Arse over tit

No, not a description of my sexual preferences…

Well, I’ve finally had my long-awaited and much-stressed-over appointment with General Psychiatrist.  For those of you who don’t know, General Psychiatrist is my brilliantly witty and massively creative pseudonym for the general psychiatrist who occasionally makes a half-hearted attempt to treat me.

Things did not begin especially well – it was hammering down with rain, so I was literally soaked to the skin and shivering as I waited for him to turn up.  The clinic I see him in employs a nice elderly-ish lady whose main function seems to be to clop up and down the halls in extraordinarily solid high-heels, and to greet the arriving outpatients and do what she can to make them feel relaxed and welcome.  This is a nice touch, as the hospital itself is horrendous – a real 19th century hangover.  You almost expect to hear the moaning of straight-jacketed inpatients, and calls from the psychiatrists – “Nurse!  Where’s that ice-pick?  Mr Jones has just refused his glass of weak lemon squash for the second day in a row, so we’re going to do the lobotomy right now.”

Unfortunately, one of the standard questions the friendly greeting-lady asks is “Would you like some water?” which is all well and good when it’s 30 degrees outside and you’re dying of thirst.  When you’re standing in the corridor dripping all over the lino and looking like a drowned rat it sounds more like some kind of a sick joke.  A towel and directions to a vending machine selling cups of hot chocolate would have been more to the point.  But, of course, they have nothing so dangerous as a vending machine.  An enraged patient, sent wild by not being listened to for the umpteenth time, might throw a cup of mildly tepid coffee in their psychiatrist’s face, forcing them to go through the rest of the day with a slightly pink nose.

General Psychiatrist was bang on time, but because I had arrived early I got to see him arrive at the clinic through the waiting room window.

He was carrying a large umbrella that was advertising Zispin.  Zispin (I happen to know – the joys of being a long-term loony) is the proprietary name for the orodispersible form of Mirtazapine.  This meant I knew that General Psych was the kind of doctor who had no qualms about accepting free gifts from pharmaceutical reps, which gave an extra dimension to his constant attempts to push drugs in every situation (more on this below).  I wondered if it had occurred to him that this was a possibility, and he didn’t care, or if he was so used to thinking of his patients as docile, cow-like creatures that the possibility of one of them actually recognising the implications of his brolly choice hadn’t even crossed his mind.

Once we were in the consulting room, General Psych was his usual, friendly self.  I’m always aware that when I write about him I give him a terribly negative press, and that doesn’t give an entirely fair picture of the man, because in real life he’s very friendly, and even charming.  I like him as a person – genuinely, I do – but he still talks an uncommonly large amount of shite when it comes to the actual psychiatrist stuff.  The psychoanalytical psychiatrist I met (Dr Saunders was his pseudonym, for those of you interested in historical research) behaved towards me as though I was something he’d found on the sole of his shoe after walking across an unusually squelchy farmyard, but did, ultimately, come to the right (or sort-of right) clinical decisions.  I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to meet a psychiatrist who was good at their job and also a nice person.  You know, like The Shrink or something.

Anyway, General Psychiatrist seemed relatively uninterested in getting the account of my various unusual experiences in my own words.  This is, I guess, a tribute to the high opinion he holds of Yvonne, as he obviously assumed to the point of not wanting to check that she had extracted and recorded an accurate history of my symptoms.  I also think it’s evidence of his lack of subtlety though – faced with a written summary he assumes it must be correct and complete, and the evidence of the patient actually sitting in front of him is of lesser importance.  I had gone into the appointment fully intending to talk about the transistor radio experience, but I was on my way back home again afterwards when I realised I’d forgotten.  If I’d been asked about any recent experiences, or anything I hadn’t told Yvonne, I’m sure it would have occurred to me, but I wasn’t, and it didn’t.

The General had obviously done quite a lot of reading in my notes, as he took me back to my first contact with adult Mental Health services, which was over a decade ago.  I was looking for help with panic attacks back then, and to be honest I remember almost nothing of the experience, except for the fact that the psychologist turned up 45 minutes late, didn’t apologise, and appeared to assume that telling me I was suffering from panic attacks would have the effect of magically curing them.  He wanted to know if I had been experiencing the voices and visual disturbances back then, and I said that I think I probably was, although I couldn’t be certain.  (I know I’ve been living with them for a while, but I really couldn’t tell you how long.)  He was, I think, surprised that I had managed to keep my experiences quiet from so many MH professionals.  A small, uncharitable part of me wondered if he was trying to cover his own arse by establishing that he wasn’t the only professional to have failed to detect any sign of the kinds of problems I might have been having.

The thing that seemed to interest him most were the voices, which sort-of surprised me.  He wanted to know if I felt persecuted by them.  He seemed most especially interested to know how many voices I heard, and, when I had said at least two, whether or not I heard them simultaneously.  He also wanted to know if I had a clear sense of the voices originating from inside my head, or if they seemed to come from outside.  This got into one of the things I found most frustrating about the whole consultation.

I explained, at some length, that I had been experiencing these voices for a while now, and as such I had got fairly familiar with them.  I said that, as a result of this, what I tended to do was analyse a situation for the likelihood that I would actually hear the voice I seemed to be hearing, and if it seemed unlikely that I would be hearing it, I arrived at what I hoped was the rational decision that the voice was “in my head”.  General Psych was, clearly, working from a memorised set of criteria, and there was no room for this approach within them.  It seemed fairly clear that he wanted a definite one-way-or-the-other answer because, I suspect, having a sense of the voices as external is more clearly psychotic.  Eventually, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, he seemed to get to a place where he understood that the voices seemed externally real, but that I was able to follow a particular mental process that enabled me to treat them as though they were in my head.  It was clear, though, that he was very unhappy with having to settle for that as an answer.

This seemed to be a wider problem too, in that he seemed to be similarly uncomfortable with the idea that, while I might feel myself to be under surveillance by some shadowy and anonymous group, I could simultaneously realise that it was very unlikely to be true.  Again I got the very clear sense that there was no place in his memorised diagnostic check-list for someone who didn’t say either ‘Infamy!  Infamy!  They’ve all got it in-for-me!’ or alternatively ‘I have complete insight into this situation and know that I am not under surveillance.’  The idea that I might have a kind of split awareness where I am, at one level, convinced that something is false while, at another level, being equally convinced that it’s real was obviously something he just couldn’t understand.  Or maybe it was just that it made the process of diagnosis more complicated than he wanted it to be.

The consultation seemed to go in some odd directions from time to time.  For example, I was quizzed about my spiritual and religious beliefs.  The General wanted to know if I was inclined to believe in ghosts, and ESP, and messages from beyond the grave etc., so obviously I said that I was entirely sceptical about it (I think the word I actually used was ‘nonsense’).  He then wanted to know if I was religious, to which I replied that I was an atheist.  He made a point of thanking me for both pieces of information, and said that both ‘helped him to decide’, and also that he expected that I would be more likely to ‘struggle to understand’, although I don’t know what I can be expected to struggle to understand, as he tailed off without finishing the sentence.  He moved on to say that, had I been a Catholic, he might have expected me to believe in miracles, and special god-given powers, but that since I wasn’t, he didn’t.

I don’t really know what the point of these questions was.  I assume what he was driving at was that, if I had been inclined to believe in ghosts and gods, I might have been expected to think about or describe hallucinations in those terms.  What I couldn’t follow was what he felt the significance of my being an atheist sceptic was.  On one hand, he could have interpreted it to mean that I was more likely to talk about my experiences in an apparently rational way, rather than saying something more stereotypically mad like ‘I am God’s anointed!’  I guess this might have suggested that he was thinking that my experiences were more serious than I was making them appear.  On the other hand, he might have felt that my lack of faith indicated I had a rigid and inflexible mind, which meant I was more likely to interpret things I couldn’t immediately rationalise as symptoms of mental illness.  This would suggest that he was coming to the conclusion that my experiences were likely to be less serious than I was making them appear.

To be honest, I think the implication is rather offensive whichever way round you look at it.  I can’t imagine a Catholic would be particularly thrilled to find their faith in miracles being described as a symptom of madness.  Equally, I wouldn’t be best-pleased to know that my atheism is seen as making it more likely that I will hysterically over-react to things.  Given that the whole area is such a minefield, I assume the General must have had a good reason for going in to it, but I don’t know what it was.

Anyway, at this stage the consultation started moving towards a conclusion.  General Psychiatrist indicated that, although we had been ‘chatting’ (it didn’t feel like much of a chat to me, but never mind) for a little over 30 minutes, he still didn’t feel that he was in a position to say for definite what I had been experiencing.  I was a lot more disappointed by this than I thought I was going to be – I think I had been hoping that I would be given a neat little label, and that I would have been able to come home and google it, and then write a mildly interesting post about it here.  I had also been thinking that my official diagnosis (recurrent major depression with anxiety) seemed to be getting increasingly wide of the mark, and that a different label would help to clarify exactly what it was I was having to deal with.  I guess I also thought that a different label might help to legitimise to myself that I do have to cope with some fairly serious problems.  This is, of course, a silly way of thinking – the problems I face are the same whatever label is put on them, after all.

Specifically, General Psychiatrist indicated that he wasn’t able to answer the fundamental question I had been referred back to him to resolve – whether psychosis was underlying my depression and anxiety, and whether this explained why all attempts at treating me, whether by drugs or psychotherapy, had failed.  He felt that ‘on the surface of it’ I did appear to be having psychotic symptoms, but that he was still ‘circumspect’ about applying the label.  He did have a proposed solution to the dilemma though – to prescribe an anti-psychotic.  If the anti-psychotic helped resolve my symptoms then we would know they had been psychotic, and if they didn’t we would know they weren’t.

To me, this way of proceeding seems totally back to front (or arse over tit).  I can’t think of another area of medicine where using powerful medication with serious side-effects as a diagnostic aid would be considered acceptable practice.  I think this shows how deeply sucked into the medication-at-all-costs mindset some psychiatrists have become.  Think about it: this psychiatrist’s response to not diagnosing psychosis is identical to his response when he does diagnose it – reach for the prescription pad.  Imagine the uproar if a GP tested someone’s blood-pressure, found it to be within normal limits, but then went ahead and prescribed medication for high blood-pressure anyway.

In the course of a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing I explained that, to me, the logic of prescribing an anti-psychotic to someone who may not have psychosis seemed a little dubious.  His response was very revealing – that the medication would probably help with the symptoms, even if they weren’t psychotic in nature.  Think about this: his initial rationale for prescribing was that, if the meds didn’t help, then we would know the symptoms weren’t psychotic.  Now he was arguing that the meds would help even if the symptoms weren’t psychotic, which makes complete nonsense of the initial rationale.  He obviously hoped I wouldn’t spot the contradiction (and in fact I didn’t until I was thinking about this on the way home).

What this actually is, of course, is a recipe for keeping every patient referred to him for investigation of potential psychosis on a permanent diet of pills.  I don’t know what the reasons for it are.  Maybe he’s in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies (his choice of umbrella would seem to suggest that).  Maybe he’s enormously risk-averse and will go to any lengths to avoid being responsible for failing to treat a mad axe murderer.  Maybe he just likes signing his name on the prescription form.  Whatever the reason, I told him that I wouldn’t be taking the pills except as a last resort.  This obviously bothered him quite a lot.

When it had finally become apparent that he wasn’t going to be able to budge me on the issue – even after he tried deploying the “think of it like preventative maintenance” argument – there was a definite edge in his voice as he told me that ‘Well, it’s your choice not to take the medication, and I have to respect it, but I want you to be clear that you are going against my advice.’  It was pretty clear to me that it was being forced to accept that my wishes took precedence over his own that really stuck in his throat.  He tried to make himself feel better by raising the spectre of involuntary treatment – ‘Of course, that would change if we thought you might do something dangerous because you wanted the voices to stop, or for people to stop following you.’  He even raised the possible scenario that I might accidentally kill someone, which seemed like a fairly hysterical over-reaction given how long I’ve had these symptoms, and how they’ve never made me do anything more serious than hide under the duvet.

Once we had got the medication issue out of the way, he talked a little bit more about what he thought might be alternative explanations for my symptoms, if they weren’t psychotic.  Specifically, he indicated that there was a chance that they might be ‘an extension of your anxiety’.  He also thought that the fact I was (his words) ‘a loner’ might be significant, as people who spend a lot of time on their own apparently ‘live in a different world to the rest of us, and it’s a bit like that’ (i.e. filled with imaginary “friends”).  I have to be honest, I didn’t find that argument especially convincing, as I had started experiencing some of the symptoms (especially the voices, and the feeling of surveillance) substantially before I was a loner.  My sense of it, certainly, is that it was the problems I was having that caused me to withdraw from people.  Strangely enough, when I was reported to the police as a missing person because I had suddenly dropped out of sight, General Psychiatrist also thought that was the likely explanation, and told the police so.  I didn’t dispute this with him, though, as I was fairly demoralised after the battle over the meds.

So, all in all, this whole experience has left me feeling fairly comprehensively crap.  I feel like General Psychiatrist didn’t really bother listening to me.  I feel like he was more interested in moulding my experiences to fit his criteria than he was in paying attention to what I had experienced.  I feel particularly badly bruised by the attempt to force me on to meds, as I think it doesn’t reflect the strength of my ability to cope, or the seriousness of taking heavy-duty medication.  At the same time I feel like the difficulties I have to face were belittled by references to an ‘extension of anxiety’ and the suggestion that I have chosen my isolation.

I feel like I’m alone with my problems again.  I feel like no-one understands, or ever will understand, what I have to face one long, weary day after another.  I feel like one of the few hopes I had left – that I would be given a new diagnosis, and that it would make everything suddenly clear, and easily manageable – has been taken away from me.  I feel like all I have left now is the grim determination to not let this fucking thing beat me.

I feel like a fraud.  I feel like the fact I don’t have a shiny new diagnosis means I’ve been caught out over-inflating my problems, on this blog and elsewhere.  I feel like my problems weren’t serious enough to warrant troubling a psychiatrist, and that I’ve been treated like an attention-seeking little boy.

Some of this is fair, and some of it isn’t.  In particular the feeling of being a fraud is misplaced.  General Psychiatrist has said that he wants to keep seeing me from time to time on an open-ended basis, and he has given me his secretary’s phone number to call and ask for an urgent appointment if I feel I need one, and he wouldn’t have done either of those things if he wasn’t in some way concerned.  But I still feel like a fraud.

And I feel fed up, and angry, and just so bone-achingly tired.  I want so badly for all this shit to be over.  I’ve been wading through this for so long – for more than 10 years now, although I hadn’t realised it was so long until the General told me the date of the initial psychology appointment – and I’ve had enough.  I’ve realised – and this appointment was another reminder – that none of the “treatments” that get talked about are worth a damn, and that no-one can offer any help, except for whacking me over the head with a chemical cosh.  The only help there is – the only hope there is – is what I manufacture for myself, and sometimes that just seems like it takes more energy than I have left to give.  I can do it now, maybe, but in a year?  Five years?  Ten?  There could be another forty years of this to drag myself through, unless death is merciful and comes for me sooner.

So, anyway, I’ll post this now.  I’ll drink some squash.  Maybe I’ll watch the telly for a while.  I won’t do anything rash, or stupid.  I’ll go to bed, and get up tomorrow, and go through the same pointless circus again and again and again.  And I’ll do it all – endlessly – on my own, with no professional help from anyone.  And this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life.

Fan-fucking-tastic.

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This entry was posted in About me, Anxiety, Depression, General mental weirdness, Hearing voices, Psychiatry, The NHS. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Arse over tit

  1. Immi says:

    You’re not a fraud. I’ve had psychiatrists alternately ignore psychotic symptoms and panic over them. I’m not sure what it’s about either or how it’s supposed to be useful. I hope you feel better in the morning, though.

  2. cb says:

    Psychiatrists are people too with all the usual weaknesses and failings and sometimes strengths as well, I know. It does sound particularly unproductive and that umbrella thing.. well, incredibly thoughtless of him. Beyond that really. I mean honestly, it’s not like he isn’t earning enough to buy his own umbrella.

    Anyway, take care, I know it isn’t much consolation but I hopefully some virtual thoughts in your direction will be minorly helpful..

  3. s says:

    What I really want to know is what YOU think the voices/symptoms are or mean? Shit, that would have been the first question I would have asked. Have you ever had an EEG?

    And as to this: I can’t think of another area of medicine where using powerful medication with serious side-effects as a diagnostic aid would be considered acceptable practice.

    Definitely not true. Here’s an example: Just yesterday there was a comatose woman in intensive care, very ill, all signs of SEVERE bacterial infection (in addition to many other unsurvivable health problems, but for some reason the family can’t let go, so these horrific “heroic measures” are being taken). The bacterial cultures revealed several different bacteria that are bacteria that attack very ill people at the end of life. She received extremely expensive and powerful antibiotics…with no real improvement. This was to be expected, because when a body is that ill, nothing can really save it.

    Then someone said, “Well, maybe she’s not responding because it’s a fungal infection.” So they actually started treatment with a several thousand dollar a day, highly dangerous high tech antifungal drug with NO EVIDENCE of a fungal infection, on the idea that if she improves, it might be diagnostic as well as treatment.

    It’s not just psych. At least in psych, the drugs treat certain symptoms, not diseases, and they do that fairly predictably.

  4. david says:

    Dear, sounds par for the course for psychiatrists…

    As for the atheism – it probably makes it “clearer to him” because he can rationalise your rational internalization of the irrational external voices (that we all know, rationally, are actually internal) where was I… oh, what I meant was he can tick the box “external” with an easy conscience – i.e. if you weren’t rational you’d be irrational about it. Or something. You know what they’re like (psychiatrists, I mean).

    And the umbrella takes the biscuit!

    Anyway, take care, D

  5. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Immi – I guess, if i had to choose, i’d rather they were ignoring my symptoms than panicking about them. I don’t like the idea of people who can lock me away and stick needles in my arse panicking… Thanks for hoping i feel better – i don’t as yet, but i will do soon – i always do feel better in the end. :o)

    cb – Of course psychiatrists are people, and therefore fallible to some extent. But with a doctor at some point shrugging our shoulders and saying “Ah, well, we’re all fallible” has to give way to deciding someone is unfit to practice. General Psychiatrist is a long way from being that bad, of course. I’m normally very relaxed and compassionate when it comes to recognising people’s weaknesses – god knows, i have enough of my own for other people to have to be kind about. That approach does start to waver when the person concerned is in the position of wielding great power over the desperate and the vulnerable, however.

    Thank you for sending out the virtual thoughts – they’re always helpful. :o)

    s – to be fair to General Psych, the issue of what i think my voices are did come up – i am about 2/3 sure they’re hallucinations and 1/3 unsure about what they are. I have no clear sense of them having any particular meaning, beyond the likelihood that i experience hallucinations. I did have an EEG when i was in contact with MH services as a teenager – we’re talking 20+ years since then, though.

    I’m sorry to hear about the female patient. It sounds like she’s being put through a lot of unneccesary (and expensive) treatment for no good reason. It’s a real shame her family (and doctors) are unable to recognise that the best thing to do would be to let her slip away in peace.

    That said, i’m not sure the situations are the same. The patient you describe is obviously in the last-chance saloon. It sounds as though the options were to try the antifungal treatment, or watch her die. In that situation, the consequences of doing nothing (death) are so severe that the consequences of doing something possibly inappropriate cannot possibly be worse. In my particular case i am a long, long way from the last chance saloon, and there is a very, very good chance that the effects of doing something inappropriate (the side-effect profile for antipsychotics terrifies me) will be a whole lot worse than doing nothing.

    I’m afraid i can’t share your faith in the effectiveness of psychiatric meds in treating symptoms. As i understand it, and in contradiction to the majority of meds for physical conditions, no-one has even the beginnings of an inkling of an idea how they might possibly work. I’m afraid i’ve never been very good at trusting to blind luck where my health is concerned, even though psychiatrists seem happy to suggest that i should.

    david – wow, that’s an awesome example of double-speak. I am seriously impressed :o) And thanks for the good wishes.

  6. david says:

    :-) – regarding the anti-psychs – I hadn’t heard of the side effects of coming off them until recently – the state my mind went into after coming off quetiapine was the biggest thing that actually made me ask to be on a pill (depakote) – I must confess I’ve been on and off the dep since, generally depending on pending bloodtests. But my main point is, the side effects were so bad I thought they were me. I’ve started to get the hang of it now, and personally speaking, trust myself a damn site better than the pill-scribblers. atb D

  7. The “psychiatrists are all fallible” argument rubs me up the wrong way. Probably because I’ve had a lifetime of being asked, when considering people who have behaved abusively towards me, whether mental health workers or relatives or whoever, and for some reason everyone always wants you to try to see things from their side and rationalise it away.

    Well dammit, I don’t care if there’s a rationalisation. I’m ANGRY that that doctor was such a fuckwit to you, aethelred, just as angry as when I found out that my own doctor, years ago, had diagnosed me with a persionality disorder (wrongly as it turned out) and not told me.

    Lots of people I know with predominantly depression and anxiety have “bits and pieces” of psychosis btw, but not anything that would be schizophrenia or schizo-affective. There’s a theory that mental illness is a series of spectrums, eg an anxeity spectrum, one for depression, for mania, for psychosis, and every mentally ill person can be categorised by where their individual illness is located along each spectrum. The common categories are just for particular “configurations” or groups of them that often occur together.

    It’s also thought that 1 in 2 people will hear voices or have hallucinations at least once in their life, although not necessarily either persistent or unpleasant, and that stress tends to bring it on, so “psychosis” as such isn’t all that uncommon and covers a wide range…

  8. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the extra replies.

    david – to be honest, i’ve never got as far as researching anti-psyschotic withdrawal I hope i’d have had the sense to do that before i started taking them, but because i’ve always been very lucky with avoiding the withdrawal problems for antidepressants it might not have occurred to me. Definitely something else to bear in mind.

    I hope you’re able to get to a place you’re comfortable with in terms of taking or not taking the pills.

    DeeDee Ramona – thank you for your anger on my behalf – it means a lot. I was pretty sure i wasn’t over-reacting, but it’s good to get some confirmation. :o) The idea that a doctor would have diagnosed you with a personality disorder and then not told you about it is infuriating. And then psychiatrists wonder why they get a bad press from their patients… I’m pleased you managed to get it sorted out, anyway.

    Thanks, as well, for the advice and information about psychosis. I had avoided doing a lot of detailed reading (the dangers of self-diagnosis and all that), but i did know that psychosis can occur as part of depression. I certainly didn’t (and don’t) think my experiences are anything like serious enough to qualify as schizophrenia. I guess the reason i felt like i hadn’t been taken seriously is that General Psychiatrist wasn’t sure my experiences were psychotic at all, whatever the cause of the psychosis might have been. But, i am gradually managing to persuade myself that a different label wouldn’t have actually made any difference to anything, except possibly increasing the pressure on me to take meds i don’t want to, so it’s probably actually a good thing.

  9. It got sorted out eventually. I got given the paranoid personality diagnosis, but at the time was told only that I was “depressed”. They weren’t interested in hearing about the manic side at all. I was in hospital for 4 months. In the final month I was given an antidepressant that gave me a manic episode. Great, the doc said, you’re better, you can now move to the UK and start your PhD. Arrived in Cambridge, made arse of myself in fresher’s week, within 3 weeks the mania was gone and I was back to mad enough to need a hospital.

    BUT, because my notes said that I had a PD and “mild” depression (jesus, 4 months in hospital, mild depression?) my GP refused to do anything. I saw another GP, who twice sent me straight in to the local hospital (I didn’t know that was unusual) and on both occasions the doctors there were very nice and explained carefully that hospitalisation was unlikely to help me. Becuase I didn’t _know_ about the PD diagnosis I couldn’t argue with them and explain that the depression was the problem, not paranoia.

    So, my mum forced me to go back to Ireland as she was worried, she was right, I was completely lu-la and took an overdose the day I went back (lithium tablets – yeah this doc had also managed to prescribe lithium for me, not tell me anything about the dangers of dehydration, and not prescribe enough of it to have it actually work – I was very lucky we lived 10 mins from A&E). I then spent another 4 months in the original hospital. I still wasn’t told anything about the PD.

    And I had a third relapse, this time because of chicken pox, I thought the fault was with the docs in Cambridge, not the original bloke – because I didn’t know what was in my notes.

    Then at the end of that I requested a copy of my notes from the GP in Cambridge (in Ireland, you used not to be allowed to see your notes), walking home from the doc’s I read about the PD and that’s how I found out. (The GP didn’t realise I didn’t know).

    I was very tempted to jump in front of a bus then and there. I thought, oh no, every bad thing that has ever happened to me, I don’t have the right to be upset or angry about, because it really is just all my own paranoia.

    I’m seeing excellent team here now. I have to say, I have only encountered 1 doctor of many in the UK who was incompetent or an arsehole. The really bad ones were in Ireland. My current doc dismissed the PD out of hand. She pointed out that paranoia is a fairly regular feature of manic depression.

    Sorry, I’ll stop now…. so, yeah, I sympathise.

  10. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Blimey. That’s a terrible story. I’m pleased you’re being dealt with by a better team of people these days, and i’m seriously impressed you manage to trust anything a doctor says or does. If i had that kind of a background behind me, i’m not sure i’d manage it. I think you must be a lot more sensible than i am. :o)

    Oh, and i hope it goes without saying – but i’m glad you didn’t jump in front of any busses. :o)

  11. J. Wibble says:

    It seems very strange that your psych is trying to push meds on you when you don’t want them, and my psych is insisting I don’t need them because there’s apparently nothing wrong with me when I am quite anxious to try them and see if they help. I swear psychs just do the exact opposite of whatever you want them to do, its probably in an NHS policy document somewhere.

    Going off on tangents seems like a regular feature too, as does seemingly pointless talk about religion. I think the religion talk has something to do with seeing if your hallucinations are in some way related to your religious beliefs, eg a Catholic thinking they’re Jesus would be more expected than a Jew thinking they’re Jesus, which might seem odd (why I don’t know, Jesus was Jewish but there you go). Then again even if you are a Catholic you’re still not Jesus so I’m not sure what difference it makes. I’ve given up trying to make sense of these people.

  12. Zoe says:

    Whew. What can I add! Dee Dee’s story takes my breath away. In my Dual Recovery Anonymous group I hear stories of service inadequacy /incompetence/abusiveness etc all the time, and there’s a lot of (justifiable) anger. I also have my own 15 years to go on. My approach now is basically to expect nothing. When a service provider actually helps me I am pleasantly surprised and I always make a point of mentioning what they have done that pleased me. Positive reinforcement, you see.

    Your story, too, Aethelread, reminds me of a friend of mine, a Cambridge graduate who has now written a book about his experiences at the hands of mental health services. I really feel for you. It makes me realise how lucky I am (in a strange kind of way) to have been an obvious candidate for the label Bipolar 1 and not anything more subtle or nuanced. Take care, hon.

  13. Thanks all. It does make a huge difference to know that what I experienced was not acceptable, and that I’m not a bad or weak person for “letting it bother” me.

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