I had an interestingly annoying appointment yesterday that seemingly took the wind out of my sails. I’ve been feeling pretty good over the past week or so – for the first time in a long while I’ve felt as though I’ve been moving forward and finally letting go of a lot of stressful things – and overall my wellbeing has been pretty ace. Last Tuesday I was discharged from the Home Treatment Team, and I felt incredibly positive about that. I’ve not been having any intense thoughts, feelings and my self-esteem has certainly boosted quite a lot, which is genuine and feels fantastic. So I was definitely very apprehensive for an appointment with Occupational Health.
I’m not a fan of opening up to new people, but yesterday I felt obliged too – which I guess was the first hurdle. But the big hurdle, which was a good hurdle, and one that I was quite fond of was me feeling good – I’ve been working so hard to move forward and to look after myself lately, and that has meant at some points just throwing myself into life and not thinking about or dwelling on my mental health. So naturally the thought of having to think about all the stress, and bad stuff that I am finally putting to rest was bloody terrifying. I know that one of the reasons I’ve been quite ill this year has been because I’ve been stuck in a vicious circle of all the negative stuff in my life continuously being dragged up to the surface, by myself, by those closest to me and through therapy. Therapy can be wonderful but it does leave you feeling pretty raw.
Finally, after my hospital admission and my time with home treatment I have been beginning to feel positive, and I’ve genuinely been letting go of a lot of stuff. So, I knew that having to speak to a stranger and reflect on my health wasn’t going to be fun. In fact I really didn’t want to do it – and it was pretty annoying because I felt as though I had to.
I’ve never experienced an occupational health meeting before, though I know they are there to help ensure I am supported and can continue to work I must admit it did make me feel as though others were questioning my ‘sanity.’ Which I’ve never really been concerned about before – being open and honest about stuff means that people can’t make assumptions because I’ve already thrown all my cards on the table. However, the doctor yesterday left me feeling a little irate. He didn’t do anything wrong, he was just doing his job – but he did at one point mention that I seemed ‘ashamed’ of my mental health – well no sir, I am sorry but a lot has happened in the past few months and I’ve never met you before – forgive me if I’m a little apprehensive at opening up to you and telling you my deepest darkest fears. One thing I am not is ashamed. Yes there are times when I question whether I’m being dramatic, but as Albus Dumbledore said “of course it’s happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth should that mean it’s not real?”
It’s taken me a long time to accept that what I’ve been going through is valid, real and okay. And it felt as though the doctor was questioning every aspect about me – and my ability to act out my past as if it was a character and I was in the middle of what should have been a soul-destroying monologue where I cry and beg the doctor for help. No. I’m actually doing okay, and I want to continue moving forward so don’t mind me if I don’t give you a heartfelt account of my life story and wait for you to say that it’s okay to be a mess, offer me a tissue and let you play the role of hero. I already have a fantastic support system who have pushed, pulled, dragged, held my hand and at times left me alone to allow me to make my way through the dreaded darkness to a place of ‘okay’ which you are so happily and calmly trying to destroy.
The doctor then said that my current state of ‘feeling okay’ was in fact false and that he thinks I am just thinking that I’m okay and I will ‘rebound’ (his words, not mine). Which really upset and annoyed me. For the first time in a very long time I have genuinely been feeling okay, and I have been saying to my friends that it does seem strange that I feel okay, but it’s true. It’s real, I’m not making it up, yeah it’s unfamiliar ground – I’m so used to the negativity that it’s does feel like new territory, but I really genuinely do feel very good in myself at the moment. But apparently that’s all a lie, and I’m lying to myself and I’m destined for a life of darkness. But the final straw was when the doctor said that although he sees me as perfectly fit for work, he doesn’t think I should be. Which just down right confused me, since when was it wrong for someone to be well? To already have an incredible support system in place? I left feeling as though every move I had made was the wrong move, when really all the moves I have been making over the past few weeks have probably been some of the best moves I’ve ever made in my whole entire life.
I chose to recover and to fight, and others have accepted that – heck it was the ‘others’ that helped me make that choice. I have been reminded of how strong and how capable I am of moving forward and recovering, and I’ve been taking small, but huge steps, in the right direction, and I am very aware of that. I’m not moving too fast, because yes I know that I will have good days and bad days, but the good days have been a heck of a lot more frequent and I’ve been doing really good. And a huge part of me is questioning why the doctor decided to portray that as a bad thing? He made a lot of assumptions, and instead of keeping them to himself he decided to present them too me as if there were truths – as if he was telling me how I should feel. I felt bad for coping, for feeling well – and to be quite honest I felt pretty agitated by the doctor. I felt as though maybe I’d let the doctor down – maybe he just wanted me to be doing badly so he could write a cracking report. I’m sorry for being so dull, and for feeling pretty healthy. Next time I’ll bring a Powerpoint presentation of all the bad stuff, and I’ll cry at all the right moments – that’ll make for a good appointment.
N.B: I have an incredible network of professionals that have continued to support me, and this post doesn’t reflect them at all, I just had a pretty rubbish experience in this particular situation.