Today is the last day of my vacation, and like most of it
I'm spending this day alternately on the patio, trying to enjoy the outdoors
while still shying away from the scorching sun, and alternately inside
in front of the computer, with a glass of wine within reach.
A vacation was just what I needed. But even though I've done fuck all
it has not been a very restful time. I am dealing with some heavy shit,
and inspired by Lesthi's open and very personal post about her difficulties,
I want to share a little bit about what's going on with me.
WARNING: THIS IS A LONG, HEAVY POST - WITHOUT PICTURES
Since 18 months back I am a part of the Swedish psychiatric care system.
This does not mean I am locked up or a ward of the state or something.
It just means that after 15 years trying to find the right help,
I finally got my foot in the door, and now they have to help me.
Care in Sweden is not entirely free, but it's pretty darn close.
A doctor's visit (no matter what care or drugs you get during your visit)
is between 200 and 300 kr (30-45 USD). If you reach 2000 kr within
a year, all care is free for the rest of the year. The same goes for meds,
though this works on a discount based system. One gets a big discount
when reaching 1000 kr, and then it just gets bigger with each purchase.
This means you won't spend more than 5000 kr (750 USD) a year for any
and all illnesses, treatment plans or drugs. It is pretty great, and for this reason alone,
I don't mind paying our high taxes. But. BUT. Our care system is on total overload.
They are turning away people in dire need of help; They are sending birthing mothers
home too early, cancer patient have to wait for months to get treatment,
people are dying in emergency halls because there isn't enough staff.
It took me two weeks to get an appointment with a doctor in my area,
another two to see their on-staff psychologist. She was totally over-worked
and couldn't offer me any times, so she referred me to a triage team in another town.
They did an acute assessment a couple of weeks later: A random doctor gave me
20 minutes of his time and then put me on 3 different kinds of meds. I never saw him again.
I met with a psychiatric nurse a couple of times over the next month, filling out forms,
doing tests. Then they sent me to a new doctor. She was the Chief physician,
and she was great. We decided together that the drugs were doing me no good,
but I only got to see her a couple of times. She referred me to a cognitive psychologist,
but also to group therapy. It took another couple of weeks for that to start up.
If you've been counting, it took me 3-4 months to get there.
A steady psychologist, a care plan. The problem was that none of it
suited me. Finding the RIGHT kind of help often takes much longer than that.
Since I have studied psychology myself, tried several different drugs
and have been to therapy before, I am pretty well versed and informed by now.
I gave it 6 months, because I know these things take time, but then I said 'no more'.
When I expressed my wishes and needs for a different kind of therapy,
the circus started all over again. That was in November last year.
Since then I've seen 3 different doctors (none with a psychiatric degree)
and only a few weeks ago did I finally have a dynamic psychologist tell me:
"Yes, I have a time slot for you." I begin my therapy - one I feel good about
- in three weeks. 18 months after I first sought help (this time).
Dynamic therapy is usually a long term thing. We will have our first
assessment in November. It takes a lot of painful internal work on my part
and offers no guarantees whatsoever. It might take years. Yet, I am hopeful.
At 35, after struggling with depression and other things for 20 years,
I am more than ready to feel better. Yet, I am hopeless and desperate.
At 35, after struggling with depression and other things for 20 years
- this had better fucking work.
Ok, so what is the point of this entry? I guess it's to offer some insight
to those experiencing troubles of their own. It's also about letting others know:
You are not alone. Other people are also struggling, but there are also people
that can help you. Asking for help is the first step, and getting there can sometimes
take a long time - too long, considering how long it might take getting
the help you need. So...don't wait until you are suicidal to ask for help.