On Thursday, I finally got a call back from the psychiatrist’s receptionist, almost two weeks after I’d called to make an appointment. My GP had called to let her know that I’d broken my wrist and asked them to please get in touch with me, and they did, but the appointment they offered was 5 weeks away.
I accepted, then crawled into bed in tears. How was I going to hold on for another 5 weeks? I felt frantic, thoughts swirling urgently – which bone could I break next? How would I do it?
Everything seemed hopeless. I’d tried over 20 other psychiatrists, even those who weren’t suited to me, and none of them were taking new patients. I wasn’t suicidal, but only because of Everest. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, tying a chain around my doorknob and testing to make sure it could hold my whole body weight, ready to choke myself. And Ever came over to me, curled up on my bare feet and went to sleep, breath tickling my ankle. I couldn’t bear the thought of her in the room with my dead body. Bringing her monkey over and dropping it in front of me, waiting for me to throw it for her. Patting my face and trying to wake me up. So, I’m not suicidal, right now. But I needed to hurt myself.
The next day, my brother C told me that my first choice of psychiatrists had agreed to see me. Originally she’d said she wasn’t taking new patients, but he’d called four times and told the receptionist that we’re out of names on the list and my sister needs to see somebody, so I need to talk to the goddamn doctor. I could never be that forceful, but it worked. The psychiatrist called him back and agreed to assess me with the possibility of seeing me regularly.
She specializes in BPD, so she must be experienced with self harm. She’s ranked #7 of #578 psychiatrists in my state, and she admits to the best private psychiatric hospital in my city. And when I called to make an appointment, she offered me one next week.
For a few minutes, I felt pure relief and excitement. And then I felt terrified.
It’s too soon. I’m not ready.
Now that I’m finally past the first hurdle, I remember how much I hate seeing someone new for the first time. How sick and nervous I feel and how hard it is to cover that up. How hard it is to stay resilient against whatever judgments they come up with about me, and the near inevitability that they’ll refer me on elsewhere to keep running like a hamster on a wheel. When I spoke to her on the phone I had real trouble understanding her accent, and felt embarrassed and ignorant when I had to keep asking her to repeat herself.
It’s more than that, though. When I first found her, she seemed like the holy grail of psychiatrists. I’m afraid of losing that hope. The idea of her was a safety net for me. I was resigned to maybe having a psychiatrist who wasn’t great, for now, but she was there as a shining beacon in the future – one day I’d reach the top of her waiting list, and all I had to do until then was find someone who was good enough to keep me relatively stable. If I don’t like her, or she doesn’t like me, that light at the end of the tunnel is gone.
Last night I dreamt of taking a wild wolf – boy foster child, who had four vicious dogs. He was burning them and branding them and beating them, and they were biting me, sinking their teeth in and not letting go. I was his aunt and I was committed to keeping him, but he took one of my comments as evidence that I was going to abandon him, and emerged from his bedroom with a knife, carving four deep gashes into my arm.
I don’t want to go to work today.