One thing about living far away, is that you can’t just catch a train or drive over. I hadn’t considered this before.
In July and August, I spent 7 weeks with mum, pottering about, clearing out the house a bit as I know I will be too broken to do that when she passes. September and October, I’ve been spending half the month with Mum, keeping her company, making her nice food, and half the month in Bilbao, resting.
I need my two week breaks. Sometimes I’ve been depressed, and I’ve lain on the sofa/in bed, unable to get up or do anything much. The irony of me being too depressed to talk while my mum stands in front of me, smiling while dying of cancer is not lost on me. I think: “You’re pathetic. You’re weak. Pull yourself the fuck together”.
My home town is full of familiar faces, but none of them are close friends, and it’s kind of odd to be like: “Hey! My mum’s dying. How’ve you been for the last… 8 years?”. It’s a gossipy place, and I don’t want people to know how badly I’m doing, and that I’m vulnerable.
I don’t know how people work while they have shit going on like this in their lives. At first I was living on savings while doing some casual work, but now my savings have come to an end I’m borrowing money. Who knew that death is so financially straining. Let alone the huge emotional toll.
Then I feel guilty. I’m worrying about money while my mum can’t really eat, and is getting weaker every day.
I’ve considered going to the GP to get some pills/CBT for depression and anxiety, but there are various barriers to this.
1. Making an appointment
Now I’m living in two places, making an appointment with a doctor can be tricky. Also not sure if it’s better to do it in English or Spanish. English is my native language so it’s easier in some ways, but sometimes talking in your second language can give you the freedom to express yourself.
2. Drugs don’t work, they just make you worse
The anxiety is the thing I want to work on, but depression related anxiety isn’t actually helped by anti-depressants, it’s more of a long term condition helped by CBT, as opposed to a chemical imbalance in the brain. And as for sessions with a psychologist, see point 1.
3. Waiting times/cost
I know from experience of friends that getting therapy on the national health for mental illnesses is extremely difficult, with a long wait time. I don’t mind paying but I have this image of the psychologist being like a car mechanic who opens the lid of the bonnet, sucks in air loudly through his teeth, shakes his head, and says: “pffffffffffff, this is going to cost you”.
4. My mum is dying…
…so I have a real reason to feel like throwing myself under a bus, or feeling a pain in my chest, or experiencing physical symptoms of stress. This is natural. Isn’t it?
I kept a note of how many black days I had had, and how many days there was a vice on my chest. Over 30 days I had had around 14 or so, so I decided to take extra special care of my mental health and wait it out before offering myself up for a chemical lobotomy voluntarily.
It’s not that I don’t believe in drugs. I love drugs. I just think that “modern” psychiatry is still in it’s early stages and I don’t want some over-paid paperwork monkey fiddling about with my brain.
Maybe this problem is exacerbated by my own recreational drug use back in the day. It’s hard to tell, and I don’t have a time machine to not have done that. What is done is done. But I’ve decided to not drink until I feel less stressed, like I want to rip the cigarette out of the mouth of every smoker I see and put it out on their face.