CW: mental health, ADHD, mentions of suicide
The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Hysteria Collective as a whole.
At the time of writing, I have waited 6 months for a consultation about medication and 5 months for a consultation about an ADHD diagnosis.
I first spoke to a doctor about my mental health at 17, that was after 5 years of constant struggling; since then I have been in and out of doctors’ appointments in an effort to gain some better understanding of myself and to better cope with trauma. The closest I came to therapy and a diagnosis was a referral to a day hospital – whom subsequently lost my case after one preliminary meeting.
During my time of waiting and hoping for a result, my mood has gone up, down, and back around more times than I can count. More intrusive thoughts, obsessive tendencies, aggressive nature and substance dependency has occurred in these past sixth months than I can count. My cynical disposition has lead me to become angry at those in-charge of our NHS – as I am sure many of you are.
All the “call the Samaritans”, “talk to your GP” and “ask your line manager” in the world won’t help someone who goes through this. I am lucky in that, most days, I can just about function with what goes through my head – and all days I have a great support system in my fiancée and our pets. This means that I am essentially a borderline case: never ill enough to end it all, but urgent enough that I’ll do some damage.
With the level of social awareness and justice that’s been going on over the past year, it can be difficult to continue to care about it all when you can barely care about yourself. Online supporters may dub this as “ally fatigue”, something which I find – quite frankly – rather insulting. We do not step away from social media because we’ve had enough of hearing about these issues and it isn’t solved yet. We step away because the knowledge and understanding that so many oppressive regimes are still in place and won’t come down any time soon is so debilitating that it makes bothering to shower quite a menial and pointless task.
Telling someone like me to “just talk to my GP” has become synonymous with “just don’t be sad”, as though talking to a GP is a quick and simple fix, when really it is the first step in a long and frustrating journey. The mental health movement needs fewer catchy slogans and sayings, some of which are initiatives set up by the government, and more education on disorders in the medical field. The process needs to be streamlined and made more accessible, which is why fun think pieces shared on social media don’t work, because it feels like they’re preaching to the choir.
So when you share another think piece, or try to give some advice, or decide to support yet another initiative to “raise awareness” to a mental disorder, remember that knowing it exists is not the same as giving help. Pressure needs to be put on doctors and medical professionals to better understand how to get patients the help they need as soon as they need.
Image courtesy of Marcel Strauss