Hello Dear Friends and Blogging Community – I am writing this as I am about to undertake – well in the next few days – a DANGEROUS pursuit. It will be filled with ups and downs. Highs and lows. I will need to wait. I will need to move up a seat or hardwood bench in a too cold room, for far, far too long. I will confront enemies, perhaps a friend or two, and I may need to come back, again, and again. And I will feel like giving up. Feeling like I can’t crawl to the bitter end. Yes, my dear friends, I am going to go for my mental health treatment in the PUBLIC SECTOR. I am going to subjecting me and my very fragile self to the primary healthcare system in a country probs with developing country status in any and all mental health related service and I am AFRAID.
Now you might say, what on earth is she going on about? That’s no problem? The biggest majority of people with mental illness go through the public health system. And my answer is NOT BY CHOICE. I had private healthcare, but I worked my butt off to have it. And not just for me, but for my children too/ I paid for a psychiatric hospital that had clever lighting, placed quotes etc to not demonstrate that you are like I dunno, hospitalised. The public health system in my country, is BLATANT about the fact that you are NOT ok, and they WILL openly stigmatise through something as simple as the appointment system. For example there is “psychiatric day” i.e. the people on that day, you want to avoid, draw air spirals around your ear in front of the patient to describe to co-workers what they have, mad day. The other way is putting the mentally ill in the “green sticker” line which ensures “confidentiality”. For no-one. Because all the patients who go to the clinic know what the sticker colour means or you will end up getting a good dose of anti-retrovirals for your Bipolar.
I have decided that I will go to to the first appointment armed with things will assist: my mother so she can keep my space in the line (and perhaps people will think I’ve brought her instead of the alternative) while I go and smoke, snacks, a book and cellphone data so I can imaginery bullet journal and get lost in beautiful stationery on psychiatric day. I will report back on the experience of being in the green sticker line. And what mental health has been like for people with mental illness in my country who are a lot more in need than me. And hopefully in so doing, I can make a suggestion or two about the colour they gave us. I’ve never looked good in green. Mentally Ill I can do. Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t. I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.