centre, the weather around me certainly reflects mine. Rain soaks me to the bone and the wind causes the downpour to relentlessly penetrate my jacket, the sky is grey and overcast and seems to never end. I approach the reception desk as I do every week and state that I am here to see Nadine. I feel the inquiring glances of the people in the waiting room as they pick up on the fact I do not say 'doctor' or 'nurse', but maybe I’m just being paranoid.
‘Excuse me ducky - did you hear? Dr B wants to see you quickly before, is that okay?’ Despite my doctor being a very sweet, elderly man who asks imploringly at the end of every appointment for me to ‘not to do anything too silly’ I am not in the mood to see him. But, ever the people pleaser, I agree.
Walking past the endless posters on contraception and accidental pregnancy I note, as I do every week, that there isn’t a single poster on mental health issues, although students are often more likely to be affected by this than an unwanted pregnancy.
I enter the doctor’s office and am met by his concerned face. He starts to explain why I’ve been called in but only certain words get through the thick fog I am in ‘suicide attempt’, increase in self harming’, ‘major depressive disorder’. His final sentence, however, I hear loud and clear: ‘we’ve decided you need to see a crisis team.’
That was March this year and sometimes that story feels just like that, a story, something that happened to a different girl. It’s a cliché, but I really did need to hit rock bottom in order to bounce back and 5 months down the line, I truly believe the crisis team saved my life. The Crisis Home Resolution Team came to see me in the student house I shared with 6 people, a man and a woman whose names and faces I no longer recall, that whole period is a bit of a blur. They sat and they did what most other mental health workers had claimed to do, but never really succeeded in; they listened.
For the first time, I was allowed to vent everything that had built up in the 3 years, I’d suffered from depression and instead of trying to immediately fix it, they encouraged me to speak more. After an exhausting 2 hours, I’d finished with my monologue and somewhere in me, something had changed.
As a result of the crisis care I had received, I was referred for psychiatric assessment which led, after 3 years of various counseling and 3 different doctors, to my diagnosis finally being refined. Not only did I suffer from Depression and Anxiety, I also had Borderline Personality Disorder. Although normally this third diagnosis would have knocked me off my feet, the availability of the crisis team and the effect their visit had had on me, reassured me that should I breakdown again, someone would be there for me.
Since that assessment, I have being referred for regular therapy with a psychologist and for the first time in my life I was able to, as a result of things I confessed to the crisis team, tell my parents about a series of sexual assaults I had suffered and the self-harming behaviours I had taken up as a result of this. I was then able to drop this habit and am now 4 months harm free, after 15 months of being almost dependent on it.
I truly believe that access to the right crisis care saved my life, at a time when I was incredibly close to ending it. In addition to this, it was not just a short term solution. The referrals that followed have turned my life around and I now talk about myself in terms of being ‘in recovery’.
This is why I support Mind’s campaign to provide access to well-rounded and high quality acute crisis care for anyone who is suffering. It saved my life and if Mind’s campaign saves just one more then it will be worth it.
We're campaigning for more and better crisis care services across the country. Find out what you can do to help yourself or someone else in crisis.
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