I am a failure.

November 20, 2008

I really, truly am. I have a degree from Cambridge for fucks sake (albeit not a very good one). I’m supposed to be intelligent. So why am I reduced to applying for £6 an hour Christmas temporary jobs? What have I done so wrong?


Why mental health care in this country is fundamentally flawed

November 11, 2008

Also known as: Falling down the gap

I have PTSD. Right now I am sane, I feel normal and happy but obviously that isn’t always the case. At the start of Sepyember I had a major dissasociated break – I thought Nick was a figment of my imagination and that my rats were evil and plotting world domination. Not good. Even worse was that this was on my way to work, so instead of work I took myself to A+E and said help. They did, eventually. The first dr I saw said I was fine and probably didn’t even need to be on medication, just go home. Great. Nick insisted they got the on-call psych over and she was great. She referred me to CMHT and advised I took a few days off work to recover.

I did. Went back, felt good. Did the return to work interview thingy and asked for a referral to occupational health in the hope that would enable CBT to be expedited. I also saw my GP who referred me to psychological services for CBT but warned there is a long waiting list.

So, back to work. I loved my job, was working hard and enjoying it. I don’t feel my mental health prevented me doing the job. A few weeks later I had my first appointment with one of the advisors from occupational health. I talked through my history, started explaining how things were. I think I may have worried her somewhat as she said I’d be better seeing the occupational health doctor (which is what I thought was happening in the first place!). She also said I couldn’t go back to work without seeing them. THis was not good but it was only a week till the Drs appt so wasn’t too worried. TOld me she’d let work know and I didn’t need to do anything.

So, one week later and went to see the dr. She was lovely but the result was the worst possible. She felt I couldn’t go back to work without a psychiatric review. She also said that nowhere would take me for nursing with my mental health problems and that I should seriously reconsider my future goals. Also that if she’d seen my health declaration, she’d never have cleared me and the person who did clear me shouldn’t have done so. Oh and by the way, you need a note from yor GP if you want to get paid. Why the first advisor couldn’t have said that I don’t know. So, bang goes my future – give up on your plans and don’t go to work. She did say that she’d try and speed up my psych referral but got back to me later to say no chance.

So here I am over a month later with nowhere to go. CMHT wrote to me to say my case didn’t fall in their remit. Psych services sent a letter saying they were confused why I couldn’t see one of occy healths mental health people, occy health say they don’t have any mental health people. I’m stuck – nobody will offer me the help I need. The latest is psych services say my case is “in hand” but goodness knows what that means and how long I’ll be waiting. I have an official meeting with my manager and human resources next week to discuss my long term absence which I’m terrified about.

So whose responsibility is it? Someone has to accept that I need this help. At the moment I’m being paid to sit around at home and do nothing when I don’t want to. I want to be at work doing the job I enjoy. I have no idea how long this will last but I do know I’ve had my month at full pay and have 2 months at half pay remaining. I don’t know what will happen at this meeting on Monday, I’m teriffied they’ll try and fire me.

I have three teams of people – occy health, psych services and CMHT all refusing to have a lot to do with me. This is why the system doesn’t work. Because I was stupid enough to ask for help from occupational health, I’m now not allowed to work and been told I won’t be able to do what I want in the future. Because I was stupid enough to go to A+E when I was flipping out, this whole cycle was started. What do you have to do to get help? If I had a physical problem, the help would be there. Occy health have the power to fast-track physiotherapy referrals so why can’t they do the same for mental health? It’s not my fault that they cleared me when maybe they shouldn’t.

I am still doing my UCAS form on the hope occy health woman is wrong and somewhere will take me. I want to do nursing, I have a passion for care and actually think I’d be pretty good at it. But who knows? How crazy do you have to be to get fast help? It gets to the point that I’d consider doing something really stupid to get someone to realise I need help. With mental health it seems that if you’re sane enough to ask for help, you’re too sane to get it.