Sunday, 25 March 2018

An Open Rant to the Powers That Be.


It's been a while since I last posted. People who know me well will have worked out that this is a good (or rather, bad) sign that my MH is not quite as it should be, and it's not. It hasn't been for a good while; since I was signed off, unfit for work, by my GP and had to apply for Universal Credits. Wow! That's a whole new world I never expected to end up in and as a reasonably intelligent adult, may I say, I am finding it difficult and stressful to navigate. As a result, of that and the battle I now have to get my youngest the help she needs with her MH, my anxiety has shot through the roof once again and I'm a bit of a blubbering mess (understatment of the year).


Following my stay at the Maytree, I had clawed back so much ground and my levels for both depression and had anxiety had reduced to normal. I felt more confident that the future would be brighter for us as a family, that I could rebuild my life. Yes, there were still the odd days here and there which were tough, days I cried a lot, but compared with where I was, the improvement was vast; until, as I said, the Universal Credit torture.

It is the single most degrading system I have ever had the misfortune to experience! I feel that I have gone from being a capable, intelligent individual to being nothing more than an annoying government statistic with the intelligence levels of a two year old! My GP has now signed me off for another two months due to the distress the process is causing me, but her professional opinion and personal knowledge of my situation, and my ability to work is of no consequence. Neither myself, nor my Doctor are believed, the DWP must carry out its own assessment.

I received the questionnaire for the health assessment a little over a week ago and I want to say this, Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and the DWP, I thank you. I thank you for making me feel like crap. I thank you for making the suicidal thoughts return. I thank you for the new thoughts, the ones that make me want to hurt myself, just to check I am still human. Just to make sure that I can still think and feel. Just to check that it is indeed blood running through my veins. I thank you for not trusting my GP. I thank you for screwing up Mental Health Services (at least in my area, I acknowledge that some Health Authorities are doing a fab job, I just don't live in one of those coveted locations).

Incidentally, when I returned to my GP, presenting in a rather distressed state, thanks again to yourselves and the system I am forced to be a part of, she kindly asked if I would like to be referred back to our local MHT (Mental Health Team), I declined. Previously, I was assessed by a Social Worker and told by her that they only work with those in crisis. I'm not in crisis, yet. I'd like help to stop me going into crisis again, but do you know what? I don't tick all your bloody boxes! Never mind that I cannot walk to the local shop, even with my daughter, without collapsing in a heap of tears when I return. Never mind that I find the simplest of tasks overwhelming, or that I regularly forget what I'm doing or where I'm going because I am so worried about it. Never mind that the simplest comment from someone can upset me and raise my anxiety levels. Never mind that I am exhausted from having to fight to get through each and every day. Never mind that the suicidal thoughts and desire to self harm are creeping back in. Never mind that I cry more than half the days of the week. Never mind that both my girls are suffering from stress and anxiety because of me, so now I am also beating myself up about that. I don't tick your boxes, but...

...but, I sure as hell will tick the boxes to be 'fit to work' at my ESA assessment, won't I? You won't give me the medical support I need, but you'll push me back to work. You'll continue to degrade and dehumanise me. You'll make me jump through your bloody hoops and treat me like a number until you can get me into a job and make your stupid stats look better. Why? Because you don't care. You don't care about individuals. You don't see the damage the system does to people. And the irony of it? If you invested properly in our NHS, if Mental Health patients were treated as quickly and with as much respect and dignity as those suffering from physical illnesses, many of us would be able to continue working, we wouldn't end up in crisis and we wouldn't need to apply for benefits. That's not how it works though. We seek help, then have to wait weeks or months to receive it. We get told we're not ill enough to receive this help or that help. For those of us, whom are high functioning, whom are articulate and able to do basic tasks (most of the time) it is even more difficult. Our ability to express ourselves, to understand what is happening to us, and why, means we must be able to recover on our own and we can't possibly be unfit for work, can we?

OK so I know, I'm ranting quite a bit, but I'm angry. I'm angry that having never claimed benefits before, I am made to feel like scum, (not by my work coach, she is lovely) but by the government and it's obvious dislike of those in need (yes, that's how it feels). I am angry that as a Metal Health patient, I have to seek support from charities because I can't access the help I need from the NHS. I am fuming and distressed that I have to go and justify my illness to a complete stranger and that on that one interview, they will decide what I am, or am not, capable of.

As I've said before though, what would I know?






Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Into Battle Once More


You may recall, I was a tad annoyed the other week when I received a written copy of my Mental Health assessment. It 's fair to say, it was absolutely appalling and I was left absolutely fuming and with little faith left in those who are supposed to care and help. If you missed that post, you can catch up with it here. I've not put that complaint in yet, but I am going to the hospital next week so will hand it in when I do.

However, today I find myself once again, channelling my inner Katniss Everdeen and entering the arena. The difference this time is I am also wearing my mumma bear hat, so I suggest anyone getting in my way, jolly well move themselves pretty darned quickly. This girl is well and truly on the warpath.


I've said before how absolutely amazing my girls have been throughout my illness. They have done so much for me, and with me. They have held my hand, hugged me, passed me tissues, cooked dinners, done housework and somehow, still excelled at school.

From the onset, I let school know what was happening at home and between us we have secured support for both girls. This is really important, living with someone who suffers from a mental illness is very difficult and emotionally draining. I'm so pleased I did, even though it was difficult, because we now have a Family Worker and a Young Carers Worker who work with them and whom have both confirmed that one of the girls is struggling and needs more help.

I spoke to my GP yesterday (I have a season ticket and expect to get my own VIP waiting lounge with complimentary nibbles shortly) and explained that a referral was needed at the request of both parties working with my daughter. Knowing our family history, she was happy to do this and I said I would take her in at the end of the week. However, that went a bit pear shaped because said child is at home today, so it made sense to book her in for today and hurrah I managed to get an appointment before 9am. It was a bit of a rush getting there, but well worth it, I thought.

I seem to be using this phrase quite a lot lately, but here we go again...How wrong was I? First off, I made an epic parenting/ social etiquette faux pas. The 'check yourself in screen' didn't like me and told me to go to reception. I may have sworn quietly at it before turning round and seeing a room full of very silent people staring at me as though I had just committed murder (in my defence I had been super stressed trying to get there on time with 15 minutes notice). Oops!

That was nothing compared with what was to come (and how I didn't swear again, I do not know).

We were called in and my heart sank because the GP we were seeing was not our family GP, but one who is known for being a bit difficult. OK, thought I, this is a child and a child in need of referral for her MH and well being. This will be fine. I explained that two professionals had asked I get a GP referral for therapy for her, and that I had discussed it with my own GP at the same practice. Had you happened to walk into the room at that moment, you would likely have thought I had asked him to clean the practice toilet with his toothbrush, such was his obvious reluctance to help. He wanted written reports from the workers suggesting that a referral was required because he didn't know the background. First time that's been mentioned. I explained some more to him and he eventually (and reluctantly) agreed to help, but not without making it feel like a real chore.

What riled me more than anything though, was that at no point did he make any effort whatsoever to do his own assessment of my daughter. She was sat right in front of him. He didn't once speak to her and barely looked at her. I'm astounded. How can you have a patient in front of you and simply ignore them? She may be a child, but she is a very intelligent and articulate child. I can tell you she lacks resilience, I can tell you she has anxiety, I can tell you what her home life and school life have been like the last five months, but I cannot tell you how she feels you need to communicate with her!

I don't know what damage today's trip to the doctor's may have done. I know I felt hurt, let down, helpless and very angry. I know I wanted to just burst into tears because I felt as though I had let her down and put her through a horribly uncomfortable situation for nothing. Did my daughter deserve better today? Yes she bloody well did and so does every other patient walking into his surgery!

I've written and emailed a complaint in. It's the first thing I did when I got home. I'm frustrated that everything to do with MH Illness is a battle. I am sad that there are still some health professionals who don't understand it. I am sick of hearing of people being let down. I'm sick of the post code lottery. Most of all, I'm devastated that even our young people have to battle to get the help they need.



Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #36



Hello everyone and welcome to the middle of February. Yes, I am fully aware of the date and, if you don't mind, I am going to ignore the obvious celebration and sit on my shelf with a cuppa. You see as well as it being 'that day,' it is also:
  • Ferris Wheel Day
  • Donor Day
  • Cream Filled Chocolates Day
  • Pet Theft Awareness Day
Personally, I think two of those are far more important than the very commercialised day everyone else is spending money on. That said, I would suggest not letting it slide if you have an other half who is a little sensitive about it, trust me, that's a can of worms you really don't want to open!

However, the day I have chosen for us to celebrate is one which kind of links back nicely to a post I wrote last week, Something for Tomorrow to encourage you all to take part in, Send a Card to a Friend Day.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

An Alarming Incident!


It's half term and I have to say, it's started off with a wee bit more excitement than I had anticipated. More's the point, it has started with excitement, which, quite frankly, I could have done without. Let me start at the beginning though, because some excitement was expected.

On Friday, I waved goodbye to my eldest daughter. Actually, I didn't, the coaches that were taking herself and her cohorts to Paris hadn't arrived on time (for a change) and so, parents were politely asked to leave so that the teachers and school buses could access the car park. Anyway, back to the story, Miss. D was off to Paris for a French trip. One day in Paris and one day in Disneyland Paris. Jealous? Yes, me too! Back home Monday afternoon. I know she wasn't gone long, but Miss. L and I missed her and were really looking forward to her arriving home.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Losing Faith


It's fair to say, I've been through the mill, as the saying goes, over the last few months. I've reached depths I never thought I would or, indeed, could. I've discovered that I am a natural born fighter; that even when I've wanted to give up, throw the towel in and just end it all, I wouldn't allow myself to, at least not all the time I still had some fight left. If I weren't such a fighter, I guarantee, I would not be here now. Thankfully, I'm a stubborn cow, so you're stuck with me. Sadly for you, I will fight against anything which I feel is wrong, unhelpful or unfair.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Dragonfly


If you've been reading the blog for a while, you may know I rather like dragonflies. Indeed, I have a dragonfly tattooed on my wrist, it's body is a semi colon, in honour of Project;. When I had my tattoo done, I had already suffered two 'episodes,' but never did I think that I would have one that would push me to want to end my own life.

When I was taking the full dose of my prescribed medication, I was literally bombarded by suicidal thoughts, every single minute of every single day. It was a terrifying experience. It was a lonely experience. I felt absolutely hopeless, and my much loved semi colon dragonfly became a huge irony to me. There I was wanting to die whilst carrying a symbol of hope on myself. At times, it felt as though my body were mocking me. Now I see that it was, in fact, my insane self mocking my sane self.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #35




It's Wednesday, it's the middle of the week and it's flipping cold outside. I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to Spring arriving in a few weeks. I don't mind the cold, but when it takes two hours to warm up after a twenty minute dog walk, well, need I say more?

Anyway, it is Wednesday, which means it's time to settle down with a cuppa and have a few minutes to yourself whilst we look at today's special day. If I may say so, I am just a little bit excited about today's day and I apologise for the number of photos I may use.

So without further ado, I present Wednesday's Special Day to you, which is...

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Something for Tomorrow


As you all know, I have become just a wee bit passionate about all things Mental Health. I make no apologies, whatsoever. Let's face it, whether your mental health is good, or bad, we all have it and we need to take care of it, by looking after ourselves and those around us. Yep, that's right, we have a responsibility to look after those around us too. The problem is, we all lead such busy lives that we neglect to care for ourselves sometimes, let alone those around us.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #34





Hello all and welcome to Wednesday! How has you week been? I'm struggling to keep up with what the day is, time seems to be flying by so fast at the moment. 

Anyway, it is Wednesday, and as always it has a special day which will hopefully give us something else to think about as we fight our way through hump day. 

So what are we celebrating today? Well, today is...

Monday, 29 January 2018

Stronger


Well for someone whom had a completely empty diary a month ago, I'm doing quite well now. It's exactly one month today that I went for my assessment at The Maytree. I couldn't even have imagined what a huge turning point in my life it would be, but it became a lifeline which has, in turn, put me on a brand new path (complete with shiny new sign posts). That's not to say all the problems have gone away, I still have some pretty huge ones, but all I can do is reach out to professionals and hope they can help find a solution.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

This is Me!



Well I am going to own up now and say that this post is a wee bit of a cheat. You see, so much has happened and if I start typing it all out, well will likely still be here a month from now. Instead what I've done is a wee short video for you and I have no flipping idea if it's going to work or not, but hey let's just go for it anyway. What's the worst that can happen?

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #33



Well here we are three weeks into the New Year. Have you reverted to writing 2017 yet or are you still on a roll remembering it's now 2018? Anyway, here we are midway through the third week of a New Year and let's be honest, the weekend is still too far away, so let's settle down with a cuppa and find out what today's special day is.

I'm not sure if this is something to celebrate, or commiserate to be honest, but today is...

Monday, 15 January 2018

A Safe Place


It's no secret that I have been really struggling for the past few months. At the beginning, I tried reaching out to people, but when it didn't work the inevitable happened and I was caught in a downward spiral, not stopping until I hit rock bottom. Let me tell you, rock bottom is not a place you want to be. If you're unfortunate enough to have visited, you will know the emotional and physical pain that accompanies this hideous destination.

Being my own worst enemy, I then proceeded to beat myself up because I wasn't able to get myself better. I knew exactly what I should do, but the irrational side of me was shouting down my rational self. I felt weak, and thanks to my anxiety isolated, lost, alone and rejected by everyone. I felt that I wasn't worthy of being loved, I wasn't worthy to even breathe the air everyone else shares and really not worthy of living.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #32



Welcome back to our little mid-week celebration. You may, or may not have noticed our absence (it's OK, we're not judging), but a wee break has been required. However, we're back up and running now and what better way to return to blogging than by celebrating the weird, wonderful or just plain random days of the year.

Today, is indeed a wee bit 'random,' though in some ways, a relevant day for me. So let's just dive in and begin celebrating this Wednesday's Special Day...