Today I had psychiatric evaluation. (Blog 8)

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  

22 Replies to “Today I had psychiatric evaluation. (Blog 8)”

  1. Use that fire to keep you going, use that fire to fight for all those who are just to tired to fight. Those wait times are incredibly unfair. Use your fire it will carry you through. Use your fire and your public platform.

    1. Thank you so much and great words! Yeah I prefer to be pro-active to make positive change rather than feeling annoyed about things lol getting so many messages from people all over the country from people going through similar experiences. xxx

  2. Try not to be angry with the NHS. If you are going to be angry be angry with the government. They waste millions but claim the NHS is too expensive to fund properly.
    Take heart you have strength of character.

    1. I love the NHS … having travelled many countries without such a thing existing. I’m not angry at the NHS … the world of mental health, in prevention, diagnosis and treatment is still in early stages of development and the current support does not reflect the demand. I’d love to find out if the waiting lists are down to not enough funding or allocation of funding. It may be that I’ll be campaigning to the government, rather than the NHS 🙂

  3. Hi Ishbel

    I’m so sorry to hear about your experience and the long wait.

    11 months is an obscene length of time to wait for treatment.

    I remember being on a long waiting list for therapy but being given a special telephone number to call if things got really bad in the meantime. That reassured me a lot, but when things got really bad, I tried that number and was told they couldn’t help me and that I should see my GP.

    However, I was then told that if things got really, really bad, I could get referred to a specialist. But when that happened, they told me I wasn’t bad enough and that I had to keep waiting for my therapy.

    After that, I recall sitting on the steps outside the doctor’s surgery, weeping in despair because I had hit the emergency button twice and got no response.

    But, I did eventually get my therapy and it didn’t eventually help. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be told you have to wait 11 months for help (11 months!), but hold in there because help will come and this will pass. Especially for tenacious buggers.

    Take care.

    Tim.

    1. Aww Tim thanks so much for sharing this. I know some of your story and I can’t believe you were told you weren’t bad enough lol that’s nuts! lol The waiting lists are outwith my control, but I’ll direct my energy surrounding this into speaking out and I hope somewhere, somehow a movement starts from people standing up and saying out loud that this is not okay. Ishbel x

  4. I cannot offer much but a shoulder and hugs from across the wide Atlantic and labs sending kisses my friend. Hoping life and health starts on recovery to better times!

  5. Ishbel, i know is tough but you can do it, You have Maria and Us and you, what you need or feel just write to take it out and we can be there. Just ask and write we are here. We and.Maria Need you so be positive and.syrong for us, just write your mood and feeling put in words. Love.you girly Edith

  6. Hi

    This is great, I’ve had a similar experience & would love to get involved in a movement to improve NHS services. I think the problem is they, rightly, prioritize any condition which is going to kill the person & then any resources left are spent on other conditions, & there are few resources left for those.

    Keep on, keeping on. You’re an inspiration to me.

    1. Your words have summarised the problem superbly – thank you so much! It must be so tough for those who work in mental health and see the devastating affects and are doing all they can but there are simply not enough resources.

  7. Welcome to what seems to be the norm for Mental health. Not good that you have to wait. I hope you don’t wait too long.

  8. If you can get hold of the Inverness Courier for Friday 22 March, there’s a piece about a couple who started up their own group in response to their grief at their son’s death by suicide. It is very encouraging to know that the local Psychiatric hospital is referring patients to the group and seem to approve of how it is run. Maybe you could communicate with them and perhaps see where it takes you…..another wee adventure! Xx

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