Ever since the pandemic began, I’ve felt an unusual amount of pressure to keep it together. Not surprising…health care workers of all kinds are overloaded, so it makes sense that as a concerned person I’d want to avoid making them work harder.
Non-emergency mental health appointments are very difficult to get. My health care system dropped my video visits to once every six weeks, then none. I either cope on my own or, if I feel as if I’m going to harm myself, I am supposed to go to the packed, overwhelmed ER. There’s nothing in between.
I am all right, relatively speaking, so far. But I continue to be worried about others who need more care to manage their conditions—and when my symptoms rise, I’m afraid for myself too.
The conversation about needing help is harder to have these days, especially when extreme political turmoil is added to pandemic stress:
Person With Mental Health Issues: I’m not sleeping.
World: Duh. Nobody’s sleeping right now.
PWMHI: I’m…feeling really depressed.
PWMHI: I’m anxious all the time. I can’t sit still. I really have the urge to use drugs.
World: Join the crowd.
PWMHI: …. (Struggles to find words to convey that their symptoms are more than just feelings, that they’re in danger from them. Gropes for words that might get them some understanding without making them look like a selfish person who just wants attention.)
World: Are we done here?