When I finished my therapy in the summer I was told that I would be reviewed at six months and if I had any problem before that I should get in touch with the Complex Needs team.
Which is why I called them before the six months were up.
I went through various questions to establish whether I was “at risk” or “in crisis” – answer no, not in the specific way that they define those terms. I was promised a call back inside a week to let me know a way ahead.
Today my therapist called. Apparently no matter what I was told in June, the rules have changed. Which means we have to start all over again. I have to go back to the GP, get a referral to the Complex Needs team and take my place in the queue – current waiting time, 6 months. Which is what they said last time and it took 16 months.
The best that I can be offered at the moment is “stepped care”, some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy perhaps. Except that after so many years with my condition I’m already hyper aware of the signs and symptoms. I can articulate when I’m starting to struggle and I’m aware of the self care I need to take – which means I would take up a place that someone else would benefit from, someone less able to cope. Yet again I’m caught between not being unwell enough to require crisis care whilst being well enough to function in the world at a much reduced rate.
And let’s be clear, I’m not as unwell as many. I have no psychotic symptoms and I’m not self harming. I’m able to rationally discuss the dark feelings I have in my head. However I’m also aware of beginning to jumble words when I’m speaking. Of becoming more forgetful and detached from my thought processes. I’m acutely aware of the anxiety building in me. The challenge is to work out whether I’m going down to depression or up to hypomania, not least because I’m increasingly irritable and intolerant. My mood fluctuates between burning rage and quiet weeping. The fact that I’m able to relate this calmly counts against me.
As we finish the call I can hear in the therapists voice that they are hating being the bearer of such news. I know they feel I need more help, they told me so back in June when they had to encourage me to try some months of coping on my own. I can hear the helplessness in their voice as the silent scream rises in my throat. I choke it down and thank them for calling. I say “see you soon” even though we both know I won’t.