Sunday, 12 June 2016
Happiness on the Way to the Psychiatrist, 17th May 2016
It may not be every person who would post something about their journey to see a psychiatrist. But this is me. I'd been waiting six months for this appointment - six months of waiting and fighting to be prescribed a particular medication that might actually do me some real good and not cause me too many problems. Finally the day had arrived and I left home too early just in case public transport was delayed.
I arrived in town with forty minutes until my appointment and had just missed my Metro connection so decided to walk to Byker. I'm glad I did. The walk passes over the city motorway and then heads to Shieldfield - worth a visit for the Biscuit Factory art gallery and also for the Holy Biscuit if there's anything happening there at the time and for it's proximity to the Ouseburn.
The main road passes St Dominic's Catholic Church and Priory. I used to go there sometimes when I was a Catholic but never managed to get involved with it as a community. I went to the English masses but also to the Latin masses. A few people did talk to me over tea after the English masses. But at the Latin masses, no. Nobody. And when I asked a priest what I should be doing before my first attendance there - because there wasn't anyone to advise - he wasn't friendly. That's a shame, one of the other priests there is a nice guy. I've seen him around sometimes at different events in the city.
Outside the church the lamp posts were adorned like this. I guess they had been placed there a few days before. St. Dominic's had an international evening during The Late Shows with lots of performances and food. If I'd had the energy I'd been planning on going along and maybe visiting a few other nearby places that also had free events that night. I'd been hoping to get to a circus evening the next night. But never mind, mental health isn't perfect for me and there is lots I can't do that I'd like to be doing. If mental health were perfect I wouldn't be walking to a psychiatry appointment, would I?!
Now this is a reason to walk somewhere. The road to Byker, New Bridge Street, has a bridge - as the name would suggest. It crosses the Ouseburn. The view looks out to the Tyne and across to Gateshead. In the Ouseburn valley itself is Seven Stories, the national museum for children's books - which is certainly worth a visit, especially during the Ouseburn Festival weekend because it's free admission on those days. There is The Cluny which is known for its live music. There are stables where children can learn to ride. There are lots of artist's studios. And nearby is The Cumberland Arms which cannot be beaten as a venue for anyone who loves folk music and cider. If only it was on this side of Newcastle it would be perfect.
And below the bridge there is the Ouseburn Farm, which is free and worth walking round. I really love the roof.
I arrived at my appointment and went through my case history with a psychiatric nurse in detail. She then left for fifteen minutes to discuss me with the consultant psychiatrist. Except that took over half an hour. While she was gone I looked out of the window. In one direction I could see back into Newcastle. And straight ahead was this. I realised that one night I had sat and waited for someone in her car while she had visited someone who lived here and bought drugs from him. Really strong smelling drugs.
But that wasn't the kind of drug I wanted. The nurse and consultant eventually came in and gave me the news. Oh happy day! They would advise my GP to prescribe the medication I had fought for all this time. Apart from that they offered nothing at all. I'm not sure what useful thing they could have offered me beyond the medication. Everyone says "It's probably autism related. We should see what autism services can offer you." So everyone offers me practically nothing. And autism services can of course offer me nothing whatsoever - because all they are able to do under their remit is diagnose someone, not help them.
Yay. I got my drugs. I got my view from the bridge. And afterwards, in Byker, I got my lunch in one of several cheap cafes that serve good basic food in large quantities. And I bought a new friend too - a panda who is the softest most comforting panda ever and who is currently having a good holiday in Manchester.