So I went to A&E that was stupid …

My amazing friend, today said that if I really wanted to or felt I had to go to A and E she would take me. I really didn’t want to go – too many memories of past trips where they had been judgemental, said things that were insensitive and generally did absolutely nothing to aid the mental health crisis I had gone with. However since being discharged I had been continually told that I should go there to get help. I was repeatedly informed that this was the only way to get a mental health assessment.
I was more than sceptical but I really needed to feel I was doing all I could to get the help I need. Although if I am honest I probably knew I was doing all I can even though the system was doing its best to convince me otherwise.
We arrived there at about 12.40pm – what struck me immediately was the small space – it had been altered since I was last there. My head is not in a good place and every noise can really affect me and as it got busier I struggled more and became more agitated. This made me even more frustrated as I had gone there to get better not feel worse. My anxiety is also really bad and I was starting to panic and shake – this did nothing for my paranoia as people would inevitably turn and look. Why on earth is this place a suitable haven for someone experiencing mental distress?
After about an hour I was eventually seen by 2 triage nurses – not sure why 2 I am pretty sure that everyone else had 1. One took my blood pressure and the other assessed me – I use the term lightly as it is hard to be assessed whilst having your blood pressure taken and only being giving 4 minutes to explain what was wrong. It is so hard for me to talk to strangers that when I opened my mouth she talked for me. I sounded pathetic – I think she got I was depressed and suicidal but not about the other distressing symptoms I was experiencing.
After another hour I was getting progressively worse we had to move seats as my paranoia also worsened and so did my anxiety. About 3pm I suddenly remembered that I had been promised a Phonecall from the mental health team and surprisingly I had not received this. I wanted to get out of there so badly but my friend encouraged and persuaded me to stay until 4pm and then suggested that I called the mental health trust to chase their Phonecall and to update them.
Before this my friend had also tried to get an update from staff. Basically they did not have a clue the main reason being that the accident and emergency department is within the main hospital run by one health care trust and the mental services ( who do have a hospital in the same grounds) is run by another.
The old ‘it’s not our fault/problem’ was very evident.
At 4pm I called the team that had promised me a call on Friday. They didn’t have a record of any promise of a Phonecall which wasn’t a surprise but my original referral from 1st November really hadn’t got much further. I explained where I was to the person on the phone and told her that I was leaving shortly as the distress I was experiencing was too great. She ended by letting me know that if I felt worse tonight I should call 999 and go to accident and emergency – it would be funny if it wasn’t so horrendous.
At 4.30 I very calmly went to the desk and told them I was leaving. He didn’t seem surprised – maybe relieved it was one less waiting or resigned to the fact that the system had failed yet another person.
7 hours on I am back where I started – not sure what more I can do apart from trust my instincts and rely on those people I know will be there.


3 thoughts on “So I went to A&E that was stupid …

  1. I have had similar experiences. Expectations raised then disappointment, sadness and hurt. Feel you don’t matter and not important. Try not to take it too personally.

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