I woke up with Maria licking my nostrils – she was really into it.  I opened my eyes in disgust and saw Maria with her eyes wide-open staring into mine.  Satisfied I was awake, Maria lay down, with her head on the other pillow and lifted her legs into the air so I could stroke her belly.  She sure was cute, but what a wide-o! lol

Today is psychiatrist day. 

I took Maria for her morning walk … I didn’t have the energy for walking, so I took her to a big park, where she likes to run around and sniff out squirrels, as I wandered at my own slow pace.

I was nervous.  I’ve seen a few psychiatrists in my lifetime, all with different diagnosis and the one I saw in Falkirk 5 years ago, prescribed medication along with a diagnosis of bipolar, which I refuted, knowing I didn’t have bipolar. 

I cycled to my psychiatric assessment in an old hospital and it felt like I was on another adventure, but an adventure with my mental health rather than to explore foreign countries.

Present in the evaluation was a psychiatrist and a mental health professional.  Both were amazing but it was the mental health worker who blew me away with his practical experience and knowledge.  He said he saw people every day with my same symptoms and that it wasn’t my fault.

I described traumas in my childhood and as an adult, and I cried throughout.  I was asked many questions about many moments.  I also told them what I’ve been telling my GP, that I’ve been having my period twice a month for several months now and asking for hormonal imbalance tests.    

At the end of my evaluation, I was told it sounded like I had complex trauma but it would be a 3-month waiting list for group therapy.  That’s the best they could do for me because of lack of resources. 

I had just spoken about many traumas and was told I would have to wait 3 months to get help.  Really NHS?  Surely, it’s better for the client, to have an evaluation speaking about such things just before going into therapy?  To speak about things like that and having to wait on your own for 3 months for therapy?   Is it me or are you putting the client further into demise for your evaluation without immediate support?

I cycled home, deflated, then called the psychology department, as I had insisted my GP send a referral there too.  The NHS waiting times for mental health support are well known and even though the GP thought it best I wait for the psychiatric evaluation, I absolutely insisted as I knew I would be referred there anyway and I was right.

I was told there is an 11-month waiting list for psychology services In Falkirk and I was given an assessment period at the end of May, but I knew I would have many more months to wait for actual help.

I began to research online but couldn’t find information on who made the decision that an 11-month waiting time was okay and not putting patients at risk.

I made a few phone calls and then made 2 official complaints.  People are told that the waiting times are due to demands on service, but what I want to know is why the NHS service is inadequate for demand.  Is it because of lack of funding, in which case I’ll take my quest up with the government, or is it down to allocation of funding, in which case I’ll deal directly with NHS.

I had held on so long for this appointment, thinking when I had it, everything would be okay, because help would be in place.  But I was wrong.  I’m on my own for some months yet.

The way I see it is, when you are being evaluated, the demand is so high, that you are being evaluated for risk of committing suicide, rather than risk of deteriation to your mental health and life.  I hate even using those words now, ‘mental health’ … it’s health we are talking about … but when you put mental in front of health it takes you out of the 18-week NHS promise for treatment.  So already you are at a disadvantage. 

When I made my phone calls, trying to find out why it had been decided it was okay to have an 11th month waiting time, the sentences that were being spoken to me could make sense, unless you are going through it yourself, then you realize it’s lies.

Group therapy now seemed appealing to me though … two birds with one stone … therapy for me and I could perhaps stir up a bit of a core movement to improve things in Falkirk.  

People with mental health difficulties need to be speaking out … their live life experiences against the support they are getting when asking for help.  Unless of course, I’ve missed an organization who is supposed to be our voice … to which, I say you are failing.

After my psychiatric evaluation, I couldn’t even take Maria out for her walk.  So, I messaged a friend who came to take her.  Not being able to take my beautiful Maria out for a walk is tough.  She doesn’t need a lot to keep her happy and I can’t even do that.  Also, I’m aware of Lucy.  She died on 26th March.  It will be that date in a few days time. 

Disappointed with NHS Forth Valley but hopeful we can be the change that needs to happen across the country.

So guys the next few months is me, Maria and you … totally deflated, but there’s a fire in my belly about the state of ‘mental health’ care in this country and I’m a tenacious bugger so all is good.  Plus there is Maria. 

Ishbel xxx