The Circus Clown.

‘Have you been thinking about doing something silly?’ the GP asks me as I present in his office, at the end of my line, desperately needing some sort of support.

{Support. Definition = that which enables.}

The edges of my universe have once again become blurred by blunt uncontrollable, inexplainable misery.

Once again; I find I am having to restrain myself from escaping out of bed in the middle of the night and following in my brothers footsteps, leading right off a sixty foot motorway bridge.

‘Silly?’ I cross my legs and lean forward in my plastic NHS chair towards him, ‘Why, yes actually I have!!! It’s funny you should ask, because I have recently actually been having thoughts of perhaps dressing up as a clown and joining the circus, abandoning my beliefs and running off in to the sunset with the bearded lady and her pet monkey.’

He nods at me for a paused moment before hurriedly scribbling something down on his pad.

In the silence that follows, the door opens, and in trundles my old boss, drunk and disorderly, a man I once held in high regard, glancing at me. Without warning he then begins to repeatedly shout in my face. He tells me I am useless, and ‘High maintenance.’ He laughs about what a ‘nightmare’ I was to manage before eventually prodding me in the cheek and pulling at my hair viciously.

I close my eyes firmly and will the prick to back the fuck off, I tell him that his words are burning at my renewed courage, stripping out my remaining resources. I whisper that he is embarrassing me and making me feel ashamed. I beg him to stop.

He smiles in my face and shakes his head when he hears this, and with patronising eyes, sits down next to me.

‘Have you been having suicidal thoughts?’ The GP asks this time, pen impatiently poised in thin air to mark my response on some useless scale.

‘Oh, you don’t mean silly thoughts then?’ I respond angrily, worn out by my ex boss and the stigma of even the NHS never using real words to describe symptoms of what feels like a very real illness.

‘I meant suicidal.’ He nods curtly.

‘Is suicide silly to you then?’ I retort petulantly as the door squeaks open again and my Aunt rushes in, firmly placing her feet next to my old boss, and shaking out her hair.

I bristle and wait for the hurt to bombard me.

‘Oh don’t listen to her!’ she happily announces, embarrassed, before going on to tell him that he is not to listen to a thing I say, for I am a drama queen, and a liar, and quite selfish. She also explains to the ‘lovely Dr.’ that she herself would look after me  but she has had a glass of red wine so can’t be arsed, plus as I am only being attention seeking, why should she bother? There is nothing wrong with me really, you see, except the need for a few home truths.

Expect nothing, and always be grateful.

I place my head in my hands and signal her to stop talking, to go home.

She shuts up, acting injured, but goes nowhere, preferring to stay and chat with my ex boss.

They both stare at me every now and again, between whispers.

The Dr is speaking but I cannot hear him, as someone else has bowled through the door to join the party.

‘Depression is like giving up smoking;’ she says waving her newly thin hand in the air ‘you can choose to stop feeling miserable. It is your choice to be like this Lexy. How very annoying you are.’

My aunt and my ex boss nod their agreement.

I look down.

I will not let a bully see she has got to me, no matter how many games she plays.

The three of them stare at me for a while, and then start giggling.

‘Miss Ellis? Are you suicidal?’

‘Yes.’ I whisper, the waves of insecurity rattling around my ribcage.

‘How long have you been feeling like this?’

‘Suicidal?’ I respond distracted, as I catch sight of my brother waving at me from outside, through the window. He has a disappointed look on his face, as he slowly vanishes, taking the baby I never got to meet, the little girl I will not allow myself to talk about, or feel anything for, because the loss would kill me, with him.

I clutch my heart and take a deep breath as my soul vanishes and I am finally, fully depleted.

A conquered army.

‘A while.’ I whisper, as my son appears out of nowhere and grabs hold of my face begging me not to die, to not leave him like I did last time, that he needs me.

My aunt, the bully and my old boss shake their heads at me in disgust, as a debt collector, the teacher who called me a bad egg, the popular girls at school who told me I was fat, the boy who said I looked like a whale and then continually abused me, the ex boyfriend who cheated on me, my first therapist and a teenage version of myself walk through the door and fill the room to bursting, around us.

‘Are you on medication?’

I can barely hear him now over the chorus of bile being spewed in my general direction.

All of the insults I have ever received are burned in to my being; they are all I can hear.

All of the faces flashing behind my eyes, the guilt, the evil, the misery, the hurtful words, the insecurity, the shame.

It is all being piled on, I am stuck in some sort of hideous loop.

‘Yes.’ I stutter, losing my voice again, ‘Is that not on the system?’

I raise my head up to meet his eyes.

I am high maintenance.

I am lonely.

I am annoying.

I am ashamed.

I am bombarded.

I am struggling.

I am a failure.

But come on!

I am here, and I am asking for help.

‘Oh, yes.’ he says glancing at the screen, ‘you are already on medication, of course.’

I sigh.

‘You were already hospitilised!’ He bursts out, his head snapping around at me in alarm.

‘Yes.’ I say nodding, twitching in confused disbelief.

Does he think I don’t know I was Hospitalised?

‘And you self harm!’

He is looking at me intently again.

I raise my hands in question to him.

‘I am aware of all of this Doc, it is my record.’

‘It started after you gave birth!’

I roll my eyes.

If I wasn’t losing the will to live before the cast and chorus line of ‘Lexy’s worst hits’ arrived in to the Dr’s office with me, I was now.

‘Yes.’ I sigh again.

He looks at me for a while, considering something, no idea what.

He shifts in his seat and coughs.

He looks scared for a split second.

Scared.

‘Well in that case,’ he pauses ‘the only thing I can recommend for you to do at this stage is go home and relax.’

I am open mouthed.

‘I have a two year old.’

I am enraged.

‘Well go home and keep busy. Do the washing. Do you face your problems Lexy?’

I don’t answer.

He mistakes this for acceptance of the crap he is spouting.

He puts his hand on mine.

‘I know it is hard. You, go home and keep busy, maybe then have a nice long bath. You will be ok.’

‘Doc,’ I pause ‘Can you increase my medication please?’

‘No. I wouldn’t want to do that just yet, It’ll speed up your heartbeat, lets think about you getting some rest first.’

‘But, But’ I stutter, I am trying not to cry as we stand up. ‘I am desperate.’

“If you feel desperate, have a think about visiting A&E, or talking to someone.’

He smiles abruptly and rests his hand on my shoulder as he ushers us all out of his office with a wave and half heartedly spouts some advice to call back if I still feel the same way in a few weeks.

I am open mouthed, the demons are victorious.

I wonder if he would say the same to somebody else who was potentially showing signs and experiencing symptoms of a terminal illness?

[Stigma. Definition; That which disables.]

I better go put a wash on.

Or join the circus, maybe.

Maybe the bearded lady will know what to do…

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18 Comments on “The Circus Clown.

  1. That’s the kind of logic my mum uses when problems are outside her sphere of understanding. But I have an insight in to your illness. And I know you. And your GP clearly doesn’t.

    And what I know about your illness is that is sucks. And its pernicious and all-encompassing and drains every last piece of resolve and strength that you have.

    And that’s where what I know about you comes in. Despite the total lack of support that life on the outside seems to provide for you sometimes, you still get back on it, and kick the hell out of those that have let you down and continue to haunt you. And guess what. You do it with beauty, style and grace. And more than that. You still have time to support me and all my demons and terrors whilst you’re doing it – and lets face it… I’m pretty whacko sometimes. And guess what’s even more incredible? That you are a bloody amazing mum and wife (well, soon, Chick, soon) and that you fill people’s life with joy every single bloody day.

    So, Mr Sh*t GP. You can’t feel good about how that consultation went. So, take a leaf from my good friend here, that came to you for help. Don’t just sit there feeling bewildered by what the waiting room presents you with. Research it. Look in to it. Make a meaningful f*cking contribution. She’s asking for help. Find a way to give her some.

    That way, we might all feel better.

    Love you hun. Keep on keeping on…. and I’ll inbox you just in case you aren’t sure who I am xxx

  2. The fact is you are strong enough to recognise that he is talking utter shite and is incredibly unsupportive, and you should be proud of that. His attitude is horrendous and while you are still suffering, you have some fight in you, sadly there are others who don’t, as you say. Big hugs lovely. Hope you enjoyed your bath 😉 xxxxx

  3. Honey I was told that I was to pull myself together and focus on the prize when I was pregnant, 3 months after having my daughter I was diagnosed with PND and post traumatic depression after my birth, my daughter is nearly 2 and I’ve given up calling my wobbly bits baby weight. But I havnt given up telling folk that I had PND. Because of which I have people coming up asking me for advice. Your tweets and blog helps me with the strength to be open about my PND and not hid it. I still take medication and I still have bad days where I want to run away and hide because I’m worthless, people still love the introverted self doubting complicated individual with no self esteem with the same love as when I’m ‘normal’. my depression has given me a different prospective on life and I feel, I’ve benefited from this journey. I’m so proud of you for being honest about your journey, for all the ups and down it gives you, may more people be more honest about what is in essence, as common as cancer (1:4) if we were all the same it wouldn’t be so taboo and we’d all be able to get on with our whiley shit and make a day of it.

    Long story shorty lovely your are a voice and not an echo, be proud of who you are and how you got to where you are.

    I hope to have your strength as if and when we have a 2nd child I hope to set up a support group to help parents with PND, maybe in time with open minds we can made a mainstream condition more …… Normal?

    Xxxx

  4. I’m very fortunate to have a GP who’s own wife suffers from severe mental problems so he is absolutely fantastic with me and my issues. I often meet his wife in the psych unit where we compare issues.

    As for your GP, i think he needs to go on a training course. It’s uncomprehendable that he should dismiss your cry of help in such a despicable way.

    Perhaps a letter to the practise manager would help him get on a training course.

    Well done for staying strong.

  5. Put a wash on and have a bath? What the actual f*ck?

    Sometimes I wonder if GPs actually meet real people in their training…

    Big hugs, Lady. We all love you x

  6. F’king hell Lexy! Put a wash on! What an utter knobhead! Utter twat!? I’d text you now but I don’t know if you’re awake or asleep. Please if you’re awake at the moment, text me? Just one word will do.

    YOU ARE NOT USELESS. YOU ARE NOT A DRAMA QUEEN. YOU ARE NOT AN ATTENTION SEEKER!

    You need James x

  7. Useless , fucking idiotic bastard !!!! I am so angry for you & for everybody who suffers , asks for help & gets this kind of response . I’m appalled that you have been treated this way & I know you will now feel a million times worse than before you walked in to bravely ask for help , it sickens me . I’ve had the same kind of thing ( not quite as patronising as this) but similar things , it has put a stop to me ever reaching for help again & I have zero faith in the NHS mental health team , they are less than useless . I wish I could give you a hug & tell you my story , you are not alone & I am sending you all my love & prayers . I’m still here if you ever want me for anything at all .
    Love Jenny xxx

  8. I am stunned that this is the reaction of your GP. I hope you can get some real help and not have to put up with this any more – as the other commenter said, is there anyone who might go with you if you went back – or could you see someone else? A bath? FFS. Words fail me. I wish you all possible luck.X

  9. This is surreal! Please, if you have the energy, launch a formal complaint against this GP…and please listen to your son (even just the vision of him) You are better off on this side & so are we with you here.

  10. Let me get this straight? A GP told you, someone who has been diagnosed with mental health problems, who has previously been hospitalized, self harms and is probably suicidal, to go home, have a bath, keep busy and RELAX?

    WTF? What batshittery is this?

    I’m so angry, I want to hit someone!
    😦
    Can you see someone else? With an ounce more compassion and common sense and some idea of how to treat someone in mental anguish?

  11. Jesus Lex. Proof, if ever it was needed that doctors can be as stupid and scared and insensitive as the rest of us. What an idiot.

    But you have the right to be seen by someone who will understand your illness and give you access to the services and support you need. I do hope you can find the strength to go back and see someone else who is better equipped to support you. Is there someone who could go with you and shout when you’re not able to?

    I don’t know if that’s helpful or not, but I do wish you all the best xx

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