My sister, Pattie, told me a few months back that she was having a bit of trouble sleeping since that car accident. Turns out that that was a massive understatement – she’d actually been having something of a nervous breakdown for a while there. She broke this to me over a casual cup of tea this morning.

I may have let slip more outrage than I should have at the fact that she hadn’t told me – I probably could’ve done a better job of concealing those feelings. Still, it’s understandable, isn’t it? I’d thought I was in the know about what was going on with her, and it turns out I’ve been missing a major piece of the picture for months.

She told me that she hadn’t wanted to cause me excessive stress about it until she’d seen how she went with her sessions at the Mornington psychology clinic she’s been attending. Well, apparently that’s been going well, and she feels good enough now to share the whole episode with me.

I suppose I do understand that, on some level – I mean, if it was me in her situation, I’d probably have favoured seeking out professional mental health care over reeling in all manner of well-meaning advice from my relatives. From what I can tell, this was a brand of anxiety that a lavender eye pillow wouldn’t have gone very far towards treating.

Pattie told me that she had originally been referred to a psychiatrist who’d prescribed her a run of medication; this had been extremely useful in creating a sense of stability in the short term. The psychiatrist had then referred her to the psychologist she’s currently seeing. It seems that, on the Mornington Peninsula, psychiatric services and psychological support are both readily available, which I suppose is good to know.

From the sound of it, Pattie is now starting to lose some of the anxiety she accumulated as a result of the accident, and has even started driving again. At the end of the day, it all makes me appreciate having access to quality health care – mentally as well as physically.