It’s really nice when someone who knows what journey you’ve been on, and for how long, takes the time to tell you that they’re impressed with what you’ve done and proud of you. That’s what happened to me today, and it was so nice, and so unexpected, that I simply had to share it with you.
I haven’t always been very polite here, about my doctor (a General Practitioner), and I have come very close to finding myself a new one. I might still, as this doctor and I often don’t see eye to eye, especially over the treatment of my fibromyalgia. I’d go so far as to say that I suspect he’s one of those doctors who doesn’t quite believe that fibro is real. He certainly wasn’t the doctor who diagnosed mine, and I really get no help from him in managing my symptoms. But that’s not the issue though today.
My mental health journey has been going on for almost twenty years, and while this man hasn’t been my doctor all that time, he has indirectly watched my whole journey simply because he was my father’s doctor. My father (who has since died) was always very concerned for me, and often felt helpless because either I was living away from him, or I chose at times to distance myself from my family. I’ve always known that Dad used his doctor as something of a therapist for himself almost, as he struggled with his daughter’s illnesses.
Ten years ago this doctor became my doctor when I shifted to Christchurch, and I would add that I never felt he crossed any boundaries between his two patients.
Today I saw my doctor, just for a routine visit to pick up a prescription for the medication I take. He told me that he was really proud of what I had achieved in my recent trip to England. He said it was amazing to see me do that trip and have everything work out so well. He was quite surprised and very happy for me.
He knew full well that for years leaving the house, or the hospital, was a huge achievement for me, but to see me fly to the other side of the world… on my own… meet a boyfriend who I had met on the internet through blogging… have a fantastic time… and then fly all the way back again… was simply incredible… and he was really proud of me.
It was far from easy to do what I did. And it wasn’t without times when I almost backed out. Actually I sat alone, in the departure lounge at Christchurch International Airport, crying because I didn’t think I could do it. I was so close to walking out and catching a bus home, but somewhere I found the courage. I so glad I did.
It took my doctor a few seconds to say what he said, but it means the world to me. He told me that he wouldn’t want to make that trip alone himself, yet I had done it. I think the best thing of him saying this to me was that it made me stop and say, “Wow! I DID IT!”
There’s no way I could have done what I did two years ago, let alone ten or even nearly twenty years ago. There is so much that I wouldn’t have coped with. My mind was so muddled much of the time that if I had managed to get to the airport I probably would have ended up in the wrong part of the world. But I DID IT!
To simply enjoy life is no mean feat, as anyone with a mental illness can tell you. But that’s exactly what I spent six weeks doing. I DID IT!
I am so proud of myself. . . and appreciate the time my doctor took to remind me.
My message to you is that there is hope. We can all do it (whatever ‘it’ is for each of us). Sometimes it takes a while, but never give up!
Oh, and a final thought. I told my doctor about my therapist’s fees (see yesterday’s post ‘Being There’ In Psychotherapy) and how I had finished my therapy yesterday. My doctor was quite shocked by what my therapist had expected and agreed that I did the right thing in ending the relationship. He had never heard of a therapist operating with that kind of ‘retainer’ fee system. If I had any doubt (which actually I didn’t), he confirmed I had made the right decision.
“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.”
– Paul Coelho
“Hope is a waking dream.”