It was psychiatrist time again the other day, he told me not to worry about the anti-pyschotics making me dizzy so now it’s back to the same ‘treatment plan’ or lack of one. I wonder if it does anything and if I’m ever going to get anywhere or if there’s even any point in seeing the psychiatrist as all he seems to do is tell me to keep taking the meds and look confused  whilst looking at my notes. I get the feeling he really has no clue what to do with me. He keeps asking me if I want to stay on the medication of change and when I ask what he thinks, hoping for some medical advice or an explanation of stuff, the downsides and benefits of different options, he just sort of umms and aaas and asks me again; whatever I answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ he never seems pleased.

Sisyphus by TitianI feel like Sissyphus, condemned to roll this ball up a hill forever, never changing, never achieving anything except barely managing this sodding great boulder. After the multiple disasters of therapy I’m reluctant to ask for it again as I know it’s highly unlikely ill be given anything but more short term cbt esque stuff which doesn’t do much/anything for me. It just seems so futile, as if no one actually cares about treating me and they view me as a nuisance with this problem that is still there and they don’t know what to do so they just ignore me cos I’m not serious enough for them to worry about being sued for negligence or something. An appointment longer than 5 minutes would be nice, someone to take another look back at everything, someone who isn’t a poor improving access to psychological therapies new recruit out of their depth, someone who doesn’t try to shove me and my symptoms into boxes and ignore the ones that don’t quite fit. I suppose that’s it, I’m one of the tricky ones who its easier to leave drifting so you can focus on the ‘easier’ cases that make the numbers look good. I am just so fed up of it all, I am technically under the care of the community mental health trust, I’m technically being treated or whatever but really it amounts to fuck all. I just feel like I am continuously getting nowhere. I don’t have the energy to fight it, I’m too fed up to be angry. I just feel like wallpaper (obviously the yellow stuff) , it’s just there, no one really notices it and just gets on with life around it whilst it’s stuck there just oozing insignificance. Or that girl in that episode of Buffy who turned invisible because no one noticed her.

The waiting room fish seem happy though, think there are some new ones.

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Yesterday on twitter I got talking to people, someone mentioned their mother’s medication had been changed from a brand to generic without her consent and I got into a discussion about what happened to me, other people weighed in and said they knew many other people who it had happened too as well. Despite what doctors say some people DO react differently to different brands of the same drug. Forcing this change through without consent to save money IS NOT ON. In this new era of NHS cuts and dismantling how many of us have been lied to or changed our medications under little supervision when we could experience some pretty nasty side effects?

I was changed to a new medication, without discussion I was just told it would happen, by letter something to do with a review of everyone at the practice and how they had been told to save money blah blah and ‘was the same drug really so you’ll be O.K’. I was changed from Venlafaxine extended release (venlafaxine xr) to Venlafaxine plain old no extended release. Lo and behold for the few weeks as my body got used to changing medication I felt like crap, the usual side effects, shakiness, night sweats, sleeping problems, dizziness, anxiety depression etc. I told my psychiatrist this and the GP,  they  told me it was nothing and it was the same drug so it shouldn’t happen. The pharmacist who served my mum (who was picking up my meds for me) was concerned and didn’t understand why they were changing me rapidly instead of easing me off as I am on a high dose, she wanted to phone to the GP but it was a weekend and I needed my meds, I couldn’t wait and risk withdrawal and after all I had been reassured it was ‘the same thing’ and I would be O.K.

I hesitate to say my medication was changed without consent, but it was certainly changed without INFORMED consent, I was given misinformation and my genuine concerns over side effects of changing were ignored. I’d had very bad experiences changing anti depressants before, though the time before last the very nice GP who I think has left now who oversaw one change was very honest with me and signed me off uni for a month. That’s the kind of treatment I expect and deserve, saying ‘yeh it’ll be shit for a while but don’t worry that’s normal and stick with it for a bit then come and see me if it’s still bad’ is immensely preferable to being pretty much lied to or having the truth skipped over. I agreed yes, but only because I was reassured it was the same thing and the only difference was I’d take it twice a day instead of once and there was the underlying attitude in the air that I had better change or else, I’m always a bit weak when faced with medical types especially if I’m not feeling too good. Not to mention the ethics of belittling the genuine symptoms of someone with mental illness, making you wonder if maybe you are just being paranoid and making it all up.

This is not acceptable. Yes my new medication saves the NHS money but forcing through a change in that way is wrong, unethical. It just adds even more ammunition to the feeling that I am just ‘parked’ on the NHS, my treatment is the bare minimum and no one gives a shit. Talking therapy is unavailable apart from short term CBT or counselling which does not work for me but there is no way I can afford to go private (nor would I wish to being against private medicine)  for long term psychotherapy which I feel I need if I ever want to get my life ‘sorted’.

How many more people have had this done to them? Does anyone else have similar experiences? I’m tempted to investigate a written complaint or something yet at the same time I’m not sure I have the energy to face it .

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I have yet again come to the end of another short burst of counselling, though this time I feel I have at least made some good progress. I am also dissapointed that the only counsellor to happily say to me ‘if you feel you need more in the future please contact me’ was one I accessed via chairty to do with my Dad’s job and not the NHS.

I am always, always weighed down by the fact that when (and it is always more ‘when’ than ‘if’) I have another set of episodes I will have to go through the whole rigmarole of it again. The whole issue of having to continually fight for any scant scrap of help is just so fucking tiring sometimes and politically I have issue with it. Especially when all the forms for me to claim benefits as I am quite frankly not in a stable enough state to work full time, insist I must be doing the utmost to manage my condition and that if they deem I am not I can be refused. The biggest barrier in me managing my condition has been; the lack of treatment and support available to me on the NHS. I have had to fight for every referal, I still don’t feel listened to. I went a bit nuts and got some lovely physical side effects such as the wierd shakiness thing when they changed my medication from extented release to twice a day to save money and the response I got was the usual ‘I’ll write this down in your notes and pretty much not talk to you about anything’.  The fact, as far as I know, I have a vague semi diagnosis of ‘some sort of depressive disorder’ and no one’s really bothered to explore beyond that. I know I should fight more but I honestly don’t have the strength.

With the tories this is only going to get worse. I am genuinely worried about my health and my sanity when the NHS and benefit reforms get pushed through and I know I am one of the very lucky ones with a supportive family and friends.

I honestly believe these reforms will have a death toll

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There’s an interesting twitter debate going on via @Rethink_ on what language to use for mental illness, those who suffer with it (do we suffer or what? ).

It is an interesting debate and I don’t think we should all be called ‘nutters’ ‘loonies’ etc. by the health service but what infuriates me more is all this ‘choice’ bollocks and being a ‘service user; blah blah disguising the fact that access to said services is piss poor. I don’t think ‘Ohh I can choose where I go (which was a choice between, somewhere near and somewhere far away so I like 90% of people chose the place nearest me, duh)  and I get a little password to go on a website, now I feel so much better about having to wait 6 months!’. It’s not that i dislike choice, I dislike the choice rhetoric being used to add a sense of false ’empowerment’ to patients/service users/clients/customers/frustrated people, choice being used as political ammunition and being held up as a beacon of wonder in the NHS when the real problems are glossed over.

I have had to wait months at a time for ‘talking therapies’, despite all my medical professionals knowing I have suicidal thoughts, self harm issues etc. and them professing to worry about me, acknowledge my treatment isn’t working at really. That is normal, I know of someone who still had to go private for counselling after being hospitalised for a suicide attempt. Not that it’s the Drs fault, all they can do is refer and guess at how long it’ll take.

Someone could call me Fartarsewankerscumbitch or whatever and as long as I could be assured of some care being accessible when I need and for as long as a I need it; I swear half my problems come from being left high and dry after my allotted number of therapy sessions are through regardless of how I feel. Knowing your treatment is for a set amount of time adds anxiety and pressure to be ‘O.K’ within the said time limit and an anxiety about being left not O.K and having to go through the whole thing again in the future; which is less than productive when anxiety makes your depression worse. They say it’s a ‘revolving door’ system, perhaps it is as I currently feel like I’m stuck in it going round and round like a silent screen comedy caper.

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A.K.A “Not more bloody forms”.

So after an initially hopeful session of therapy where I started (please note the word ‘started’ here) getting into the issues around my depression and how far back they go in my life, how I felt as a child and all that, I’m back to ‘working on behaviours’ and filling in (or not as the case may be, it’s technically ‘homework’ so it can be done at the last minute as is proper for such things) little forms about mostly inconsequential areas of my life.

I am going to give this a try again. I have to , I have no other choice. I just wish that I could have some form of therapy that allowed me to talk about things, that tried to get to the roots of all this, as opposed to more sticking plasters that will eventually peel off and leave a sticky mess. This happened before, I had a session or two though ‘ohh this is good, I’m being brave opening up, talking about stuff’ and as soon as that teeny little gap opened up it got closed again as it all went filling in daft forms tastic. If anything it’s far more frustrating to see that brief glimpse and then have it cut off again than it is to never see it. I’ll probably get discharged again at the end of it as unless I try to sever my my own arm off in-front of someone I’m obviously ‘O.K’ and don’t need more money spent on me. I read a statistic about how a high percentage of CBT patients end up getting discharged at the end of their teeny tiny allotted time scale of treatment only to wander back in again a year or so later feeling much the same. I can see that happening to me. All in the pursuit of ‘outcomes’ or whatever, being able to fill in a form saying someone completed this course of and as they haven’t yet killed themselves or been caught trying to gnaw off their own leg they’re ‘fine’.

From what I can gather I’m pencilled in for about 6 more sessions of less than an hour. That is what I am being offered for a problem that leaves me currently unable to work and if I’m brutally honest, may leave my life at risk. A problem I have been ‘treated’ for for the last 5 (or is it 6?) years with little or no lasting improvement. In short something that’s a major, chronic health concern but may have less treatment time spent on it than a stubborn verruca.

Maybe I should write the forms in blood? Just for a laugh.

I’m considering going private, which as a someone who doesn’t really agree with private healthcare and is also utterly skint, is a scary prospect.

As an aside, my spell check did not know the word ‘verruca’ yet the computer’s dictionary did. Perhaps I am not mad but the world is?

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