I got rather freaked out by missing one day of my medication. I couldn’t sleep, when I did I had nightmares that were so vivid it was more like hallucination and I woke up in a cold sweat. Eww. I was seriosuly contemplating phoning my parents and crying down the phone and begging them to miss thier weekend away becuase I felt I wasn’t safe on my own. Very pannicy , tense and weepy.

Thankfully I managed to calm myself down a bit, take my newly replenished medication and go back to sleep for a bit.

All after one missed dose. This terrifies me. I feel like I’m an inadvertant drug addict, that if anything should happen and I can’t get my medication I’m screwed, this is after a day, after longer I’d be a wreck. I’m worried that I’ve signed up for a lifetime of strong medication, I was first put on prozzac as a teenager and I’ve been on various things since. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this, I’m not sure it does me good, but withdrawal symptoms are hellish it’s not worth even considering coming off without a supportive Psychiatrist, mine has told me I am not stable enough to even think about lowering things, maybe he’s right. Or maybe the drugs are making me madder, it’s hard to tell when the list of side effects is oddly similar to the list of symptoms of your illness (how do you tell if you;re depressed becuase of anti depressants or becuase they’re just not working?).

So yes, must be super organised in future and not develop a lack of medication induced moment of madness when home alone, which just adds another level of panic re: creaky house noises, wind, funny sounding cats in the street, omgi’mcrackingupican’tcopei’mallalone

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They’ve been in the news, mostly focusing on in patient care. Whilst this does need highlighting I’d like to have a rant about out patient services, or the complete and utter lack of them.

I’ve never been in in patient care, I was threatened with it once as a teenager but I can barely remember those years and ironically I wasn’t really crazy then (they saw my M.E/CFS as psychological, so I was sent to the psychiatrist from hell), they just thought I was and now I am actually going crazy everyone seems much less keen to actually treat my craziness.

My experience of outpatient care can be mostly described in one word :


min·i·mal

–adjective

1.

constituting a minimum: a minimal mode of transportation.
2.

barely adequate or the least possible: minimal care.
No 2 specifically.

I was formally diagnosed with depression (as opposed to the false it’s not M.E it’s depression mess from my teens) about 5 or 6 years ago. In those 5 or 6 years I’ve been on about 3 different anti-depressants, none of which have really worked and some of which have sent me crazier, or just not worked at all. My doubts and queries about my medication have rarely been given an answer beyond the monosyllabic, I have felt for the last year or so that my latest medication, venlafaxine (which has had the dosage raised again and again, like all the others) is leaving me emotionally dulled and deadened to the extent that it is starting to add to my depression symptoms. All I’ve been told is I am not well enough to consider lowering the dose as I am still ‘very depressed’. I need to be ‘more stable’. It’s like talking to a brick wall.

I have been referred to psychotherapy twice. The first time was useless. I had 16 sessions of CBT which I didn’t find very helpful and when I came to the end of my allotted 16 sessions I was told that was it regardless of the fact I was still as depressed as ever. It took me about 2 years to get referred for a second time; with one memorable false start of referred for counselling at my GP’s surgery only to be told a few weeks later I wasn’t eligible as I was seeing a psychiatrist and was thus too ill. That counselling wasn’t for ‘people as depressed as me’. After asking the psychiatrist and GP about 20000000 times again the psychiatrist (not my regular guy, interesting)  referred me to some ‘improving access to talking therapies’ thing. About 6 months or more after I got that referral I had my first appointment. It seems like it’s CBT again, which I have told everyone I didn’t find helpful. Though on the plus side the guy seems nicer than the other one and said there were other options available should I need them.

My appointments with the psychiatrist last about 5 minutes on average, I say I’m still depressed, go over my feelings, say when I was hurt myself or felt suicidal it all gets noted down and nothing happens. I raise the odd question it gets ignored or I just get told to go away.  I had one good one hour or so session about 5 years ago where I went over things in depth, but no more since as it was an introductory type thingy-ma-bob.

I am just given pills and sent away. I am not getting better, if anything I am getting worse. No one seems to care.

Beyond mostly ineffectual pills or short courses of CBT it seems there is nothing anyone can offer me.

The treatment I found most helpful, when I thought I might be getting somewhere was when I saw a clinical psychologist, I had more than one long session where I could talk in depth (one hour is woefully inadequate for a long history of ‘shitty stuff that fucked you up’) but that was arranged through university and I graduated last year.

I feel pretty much left to get on with it on my own.

It’d be nice to have someone who listens to me and my concerns, to not be fobbed off with more pills that don’t seem to bloody work; it’s the same pattern over and over. I get a bit better, it fades, the dose gets raised with little or no improvement till I plateau or even get worse, I can’t go any higher on the dosage so my medication gets changed and it starts all over again, or I just get stuck asking questions and being ignored. Not to mention the good few months of the horror that is withdrawal and changing over of anti-depressants , which I why I won’t just stop taking them as I am often tempted too, it’s too fucking hard to come off them without doing it properly, If I miss even a day or two I go ‘cold turkey’ (or more accurately hot, sweaty, dizzy, nauseous, headachy and roller coaster emotion turkey).

I spend more time starting at the fish in the waiting room than getting anything that can be described as ‘care’.

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A bit like writer’s block but it encompasses everything. I am suffering from this of late, hence the lack of updates. Every creative impulse seems to have dried up  as has the impluse to do anything really.

Any ideas how to break this?

I have a sneaky feeling it’s my medication, at least in part, ever since I went onto a higher dose about a year ago, or what feels like a year ago, I’ve just become so dull, any creativity has just gone. All that fizzing energy has vanished to be replaced by beige woodchip wallpaper, a sea of polyester slacks with creases down the front old men wear with velcro trainers. I am emotionless, and in a not very academic ilustration of why logic doesn’t always work: getting rid of feelings does not make ones negative feelings go away and cure ‘moods’ it just makes you feel empty, dead and oddly inhuman as if any blood is your veins is now dust.

I have become the personification of ‘meh’.

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I got my referral for ‘talking therapies’ through so hopefully the NHS will provide me with more than 16 sessions of largely ineffectual CBT. Though the NHS being the NHS I have to wait a few weeks before they will phone up up for a phone consultation to decide what therapy will be best and then put me on another waiting list.

I want to get my medication sorted, the venlafaxine is just making me feel so numb, flat and beige (not black, black has something about it, beige is just ‘meh’)  and it’s not doing much for the depression seeing as I’m currently having one of the worst episodes in years; but trying to get anyone even vaugely interested in this is a chore, especially those people in charge of my medication. I am also worried as I had a new psychiatrist last time and he bore a spooky resemblance to Moss from the IT Crowd, but middle aged and with a bow-tie. It is worrying when your psychiatrist looks like he’s crazier than you are.  I am all for eccentric dress sense but I’m just not sure if it gives the right image for a mental health professional.

I have also started to notice that the fish in the waiting room have changed, the little glowy ones have gone. I liked them. I fear the worst, it perhaps reflects my morbid moods that I wonder how often the fish die in that place. I hope they at least flush them with dignity.

As I am at a pretty low ebb and am rather incapable of full time work my Mum has decided I should tackle the hell of the DLA form. My Mum is far more optimistic about these things, coming at it from the logical position that as far as the DWP’s own defintions of ‘disabled’ go I am disabled so I should get it; I however have had too many experiences of DWP doctors to know that I could actually be dead and still deemed capable of work (‘has not decomposed yet, so can still work’) . My friend calls the people who do the benefit medicals ‘Davros’ and it’s a definition I agree with.

 

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