I’ve been journalling my experiences with bipolar and the South African public health sector here, with a hiatus recently, thanks to bipolar depression. I’ve now finished my six months free CBT as a case study, but I’ll still be seeing the trainee psychiatrist I refer to as shrink two for treatment. As things stand now, I’ve just had my fluoxetine increased to 60mg and olanzapine is at 15mg. I’m waiting for shrink two to discuss with her department head, whether or not I’m going to have ECT. Shrink one, back in the private health sector, reckons it’s the best option.
So I’m just waiting and it strikes me that waiting is exactly what the government health system is all about. It’s the same almost everywhere, I believe, the waiting lines are long. You arrive as early as you can and you queue. I’ve become accustomed to it to a certain point – an hour’s delay feels like absolutely nothing, but three hours feels like forever. I constantly try to remind myself that I’m still in the privileged segment of society, that the huge majority of mental health patients in South Africa aren’t receiving any treatment at all, but the truth is that I really hate it. As I’ve said before, I’ve got no complaints about the quality of care, it’s the waiting in horrible rooms crammed with people talking and sniffing and so on. I’m not phased by the manacled prisoners anymore and when there’s someone freaking out, I only feel anxious if they get too close.
Hopefully by my next post I’ll have an answer about ECT.