*The following post discusses suicide, please ensure that you are in a safe place before reading. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please seek help. You are worth it* *The following post is bought to you by The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s new Kids Club. I did not receive payment for this post*
When I talked about the realities of mental health treatment when living in a rural area, one of the things that I failed to mention was how that treatment is received when it is an emergency. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has been providing emergency medical treatment to rural and remote Australian’s since May 1928. This treatment involves flying patients to nearby cities who are better equipped to deal with the patient’s health issues.
I had been a patient with the RFDS a few times as a psychiatric emergency. For those times I was mostly awake (a history of mental illness means that I was given a valium before the flight) and taken from the airport straight to the psychiatric inpatient unit. Medical emergencies also took precedence as while my local hospital couldn’t provide long term psychiatric care, they could provide acute care.
However in February 2007 I needed their services medically. Without their services it is possible that I could have died. After months of suicidal thoughts, I took an overdose. The scary thing about that night is that I didn’t start out with the mission to take an overdose.
I was under strict supervision by my case manager, who was calling daily, the local hospital who was dispensing my medication daily and the mental health acute care team (who was 7 hours away). I had gotten off the phone with my case manager, who had spent time outside her working hours to speak with me. She set me the task of writing an essay about BPD, telling me that we would get through today and see how tomorrow was.
She didn’t blow smoke up my arse about ‘your life with get better blah blah blah’ because she knew it was hard enough for me to see past the end of each day. That’s one of the things I liked about her. I was searching through boxes in my unit, looking for pens and a notebook when I discovered boxes of medication that I forgot I had.
From that moment on I had tunnel vision. Everything else paled in comparison to that medication and what it meant. I had forgotten about the phone call I was supposed to make to check in with the Acute Care Team. I don’t think what I really wanted was to die, I just wanted the emptiness to go away, to kill that which I felt was weak.
The next few hours were a blur. I remember trying to convince the Acute Care Team that I was OK despite my slurring words. I remember the police turning up, trying convince them that I was fine I was just a bit tired. I remember being taken to the local hospital, a small 2 doctor hospital. I remember speaking to the Dr on duty, telling him that I was fine, I just wanted to go home. I remember walking out the door when no one would believe me and being dragged back by the police. That’s the last thing I remembered until I woke up in ICU in a hospital 7 hours from home.
I had been in a coma for a couple of days. I was flown to Rockhampton when my condition wasn’t improving. Without the services of the RFDS it would have been a long drive in the back of an ambulance. For many people this trip would simply be too long to survive. Without the RFDS those in rural and remote areas would be left without critical medical care.
To help spread the word about the RFDS and the amazing things they do, the Victorian Branch has created the Flying Doctor Kids Club. This club is aimed at kids aged 5-12 and each member will receive a birthday message each year, a Christmas card, (both from RFDS mascot Flynn the Flyer) and a regular newsletter featuring fun facts, brain teasers and stories about kids in rural and remote Australia.
Sign up your kids by 24th of March 2016 and go into the draw to win an Ipad and Pilot Pack.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!
Oh Jesus Tegan, I am so glad that you had the right support at the right time to pull through. As much as we like to complain about the lack of funding to the health and emergency sectors, they really do come through for people.
Thank goodness for the RFDS, Tegan. What a scary ordeal for you. This sounds like a great initiative. In the city, we don’t really hear much about the good work the RFDS does. I hope this will provide some decent promotion for them.
That is a very big story to share. You’re insight and generosity on this topic is hopefully helping many, many others. And thank goodness for the RFDS!!
Oh Tegan, This is such a huge story to share. Your sharing this can help so many people. You have opened my eyes that little bit more … and I thank you for that.
I am so happy you are with us …
I can’t even fathom the gravity of this and the courage it has taken you to post. Thank god you’re still here. Xx
What an incredible scary story! Glad you are still here to write about it. The RFDS are a wonderful service and most of Australia would be lost without them. An inspiring post. xo
Thank you for being so courageous in telling your story Tegan and thanks too to so many health practitioners who help our friends and family who struggle. The RFDS does a great job helping our community across Australia. May you continue to be in a healthy place.
What an incredibly courageous story to share, and a brilliant service, I remember as a teen on a school camp in Alice springs having to be seen by The RFDS and it made real impression on me, how much they care for others.
Thank you for sharing your story – and what a great job RFDS do. Excellent way to get kids in supporting them and understanding regional Australia their whole lives.
Wow Tegan. Thank you so much for sharing this story. Was it as difficult to share as I imagine it was? Or more so. What an amazing job the RFDS does. #teamIBOT
Thanks for sharing that Tegan.
The RFDS do such a fantastic job. We only have a small hospital here so RFDS often is moving people to Adelaide to provide life saving treatment.
I’m glad you had people looking after you that day. xx
Tegsn I’m so glad you had access to the RFDS and treatment. And that you can now share your story for good.
Tegan! Thank you so much for sharing your story. This affects so many and it’s very generous of you to open up your experience. Thank goodness for RFDS! I live in rural WA and we know the sound of the RFDS plane. Every time you hear it, you say a little prayer and hope the person it’s been called for is alright. They are angels in the sky for people like us. We have a small hospital in town but next biggest hospital, and if you’re in labour – that’s a 90 minute drive away. I’ve just signed the kids up to the newsletter, it’s an organisation very dear to our country hearts xx
The RFDS really are lifesavers. I’m glad you are still here. I wish my kids were young enough to be part of that program.