Anything you say here is confidential….up to a point…

by Pseud O'Nym

Last Tuesday – 24th September 2014 – was a fun day, for that was when I met my new therapist for the first time. Some context here might be useful to you. Ever since waking up from the coma to confront a new reality, I have been – understandably – depressed. However it is both the severity and the seeming permanence that is not so understandable. Possibly because the part of the brain I damaged might have some effect on mood. No one, not even my consultant can say for sure.

What can be said with some certainty is that I’ve got myself into a self-perpetuating mood of negativity about my continued reason for existing and my place in the scheme of things generally. I accept that most people at some stage in their lives undergo a re-evaluation of their life, what they’re doing with it and how they’d make changes to it. I get that. Part of being alive is not being entirely pleased with one’s lot. But in my case, certainly now at any rate, the chasm between what I’d like to change and my ability to effect such change on my own is on a scale that would make a before and after photo showing the effects of global warming (and when did that become climate change?) on the polar ice caps seem tame by comparison.

Be that as it may, in 2011 I had forty hour long sessions with a clinical psychologist, but the sessions weren’t as productive as either of us had hoped for, but he left the door open, saying that if I was serious on re-commencing with therapy, I’d first have to provide some tangible proof. This was a euphemism for restarting anti-depressants, which I’m still doing. Having seen my doctor, explained the new situation, he referred me. Some moths later, out of the blue, I got a call. It was from the hospital I’d been referred to, did I have time for some questions? An hour later I felt as lower than I had done in a long time. “On a scale of one to ten, one being the minimum with ten being the maximum, how depressed do you feel right now?” she naively asked. Because anyone with an I.Q larger than their waistline might have thought that answering questions about very dark thoughts one kept buried for good reason – “I have a foolproof suicide plan, but knowing I have it means I can put it to the back of my mind and not think about it.” – and certainly not to a voice on the phone I couldn’t put a feces to their face for being so matter of fact about my mental outlook. Perhaps that’s how they’re trained to do it, to remain detached and not to get emotionally involved. Anyway, answering “Right now? Having spoken to you about things? I’d say about a ten.” wasn’t perhaps the most helpful thing I could have said. But by then I was so beyond caring what she felt, I didn’t give a f*ck. The ‘phone call was, she told me, my assessment interview and she could offer me a counseling place. This being the N.H.S., this could take up to nine months, so best hold those negative thoughts.

So Tuesday, then, was my first meeting with her. She began by explaining that everything I said was confidential, but with the caveat that if I said or intimated anything to suggest a risk of harm to others, or myself and then she was obliged to let relevant professionals know. At this I just nodded. The previous counsellor had trotted out the same thing. It hardly encourages one to be candid; to discuss openly things one doesn’t talk about normally. A neutral space but one surrounded by some oppressive walls, which if you said the wrong thing, might come crashing in around you. I know what she means, that if an immediate and credible threat to harm yourself or others is known it should be communicated, but meanwhile back in the real world which someone with suicidal intent wishes to escape, would they really say something that might set mouths blabbing? Really? Who or what are they are they saving, by which I mean either saving someone’s life or saving their own career.

She later enquired, apropos of my suicide plan what was it that kept me going? “Laxatives.”, was my deadpan reply, quick as a flash. And was there any reaction from her? No. ‘ Go on, smile love, I’ll pay for the stitches’ I thought. Which for some inexplicable reason, bought to mind this saying, used in a another context, yet still applicable to suicide “Has the world turned it’s back on you, or have you turned your back on the world. If one is seriously thinking about ‘turning your back on the world.’ The hospital website also usefully advises that either call 999 or “ Go to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department. In some hospitals, this will be called the Emergency Department. There are qualified staff on duty 24 hours a day,  seven days a week, who will be able to assess you and give you the appropriate help.” To me at any rate, that’s about as much use a cement lifejacket.

I mean, the last time I was in an A&E, involved me almost having to shout repeatedly to a nurse through a sheet of thick glass. (My nearest A&E is in a busy inner London area, and deals with a high number of drink or drug dependant patients, some just seeking shelter from the elements, others, who have felt the smack of firm government repeatedly, seeking a bed for the night.) Embarrassing enough at the best of times, but when one is facing the worst of times…! That presupposes you’d even think of doing that in the first place. But hey, that’s the advice they give you. They offer assistance, whether people avail themselves of that assistance, or more importantly, if that assistance is a prudent use of resources, is another matter. All I know is that if the laxatives stopped working, the last thing I’d would be to go A&E, broadcast loudly why I was there, take a ticket and wait for a doctor to see me. Can anyone else hear the sound of ass’s being wall papered? No?

Christmas has often been cited as a time when people who have depression are at high risk of suicide. However, ONS statistics (1995-2005) show this to be an apocryphal story: December has fewer than average suicides compared with the rest of the year, with women in particular being less likely to commit suicide in December than in any other month. The arrival of a new year, however, tells a different tale: January has one of the highest suicide rates compared with other months in the year.”

So, all the more reason to devote more resources (of dubious efficacy) toward the problem. Er, no. New Years Day is, by quite a margin, the day people choose to make their final choice. One can see why. You’re all sentient beings, I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you why, but what I will tell you is that a skeleton staff operates a minimal out of hours crisis intervention team. A skeleton staff of a short-staffed team to start with! See in the New Year in style!

A correction. In my last post I boldly asserted that a personal story was made with the other persons permission. This was as rash as it was untrue. I’d told them I might include it, which was, as was pointed out to me, is not the same thing as I will. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Next time…..the secret of eternal youth? Just ask a man, over 30 on a skateboard or a scooter….