Today I called the Samaritans.  And then I called Breathing Space.  My anxiety about nothing in particular, has consumed me, along with a feeling of dread that something bad is going to happen. Which makes no sense whatsoever, because I know nothing bad is going to happen! Lol

I am fragile just now, so much so, that I fear a minor incident or stressful moment could shatter me into a million pieces. 

It was always going to be tough moving back to Falkirk.  The last time I lived here I had a full breakdown; the result of therapy gone wrong, when a therapist used CBT to groom me, rather than solely dealing with the anxiety, caused when a car knocked me off my bike.  In-fact, that was the only other time in my life that I had called the Samaritans … though … I had called them a lot back then because I had really wanted to die. 

Safe to say, with so many bad memories and triggers, Falkirk was not an entirely sensible choice of town for me to move to.  It felt like I’d be taking giant leaps backwards, towards the darkness that belonged to my past, rather than stepping forward even further into the light of the new life I had created.  

Finding a local authority with an obligation to house me would be the deciding factor.  In October of last year, I called Stirling Council, but was told I’d have to get rid of Maria to access homeless accommodation.  I got off the call and burst out crying.  Then I called Falkirk Council and I have to say I found their homeless department nothing short of outstanding.  To hear the words, we will do everything we can to house you and your dog.  If I could have reached through the phone and hugged the person on the other end I would have.

Of course, I had warning bells in the pit of my stomach about moving back to Falkirk, but it meant I could keep Maria.  I waited only one week for a flat and didn’t even need to go into a homeless unit, which after my experiences of homeless units when I was younger, was a huge relief.  I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who donated furniture!  You gave me the best moving in present ever because when I look around all I see is human kindness!

I have achieved my goal … I have a home!  And I do love my home! 

But I wonder.  Is it worth it?  Is having a home worth the decline in my mental health?  I’m pretty sure everything would be better again if I packed up my life and got back on the road to cycle the world, with Maria in her dog trailer.  But I want to choose to cycle the world, rather than having to.

It was mid-January, when I visited my local GP’s surgery.  It’s always a big deal.  The first time you go to your GP to fess up to your mental health.  It’s a big deal because you’re taking responsibility and standing up to the world in that GP’s office and saying I am worth it. 

The GP agreed to send a referral for a psychiatric evaluation.  Referrals these days are done electronically, which takes minutes and is received instantly at the other end.

I knew it would take around two months to get an appointment, maybe longer, but my desperation meant I waited only one week, before calling to make sure everything was fine with my referral and that it had been received. 

For me it’s one of the scariest things in the world … witnessing your own mental health deteriorate and wondering what state you’ll be in when you finally get an appointment.

The psychiatry unit told me they had no record of me yet.  I called back the GP’s surgery and was assured the referral had been sent.  I waited a couple of weeks, then called the psychiatric unit again.  They definitely didn’t have a referral for me.  I panicked.  I called my GP’s surgery.  After investigation it was explained, with an apology, that the GP’s workload meant he hadn’t put my referral through.  It was now three weeks after I visited my GP, fessing up to my mental health and asking for help. 

A few weeks later and I got the letter with an appointment! My psychiatric assessment is the end of March.  Is it normal to be so excited for a psychiatric assessment??? Because I am very excited! To be taking action. To be moving forward. To be a hero with my mental health!

I have so many incredible opportunities opening up in front of me and I’m damn well going to make sure my mental health doesn’t keep me from experiencing them.  Just like I’ve rescued street dogs … I’ve turned the rescue cap on for myself.   

And even if the self rescue mission is unsuccessful, then at least I have an amazing life waiting for me …. exploring the world on my bicycle with my dog.  Not a bad back up plan! 

Ishbel x

Please note each blog post is written 5 days prior to publication to minimize people’s worry when my mental health is at low points.