Despite Dr. Dumb informing me that counselling and therapy were expensive and unrealistic I booked an appointment with mental health and addiction services. When I arrived for my intake assessment, I was pleasantly optimistic as the waiting room was plastered in pamphlets, brochures, posters, fact sheet, etc. I spoke with a counselor who seemed to genuinely care, BUT you can only do so much with a broken system. In a polite way, she explained that I wasn’t ‘bad enough’ to require one on one counselling as their resources were extremely limited and underfunded. Instead, I was offered to be placed on a waiting list for ‘Mind Over Mood’ (a group class) and encouraged to take advantage of the free acupuncture clinic. Needless to say, I wasn’t very impressed when I left that appointment, feeling quite defeated actually. Luckily, for reasons beyond my comprehension, I still had a small flame burning inside, encouraging me to push on.
Fast forward about a week and I’m sitting in a dimly lit room staring at the floor. ‘Soothing’ music softly fills the room and I take a sip of calming tea that has both the consistency and taste of dirt. There are half a dozen sewing needles in each of my ears working their magic (okay, maybe they were legit acupuncture needles but still…). Now don’t get me wrong, I really believe that if something works for you, do it. Simple as that. I’m sure there are plenty of people all over the world that sincerely benefit from regular acupuncture. Me, not so much.
In our lives there are moments that we reflect, moments that we ponder, moments that we question, moments that we struggle, and moments that we humbly accept that we are in fact morons. Evidently needles and dirt facilitated the latter quite nicely. So I figured, I’m here, why not right? The host/guru/crazy needle lady offered me a seed to stick to my ear for acupressure. Not wanting to offend, I accepted. She secured the magical seed to my ear with a piece of ‘Scotch‘ tape *not the fake shit that sticks to you like a post-it note on a muggy day; like seriously how are they allowed to call that tape?* , and sent me on my way.
It was at that moment that I realized how easy it was to become just another statistic. When a health care system is set-up like a triage unit you have to fight tooth and nail to get the help you are entitled to. Suffering quietly in the darkness of your bedroom until the pain becomes unbearable, is alarming cost effective for a system looking to save save save (money, that is). Don’t ever give up. Push through all the bullshit because there are people who care. You can feel better, and you WILL feel better. The system may broken but you can still make it your bitch.