Looking for help in the wrong places?


I woke up at 8am on Thursday, having spent the hours of 10pm to 4am staring dry-eyed and aching at the ceiling, and caught a glimpse of the red-eyed, angry, drooping face that I would soon present to my daughter (if she ever came home). A wave of pain hit me, a physical loneliness so deep that I fell onto my knees and sobbed and again caught a glimpse in the mirror and was horrified.

I rang the doctor’s surgery and spoke to a receptionist through suppressed sobs. She told me a GP would ring me back.

‘I’ve stopped taking my tablets and now I don’t think I’m coping very well,’ I spluttered.

‘Has anything in particular happened?’ asked the GP.

‘Em…work is stressful…I haven’t had time to go to the doctor..’ I ventured ‘but I just feel this way. I just feel this way without the tablets.’

I could hear a keyboard clatter as he typed what I was saying.

‘Do you want to come in and talk to us about it or shall I just leave the tablets at reception?’

It felt as if I should choose the latter option. I chose the latter option.

‘I’ll leave a card with the receptionist,’ he said and some words about counselling or online help washed over me.

The card had a phone number and a website address. I rang the phone number.

‘Please leave your name and address and a self-referral form will be sent out to you,’ it said ‘ or fill in the form on the website.’

I filled in the form on the website. After the first page a pop-up said ‘You seem to be experiencing a high level of distress. We suggest you speak to your GP.’

It is a bank holiday.

I swallow the tablets. I start writing a blog.