May 3rd, 2009

psychiatrist appointment continued

I've calmed down so I feel I can talk about it properly now. This is actually a big breakthrough as usually I would have just whinged and ranted straightaway

Basically, she signed me off from secondary care, which she already did 6 weeks ago anyway. She told me she sees no clinical reason for me to be seen there any more, which is basically her way of saying 'You're depressed, not bipolar'. I'm fine with this diagnosis, apart from the fact she's met me 3 times, so she's seen me a total for 30 minutes. However, Dr A says the same, so I'll just be fine with not being bipolar.

The annoying thing was my file. She asked me how I was feeling, and I said 'I'm fine, but only because I've had to be.'

She said that taking responsibility for my own mental health is a good thing. I said 'yes, I agree, but the fact is, a few weeks ago I wasn't able to take responsibility, I had no choices about my treatment. It wasn't like I DECIDED to be responsible for myself, i just had no choice, because no one else was helping me.'

She said 'even negative experiences can be a good thing' to which I just snorted. I asked if she'd seen my complaint and she said she had had a meeting about it a couple of times. I asked what was happening with it.

'I have on your file that Eve tried to come and visit you at home to talk about it, and you declined, so it's gone to a higher authority'

I said 'woah, hang on, no one has tried to ring me or contact me' she said eve had told her that morning that she had tried to contact me twice and i had declined. I asked if it was by letter or phone, and we went through checking my numbers and address etc. I told Dr P i have messaging services, and had received letters confirming appointments and a phone call from Edwina, but nothing about the complaint.

I then showed her the only letter I have received about my complaint, from the Chief Executive who i CC'd on it. She said 'oh this is from the CE' so i said 'yes i sent out copies of the letter to about 8 people' to which she looked nervous. She then said 'well i don't know how they tried to contact you, all i know is they weren't able to set up a meeting.'

I asked which she meant - had I declined, or had they been unable to contact me, as those are two very different things. she said it said 'declined' on my file. I told her to write on my file that i hadn't received a phone call. She said she'd talk to eve, but i insisted and said 'you write on my file right now that no one has tried to contact me - i don't want anyone saying i've declined a meeting'

She then said that maybe someone had contacted me and I hadn't remembered. We had talked about my memory previously. I said 'no, because i would have written that down' and proceeded to pull out my A3 phone log sheet which i keep in the study, which is covered in every phone call made and received, dated and timed, who i spoke to and what they said.

I then asked why it was that they had said i declined if they meant 'unable to contact' and didn't really get a good answer. I left it with 'i want to know what happened here, because i don't like people making stuff up about me. I'm not stupid, and i don't want people treating me like i am'

she then said she was sorry that i'd been let down by the mental health service. I said 'well it's not me i'm worried about, it's the people coming after me' - she then said 'what do you mean?' and i said 'the people who have mental health issues after i do'. She said she'd thought i thought someone was following me again '('coming after me') and told me i shouldn't worry about that. she said concern for other people is a nice attribute, and not a nasty one. i said i knew that, thanks.

I also pointed out that anyone else who wasn't as strong as me, without good friends and family would be dead by now. i said i never felt like anyone had taken me seriously, that i asked for help and never got any, and that when i got worse, my treatment got worse not better.

she said if i was concerned about other people, i should join the befriending scheme and help out people with mental health issues now i was well. I said there was no way i was well enough for that yet, but i would look into it. I told her about SHIP, Pathways, and my college course. She asked me how I knew about Pathways, and I said that CAT had told me, and they were the most helpful people I'd dealt with during the last 6 months. This was probably sticking the knife in, because CAT stands for 'Community Alternatives Team' who were set up as an alternative to the secondary care team, of which she is a part.

She said she hoped I didn't have any hard feelings against her, and I said I didn't personally have a problem with her, and that I only had hard feelings towards the secondary care team. she said that she was part of that, and i shrugged.

Finally we talked about my dosage. I told her i'm on 300mg of extended release of venlafaxine. she looked puzzled, looked in the BNF and said 'mmm, the maximum dosage for that is 225mg, i'l write to the doctor' I then said I had noticed that when i'd asked my friend to check her BNF for me, and that I'd mentioned it to Kim, but she'd told me to ask the pharmacy, which I had, and they'd said it was ok. I then said that was the time when Kim told me to stop reading things online and just relax.

As i left, Dr P told me she hoped I'd be ok, and that she's leaving in september. I wished her all the best in her new job. Do you think I'll ever see any of my health care professionals again?