Buckle up people. You’re in for a ride. This is about Black Dog and mental health…
I had a fever for three days in late August. I got better, although Hubs stayed home to take me to the GP on one day as I felt so awful with it, he was worried about me driving.
I got better, but was sniffly, put it down to hay fever and dug out my antihistamines and soldiered on.
I did the Bloody Long Walk for Mito, 35km. My left foot was sore at about 32km, but at that distance, we just soldiered on. We got bused to the start line; but at the finish line, we had to get a tram back to the City. All up I did nearly 50,000 steps that day. I got into bed when I got home for a nanna nap.
DOMS set in good and proper, I was hobbling like John Wayne, popping anti-inflammatories and paracetamol to get through the next couple of days. Still snuffling.
My DOMS subsides, my foot is still sore so strap it up and head back to the GP on Wednesday night, second visit in two weeks. She pokes it, I don’t scream, we don’t think it’s broken, but I have an x-ray referral just in case I need it.
Thursday night, my nose starts running like a tap. Friday morning, my throat is scratchy and sore. I post about disdaining the person so hard who gave it to me on Facebook.
Friday afternoon, my foot is really, really sore; I book an x-ray appointment at the hospital near work. Still snuffly and sneezing. I get the x-ray done and head home for an early night.
Saturday morning, my body says stop. Just stop.
Tuesday this week, day four in bed, I call the GPs office and get the last available appointment of the day. Third visit in three weeks. Tim looks me over and say well done on getting your ‘flu jab this year otherwise you’d be ‘properly poorly’. I say I wonder what that looks like as I’m feeling terrible.
I’ve got a secondary infection in my sinuses; of course I have. I get a script for antibiotics, and manage to take two doses before bed.
Wednesday morning, I get up out of bed and nearly fall over. I’ve got so much congestion in my head, it’s now affecting my balance. I steady myself and go about getting the morning underway.
Archie wants breakfast in bed with me so we can chat together in the morning, I bring the tray in, lay down next to him and my whole vision is disrupted, I’m hanging on to the bed so I don’t fall off it. I start to feel sea-sick with it too.
When I can move, I sit back upright. This is not good. Hubs had an early start, so was already out the house. All I’ve got to do is get Arch to school. We finish off our morning jobs, teeth, hair, reading. and I get him up the hill. Come back home, prop myself up on pillows and settle into Midsomer Murders on the Netflix.
I get lunch, tidy that away and then settle down for a nap in the afternoon. I get up and fall out of bed. I then start being sick. When I’m done, I try to get back into bed, but keep falling over. I’m stuck on the bathroom floor, sobbing. What do I do now? I text Hubs, then call him, then text him. I text two friends I used to work with. Message another friend I know is in the office, can she page the other two?
I’m still being sick every time I move. The floor rocking and rolling underneath me. I’m crying, snot, vomit. It ain’t pretty. Hubs calls me back, we agree I need help. I call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Not something you do lightly in Australia as it will cost you >$1000, that is one thing that is automatically covered by our inordinately-expensive-for-very-little-reward-health-insurance.
What with one thing and another over the past few weeks, my mood has slipped again. Not badly, but enough for the little depression bastard to start making suggestions to me. Like “You’ve got a balance issue, you could ‘fall’ down the stairs and no-one would know. It would be an accident.”
Here comes my epiphany. I’ve literally got one part of my brain telling me to end it, here’s an easy way out. Handing it to me on a platter. While I’m in the middle of being ill, snot, vomit, sobbing in fear; another part of me. Not my brain, ME. My soul.
“I don’t want you to die”.me
My phone rings, the health line have called me back to try and work out what’s going on and triage me. We work out I’m not having a cardiac moment, or anything serious; it’s more likely vertigo. She’s going to send an ambulance out to me, it’ll be a little while, but they will have medication to help me feel better.
I crawl to the doors to open them up, since the burglaries, there’s a screen door on, you ain’t getting through that. I also pull on some yoga pants, I’ve propped myself back in the bathroom with a towel around me when one of my friends calls “I’m on my way” She used to be a nurse, she won’t mind the mess I’m in.
She doesn’t, and when I start bringing up bile, she rubs my back and puts a cold washcloth on my neck. We talk about all sorts of shit, laughing. She gets me some water to my level so I can clean my teeth. I loves her I do. Hubs comes home, they do a handover and she heads back to work.
The ambulance arrives, they give me a wafer to put under my tongue to help with the dizziness and nausea. We go back and forth about me heading to hospital. I’m still not sure I want to go, I’m not that bad after all, I’ve only got vertigo. When he says to me, “You’ll be feeling like you were again all night if you don’t go”, that clinches it.
I’m not going to the inns and outs of the hospital stay, as it’s a big building with doctors in it and that’s not important right now. I was admitted overnight as they were still considering me a fall risk. I’ve been sent home with stemitil that I’ll need to take until more congestion has cleared. If I move my head too quickly, I’m still unsteady on my feet. Bed rest for the rest of the week.
The doctor that discharged me this morning thinks I’ve had the flu for three weeks, the flu jab carried me through, being stubborn carried me through – but my body spoke louder. So I’m listening. I’m stopping, resting and I’m going to find out who it was that told me, audibly. I don’t want you to die.
In all my years of struggling with depression and anxiety, I’ve never had such a clear delineation between it and me. Like Eckhart Tolle’s “I can’t live myself”. It was that big.
I am not my thoughts, you are not yours. Who am I? Let’s find out.