It’s supposedly my first day back as a student clinician.
I didn’t go. Ditched yet again my duties. Now I feel like slapping myself.
Needless to say, I had to somehow acquire a medical certificate/excuse slip. So I made up a story about me having menstrual cramps. After internalizing and going over minute details (the time the pain started; what I took; etc.), I went to the hospital.
The thing was, while I was at the hospital (in the students/employees’ clinic), I took the liberty of consulting health professionals about my mental health.
First I came to a nurse, explaining how and why I needed an excuse slip. And kind of asked her if I could be able to get a referral from them to the psychiatry department. Because apparently if you’re their student you could get consultation for a lower price, or even free.
I was then passed on to a second nurse. She checked my blood pressure, and wrote a recommendation (for the doctor to write me a med cert and a referral). She was nice, especially when I told her about my anxiety.
She asked about it nicely. I told her it was mostly because of school. She told me to not worry too much about it (in a very friendly manner, with no hint of judgment at all); and that, no matter what I tell myself, she would always think of me as a brilliant student (I told her I am repeating my senior year), because all of the students who go to my school are brilliant. It just so happened that there were more intelligent students than the others. It kind of cheered me up. I was touched. And made my insides (particularly my heart) warm.
I was told to wait for the doctor to call me. When I came into his office, he read what the second nurse had written in my paper. He asked me if I was already doing okay. I said yes. I mean, physically, I am okay. But mentally? Absolutely not, Sir.
He wrote me my medical certificate. Then dismissed me. He forgot about the referral slip! And well, I decided not to leave his room without a referral.
I asked him if he could write a referral for me, and explained my situation. He proceeded to ask why I was feeling anxious, or if I have trouble sleeping. I made a blubbering mess, very nervous about the process of it all.
In the end, I got my excuse slip and my referral. I got back to the second nurse. She told me I could not go directly to the psychiatry ward without her calling them and checking in first. I waited for about two hours. I waited patiently on the couches only for her (the second nurse) to tell me she forgot about my referral! I said it was okay (it really was). It was already an hour before closing time of the said ward, so I didn’t get my hopes up. I conceded to the fact that I might not be able to talk today to a mental health professional.
After a minute or so of talking on the phone, she gave me a go signal. Gave me a doctor’s name and contact number. Finally!
Nervously, I speed walked to the psych ward. Oddly enough, when I saw a bunch of patients (in the hall, sitting on the floor, having a somewhat interesting gathering), I felt like I’m one of them. It’s not that I felt like I knew what their troubles were, because that would be unfair to them and to myself, it’s just that, If I were given the chance to talk to them, to interact with them, I would be more than glad to do so.
I approached a few people (which was scary, I don’t know why) and asked around for the doctor I was referred to. Unfortunately, they were unavailable. And so the last person I talked to just set me up for an appointment. Tomorrow, Tuesday.
I can’t believe it, finally, I will be talking my guts out to a professional. After four years of waiting for nothing.
And well, yes, I do admit that people were right: I wished I could have done this sooner.
Oh, and also. I just talked to my supervisor. He wanted to know why I was absent. I told him I was not feeling well (true, to some degree). I also set an appointment with him tomorrow. I think, it would be best for me if I layoff my duties first, attend to my mental health needs. Only then I would be able to work efficiently as a student clinician.
I just hope he agrees with my proposition. I hope it’s not yet too late to change my schedule. Fingers crossed.