What’s in A Number?

“What’s in a number, what’s in a number?” asks the late Maury Chaykin in the above posted short film of the series “The Hire”. And carries on to answer himself by going “You know, maybe nothing’s in a number. Maybe a number is just a number.”  Oh well. Yes. Maybe. And maybe not.

In this seemingly endless odyssee of scouting diagnoses and therapists or hospitals trained to meet the requirements of therapy in regards to my condition, I’m in my fifth year by now. Yes, correct. Five years of searching plus another 43 years of having more or less silently suffered without even being aware what exactly has been hurting for all those years. And for the most part, I stayed in denial as it is. But that concept fell apart after my divorce in 2003. Since then – or not too long after that, I’ve made it my top life priority to look for healing, both on the physical as well as on the emotional plane. It’s been an ongoing Rubic’s cube of aligning the system’s processes and limitations with my own and the world outside at large. And for the larger part, it’s been a very solitary journey to travel. I lost career, all savings, status, friends, directions, confidence and – hope – in the process. Only “God” or who- or whatever knows, due to exactly which personal trait or “miracle” or both I’ve managed to pull myself from the pits of despair time and time and time again – but that resolve is waning now.

Anyway. I’ve had another recent series of consulting sessions with a neurologist after needing to dump my former therapist on account of her being unorganized – to put it mildly. Chaotic is more like it when considering that at some point she confused my file with that of a recovering cocaine addict. Makes you wonder, how much of her assessment can be taken for serious in the first place. But without going any further into that, it was clear at this point that our therapeutic relationship had become unlikely to garner any more progress. So I terminated it in the summer of 2009. And kept looking for follow-up treatment eversince. Found myself this neurologist, who had taken over the practice of a well-known, respected general practitioner and psychotherapist that year. And I’ve been seeing him every other month or so since then. But we’ve arrived at the end of his and my rope and now I’m looking into inpatient care again, mostly for reasons of my health plan not covering outpatient psychotherapy sessions. As I have no more savings left to cover them myself, going for inpatient care seems like the only option left. And I’ve been looking for hospitals specializing in PTSD or C-PTSD for years. Turns out, they’re hard to find and when you do find them, the waiting list is excessive. As is the case with this place, which looks otherwise very well suited.

After a couple of failed attempts for the past few days, I managed to get someone on the “horn” today. At least, they sounded nice and accommodating, which is not a given at all as I had to find in my research. They explained the admission process to me and then informed me of the waiting lag. It’s currently at six months from the time of receiving the filled out questionnaire they’re about to send me. Wow. I mean, any other person might probably go “What’s the big deal with a few months more after this long a time of having gone untreated? You made it here, didn’t you? Might as well make it for another six or more months.” I can already hear regular people going in this or similar ways. Well, the big deal is that I’m not a machine waiting for parts to be delivered. I’m neither a car in park position or a personal item stored away in the attic and getting pulled out for holidays and family events. The big deal is that I’ve been surviving this far on not too much more than willpower expressing itsself in fierce self-discipline and almost stubborn “hanging on-to-ness”, occasionally blended in with curiosity. But as of late, all these tools that have proven me well – and have actually saved my life from giving in to suicidal ideations -, those tools are beginning to lose some edge. Or have been losing some edge for quite a while. For there doesn’t seem to be any identifiable progress or – big word! – personal accomplishment in using them. I mean, picture this: With almost any other occupation, you get better overtime the more you practice and exercise it, right? Well, it doesn’t feel this way with this. It feels and has been feeling like making it from one intermediate rescue platform to the next, with the ever-same gruelling battle for survival in between. Not to forget all the extra, like paperwork with health insurance, retirement service, welfare, the liquidator (on account of needing to declare bankruptcy in 2011), revenue authorities…. the list goes on. Oh, and family, of course, who purport their concern for me, but never tire to impose their own sorrows and woes on me. I’ve had to put my foot down with that and draw a firm line – which is already part of the problem. It should’t have to be like this, should it?

Anyway. Another six months. Wow. How am I going to make it? And more importantly: What if actually going in and receiving inpatient treatment doesn’t do anything for me? As so happened in the past. What then? How am I going to deal with that outcome?

Also, on a side note, I’ve realized that most of my current fears aren’t mere paranoia or otherwise unreasonable. Those fears are substianted in so far as they are the result of a number of bad bordering on devastating experiences. Again – comparing them to any other person won’t cut it as there is no measure of comparing them to any likely emotional outcome in other, “normal” persons. You can’t compare this. Let me give you an example: If you’ve always had arachnophobia, waking up in the jungle surrounded by them is the worst nightmare that could ever come true for this person. Well… in employing this analogy, that’s exactly what happened to me. In addition to braving the outcomes of C-PTSD, I have been withstanding my worst nightmares come true. And getting stigmatized for it as well. Insult to injury, time and time again. How am I supposed to keep going with this and the potential perspective of things never changing much ever again for me? I’ve pretty much set any fancy dreams revolving around music aside as we speak. The environment is simply too brutal given the limitations my condition – and new limitations in the foods sector – bring about. Plus, I’d fear getting stigmatized there again, not only for the condition, but possibly for meaning to enter the market sideways. On the latter: As of last night, I know I’ve simply been unrealistic there. I can’t possibly compete with pro’s, who’ve been doing this very thing at the top level for the past 30 or 40 years. It’s been preposterous to even entertain such thinking and it would be overbearing and brazen to actually go about it. To let go of this dream is the easier part, let me tell you that. But going without a new perspective that bears the slightest chance of working out – that’s the devastating part. And I don’t think, a hospital can – or should – help with the latter.

That’s my life for you. I know, I’m not alone with this. But a sorrow shared is a sorrow lessened? To an extent, it is. And I’m grateful to those who have reached out and given me support over the past years. Without it, I’m pretty sure, I wouldn’t be here any longer. The situation seems too complex for me to figure out a solution. And I’m preparing myself to the understanding that at some point I will have to accept that the existing limitations seperate me from possible experiences my gifts and talents might have otherwise made possible for me. As I don’t have any idea, what this might look or feel like, naturally I can’t have an idea whether this will feel largely good or not.

Another six months of dragging on like this…? Gosh.

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