I woke up to rain this morning, which made me think a perfect day to visit the GP, the black clouds matched my mood perfectly, so with much trepidation I started the 10 minute walk to get thee on time for 8.30.
Surprisingly I didn’t have to wait to long, though whilst sitting on the very edge of my chair my reaction was to bolt when the buzzer sounded signaling it was my turn to go in.
This was a new GP to the practice, she had a very open smiley face and I immediately felt at ease, she explained quickly that this wasn’t a 10 minute appointment I could take as long as I needed, I relaxed further,my list in hand.
Where to begin, well I went through my health issues and how they were affecting me on a day-to-day basis, especially the fatigue, and other symptoms connected to the menopause.
she listened without interruption, when I had finished we went through each problem one a time in more detail,she took copious notes, though still looking at my reactions, my leg was being a bit jumpy, as I geared up to tell her the most serious non health problem.
She took my blood pressure, a little high, my temperature was OK, she check for any swelling on my legs and ankles(common problem with diabetes is water retention and high blood pressure) all was Ok, made notes that I was to have blood tests that day or asap, and recommended some further tests just to ensure there was nothing lurking.
Anyway after we had finished the medical bit, she asked if I had any other problems that I wished to discuss, I thought about this for about a minute my courage almost failing me, the need to flee was strong, silly really mental illness & homeless have such high levels of stigma, and I was wary of broaching both subjects, simply because I thought she would judge.
She just sat there patiently, must have watching the expressions on my face, and just said “I’m here to listen, so in your own time”
That was it the dam burst like vesuvius, the tears huge big droplets started to fall, my throat tightened, I could barely speak but with her gentle prompting I told her the story of my homelessness and how I’d been struggling with that, not really getting anywhere with the various agencies and local council, how the sense of hopelessness had eroded all my confidence and I was sinking fast with very few options left.
The first thing she asked, was when by current flat sitting ended did I have a plan for what happens next, the answer being no, don’t why but I expected her to come up with an answer, of course that didn’t happen, what impressed me most was that she listened and asked intelligent questions about how I’d been living, what kind of effect did it have on mentally which opened up the path to discuss depression.
As I’m new to this surgery, and all previous counselling had been done through my private medical insurance which was a work benefit, they had no records of this .
So I went back in time and gave a detailed explanation of the last 10 years, I just talked and talked and talked, it just poured out and all the while she listened, occasionally patting my hand, it felt so good just to offload even if I did get near hysterical at times as I recalled events, my mother dying, bullying at work, losing my home, having no money, my confidence shot to pieces, I told of it all.
Took me about 30 minuets to regain my composure, after I’d finished, now feeling foolish that I’d lost control like that apologising profusely for being a bother, this bloody guilt about being ill and asking for help, I didn’t need to be sorry but just felt compelled to say so, and feeling mentally and physically weak, which just compounds the feelings of worthlessness.
We resumed and made a plan we’ll deal with the physical ailments first, just to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on that would give more cause for worry, then we could look to diagnosing depression and what steps we could take from there, that “we” was very comforting.
I did have the blood test shortly afterwards, I got a call from the GP this afternoon I have to go back to see her tomorrow, I am anemic, she said it’s a wonder I could stand up, as there is literally no iron in my blood, which would account for the fatigue, headaches, and general malaise.
Sorry for the long post, I just need to connect with my feeling about this, and the smidgen of hope afforded to me, my GP I felt was understanding, calming and moreover gave the feeling that I wasn’t over reacting, she believed me.
Hopefully I won’t be struggling alone anymore.