I like to walk in the mountains, not climb you understand but quite serious stuff, all 4 seasons, snowstorm or sunshine. Ice axe & crampons at times. There is a term in mountaineering “false summit” this is when there is a secondary or lower summit on your route. As you walk along you can easily see what looks like the top of the hill, however, when you crest it then another summit (or indeed summits) are revealed beyond. The best way to deal with this disappointment is become a good map reader and work out when this is likely to happen to you so that it doesn’t become demoralising.
Today I went for the second of two meetings with a new therapist. I’ve enjoyed talking to this Dr. He is really warm, very open, able to deal with the way my mind randomly connects things and most of all listens to me. I feel truly heard.
He is the 6th NHS person I have spoken to about my mental health in the last 10 months. All of them good and well meaning, all of them keen to help and all of them a false summit.
Today I got the news that this kindly man is another false summit.
That I may wait up to another six months to get the talking therapy he feels I need on the NHS.
That he feels a group therapy setting is inappropriate for me as I understand my condition extremely well cognitively (& would hinder the progress of others or get sidetracked on to helping them rather than my own treatment).
That there will be at least one more person to tell this long story to.
It’s not his fault, basically I’m not enough of a risk to myself or others to be a priority case. He discussed with me the possibility of reduced fee arrangements via final year students of the professional psychoanalytical organisations – possible but very time consuming and somewhat inflexible. We covered the pros and cons of private treatment – tailor made to suit but eye-wateringly expensive.
So I’m kind of stuck on the top of my false summit looking upwards and you know what’s the worst thing? I really don’t have a map to guide me here. I’ve no idea how long this will take, the best route, what I will need to do to get better.
I need a plan. So far my plan involves getting some work through the door, investigating barter arrangements to help me get the therapy I want and need. It involves making more connections, studying mindfulness, researching shamanism and looking at the spiritual angle to this.
Most of all though it means not giving up. It means putting that heavy rucksack on my back, checking my emotional compass and heading up the hill, one step after another. If I ignore you on the trail with my head down, please forgive me, I’m just trying to keep going, to reach the real summit.