Fellow attendees of the blogosphere, this post is more of a stream of consciousness/ vent/ self therapy session with my alters than anything else. I warn you it is unnecessarily long and there is nothing poignant, poetic, grammatically correct or even generally interesting about it. But it’s my blog and I’m currently rabbit-holing on it so if you want to come along for the ride, feel free to sign the waiver and strap in. But I warn you, it seems that Wonderland is particularly scattered today.
Did you know there used to be a theme park in Sydney called Wonderland? I actually won a radio contest and got to take three friends to watch a battle of a bands competition, eat free theme park food and ride roller coasters all day when I was a young teenager. But I digress, this particular Wonderland is nothing like that one.
Or perhaps it is? Perhaps it’s actually the perfect metaphor. I disliked roller coasters because they made me vomit. I also loved roller coasters because they were exciting. I also figured that a roller coaster could potentially be helpful to my depressed teenage self because theme parks occasionally have accidents and death-by-roller-coaster would have qualified as a “get out of life guilt free” card. I also felt they looked rickety and dangerous. I also hated heights intermittently so that was potentially an issue only to be discovered once already strapped into a fast moving death trap.
So I mostly didn’t want to go on the roller coasters, but felt obligated to because I was given free tickets that probably should have been given to someone else who may have had less motion sickness and appreciated them more. I also didn’t want to look like a wuss in front of my friends. Despite my dilemma about rides, my love affair with music was in full swing around then and meant I could finally see a live concert. Of all the things I don’t remember, I do remember that. A band that played a cover of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” won and they were incredible. *I just knew they’d go on to be the next best thing.
Two National radio personalities were there so I could have five minutes of pseudo fame that granted me only two degrees of separation to the members of the 90s pop band Hansen that I fiercely denied loving but somehow I know the lyrics to all of their songs when they come on the radio now…
So maybe this theme park tangent actually proves that wonderland is an appropriate metaphor for the story, don’t you think? I mean the name checks out. Though only because I was waffling, maybe it’s unrelated. I can’t remember. Was it? Oh wait, how would you know, I haven’t begun telling you the actual story yet.
Now where was I?
It was a quiet moonlit night… nope that wasn’t it… Oh Right. Rabbit-holing. I apologise, I’m currently having more trouble than usual some difficulty staying focused. So A thing happened. Not that big of a thing as things go, but it triggered a bejillion emotions that I feel the need to get to the bottom of. My next appointment with the lovely M is forever a few days away, if I wait all that time until then to consider this more deeply I will likely find myself undertaking a hat making apprenticeship. Besides, it’s important to me now and knowing my luck one of the other sentient parts of my consciousness will overthrow me and talk about something else in session that’s completely irrelevant to my current inner crisis.
As I attempt to self analyse my way through our busy brain, I’m finding myself going off on bizarre tangents that seem to be disconnected but when I ponder them more, I sense they have an underlying theme. I’m writing them down here because
apparently everyone inside is commenting and I can’t keep track of my thoughts something useful may come from my ramblings and while my head feels like I’m untangling a decade old box of Christmas lights right now, I figure it may be worth it in the end – even if a few bulbs still aren’t working.
I’m going to break this into parts. It’s already way too long and so far I’m still a very long way from the point. (I think I have a point?) The following back story is brought to you by a part of my mind identifying as someone other than me, who apparently has a slightly different perspective to other parts of my mind of what went down, so a few have read over it and added their own two cents for posterity.
I’m just documenting it and it’s giving me a headache. Happy deciphering.
Down The Rabbit Hole – Part 1.
A little while ago I had a medical issue which could have been quite serious, but when I rang to make an appointment with my GP the secretary said there were none available for a month. When I said I was a cancer patient and concerned about a potentially serious issue I was told there was still absolutely no way in the world I would get to see her any earlier.
Hubby had to coax you to ring in the first place because you are afraid of being thought of as a hypochondriac. The lack of availability doesn’t mean you are on some secret list there for attention seekers and they’ve been told to fob you off, it means they are busy and have a lot of patients to try and care for. It’s a tough job especially with Covid and the secretary is trying her best to accommodate as many people as possible.
Disagree. Stop sticking up for everyone. That secretary is just a bitch. Just cause she’s stressed doesn’t mean she has to be rude about it. It’s not just what people say, it’s how they say it. It’s polite to at least feign empathy for the duration of a phone call.
My GP had previously given me her mobile phone number in case of emergencies as she knew her secretary was prone to roadblocking appointments and told me to text her if that happened and she’d decide if I needed to be seen or not.
Having this phone number is a huge deal for us. It’s a sign of trust from the GP that we won’t take advantage of her kindness. Unfortunately this blurring of generally accepted boundaries sends us into a spiral of “what constitutes exploiting her trust?” We are not attuned enough to our body to know if something is actually medically wrong and warrants contact, or if it’s all in our head and we just need to get over it. We generally need pretty hard core proof of a medical issue to believe it.
Preferably a missing limb, lol.
I actually feel this highlights the fact that we need to trust people to look after their own feelings and speak up for themselves more, rather than trying to guess what they will think based off our own schema distorted lens.
As M always says, “is that your stuff or their stuff?”.
Growing up we saw first hand from **you-know-who that people don’t necessarily say what they are really feeling. Some people lie about their real feelings or omit them, only communicating their actual wants/needs via hints and then turn around and get really angry, hurt and upset when their needs don’t end up being met.
We learned that to avoid hurting people we had to try and mind read, predict their feelings and go out of our way to accommodate them accordingly. This became an unhealthy habit applied to all areas of life to try and avoid upsetting people and subsequently feeling guilty for not getting it right/ not being good enough.
Just because we grew up with it as our normal, this behaviour is not actually the case for everyone. Plenty of people are happy to say what they think/feel and tell you “no”. And well, for those that the guessing game does apply to, they need to work on their own issues, it’s not up to us to go out of our way make them feel comfortable when we don’t even know what they want.
Just because we struggle with people pleasing doesn’t mean everyone else does (#projection). We have to trust that they will be able to tell us ‘no’ if required and that saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean we’ve manipulated them somehow or they are only agreeing because they feel obligated.
**She may not have been consciously aware of her needs or aware of her desire for needs.
Not. Our. Stuff.
Yeah, I know. I’m not trying to throw her under the bus, or say it was malicious. I’m just saying we need to stop reenacting this ourselves too, hey?! We have a tendency to not communicate our real needs and then secretly hope someone magically notices them. And while we don’t bad mouth people if they can’t read our minds (because we understand that we are choosing to hide our needs) we do still feel sad because we then have an unmet need we are too frightened to ask for.
True… But if they do see our needs we just freak out. It’s easier to just cry in secret later.
Probably because we don’t feel worthy of their time or attention and so we tend to second guess if we are really worthy and actually need our need!
I’m petrified of being a pain in the ass so I really didn’t want to text her, but my husband insisted that the issue qualified as “important enough” so I did. I didn’t say in the text what the issue was, just that I had a concern that I may have been over dramatising but wasn’t actually sure could wait and could I please discuss it with her. She got back to me quite quickly via text and said she’d give me a phone appointment in two days time.
She never called.
*Insert attachment issue related reaction of hoping she was just late, waiting by the phone for several hours and making excuses for her while trying to swallow back feelings of crushing disappointment here*
My GP is lovely and attentive, fast to act and generally wonderful but she’s also very, very busy. I felt that this forgotten call was probably purely an oversight because of her crazy schedule and so I wasn’t upset with her, just kinda disappointed and still a bit concerned because of the medical issue.
Excuses, excuses. She doesn’t actually care or we’re not important enough to remember.
I experienced this as pretty frustrating too. Anger maybe isn’t warranted though, but frustration is definitely fair. I believe she had good intentions but just because her intent is good, that doesn’t need to take away from our feelings related to not getting our needs met. That justifiably hurts.
Now because I have mental health issues, I didn’t want to text her and ask if she’d forgotten me. To call her out on this would be too scary and similar to confrontation for me to cope with, even if I said it in the nicest possible way I didn’t want to cause embarrassment to either of us, so I just let it go and decided I’d wait for the appointment four weeks away.
Confrontation is difficult, especially when you are trying to explain a need wasn’t met when you are feeling unworthy of having needs in the first place. But everyone does. Needs are normal!
Needy. We are too bloody needy and we don’t want to be needy and especially don’t want the humiliation of being seen as being needy and annoying!
It’s okay to have needs. But it’s hard to acknowledge that because having needs opens you up to being disappointed.
Case in point, don’t you think?
And seriously, use the word “needs” one more time and I swear to God…!
Luckily, the medical issue stopped by itself and so life carried on and I was actually grateful I hadn’t texted back or insisted on seeing her as it would have just been an over reaction on my part and I would have looked foolish.
Just because it stopped, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a legitimate problem to begin with – or that you somehow imagined it.
Fast forward to yesterday, the appointment finally came up, I went anyway as I needed a new referral to my psychiatrist. So while there I explained the issue and it’s subsequent self-resolution and she said that I was right to be concerned but we decided that it was likely chemo induced and as it had stopped there was probably nothing to worry about anymore but she’d contact my surgeon in the week for his opinion and let me know.
Will she though? Let us know, I mean 🤨
Good, no problem. The GP also commented that in future I should text her directly and she’d make a time to see me because this absolutely counted as emergency appointment worthy (never mind the secretaries opinions) and that’s why she gave me her number.
That clearly doesn’t actually work in real life though, does it? Plus that secretary is scary. She’d probably put a hex on us or something if we went over her head!
God I hope she emailed the referral because we don’t seem to have a hard copy here anywhere!
Good point, didn’t she forget last year?
I decided not to mention that I had texted and she’d forgotten to ring me at the time we’d arranged and so I just said “thank you” and ensured her I’d do that next time. She asked me if there were any other concerns so I mentioned a niggling abdominal pain I’d had for the last few days. She prodded my tummy and it hurt a little bit but nothing to write home about.
Wuss. Not a pain worth mentioning at all, stop attention seeking.
After the whole cancer thing, it’s pretty normal and even expected to worry over the little things. If you don’t ask, then the worry just stays in your head and exacerbates, if you do ask your fears can be alleviated or a problem can be attended to. Win win.
She was concerned enough to call up my gastroenterologist on the spot (on his private number, on a Saturday) to ask his opinion. He recommended due to my rather extensive and complex history that they do a CT scan right away. Now I felt this was an over reaction but she seems to think I underplay things, particularly pain related things and insisted. So she’s spent a lot of time on the phone to a bunch of people organised me to go to the Emergency department of the hospital to get the scan done straight away.
Meanwhile the pain is fine, like yeah it’s annoying but it’s more discomfort than pain and I’m feeling like a total hypochondriac wasting everyone’s time. Plus I’d arranged to see a good friend of mine I don’t get to see much after the appointment and didn’t want to miss out on that much less go near a hospital.
The doc is even more dramatic than you are! Goodo, let’s waste more time and tax payer dollars, because taking advantage of universal healthcare won’t have an impact on our country at all.
At this point in my medical and mental illness “journey” I would rather be slowly eaten by fire ants than go to a hospital, much less an emergency department. Last time I went to one of those I had to phone my siblings and announce our Dad was about to die. Not fun.
Really? You’re going to make it about Dad?
You know it’s not that. The stench of the place makes us all feel sick since chemo, coulda said that, fair enough, but instead you played the dead Dad card. Trying to get sympathy now? Just shut up. The reason you didn’t want to go there was cause you knew they’d think you were an attention seeking dumb ass and you felt (rightfully) bad about wasting their time.
I reluctantly agreed because the GP had gone to so much effort and called my friend to explain that I’d be a little late. I got to the hospital, finally found a park miles away and reluctantly walked through the sleet and freezing wind up to the Emergency Department wishing I was anywhere else.
Yet you CHOSE to go in anyway. #DramaQueen Let’s break it off here because, well you sure do love the drama! Stay tuned everyone for a riveting part two of “dumbass goes to hospital for no reason!”
It seems to be a job requirement for GP secretaries that they be awful human beings.
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They’re probably just super stressed, still frustrating though.
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I get it.
Stressed, snappy clinic staff makes it difficult, even though some of you are understanding and forgiving.
I’ve the same issue with decent doctors having crap staff, and with downplaying medical issues unconsciously. Doesn’t help that my GP thinks I’m really too young to “have so many diagnoses and health problems”. Not going to disclose DID, ugh, already “very complex” and prone to have physical pain dismissed due to body’s biological sex and “it’s probably stress / psychosomatic”.
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Yes, the dismissive “it’s psychosomatic” attitude can actually be quite dangerous!
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