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My mental history

September 2, 2008

Okay. This is the bit about me and my depression, what happened and my experiences with the NHS. Oh joy. I’ve put it under read more for a reason!!

The story so far:

Let’s go back to the beginning, back to basics.

The first time I experienced bullying was the first time I became depressed. This was the winter term of year 7, now 7 years ago (showing my age, eep!). I was suicidal, but over time things sort of just cleared up, really (hooray!). The bullying carried on throughout high school, but my mood remained relatively stable: I had a close group of friends and we had a great laugh.

We’re going to fast forwards now to about a year and a half ago to about a year and a half ago, when I was 16 and it was the beginning of summer term in my first year at college. I’d had a phobia of cassette tapes since I was about 7, after an incident but it’d never really affected me that badly: cassette tapes aren’t used that much anymore and the likelihood of seeing in on the street was similarly low. But, still, somehow, it began to affect me to the point of panic attacks in language lessons and not leaving the house unless wholly necessary and hallucinations set in: images of me being killed, being attacked or just places I’d seen it began to haunt me all the time. It began to take over my life, so I was pushed into seeing my GP, my parents and teacher thought a course of CBT may well do the trick. So I was duly referred to the Primary Care Mental Health Team (PCMHT), and after a month and a half of waiting for my assessment, I had one. And boy was it scary. Before then I’d had no contact with mental health services, instead shunning and laughing at them. This meant I had no idea what to expect. I had an assessment with the lady, and I hated her, I hated her questions and how I had to answer them, how she made me feel a millilitre tall and wouldn’t let me throw the water out of the window but made me put it in the plant. I hated the box of tissues with a smiley face on, which seem to be a prerequisite for any of these places. I was glad to learn I’d never see her again! Whilst at this assessment, I was told I was also suffering from mild depression. At the time, I didn’t really know what depression was, and I wasn’t too bad, so I just went on the waiting list for CBT. 2 months elapsed and during that time, for the first time in 5 years, I felt suicidal, and was really, really low. Everything started to get on top of me. We then get to November 07 and a call from the PCMHT. I was ready to start CBT!

A date was decided and I turned up, nervous and anxious, not knowing what to expect, but certainly wasn’t expecting what I was told: my therapist was off ill, no-one had managed to get hold of me. So I went home, and cried. And sulked. And got drunk (because I was really immature at the time and could still actually drink!). So, I wasn’t a happy bunny. The date got rearranged, and I went. I told her about the last 2 months, everything, and you know when you’re about to cry, your face goes all red and voice goes wobbly? That’s what happened to my therapist. Jeez, I felt bad about that. Anyway, time progressed, and we moved on through the sessions. Then, in Jan, things began to get worse, again. It was just before my modules that I started hearing voices, and my mood became lower. I told my therapist this, and she called my GP; who I then had to go and see every week for a month, then every month for however long it was until one day something changed. I also got a risk management plan and a list of emergency numbers. I was also offered a referral to the crisis team, something I’m beginning to regret. I was so scared my parent’s find everything out, that I declined, and just kept going in my secretive way. My doctor recommended trying counselling, and my therapist tried to get me to see a practitioner; her boss said no.

So, counselling. I got wind of Kooth, an online counselling site run by my borough and NHS, and a place in my town. I investigated kooth first, because it was online and easier. Later on, I got some courage to walk past the chavs and into this counselling place. I got an appointment for an assessment. This is now March kind of time. I kept on having CBT, moving through. During this period, my mood had remained low, but stable and I was coping fairly well, things weren’t great but they could have been a lot worse! I stayed in CBT until may, but not telling my therapist anything about my moods, how everything was deteriorating and I’m kind of regretting that now. I then had my assessment with the place in town, she got wind of the hearing voices and was straight on the phone to my doctor, who rang me and did another risk assessment. I’ve since discovered they take their risk assessment VERY seriously and to not tell them anything if you want the easy life (I know that’s not a good thing, but it makes my life easier and then I can tell them how bad things are if I really want to, although for the long term planning you need if you are mentally ill, so you can get a session just as things are going tits up; it’s not a good idea).

During my exams, everything fell to pieces, little by little, and I was hoping things’d improve after exams, but they didn’t. So another trip to the GP’s was in order, to tell him about everything (and I hadn’t seen him in 2 months, since the risk assessment episode) and I got a referral back to the PCMHT. I wasn’t exactly pleased, because I knew that I needed a lot more than a waiting list and no therapy because I was going to uni, but that’s the NHS for you. This kind of brings you up to speed, now. My current involvement is:

  • My GP, who is great, but difficult to persuade that something needs to be done at times!
  • The counsellor on Kooth, who has been my only support for most of this, even when we all know I need more
  • The counsellor at the place in town who is very risk conscious and I have my second session with her this session
  • A Mental Health Practitioner from the PCMHT who is about as much use as a chocolate teapot, who I will hopefully never see again after Monday

And the future? I don’t know, but I know that I need to get something sorted out ASAP!

And that got long…

Oh, and could anyone please tell me how to do those read more thingys, please?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2008 11:22 pm

    That was a really interesting post. I keep on thinking about trying to document my past but the problem I keep on falling over is when did it start, you know when does sad trun to depression and when does hypomania turn into mania and all that lark. Ohh and the read more button I see you have found. Hannah X

  2. September 3, 2008 6:47 pm

    I see you sorted Read More… heh. And, I also assumed you were English (but I get from this that you’re American, right?)! This should be an important lesson for me. I’ve got to stop assuming.

    Yes, I definitely remember reading the cassette tape thing before, so I did read you blogspot one. WordPress is so much neater to use, though. 😛

    Suzy x

  3. September 3, 2008 7:50 pm

    I have indeed found the more button!
    Hannah: I know, I’ve kind of been trying to figure that out, too. I guess for depression I’ve used the diagnostics criteria as a guideline, maybe like after 3/4 months of feeling constant sadness, lack of sleep, no enjoyment, self harm/suicidal thoughts and stuff. For me this time, the when did it all start is sort of easy: people keep telling me I’m different to how I used to be (yay, thanks people!) and I’m quite self aware, and good at looking at myself from the outside, so that I think is it!

    Suzy: I am English, my first post says so, I live in Manchester! So you can keep on assuming :]
    And yeah, I agree: Blogspot is evil, bah!


  4. September 3, 2008 10:20 pm

    How come I never got to read that blog. Youve been commenting on my blog for ages and never left a link 😦 or am I just freakishly unobservant. Does this blog still exist? X

  5. September 4, 2008 10:19 am

    Hehe, Hannah admits she is a freak. 😉

    Suzy x

  6. September 4, 2008 11:17 am

    The reason Suzy found out about it is because I linked to hers before I knew about your blog, then about 5 days after I started blogging, it locked me out, so don’t worry, it’s not you! I’ve finally given up and got wordpress! If you want to read what very little there is on it, go ahead, the link is
    BTW, this blog is still very active: only 4 days old, so hopefully wordpress won’t deprive me!

  7. October 2, 2008 1:34 am

    Hey, found my way here via Suzy up there. I timelined as much of my “in services” history as I could at one point on my blog but that ignores different moods and stuff. S’good post.

    Take care x

    (I’m also a manc)

  8. October 2, 2008 11:17 am

    Hi 🙂
    Hannah said about your Manc ness and working at oxfam originals… I’ve been in there a couple of times but I don’t think I’m cool enough for there!

  9. October 26, 2008 12:15 pm

    Lol, yes. Am a true mancunian girl, though my accent ain’t that bad. Pop into Oxfam girlies on Saturdays when I’m back xx

  10. October 26, 2008 12:35 pm

    When are you back? I’ll definitely pop in then!
    Just it’ll have to be when I’m back in Manchester 😉
    I was telling people I was from Manchester the other day and they didn’t believe I was from Manchester. I can’t do the accent any more 😦

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