Aethelread’s next appointment: YOU decide

Right, I’m fed up to the hind teeth of battering this one back and forth in the confines of my own skull.  So, I’m throwing it over to you.  Think of it as a text-based RPG.

[Note for young people: A way, way back, in the long-ago, when Blessed Bill of Windows (patron saint of Fatal Exception Errors) was still just a gawky nonentity with glasses, computers didn’t really do pictures.  But in that far-away, benighted age, there were socially awkward teenagers with bad breath, smelly feet, and acne.  And those teenagers thought they’d rather pretend to be someone else – someone with muscles and courage, who could slay dragons and defeat evil sorcerers, and who voluptuous young women with an aversion to sensible clothing would swoon in the presence of.  And so computer-based RPGs were created.  And, forsooth, there were quests, and battles, and badly-executed dialogue scenes, but all done through the medium of text.  Literally thousands of eager gamers became addicted to the thrill of reading a paragraph of green text on a purple background.]

[Note for old people: An RPG is a role playing game, a form of entertainment popular with some young people, in which they sit hunched over glowing screens for hours at a time, and compete to see who can achieve the highest Body Mass Index.  It has replaced earlier forms of childhood entertainment, such as playing hopscotch, scrumping apples, and being abducted by strangers driving a Ford Cortina.]

This post is also going to be my first stab at incorporating a poll.  Newness!  Excitement!  Interactivity!

Your name is Aethelread.  You are in your mid-thirties, dress head to toe in black, and rarely leave your flat before nightfall.  These are your current scores:

Friend score: 1/10.

Loneliness score: 7/10.

Paranoia score: 6/10.

Hallucinations score: 2/10.

Anxiety score: 7/10.

Depression score: 4/10.

General inadequacy score: 10/10.

 

Inventory: self-deprecating humour; own teeth and hair; blog.

Attributes: ability to be scared by own shadow; overly analytical mindset.

 

You have been treated for a number of years for mental illness, and have a history of ambivalence towards MH treatment.  You have abandoned all hope of a pharmaceutical cure.  You would like to think that therapy could save you, but your inability to believe in the psychological equivalent of fairies at the bottom of the garden has proved problematic.  Last year you received 20 weeks of 1-2-1 therapy, and found this beneficial.  You have been told there is no chance, under any circumstances, of your receiving this ever again.

Following on from this therapy, you were referred for art group therapy.  You attended the initial introductory session, at which you were told that: during sessions, doors would be locked, and once a session has begun, no-one would be permitted to enter or leave for any reason; your art work would effectively be confiscated from you, and might, if the therapist had serious concerns for your own or other people’s safety, be shown to third-parties without your consent.  All of this caused a fairly major flare-up of your paranoia, and you did not attend for a 1-2-1 ‘practice’ session.  You didn’t even do the decent thing and phone or write to say that you would not be attending, you just didn’t show up.  When you were sent a letter re-scheduling the appointment you became worried that they were trying to persecute you, and didn’t show up again, again without letting them know.

Your last appointment with General Psychiatrist was frustrating.  No new diagnosis was forthcoming, but despite this, the General pushed you very hard to consent to treatment with antipsychotics, and was notably angered when you declined the ‘offer’.  Your relationship with the General has been strained before, and, while you warm to him as a person, you do not have full confidence in his professional abilities.

You fully expect the next appointment with him in a couple of weeks’ time to be an unproductive ten minute affair, during which you will be heavily criticised for failing to attend the art appointment, and threatened with summary excommunication from all forms of MH treatment as a punishment.  Alternatively, you may be put under great pressure to take medications you do not want to take, with your failure to attend the art therapy appointment advanced as evidence of a worrying ‘instability’.  At the present, you are in reasonably good health, and feel that the stress and worry you feel in relation to the appointment can only prove harmful.

On the other hand, you are aware that you are usually acutely anxious before any appointment, and your expectation of bad things happening may be the result of that anxiety.  You are also aware of your tendency to act in ways that may be stupid and/or harmful in an attempt to pre-empt imaginary bad consequences.  Although you feel reasonably well at the moment, you are having significant problems with paranoia.  You are continuing to refuse to allow the electricity company access to your flat in order to replace your meter, even though things are now moving towards a court order forcing you to let them in.  For several days last week, a steady trickle of water was dripping through your bathroom ceiling from the flat above, but you did not alert the building’s concierge for fear that they would ask to see inside your flat.  Neither of these are the actions of a ‘normal’ person, and this would seem to undermine your belief that you are in ‘good health’.  Even if you are currently well, it would surely be the height of stupidity to do anything that might delay your receiving help if (and, truthfully, it’s more likely to be when) you need it in the future – might it be best to ensure you stay ‘on the books’?

So this is the question before you: do you attend the appointment as scheduled, or do you write a polite letter to the General’s secretary, informing her that you won’t be attending, and declining a re-scheduled appointment?  Vote now, and/or leave comments in the traditional way.

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12 Responses to Aethelread’s next appointment: YOU decide

  1. Alex says:

    My opinion? Bite the bullet and go to the appointment. Much, much easier said than done, I know, but I think it’s the best course of action.

  2. NiroZ says:

    maybe you should post this to your psychiatrist before you attend.

  3. cellar_door says:

    I wish I knew what to say…my general feelings are that this probably isn’t going to go away on its own, and dropping out of MH services (as tempting as I imagine it is, given your shitty experiences) is probably not going to achieve much, except to make it more difficult to start again from scratch if/when things get really bad. So my vote is probably to ‘stay on the books’ as you put it. However, obviously you’re not getting much else out of the appointments. Possibly this is one of those cases where a personal health budget might be useful…you could get all the therapy and none of the drugs. Not helpful right now though I realise…

    BTW…I think the paranoia is a worry…I would hate to see you do something that might land you in trouble. I’ve often wanted to give the meter man a good kicking even without any psychosis, for example.

  4. Aethelred should go to the appointment. By doing so he will lose two paranoia points and 1 lonliness point, but will gain +2 for socialising and +1 for going out in public.

    He shoud head North, cross the bridge in the market square and go into the CMHT centre. Then, if the doc is still crap, use the cluebat. (knapsack also contains crowbar).

  5. abysmalmusings says:

    Aethelred opens the psychiatrist’s door. Behind the door is an orc. The end.

    Some of us are neither too old nor too young to remember rpg stuff when it was communal storywriting – none of this dice crap!

    Seriously though, it won’t actually hurt to go. Well, it might, but on the plus side it’s always a ‘learning experience’…

    Take care, whichever you choose. D

  6. Yep go to appointment !!! I think you could also try mentioning some of the stuff on here regarding being locked in the art therapy room.

    Good luck

    Sis x

  7. The orc hands Aethelred a pair of dice. He can either throw the dice, and if he gets 6 or more, go straight in to see the doctor, or he can pit himself against the orc.

    Orc:

    Dexterity: 4
    Stamina: 12
    Weapons: claws, teeth

    Aethelred:

    Dexterity: 10
    Stamina: 6
    Weapons: cluebat, crowbar, razor sharp wit, Excalibur (sorry, wrong game)

    *hands aethelred a pair of dice that are all 6s*.

  8. You can tell what I spent my early teenage years doing can’t you?

  9. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments, and the poll votes. So far, only one person has voted ‘No’, and that was me… I really do appreciate the advice.

    Alex – Thanks for the advice – but as you say, it’s the actual getting there that’s the kicker. :o)

    NiroZ – again, thanks for the advice, but it would rather put an end to my anonymity, which i’m quite keen to preserve. Also, the General would have to be super-human not to take offence at me saying that i ‘don’t have full confidence in his professional abilities’. What i may try and think about, if i go, is to raise some of the same points in person while i’m there, though that may be tricky depending on how much of a hurry he’s in to get me out of the door.

    cellar_door – again, thanks for the advice! You’re right (as always…), this won’t go away on its own, but at the moment i’m pretty much convinced it won’t go away with psychiatric help, either. Have to be honest, i’m not really a fan of personal health budgets, since i’m more or less certain they’d just be a backdoor way of introducing cuts. Also, i have all the financial responsibility of a small whelk (my credit record makes for horrifying reading).

    Try not to be too concerned about the paranoia – it’s locked in a permanent battle with my natural cowardice, which means i’m extremely unlikely to ever do worse than be slightly bitchy… ;o)

    DeeDee Ramona – hey, thanks for buying into my sad RPG fantasy! And also for the advice. I have to say, if i go, i think my paranoia score is likely to increase rather than decrease, though. And you massively over-estimate my dexterity by giving it a 10. Unless there’s a missing minus sign there, of course… Thanks for reminding me to pack my cluebat… ;o)

    abysmalmusings – and thanks to you, as well, for validating my RPG-ness. :o) I’ve already had quite a few ‘learning experiences’ with MH services, not sure how many more i can cope with. They are, ironically enough, not good for my mental health… I will do my best to take care, anyway. :o)

    seratonin sister – thanks for the advice. :o)

  10. oh god.. it’s like walking into fan boy in manchester! *hides* Next you’ll be sticking on pointy ears and things. ;)

  11. cb says:

    I voted yes. And I loved those RPG books/games and thought it was a great post. If my brain was properly dethawed, I’d reply in kind but am not sure I could beat DeeDee. The problem I had with RPGs was a sad lack of imagination!

  12. J. Wibble says:

    Go. I know the uselessness of CMHT services can be frustrating but my experience is that if you keep kicking them they will eventually fold. You just have to be even more stubborn and determined to get treatment than they are to save money and find a way to discharge you. It is much like the DWP in that if you keep fighting you will eventually get somewhere, but it can take months and years and you have to be prepared to keep pushing because if you give in you will eventually fall down and need to fight even more and have to start from the beginning again with less hope and even less energy.

    In the past four years I have managed to get two entirely useful things out of the endless psychiatrists I have seen – testosterone and Lamictal. Fighting for them was soul-destroying but they have truly changed my life. Nothing I have fought for has been completely useless – even my £2.72 per week in Income Support has already saved me about twenty times that in prescription charges in just a month. Don’t let the bastards grind you down dude, you’re better than that.

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