Lots of what we’d call ‘service users’ complain about doctors. I absolutely love them. It’s getting in front of a doctor that’s the problem. I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of days dealing with NHS admin gatekeepers, who are fascinated by NHS policies, procedures and funding pots, and assume that everyone they speak to shares that fascination. I don’t know the system that well, having been out of treatment for years, but here’s the impression I get – if you want to be treated, it’s not a good idea to have a job. Called the crisis team three times over the weekend, rang out. The GP has evening appointments one night a week, with everything booked till next week. You can’t even get an evening appointment in an emergency. Mental health in Manchester seems to be on a nine to five, Monday to Friday basis. I get the impression that police do most sections and interventions. They seem well disposed to the mentally ill, I suppose talking a sobbing undergraduate down from a bridge is a break from the usual recidivist psychos. I could ring the Samaritans and talk to some retired magistrate, who is probably a Christian fundamentalist. I could go to A and E and, at best, talk to some friendly psyche. At worst I could be detained for three days, perhaps longer. Unlikely I know. But it could happen, that’s the thing. I could lose my job. It’s a small team at work and I am running the office solo. Plus, it’s not a good idea to take time off work in this situation. This shit doesn’t affect my performance. You have to go on working. What else is there?
Thing is, suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under thirty-five, and the world rolls on well enough without them, thank you. Who would remember? I no longer have the impulses and am just living through a numb and tearful period, with flares of ativism like fireworks in the fireshot night. You feel every disturbance, every twitch of the air constitutes a threat. For two days I have been inundated with calls, texts, IMs and DMs, including from a close friend who had a simultaneous and identical experience. It should make me feel safe. But instinct tells me there are things out there looking for me. Also, it takes a concerted effort to speak.
I figure it’s time to make a change. I think at the weekends I’ll stop going out, because every drink in a pub is like Russian roulette now. The future is wine and DVDs, and Facebook in the unlikely event I want to talk to people. That’s it: I am out of the game.