This was going to be a post about how I’ve finally found my doctor, which is a big deal in my life because I’m a bit of a messed up, menopausal, hypochondriacally-challenged shell of the former woman I was most some of the time. So finding a great doctor almost feels like I’ve won the lottery, and on top of that, my discovery also led to some other home truths associated with the value of friendship.
Firstly – to the doctor. So I had to visit the doctor the other day to replace some scripts before the Easter deadline and the fear of the pharmacy being closed when I have a major episode, and when I couldn’t get an appointment to see my regular doctor – who I’ve been having secret misgivings about recently – I asked to see the only female doctor available.
You see, as I predicted would happen in my post here, things have gone a bit south since I dared utter those words ‘Kurt has turned a corner’, and we’ve experienced a testing few days this week – nothing serious, just the sort of half-week that can make the world look black and white, force you to increase your medication and question what the fuck happened to your life etc.
But needless to say, that eggshell situation at home made me feel a little more vulnerable at the prospect of sitting for twenty minutes with some over-enthusiastic new doctor who knew nothing about me, because when you are questioned by a stranger as to why you are on anti-depressants, it’s hard to know where the fuck you start with such a small window of time and a lifetime of shite to get through, and without the risk of flooding out her tiny office.
But this doctor turned out to be a real doctor, in the old-fashioned sense, who didn’t look at her watch the minute I started rambling off into unchartered territory; who begged me to come back and see how she could genuinely help me. She seemed to understood the daily pressure our lives and our marriage are exposed to, living with a sad, oppositional kid who suffers from several mental health conditions, some of which are still seen by many as excuses for bad parenting, yet which can be so challenging they can make us question our own place in the world.
Because it’s not imaginary when you are trying to close wounds all the time; both physical and mental.
And I talked and she listened, and for that precious twenty minutes it was easier somehow than talking to a friend, because I was paying for the doctor’s time, so I knew she had a duty of care and that removed the stigma of guilt associated on my part for being self-centred or depressing or passing on my negative energy.
And it reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was telling a friend about how I felt that a mutual friend of ours was dragging me down mentally because she was depressed and I simply wasn’t in the best mental state myself to console her. And this friend suggested that I extricate myself from the relationship for the short term and to preserve my own sanity, because we don’t need to take on the bad energy of others.
And at the time – and I hate myself for it now – I was at such a low ebb I selfishly felt her point was valid.
But what I’ve realised since – because of the number of times over the past few years I can recognise that I’ve bored the pants off my close friends with my tales of woe when I’ve needed a pair of ears to listen to me, and they’ve listened patiently and been non-judgmental – is how much I owe to those friends who stood by me, not only on the days when I was fun to be around, but also on the days when I was and still can be a self-absorbed piece of shit.
The ability to listen to others is one of the greatest gifts you can give as a friend. Twenty minutes is a very short time in the eyes of most, yet it can be a lifeline to others.