I do feel very lucky to live in the UK and have access to the National Health Service, however it seems to be are unable to deal with mental health in any kind of productive or helpful way or at least that has generally been my experience.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at age 16 and I was offered some pills and nothing else. No talking therapy, CBT or counselling just some pills. So I took the Prozac despite the fact it made me feel ill all the time because I thought I should do what the doctor said. It made everything worse I still felt depress and anxious all the time but no I was physically ill as well.
I didn’t have anyone in my life to really help me, my Mother had moved to the other side of the world and my Dad was always working away so I was on my own most of the time, so I saw the doctor as an authority figure who might actually be able to help me.
I stopped taking the Prozac and was given beta blockers which did not seem to have much effect apart from making my mouth dry, then Citalopram which made me even more ill that the Prozac.
Eventually I was referred for CBT, I tried my best to do everything they were telling me it was hard though because it just didn’t make any sense to me and they didn’t seem to understand that.
At the age of 20 I basically gave up trying to get anymore help as it just wasn’t helping it was just making things worse – the things that were supposed to make me feel better didn’t so what was the point?
I spent the next 10 years struggling with my life and not being able to cope, having turbulent relationships with men, losing jobs and many friends, had a complete breakdown at 25 and spent nearly 2 years in bed.
At 30 I really knew something was wrong I was trying so hard to change my life and I just couldn’t cope, I could barely function and seriously started to think that ending my life would be the best option as it felt like nothing would ever change.
I signed up with a new doctor and it was a good decision, he knew I wasn’t depressed and that something more was going on. He referred me for DBT but the mental health team refused to see me as I wasn’t unwell enough. I mean seriously are they fucking joking? Not unwell enough to be helped? Too high functioning because I manage to go to work? I was very angry and upset; it made me feel totally worthless. I didn’t even deserve to be helped.
I was referred to talking therapies instead; I waited 13 months for an appointment with someone who couldn’t help me and at this point I truly was suicidal I wanted to die. As he sat there telling that the waiting list was so long they could only provide limited appointments I got more and more angry, how many other people are not getting the help they so desperately need?
After the allotted 6 sessions with a man who couldn’t help me and continually told me I was depressed when I wasn’t I’d had enough and totally lost it, I shouted at the councillor and left feeling worse than I had in the first place.
My GP referred me back to the DBT team how actually agreed to assess me this time. At the assessment the nurse suggested I didn’t need this help as I wasn’t a danger, so I have to hurt someone or myself to get help? That is the state of the NHS they can only help people with mental health when they hurt someone or reach crisis and hurt themselves? What about prevention?
I told her that if this was my life I didn’t want to live it anymore as there was no point in living as I didn’t have any life, she eventually agreed to put me onto the DBT course.
The DBT course itself was great but defiantly not the “cure all” they sell it as. I did the DBT course for a year and was then immediately discharged with no further support and things started to go downhill pretty quickly again and are still headed in that downward direction but I am being told there is no help from the NHS anymore so what am I supposed to do now?
If you are trying to get help from the NHS please don’t give up, keep trying, keep going to the GP and playing the game until you get what you need. Everyone deserves to get help with mental health if they need it.