Getting help……or fighting the Stigma

So I finally decided to seek help for my condition. Wonderful (or so I thought). After searching for where to get the kind of help I needed, I was advised by a pharmacist friend (Thanks Jim) of mine my best bet would be to see a psychiatrist.
Okay. First question is where the hell do you find them in our town? After a few calls  – like 3 to 7 of them over a period of a week (see the pattern?) I found out we had only 2 practising in Nakuru.
The next step was to talk to a friend or two to build up the courage to go for an appointment. Oh my! The first one was like “What?!!!, you don’t need to see a shrink! There’s nothing wrong with you. All you need is a few days out of touch with the rest of the world.” Ouch!!! My nerve was totally gone. Seriously! Luckily my other close pal called that evening and was supportive when he finally wormed out what was going on from me.
My next bit of luck came from the people I was most afraid of calling…….my family. When I told them of my plans they gave me all the strength I needed to go for it. Although I was still nervous, to a point that the night before I was to visit the doctor, I found myself 160 km away visiting my family. I guess it was the fear that the results would be devastating.

Side-note: In the African community, mental health and psychiatry is considered to be for the insane. Furthermore, admitting to have a condition that affects the psyche is a taboo especially for a man.

Anyway, I finally built enough courage and travelled back. After a few wrong turns looking for the doctors office, I was eventually there. Being a Monday there was a queue and the next hurdle presented itself. How to sit there patiently, ignoring the stares from these people, most of them who had escorted their relatives looking at me like I had entered the wrong place. (At the time my brain was on overdrive, interpreting the stares into thoughts.)
As luck would have it I had carried my phone’s headset, so I just fired up my relaxation playlist. After an hour  my turn came. Cue eerie music.
Psych’s attitude and comments
So there I am with the doctor, all the anxiety that has been building up over the last few days is at its peak. His attitude, luckily, was so good that within a few minutes I was literally gushing out all that I felt and bits of my history that were clear enough, plus what I had forgotten over time (for example I cannot remember the names of all the teachers in the various schools I went through except maybe 5 or so.)
By the end of the session, I was so encouraged and my anxiety had fallen to my normal levels. So I was put on medications to manage my condition, which I have to say have been working well so far. My family’s support have been a pillar of strength for me when the road is rocky. My friends are slowly accepting that I’m different, which explains many of the missed appointments I used to have, the various details I’ve forgotten
My advice to those going through the same is be strong. Your friends or family may either support you or not. The important thing to remember is that it is your life. You decide how you want to live it.
If all else fails, we are many, we care and we here for each other.  Give us a shout!

Blogger Labels: Stigma,psychiatrist,Nakuru,courage,nerve,doctor,African,health,psychiatry,psyche,doctors,brain,relaxation,attitude,medications,

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