I’ve half-joked for a long time that soon there won’t be any mental health services for me to blog about. This week, that came a few steps closer to becoming my reality. I found out from a friend that my psychiatrist is moving to a managerial position. It’ll suit him. So what now?
As my psychiatrist is also my care coordinator and sole point of contact, I called my local trust to find out what was happening. There’ll be a locum in place for around 6 months and that locum will also take on both jobs – medicine man and care planning all squeezed into one not very well-fitting role.
One of the things I need to work on to recover is my overwhelming anxiety at seeing new people and going to new places. Unfortunately I can’t do this by myself – believe me, I’ve tried. Finding out that I’ve suddenly being foisted onto someone I don’t know – and who it turns out my friends only have bad things to say about – was too much for me and I had a massive meltdown. Within a few minutes my world collapsed in on itself and I wanted to be dead. Those thoughts turned into something more proactive and the stash of medication I have in the house became ever more appealing. All from finding out that a man with whom I’ve had a strained relationship for three years will no longer be available to help me.
This of course, comes on top of my care coordinator going off sick in August 2014 and never being replaced (I’ve tried to get my psychiatrist to coordinate my care – it doesn’t work). It also comes off the back of art therapy ending this summer. When I spoke to the therapist and told him that the group wasn’t working for me – no therapy, just two hours of drawing – I wasn’t offered another group with more therapeutic input and I’ve since found out that he offered an alternative group to someone else who could no longer attend. So now I have no care and I feel completely marginalised, to put it mildly.
I wish I didn’t need support to function – it causes me untold amounts of shame – but I have to accept that I do. My life is slipping between my fingers without it. Back in the days when I had an actual care coordinator I had regular appointments and that meant she spotted problems and any deterioration in my mood early and we could deal with them. I can’t identify them myself and certainly can’t speak up and ask for help if I do manage to realise that something’s amiss.
No planned programme of support is having a real impact on me. The blood tests I have because of my medication have highlighted two problems, one with my liver and one with my platelet count. I’ve had appointments come through for scans but haven’t made any of them. I can’t. It’s not just that it’s a mammoth task to get there and go through with them on my own, it’s that the lack of care and support I’m receiving is sending out a very clear message to me: I’m not worth caring about. So I don’t.
I thought I’d long accepted that the NHS wasn’t going to help me but this week has shown me that stupidly I still thought they might come up with something. I’m tired of getting my hopes up and am thinking about having done with it once and for all and discharging myself. What’s the point in hoping any longer? They don’t give a stuff so why should I?
When I thought I’d accepted that the NHS weren’t going to contribute to my recovery I did do something about it and started seeing a therapist privately. I’m not sure why but I feel quite ashamed about this. It’s not that I’m lucky to be able to afford it because there is no luck involved. I’ve sold all my jewellery that’s worth anything. A bike and then my car will be next. I’ve also taken another job to pay for it – freelance writer and dog walker. Oh and I do a couple of shifts at my local theatre each week and work as a trainer for Mental Health First Aid England. It’s no wonder I’m exhausted. Therapy is a really important part of recovery but it’s not the whole picture and there’s nobody to help me with everyday struggles. Therapy works long-term but I desperately need something – or someone – to get me through the short-term, the unbearable daily grind of being me.
Despite the exhaustion, disappointment and defeatism, there is definitely a part of me that’s determined to survive. I think it’s safe to say that I can be quite stubborn when I want to be, but I can’t seem to fight back against the system that’s abandoned me. I can’t find any anger or motivation to challenge the decisions they’ve made about my life. I can fight for others but not for myself. When I think of them I simply feel defeated and worthless. Their actions plainly highlight that I’m only worthy of a pointless existence. I am pointless. I’m sure I’ll get over it in a few weeks – see, ever the optimist – but right now it feels like there’s no use in hoping for anything more.