My heart was banging against my ribs like a jackhammer. I haven’t been near a mental health team in nearly a month and I was heading for the Adult Mental Health building in Ifield, Crawley.
You could easily pass by the building without noticing it. It is a renovated corner plot scrunched between two houses. A small parking area out front. A placard outside in the NHS blue and white bands is the only giveaway.
I pressed the buzzer and went in. A sizeable waiting room. Sign-in desk, white walls with posters and leaflets designated to the cause. I sign in and take a seat. An old fan oscillates lazily and blows a welcome breeze around the stuffy space. It’s leaning a little on a bent leg and every time it makes its way left it looks like it’s going to topple.
I wait and check my phone. Turns out that once you sign in to NHS WiFi you can access it in most buildings. No signing in again. No fuss. After a few minutes I’m called through. I go to a room with three cushioned chairs. Wood seats are stacked in the corners. A man has a laptop open on a table that is crammed near the window. I’m guessing that this place is usually used for group projects. I marvel again at how under-sourced Mental Health is that they are subjected to using whatever space they can.
The man and a woman take turns questioning me on my mental health history.
“Do you still think about suicide?”
I nod. It’s hard not to when it has seemed like an option for so long.
“Do you have ideas?”
I go through a couple of options but there is no weight in them right now. Again, just thoughts that I can’t stop worming their way in to the grey matter day to day.
“What do you want from this process?”
“Therapy can be a very hard process. It takes a long time. Can be very full-on. Do you think you’re ready to go through that?”
“Yes. I need to face this head on.”
The man and woman nod and confer with one another. Seems like I’m getting therapy. I am told that it won’t start until autumn. I don’t mind. Autumn and winter are hard times. Darkness, rain, cold winds and coming and going to work in the dark. Any kind of work to help me focus away from those miserable days is welcome.
When I left the building, memories came back. Everything leading up until this point and the ludicrousness of the situation I am in. I felt like crying but I walked a bit faster and focused on getting home. There’s no point going through it yet. Save it for the sessions. A place where someone trained can help work through it.
Yeah. That’ll do. It’s a waiting game. I remind myself to take each day as it comes. Breathe. Go home and grab a coffee. Each day as it comes. Each day as it comes.
Picture above: Coffee table I made from pallets and copper tubing.