Monday 24 December 2018

Mental Health Team? What Mental Health Team?

(TW: Self harm, Suicide, Hallucinations, bad mental health service experiences)

I have had a truly awful day today.

Recently, my mental health has relapsed and I've been severely depressed, distressed, even suicidal (it's been a while since I was last suicidal). I have had intense suicidal and self harm thoughts, as well as paranoia about various people and organisations *coughDWPcough*. I have self harmed regularly, had urges to overdose on all my medication, and I took a small overdose the other day.

As well as this, I have had an hallucination. I was in bed (awake, not dreaming) and I saw a large black and red beetle climbing up my bedroom wall, then disappearing into the ceiling. I have had similar hallucinations in the past; very rarely however. Sometimes I have believed they were real, other times I have known they couldn't possibly be real.

I called my local crisis team about three times, bursting into tears down the phone and letting everything out. They knew everything, and had passed the information on to the Community Mental Health Team.

I went to my appointment today, partly feeling it was pointless, partly convincing myself that they will help and hopefully I will get more therapy and a medication review.

Unfortunately, I have received neither.

I explained everything again for them, filled in the paperwork (PHQ, wellbeing etc) which showed that I was severely depressed and not coping well at all. I answered their questions about trauma, triggers, home life etc. The CPN then said that I'd been there a couple of times before with similar issues and had received help both times. She suggested I call Women's Aid (for the abusive relationship I'd been in) and Cruse Bereavement (for the traumatic abortion 10 years ago) and asked if I'd considered Primary Care. I said that they believed I was too complex for them, but I would try.

Other than that, she reiterated that I needed to rely on my own resources, and be more proactive about using the skills I've learnt from therapy. I said I'd tried and struggled to do this, and felt that I needed more support.

Unfortunately, she told me that she could not offer any more support, because a while back the government cut back the mental health team's services and resources quite substantially, and there simply wasn't anymore help available for me. I burst into tears after realising they simply couldn't help. I felt as if I was on my own and that this mental health team barely existed at all. It was in ruins. The CPN even described it as a service that just puts a sticking plaster on service users, before sending them off again and possibly signposting them to other places, charities etc.

I knew resources were tight, but the realisation that there were barely any resources at all was upsetting, frightening even. I feel scared for people in a worse position than me.

We are fighting that voice in our head; telling us we are Bad and do not deserve help. We fight the urges to kill ourselves. We have that little bit of hope that there will be some help there if we ask for it. People keep telling us to reach out anyway. We reach out. We pick up the phone. We are given a face to face assessment and suggestions to distract ourselves, have a cup of tea, have a bath, anything to get us through the days until our appointment.

Appointment day finally comes. It takes all of our strength to tell the CPN everything, we let go as much as we can. We let ourselves be vulnerable in front of this person and at the conclusion of the assessment, there is no help from this team. Sure, we are signposted to other places but the main place that should be there to provide us with something with a chance of helping us cope, improve even, simply does not exist anymore. We are sent on our way with the promise of a letter through the post. We are discharged back to a GP who may not know much about mental health, so cannot help much.

This is the reality. I am not the only one. Something NEEDS to change.

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