All things must pass

Unless you're mentally ill, obviously

by Rick Johansen

Even with the NHS virtually on its knees, I can’t knock the amount of contact I have had from it in the last year or so. I have had tests, investigations, screening for:

  • My liver
  • My lungs
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Diabetic tests
  • Bowel cancer (turd tests)
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

And that’s all without asking. Naturally, I have had to follow up on some of this stuff myself because no one has bothered to let me know the results of some of them and maybe that’s where the main problem is. The system alerts staff to send out things to patients but doesn’t have the man (and woman) power to do anything about it afterwards. Still, let’s be grateful for (very) small mercies. That’s my physical health sorted. Let’s now run through NHS contact regarding my mental health:

  • GP calls to tell me I’m on the maximum level of anti-depressants and it’s bad for me. I need to reduce my medication by 50%. I explain that the reason I am on the maximum level of anti-depressants because a different GP at the practice (it’s almost impossible to speak to the same one these days) prescribed them to me. Anyway, he cuts my prescription by 50% and says, memorably and not necessarily in these words that “if you’re still feeling shit, we will increase your prescription again”. I was too bamboozled and battered to argue. “If I end up under a fast train, it’s all your fault,” I didn’t say, but definitely thought.
  • Er…
  • That’s it

Said GP – and I blame the system, not him – said there were all sorts of alternatives to medication and therapy which briefly raised my almost non-existent levels of optimism, but it turned out they were just a bunch of self-help websites. Well, thanks for that. Doubtless, the way things are going we will end up doing our own operations, too.

As for the cut in medication, everything I expected to happen, happened. My depression is ever so slightly worse, as is my anxiety, and still every day I feel I can look down on it from above as part of my own parallel little world (not really. Out-of-body experiences don’t really happen but it’s the only way I can describe it). And I know that this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life, whether that’s today, tomorrow or even further away than that.

Trust me, I don’t mean to sound self-pitying, as I wallow in my own pool of self-pity, but that, as I read it back, is exactly what it looks like. I’m even at the point now where I am thinking about abandoning any remaining principles I have left by seeking out private therapy, in effect feeding the vultures and parasites of the private sector in a last, desperate bid to make things better, easier, brighter, lighter; any other words you can think of.

Hopefully,  the chancellor Jeremy Cunt will announce major funding for the NHS in today’s autumn statement, instead of gimmicky tax cuts to bribe the British people. Well, you’d have to be mad to believe he will do that. Apologies for referring to him as Jeremy Cunt, but if it’s good enough for Radio Four, then it’s good enough for me.

Best advice? Don’t get depressed but if you do, pull yourself together, be grateful for what you’ve got, everyone feels a bit unhappy sometimes and stop feeling sorry for yourself.


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