After my recent bout with mental health I decided it was time to change jobs. My previous 7-5, Monday – Friday job would not allow me to attend the sessions I need for my path to recovery. You see, these services are only offered throughout the the general working week. Shift work was the obvious answer.
Money into the bank. The mortgage gets paid. Money goes into savings. We get food on the table and I am flexible to attend therapy and other sessions.
But not really. There’s a catch.
The catch 22 (a recommended read by the way*) in this situation is that – by working I am deemed “stable”. The truth is – I am working to try and keep stable.
Last week I received a letter from my community support team asking me to attend an appointment that would be to judge the level of care that I would require from here on out. Due to my shift work I could not attend the appointment due in a couple weeks time. I called the team and asked that I change my appointment date.
When the lady on the other end of the phone asked me why I needed to change the date I told her it was because of work.
“You have work that day.” A declaration. An accusation? I’m not sure. There was an awkward pause. I had an image in my mind of the woman on the other end of the phone typing something on her computer.
Now in work. Not urgent. Or something to that effect.
I suddently felt guilty for being in a job. For not being curled up in a ball in a darkened room or staring into space and having my guts churn with anxiety and depression. I am trying to keep money coming in. I am trying to remain distracted. If I have somewhere to go and something to do with my days my fiancee doesn’t worry about me being home alone and lost in my head.
And yet the receptionist on the other end of the line had pulled the rug from under me. After the pause I heard rummaging on the other end of the line. “Okay, well, I’ll try and get one of the doctors to call you but this is usually all done by post. The appointments just get sent out.”
And they are adhered to. Was what the silence after her statement said.
I understand that the NHS is strapped for cash and resources in this domain but I shouldn’t have been made to feel like a rusty cog in the system.