Maintenance Mode.

As I drove home from the airport two weeks ago, I could hear that my car was making an awful screeching sound.  To get it to the mechanic and get it serviced was going to have to be high on my priority list, now that I was home again.  I didn’t remember it making those sounds before I left but was told by those that know these things, that it was like that when I left, just over a month earlier!  I knew that the car was a bit overdue, time wise, for a service but was well inside the kilometres necessary, so was not surprised when my mechanic told me it was the break pads that needed replacing but that everything else seemed fine and as I still had plenty of km’s to go – I could leave the full service this time, until a bit later!  Ah ….. thank you Lord for an honest and caring mechanic!

Serviceman

My car was not the only thing that needed a service.  It was the first time in over a year that I had not visited a medical doctor or a psychologist or a psychiatrist or an exercise physiologist for a month!  And most months, I saw all four of these health professionals – sometimes every 2 weeks!!  Yes, people …. those health professionals, along with my dear friends and family plus an employment counsellor, are what I glibly refer to as the “Keep Mandy Alive Crew!”   This is the fact of mental illness on the mend!  It is expensive and time consuming.  Fitting in regular, necessary appointments does not always fit with holding down a job!  Not working, on the other hand, certainly does not fit with paying for appointments …. and lets not even mention paying for medications!  But I digress ….

dave-almeida-quote-if-people-with-mental-illness-cant-access-the

I had flown to Berlin with reasonable haste and that meant that I was not able to see any of my normal doctors or therapists before I left.  It also, meant that I was fully reliant on my own resources and needed to put into practice all those anxiety diversion techniques I had been using to keep me moving forward as I took little steps – like going and shopping at a ‘new-for-me’ shopping centre and remembering where I parked the car or attending appointments alone!  All of a sudden, I was thrust into massive changes and required to meet many total strangers and travel alone and deal with illness in a loved one ….. and …. and …. need I go on?

AND I DID!!!  If you haven’t already read about this adventure, you may want to go back and read over all the previous blog posts entitled Mandy Does Berlin.

So here I was, back in Brisbane and definitely in need of a service.  It began by  making the appropriate appointments.  The employment counsellor was first, as they had sent an appointment time previously.  But I had forgotten that my previous much loved counsellor, had moved on since my last appointment, and a new person would be meeting with me.  Not my most pleasing reminder but I guess if I had met and got to know lots of new people in Berlin, I would be able to cope with this …. and I was!  All good on that front.

Next, my exercise physio.  This one I was not looking forward to, as Josh and I only just found a rhythm that was working for both of us, when I had left.  Since then, my exercise program had ceased and my knees had ‘blown up’ with all the walking in Europe.  I gave myself another week before I contacted him.  When I finally made the dreaded phone call, it was with much joy and happiness,   I discovered that he too, had moved on to greener pastures and I would have to be starting with a completely new bloke!!!  Good Lord!  Do you think I could have some stability in my life?  It was only twelve months ago that I broke up with my GP and wrote about it here and here.  And then in March this year, this had happened!  Does anyone remember that I don’t like change?  I seriously considered hanging up the phone and retreating to my bed …. for at least a year!  But I didn’t.  I made and attended the appointment and committed to do stuff I don’t want to do but have to do.  I had managed to see Dr A, my psychologist, before my physio appointment and she had said all the right things like

  • You went to Berlin on your own – this will be easy
  • You hugged lots of men you had never met before – this will be easy
  • You lived in a share house with young people – this will be easy

…. and the new bloke seems okay, so far.

So all that was left, was to get to my Psychiatrist appointment and review my need or continued non-need, for anxiety medication.  The doctor had already cancelled one appointment due to sickness, earlier in the week and so when I arrived at the replacement appointment on time, only to be told that she was running 30mins late, my mind began to step up into overdrive.  This doctor never ran late and had never been sick in the year I had been seeing her.  When she finally came out to greet me …. her pregnant belly led the way!  Oh for f*ck’s sake ….. How many counsellors am I going to get pregnant?  (Those exact words were said to me by the first two people I told this story too!)

working while pregnant

Yes, this would be my last appointment with before mentioned doctor and a new doctor would be assigned to me!  Set off the celebratory fireworks!!!!!  Of course, we had a very positive session where she said all the right things like

  • You went to Berlin on your own – this will be easy
  • You hugged lots of men you had never met before – this will be easy
  • You lived in a share house with young people – this will be easy

….. oh yeah and continued non medication for the win!

The truth is I did do those things and so I will be able to do these new things.  But they remain hard things for me to do.  Much of what I do is hard for me.  I constantly need reassurance and encouragement.  I certainly still need to be checked up on and in with.  I remain the face of a functioning mental illness sufferer.  There are so many of us in the world.  Working hard to keep moving forward with the help of our health professionals, families and friends.  Not always getting it right but continuing to try.  Unfortunately, there is minimal support for us functioning sufferers.  If you are attempting to get well, it goes against you financially.  I have found, that you can only really get financial support from the government agencies if you give up!  I can’t do that.  I want to get well.

The next big hard thing for me is to get back into the work force.  I will do this too.  I had a fleeting thought that, as I no longer have my uterus and might just be a little too old now, that I really should consider psychotherapy!  I’m sure my patients would appreciate the continuity.

Mandy's goodbye

If you happen to be one of the many men hugged by me over the last month in Europe – my door is open and if you feel like a trip to Australia you would be very welcome – because a girl could sure use a hug or 20 at the moment!

 

NB: Did you know that if you click on anything that is highlighted or a different colour in my post, it will whisk you off to an old post that is relevant to this present topic?  Try it if you don’t usually.

Mandy

Hi, I'm Mandy! Wandering my way through life using words. Family and friends. Connection and community. I care. I write. I share. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and if you'd like receive updates via email please click HERE.

2 Comments
  1. You can do all that is required of you. You are strong .Believe it. Every day we have changes
    Life is constantly changing little things come up to challenge us – disappointments disruption and it throws us off balance and annoys us. We have to step back and remember who we really are and that God would not see us limited in any way. Try and see the possibilities that change can bring.
    All is ……..xx

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