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The NHS is many things, free, understaffed & in demand....

How have you found the NHS Mental Health System?

What are your best/worst experiences?

 

For me it's;

Best: When I was a teenager I was given therapy sessions and help when I needed it most.

Worst: Today I was told the NHS doesn't supply Counselling and got offered the help of a charity that offers acupuncture and 'health walk groups' instead of any NHS Mental Health support.

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There is no best for me.

There is a very long list, but here are a few. 

I was told they couldn't offer any treatment until I was able to go outside. Agoraphobia kind of made that a problem for me.

My last psychologist called me by the wrong name every time I was there. I never corrected him.

I was discharged from all service for refusing medication as it showed I wasn't engaging. I had previously had a reaction to a medication so they stopped me taking it. I was unwilling to try a new one after this. By not agreeing to medication all other service were refused.

I've been discharged from hospital days after a suicide attempt that they classed as high risk, without an assessment they then closed my case. I didn't understand any of this as I wasn't well, but a year after this, we requested my medical notes and they tried to withhold them. Their lawyers had to advise them that they couldn't withhold my notes just because it would cause embarrassment to the trust. I later found out if I had started a legal complaint in the right time frame I would of had a case. 

Primary services won't see me as I'm not classed as ill enough. Secondary service won't see me as my problems are too complex. I recently tried to reapply to another part of the service and was turned down due to my suicide attempt. It had been five years since it happened and I'm still being refused mental health treatment because of it. I can't tell if being refused mental health treatment because you have a mental health condition is funny or not, but me and the therapist I see privately laughed at the letter.

The therapist I see now sees me at a massively reduced rate after going through my notes. I wouldn't be able to pay for therapy if she didn't do this so I'm very grateful to her.

I did once receive a short written apology from the service I was under. Funnily enough it was right after the time frame for me to make a legal complaint had gone by. 

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That's fucking ridiculous Raspberry. They couldn't offer you any treatment until you were able to go outside? But... I mean... what? I don't know if I was agrophobic but I used to be a recluse who barely ever left the house, which was caused by my mental health problems, and also made them worse. Too ill for some and not ill enough for others? What. The. F.U.C.K? Turned down for treatment because you once tried to kill yourself? Your mental health services sound a bit mental.

I don't know how much it varies around the country. Mental health services are apparently very good round where I live, though struggling with the demand, while over the river they're supposed to be awful. I'm starting CBT next week, which has happened less than a month since I first referred myself to them. Someone I know had to wait 18 months before he saw someone, which isn't great but he said that they were good and really helped him. I heard that they have been hiring more people but still, I wasn't expecting to see someone so quickly and maybe I just got lucky.

So good ol' NHS in my case. Not so great for Raspberry or for Lurking's acupuncture walks. I imagine that they stick pins in you and then you wander arounds scenic places looking like pinhead from Hellraiser and scaring the shit out of everyone.

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Sounds like fun though I'm not sure how that's supposed to help your mental health.

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Not long ago people also didn't turn up for home visits after a GP rang the hospital and said she was concerned about my mental health. Three weeks in a row I got up and dressed on the Wednesday afternoons they were supposed to come round. No one showed until the 4th week. 

The last time I went to that service I asked the woman I saw if she would be happy receiving the treatment I've received.

Her : "I'm not in your position"

Me : "But imagine you were. Would you be happy and would that be helpful to you"

Her : "But I don't have to image, I have a life, a job and my hobbies, its you that doesn't have one and accessing the service"

There was a group meet up of people that have been under the hospital. One of them was a mum whose son had committed suicide. After his case was investigate a member of staff was fired. Doesn't get her son back though. There were so many people complaining of similar things to me, no care plans, rude staff, phone calls to their crisis lines not being answered or returned, being discharged from the service without knowing why, but all of them had pretty much been ignored or treated like crazy people moaning about their treatment and without evidence to prove what was said or done to them. All that happened was that their cases were refereed to the CQC.

Even though I have major issues with my ex I'm grateful as he was the one who got my notes released and the one who discovered and listed all the failings, and there is a lot more than I listed in the post before. I just wish we hadn't tried to complain via the hospital and had known to get legal advice. I'm still really upset with the fact I didn't know to do this as years of failings haven't been addressed and although I can't get back the years wasted, having it acknowledge and even a bit of compensation so I could afford long term therapy privately would of helped a lot.

I can't prove the things said in sessions but I can prove the things written in my notes. There is a huge part of me that wants to put them somewhere for people to see and with the name of the people that fucked up but at the same time there is also the issue of not knowing if there would be legal ramifications of me doing this and of the notes being so personal and private and I don't want people to know that part. Its easy to say 'oh I spend days at a time in bed, I spend half of my time with weird scary thoughts, I self harm, This person did that to me, I was arrested because of my mental health,  I've tried to kill myself,  I've wasted my life because I can't cope etc on a board with people that are in similar situations. Can complain, compare, rant, share and even joke about their issues, behaviours and conditions but to have it shared were I live around people I went to school with, people that know my family, my neighbours whatever, I don't think I could handle that.

But like I said I do have to be thankful for the private therapist I now see. She is really nice. Not only has she reduced the rate and sees me for much longer than she should, we have also gone for little drives etc to help me get out. She also does things like text me in the week to see how things like hospital appointments have been. 

Sorry for the essay but this still really upsets me and has majorly affected my life. I'll never know that if treatment had been given earlier before it escalated and spiralled out of control would things of been different for me? Would I be feeling like this and living like this now? I know that others are being treated like this and there is very little that can be done to stop it.

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Spoke too soon. CBT ended before it started. The guy I saw thinks that I need a proper evaluation and that he can't do anything for me. He gave me a sheet last week to write about problems and the thoughts that they provoked. I didn't have a great week but I didn't think that what I'd written was that bad. He spent a long time reading it in wide eyed silence before telling me that I should see a specialist in order to properly understand the problem. That's a different branch of the mental health services and he didn't know how it works. It goes back to my GP to refer me to someone or other and I don't know what happens now. Thought I'd got lucky seeing someone so soon but hey ho.

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14 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Spoke too soon. CBT ended before it started. The guy I saw thinks that I need a proper evaluation and that he can't do anything for me. He gave me a sheet last week to write about problems and the thoughts that they provoked. I didn't have a great week but I didn't think that what I'd written was that bad. He spent a long time reading it in wide eyed silence before telling me that I should see a specialist in order to properly understand the problem. That's a different branch of the mental health services and he didn't know how it works. It goes back to my GP to refer me to someone or other and I don't know what happens now. Thought I'd got lucky seeing someone so soon but hey ho.

That sucks. Have they said how long you will have to wait for an assessment from someone else, and will it be under secondary or primary services? 

Edited by Raspberry

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8 hours ago, Raspberry said:

That sucks. Have they said how long you will have to wait for an assessment from someone else, and will it be under secondary or primary services? 

No idea. The guy I saw is going to write to my GP and ring me next week to tell me how things stand. Maybe CBT would've helped a little even if it didn't cure me. It's probably because I said that I might have a personality disorder and I was completely honest when he asked about suicidal thoughts. Thinking about suicide isn't the same thing as doing it, and it's a pretty typical thought with depression, but whenever I've talked about it with any medical professional they have tended to shit a brick. It's not serious and it's been far more of a risk in the past than it is now. Yeah those non-serious whimsical and playful suicidal thoughts. I don't know what happens from here. Maybe he was right though. It was hard to imagine that a 6-10 week course of CBT could cure me of a lifetime of crappy damaging thoughts.

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Best: at least they believed I was depressed and anxious, I've never done so well in a test :/ Serotonin withdrawal was a fun experience though, if you like yelling at your boss and blinding headaches.

Worst: technically what I saw someone else go through, but personally I also got offloaded to a charity who had never heard of my diagnoses before. Very sweet, not helpful in the long term. Still don't understand how an NHS psych could go 'yeah you have a personality disorder' then just recommend very basic counselling.

It really seems like unless your problem is 'I feel slightly sad but honestly a good cup of tea could cheer me up' then you are too difficult and problematic. That's not belittling people who are a bit sad, there's just fucking nothing out there other than the goodwill of charities or the occasional doctor. Or CBT, especially if it's in a group so they can maximise how many people can see two pdocs at one time. Honestly group CBT was nice because I got to talk to other anxious people (like on here) rather than doing any major help, though it did get me out of the house a bit more.

I'm glad you have such a good therapist Raspberry, or at least one sympathetic to your financial situation. Early intervention is and should be a priority, at the very least in terms of quality of life and compassion. It also doesn't take a genius to go 'if we invest now people will generally need our services less in the future', but we gotta have austerity I guess. Sorry this stuff always make me angry, you shouldn't have had to go through any of that.

Would absolutely walk around with pins in my head Fluent. Maybe it would help my social anxiety?

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On 15/09/2018 at 11:37 PM, Fluent In Silence said:

No idea. The guy I saw is going to write to my GP and ring me next week to tell me how things stand. Maybe CBT would've helped a little even if it didn't cure me. It's probably because I said that I might have a personality disorder and I was completely honest when he asked about suicidal thoughts. Thinking about suicide isn't the same thing as doing it, and it's a pretty typical thought with depression, but whenever I've talked about it with any medical professional they have tended to shit a brick. It's not serious and it's been far more of a risk in the past than it is now. Yeah those non-serious whimsical and playful suicidal thoughts. I don't know what happens from here. Maybe he was right though. It was hard to imagine that a 6-10 week course of CBT could cure me of a lifetime of crappy damaging thoughts.

There are a few online CBT courses and one called beating the blues that your GP can prescribe. Also there is a site called getselfhelp that has worksheets for DBT and CBT which are all the same ones that the NHS use in their sessions. May not be of any help but it could be worth a try whilst you are waiting. I've printed a few off and made a sort of self help book aimed at things that may help me.  Worryingly to get under secondary services sometimes you have to lie a bit. No self harm and no suicidal thoughts allowed! 

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Posted (edited)

I hate the system with all my heart, and I know hate's a strong word, but in my opinion, it isn't strong enough, and I like my hatred; it keeps me warm and keeps me going, so if you want to tell me how unhealthy it is you can just keep it to yourself because it's just going to bounce off as if against an impenetrable force field. Whew...now that THAT'S out of the way, here's MY "Best" and "Worst" experiences.

Best: The day I was released after yeeears of being locked up; between the ages 12 and 17.

Worst: From the beginning to the end, I was kidnapped, beaten, raped, shanked, drugged, tortured, humiliated, brainwashed, and experimented on, and now it's pretty much all I ever fucking think about. THAT, and getting revenge. I'm kind of obsessed with it; it's the only reason I haven't killed myself yet. Especially after my family was destroyed. I have pretty much nothing to look forward to now except prison and a quick death. I've gradually become perfectly fine with that. I just see it as fate/destiny/chaos theory. The next most logical outcome in this decade-plus long series of events. ....Shit happens. 

--204

Edited by 204

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For me the worst is the ASD dx being used to cover many things, and probably more (ADD/Agoraphobia/Social Anxiety/Alexithymia/SPD/SpLD). Also not remembering I have a communication problem and expecting me to be able to communicate effectively. 

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WTF? I shouldn't be surprised but those are all very different things. You can't just stick em all under the same umbrella? The communication thing is a pain, and it creates a rock-hard place situation. Either you can effectively communicate (with a lot of effort) so it can't be 'that bad', or you can't and aren't able to get the help you need because clearly you don't need it. Small potatoes but I am still surprised that my extremely depressed 16 year old self told my GP and a counsellor how bad I was doing, then when I stopped my medication/therapy there was one follow up letter that informed me if I didn't show up for the next therapy session they'd be cancelled. Like, maybe that was a red flag guys? Mind you I've heard horror stories about CAMHS so I don't know what's worse really :( 

(Another fun thing- when I went to my first therapy session, aged 16, I got on a bus and the bus driver flirted with me. For 5-10 minutes. My house is right by the beginning/end of the route so it was stationary. But how did this 30-something guy not see how young I was. Or maybe that was irrelevant. Creep)

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best - excellent supportive GPs

worst - 9 + month eating disorder treatment waiting list

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I seem to have also fallen in the hole between being too ill for one service and not ill enough for another. I originally had to refer myself to a service which only seems to offer CBT. That was a bit of a weird place. Like walking onto a children's TV show where everyone is so unnaturally nice and cheerful. "Well done! You completed the questionnaire about how miserable you feel! Have a lollipop!" There weren't really any lollipops :angry:. But after hearing me talk about suicide, alcohol and personality disorders he wasn't sure he could help me and thought I needed a proper evaluation. The guy had a fucking ponytail but I thought he was probably right all the same. Kicked back to the GP to refer me somewhere else. Heard nothing after six weeks so go ask the surgery. They've been trying to contact me apparently. I mean they have my phone number and email address so I guess the carrier pigeon never made it or something. They sent a telegram, they sent smoke signals, they sent a guy called Brian who was supposed to pass on the message.

The message was that they didn't think I was suited to be treated by this service which deals with more serious cases. This is a bit shit. The guy I saw was worried about my suicidal thoughts and alcohol consumption. I'm probably not going to kill myself anytime soon but what if I were? I had to go and ask what was going on because they couldn't get hold of me, even though I've had phone calls, texts, and letters from the same health care centre in the past. Not great if someone needs help urgently. So I don't know what, if anything, is happening now. Seeing the GP next week.

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Urgh there is just no room for nuance or complicated... humanity. I don't really blame the on-the-ground staff (unless they're awful, which I've had before) because they are doing the best with what they have. Suicidal ideation is very misunderstood on the NHS in my experience. You occasionally get someone who does understand how severe it is (but can only give you an emergency appointment in two weeks) but mostly people hear 'I don't want to kill myself right now' and think 'great, not my problem'. SI for me meant that although mostly I just had intrusive thoughts, a mood swing or panic attack or trigger could push me into straightforward suicidal. Like... do they not teach that in psychologist school?

Hope your doctor is useful Fluent, and are able to pass you on to a service that can help you

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They don't make it easy. Having any motivation or energy to deal with this can be difficult, and then you have to jump through some hoops to get some help. It can be difficult to ask for help, and to see it all come to nothing isn't exactly helpful. Nothing is happening with me. There isn't sufficient evidence that I have a personality disorder for me to see a specialist. Well there's not really any evidence except for my entire life and what I've told them, and I don't get how they can put the burden of proof on me. Prove that you have a personality disorder and then we might be able to diagnose you with a personality disorder. I do want to kill anyone who has a man bun but I'm not going to act on this impulse. But just look at this colossal cunt.

A-photograph-of-a-hipster-male-with-the-

I'm not at all judgemental but fuck this guy. Maybe saying that I want to kill everyone with a man bun will get me some help. I'm going to do no such thing though. Part of my problem is that I don't expect anything good from other people - I'm worthless and nobody cares about a piece of shit like me. This isn't sad it's just inevitable. Being unable to get any help doesn't really challenge this mindset. Oh I'm sounding whingy.

Edited by Fluent In Silence
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Have you looked to see if there are any charities that do therapy session available? There are often a few floating about, they're not always great but they do give you someone with at least a little training in Mental health to talk to and often CBT is an option. Usually its the same rules that you have with IAPT though. You have to lie quite a bit to get under them. No self harm, no suicidal thoughts, and your depression is just feeling a little bit sad without knowing why. I have used a charity service before and it was ok. You're not sounding whingy, its bloody frustrating knowing you need help, wanting help, looking for help only to be told actually no there isn't any help available to you. You have to go at it alone and that sucks. 

As for Mr Manbun is it me or does he have small ears? 

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I have no man-bun vendetta but the sharply trimmed beard with the casually messy bun is distracting. Pick a lane.

Doctors have such a weird time with personality disorders. Either they're dished out like mints in a restaurant (cough BPD particularly (no judgement at people with BPD though) cough) or you have to go through Herculean tasks to prove something is wrong.

Raspberry said everything more articulately than I could. This sounds like complete bollocks.

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Lol. He does have weirdly small ears. I've never been filled with violent thought towards others, in case I gave that impression. I do want to ask anyone with a man bun how long they've been teaching yoga for, but I wouldn't seriously contemplate the genocide of manbunkind.

I do go to a support group for people with mental health problems, which is helpful though I'm not much good in groups. I really can't be bothered seeing doctors and trying to get some help now because I've tried that and it didn't get me anywhere. It shouldn't work like that. I don't know if I'm a Schizoid or not, and I don't particularly care, but I think that most personality disorders involve some long term problem with interacting and forming relationships with other people, and I definitely tick that box. Doesn't help your mood to hit a dead end like this. I do appreciate your replies Raspberry and ananke.

 

Edited by Fluent In Silence

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I also have tiny ears :( maybe me and man-bun need to start our own support group. If it's not yoga he definitely makes things like this:

image.png.687833eb05eed34a340dc7606faf9562.png 

And he wears a leather apron. 

Maybe taking a break from doctors might help. Sometimes you sort of have to cobble together your own care with what you have around you, like an unbitten in a zombie film trying to make a flame thrower. In my experience, PD treatment often starts with stabilisation, then determining what your goals and objects are for your day to day life, then working through them in a logical way. So yeah, working on relationships with others definitely qualifies. But I guess talking to people on here counts as well? Even if you don't have a PD you can still work with whatever symptoms or issues you have. 

It certainly does not help when the people meant to be helping are indifferent at best. 

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