Imagine it was a Sunday, you were out enjoying some weekend time, away from the pressures of work. It’s just a normal day. You fall, and you hurt your arm. In fact, you’re pretty sure that your arm is broken.
Because you don’t want to cause a fuss or bother anyone on the weekend, you wait until the Monday to go and see your Doctor. By this point your arm is pretty sore, you can’t move it much so you’re sure that the Dr will be able to help. They send you home, saying that there is in fact nothing wrong with your arm.
Confused, but with faith that the Dr knows what they are talking about you try and go about your daily life. But it’s hard. With one arm not functioning the way it should and the pain a constant, debilitating reminder that you are sure there is something wrong, day to day tasks become a struggle.
A week later, the pain is so bad that you start to wonder what the point in carrying on is. This thought becomes more than a fleeting thing, you focus on it, you become convinced that the only way to escape the constant pain in your arm is to end your life.
Except, you don’t want to die, not really. You just want the pain to stop. You tell someone what you’re thinking. You admit that the pain in your arm is such that you cannot imagine living with it another day, you don’t want to die but right now, you have no idea how to live.
They offer to help. They love you, they want to do everything they can to help fix your arm. They tell you that they’ve found a place that they think can help, and that they’ll go with you to give you some support.
The person you see is amazing, they say that of course there is something wrong with your arm, in fact it’s fairly obvious that there is. They apologise for the lack of support thus far and ensure you that they will help to get you the medical help that you need to help your arm, and to stop the pain. The best thing they think, is to go back to the Dr, armed with a recommendation from themselves that urgent medical care is administered.
Again, with blind faith you accept this, relieved that finally someone is taking this seriously. You return to the Dr the next day, only to hit another brick wall. With no obvious swelling in your arm they tell you that you must be making it up, that there cannot possibly be anything wrong with a limb that appears so normal.
Demoralised and uncertain of what to do you return to the support offered the previous day, where you are assured that you are believed, that something can and will be done for you. Now, you’re not a Dr, nor do you have any real expertise in pain like this, all you know is that you want it to stop. But you’re tired now. Really tired. So you decide to wait, to see what happens. Maybe the pain will stop on it’s own.
It doesn’t. The pain gets worse. So bad in fact that again you feel as though the only option for you is to end your life. Except again, you don’t really want to die, you just want someone to believe you. You want them to understand that you are in pain, and that you have no idea what to do.
At this point, with no other avenues seemingly open to you, you go to the nearest hospital, sure that they will believe you and help. You beg them, you tell them you want to be admitted, that you have to be in the hospital. Except, you don’t live in the right geographical area so they send you away. Again.
Right at that moment, you are lost. No one is helping you, the pain has become so bad that you cannot function at work, you cannot function at home, you are so debilitated by the pain in your arm that you are not functioning at all. It is all you think about, it consumes your every moment.
You call the support that believed you, you tell them that you have tried everything, what more can you do, no one is helping. They promise you that they believe you, that they will try again for you. They call your Dr, they call the hospital, and they call the emergency medical team and they tell them that they believe that unless you are seen as a matter of urgency, the pain that you are experiencing in your arm will result in a loss of life. That unless something is done right now, that this will be an unnecessary death brought on be a treatable condition.
Finally, it seems as though something will happen. An appointment is promised for that day. So you breath, for what seems like the first time in two weeks. Finally, the pain but be taken away. You head home, knowing that they have promised to call.
They call. With an appointment for 5 days later. Your pain isn’t a medical emergency they say, you can wait to be seen.
Now imagine…what would you? At what point has this treatment, or lack of become so abhorrent that you would be trying to knock down every door possible in order to preserve your own life? At what point would you be demanding that this treatment be given to your husband, or friend or child?
Why does the conversation halt, why do the voices go silent when the penny drops that the pain described isn’t from a broken arm but from a fractured mind? Why is it different?
Welcome to Mental Health services 2018.