Whenever I find myself needing to visit a GP, I’m always a little perturbed by the prospects of walking into the consulting room, sitting down, getting the obligatory “So what is it that brings you here today?” and then… well… erm… eh…

These days, if I get a cold, or flu, or even a horribly spewy tummy bug, I know to just dose up on painkillers, hot drinks and rest. And perhaps place a bucket next to the sofa. Also, I get a really odd craving for hot dogs whenever I’m particularly run down.

But there’s been a few things on my mind lately, things that need to be dealt with, and yet leave me tongue-tied when contemplating picking up the phone to make a doctor’s appointment. See, physical stuff is, to a degree, a lot easier to sort. A prod, poke, some tests, some pills, and you’re hopefully on the mend.

But what about the stuff ‘up top’?

The last time I went to the GP was to talk about those strange, nocturnal ‘episodes’. Telling a doctor you’re having ‘brain frazzles’ (as I so often refer to them) doesn’t help them get to the bottom of the problem very easily. In fact, those episodes are so bloody difficult to explain I can only assume that the only chance I’d have at finding out what they are is to have some sort of EEG at the exact moment one happens. And thanks to the unpredictability of the little blighters, the chances of having a load of wires attached to my head when one occurs is slim to the point of non-existent.

So that’s number one on the list.

Next up, depression. It’s back with a huge dose of anxiety on the side, like a large dollop of coleslaw on the side of a big depression burger. And the coleslaw’s long gone off. And the burger is actually a cowpat in a mouldy bun. (No idea what I’m talking about here…)

I reluctantly took the pill route before, but this time I just don’t think this is the way forward. So far, upon suggestion of a manager in my workplace, I’ve contacted the Retail Trust (a charity that offers a plethora of advice and support to those in the retail industry). I emailed them first because, once again, talking isn’t a strong point of mine, and they promptly replied asking me to call to talk to someone about the possibility of six free counselling sessions. Six may not seem like a lot, but it’ll be a start as the NHS take months to even get around to considering you for counselling. I just need to pluck up the courage to call them! I really want to avoid dosing up on Citalopram again. The last time it lead to my waistline expanding at an exponential rate, and despite all I’d read about SSRI’s and weight gain, I was told that it wasn’t a possible side-effect and that I ‘shouldn’t read things’. Well, it IS a common side-effect. I went up two waist sizes in less than two months after being the same weight since I was 16 and I can’t afford new jeans, again!

That was number two for the list.

And then finally, after having some very insightful discussions, doing some reading and having a moment of “Shit. This all makes sense, more so than ever before, and I’m not sure what to do now…” we have the conundrum of, “How do I bring up the possibility of an autism-spectrum condition with my doctor?”

How DO you do that?

Once before, I’d told a GP that I believed I had asthma as I would get severely breathless after doing any sort of dusting or housework. Here’s what she said to me, “Wash your home down with a bucket of soapy water.”

It wasn’t long after that I ended up in hospital. I went into an A&E department, found myself whisked into the triage area. Breathlessly I tried to explain to a nurse that I felt stupid for coming for something so minor. Her words? “Your lungs are in such a bad way that if you hadn’t come here tonight, there’s a chance you wouldn’t have seen tomorrow.” And then she slapped a nebuliser over my face and was soon admitted to a ward for geriatrics with lung problems. And I was kept there for three days. I was sent away with two inhalers and finally, a diagnosis of asthma.

So, going by my previous interactions with GPs, perhaps you can understand my reluctance to go in and try to point them in a specific direction. They seem to highly resent being told, well, anything.

(Just to make a quick point, I’m not stating that I have an autism-spectrum condition. What I am saying is that so many things that I’ve put into separate little boxes such as depression, the anxiety and a plethora of little things that hinder me from living what I’d class as a ‘normal’ life (whatever that is!), could point to an overall autism-spectrum condition . I’d simply appreciate a GP taking this on board and putting some wheels in motion to help me find out either way, just what is going on.)

And that was number three.

I reckon I wrote this blog piece to actually get my head around just what I need to sum up into a five minute appointment slot. Maybe I should print it out and just hand it over to whoever ends up sat on the other side of the desk, nodding at me with that fawny, sideways slanted head, “I really care about what you’re saying” manner. I know that look all too well, I’m often called upon to use it in my Monday to Friday working life…!

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