So I went for my visit. I don't see my psychiatrist that often, maybe every 4-6 months unless I'm in crisis. Then, I see the crisis team and other psychiatrists for a short period of assessment and care until the crisis has passed. We then return to normal format of very little. So When I do go I try and be focused, direct and not ramble. There isn't time. I am fully aware that services are financially stretched, staff rotate, leave or move sideways, and things in mental health are particularly tough. So today I knew my established psychiatrist had left and a locum was in post. I had to be understanding and flexible.
A huge part of my illness and lack of initial engagement with treatment was about trust. Before getting help, I trusted absolutely noone, told noone what was in my head or my heart, was pathologically hostile to institutions and people of "Control" and was a self contained moon unit floating about in society. Over time, I have learned to open up and to practice trust in all areas of my life. Sometimes that bites you in the backside, but generally, it has been fruitful. So when I got to an institution, to talk to a stranger, exposing my inner most being, I feel quite anxious and try really hard to manage my expectations. I have to build myself up to it and walk myself through it. My underlying motivation is wellness and recovery.
So I spend the next 40 minutes feeling totally conflicted. The whole episode is an effort. Psychiatrist X I will name them, is running on time I am told. Good. I get in their office and spend 15 minutes sitting there whilst psychiatrist X talks on the phone to an IT engineer as they cannot log on the system and read my notes. Finally the system boots up and psychiatrist X reads from a letter from my paper file about my last visit. Verbatim. Finally I am asked how I am. I'm on the clock so I keep it brief but direct.
Not manic or suicidal
Intrusive thoughts quite noisy
Mood erratic and motivation sporadic
Doing anything out of my basic routine throws me totally and my mood vibrates wildly
Lithium side effects are quite annoying
Not sleeping well
Other than that I function quite well but I would really like to feel better.
What do you mean about "Noisy intrusive thoughts"? I assumed psychiatrist X understood intrusive thinking but maybe it needs explaining for them to judge my wellness. But are you actually harming yourself? Er no, but intrusive thoughts aren't about me hurting myself it's about raised anxiety and distress affected by mood. Are you suicidal. Er no I said I wasn't. Excuse me, please can you tell me if the IAPT service contacted you about anxiety therapy after they rejected my application due to me being in secondary care? No. Well can you help? I don't know. I can talk to MDT and see what they say. Come back in 3 months and I suggest you just do less and see what happens. Oh and don't work.
Chocolate tea pot springs to mind. The local postman could have told me that. So I waited four and a half months to get some help and input and received zilch. I suppose what bothers me the most is that I am expected to spill my guts to a complete stranger, make myself totally vulnerable and "Engage" with services, only to be told that actually there wasn't much point in you coming. Basically, as you are not at the point of hanging yourself or hurting someone else, I'm not in a position to offer you constructive input. Not set up for that. Probably too expensive, and not available for 2 years even if it was. I actually want to be well. The government bang on about the cost of mental ill health both to employers and the welfare state, but they have cut budgets by £600 million in real terms over the last 5 years. (http://www.nhsconfed.org/-/media/Confederation/Files/Publications/Documents/)
If you can't get treated, you can't get well, you cannot work and pay back in to the system for other poorly folk. Fucktards. It's not rocket science! Sorry. I'm feeling angry. Now I'm crying with frustration.
I wish sometimes that I could be on the other side and understand why things are structured the way they are, why it is I cannot access help without jumping through ridiculous hoops, why it is that I'm in secondary care and ill, but not ill enough to warrant some kind of regular support. I am not privy to the club rules.
Anyway, tomorrows another day. I will continue to plod and reach out for wellness regardless of you lot and the rules. I'm going to nurture my inner child with an ice pop and a Disney film. Cheerio!