The best thing I ever did was marry my lovely husband. He could see the deterioration in my mental health and he supported redrawing our mortgage to access private treatment for me.
I had a great mental health support team: my counselor interacted with my GP to treat me urgently and, as a result, I got an emergency psych appointment. I’d done all the right things (even some medication) but none of it made a difference. I might have struggled out of it all but my cousin being diagnosed with a (different type, not genetic) brain tumour flipped me over the edge.
All I could see was the common denominator in the loss of people I love: me. Obviously, I logically know that correlation/causation aren’t the same things and that some people just end up statistically on the wrong side of the bell curve but I couldn’t relate statistical science to my circumstances when I was struggling through them.
We have a great public health system here in Australia. Every time I, or one of my loved people, have been in a truly life threatening situation, the access to care, and the care itself, has been exemplary. But mental health isn’t the same.
If I had tried to wait out the public health system, I honestly believe I wouldn’t have made it.
Instead, we took all of our savings, re-drew on the mortgage, and paid up front for inhospital treatment in a private psychiatric clinic. I wanted to access ECT treatment immediately and that is what happened. I stayed in the hospital for four days and had the rest of the treatment as an out patient – four sessions in all.
The improvement was noticeable from the first time. Physical side effects have been very hard but mentally, it is like a total reboot of my brain. I am now able to address things I need to and I can see a really busy work season completing the healing process.
I’ve kept this information to myself as far as my work relationships go but I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m functional again and that makes the people that love me very happy. I’m having ongoing therapy and I’m still doing grief support – I cry all the time when I think/talk about my brother (exactly a year ago today with the first operation) but at least I can talk/think about him.
Best of all, I no longer think that everybody I love will die. I mean, I know that they will but it won’t be just because I love them. It has been so hard with my girls away doing scary stuff in South America; I was absolutely convinced they would die over there. Now I look at videos of them bicycling down the Death Road in Bolivia and I shudder but I can look.