So today I went to see my GP and it was my first contact with a professional since I was so abruptly discharged over a week ago. I have really missed the support of the HTT who I saw 10 days ago and my appointment last Wednesday with my so called care coordinator was the shortest ever and certainly not a therapeutic help.
My GP was obviously surprised to hear I had been discharged and hadn’t been informed that she was now the main point of contact for someone with bipolar, just out of crisis and who had been under the HTT team only 10 days ago in the midst of a bipolar episode. She was though professional and straight away confirmed that she could see me fortnightly and also if I used the email system it would be picked up and then someone would act on it.
She also checked again with me the crisis plan and I was as always impressed with her knowledge of mental health, her trust in me as a patient and also reassurance as she knows I am very anxious about my illness and the lack of support.
Today has given me some reassurance that I was in desperate need of however it isn’t really what I know I need but it has helped me as I am less anxious than I was last night.
I now feel in a position to write to the trust about my care. It is vital to give praise where I received good care but also highlight the very damaging incidences that affected my safety and well being during the recent episode.
After the chaos that surrounded the last appointment I was supposed to have with my care coordinator I was reassured to find her at the correct location this week! I was pleasantly surprised. She started by apologising and I sympathised with her as the system is mostly to blame for the amount of travelling that she has to do.
I really like her style! This might sound peculiar however she really gets how everyone is different and therefore is affected differently by mental health
Illnesses. She also doesn’t go through a rigorous checklist of assessment questions which I find makes conversation harder and instead talks openly with me, dropping questions into the conversation or picking up on things I say in order to ensure that she covers all the important and necessary areas. She lets me talk but does her job and as much as I hate a checklist I understand the importance of assessing and watching for signs.
We talked about how evenings are difficult for me and instead of telling me what to do we talked about options and she suggested things that might help. She had also got in touch with my previous therapist who is retiring soon and has asked her along to my next appointment which I was so pleased about. I thought it was very sensible for a care coordinator who has known me for 3 months to ask the professional who knows me best to see me. I was really grateful for this and this is taking place at the end of February.
After that appointment I will have 1 one more in March and then I will be discharged from mental health services back to the care of my GP. It is very frustrating and frightening not to be in a longer term care team and actually it is something that at the moment I am trying to push out of mind. My family however are concerned. My husband, family and close friends saw for themselves the immense struggle and distress I faced last October/November and are scared for me that this will happen again. They provided that 24 hour care without any professionals on board for almost 3 weeks. How many times will this have to happen?
I hope this doesn’t come across as too angry but I am so cross and disappointed to be let down so badly by the mental health system. I had really worked myself up to my appointment today as I always do and I am sure this is a feeling that others experience too.
I last saw my care ordinator in December at my local mental health centre – it is not the centre where the care coordinators in the team I am under are based but because they are setup in a way I cannot fathom I can still request to see staff at the centre most local to me. Only in emergency situations would I ever go to the centre that is not so local.
After my December appointment I was telephoned by my care coordinator and we made an appointment for today at 3pm at my local centre. Due to the large gap between appointments I was more anxious than usual and also wanted to speak to my care coordinator about lots of important issues as I have blogged about before.
I work full time so I had booked off from 2.50pm this afternoon and made my way 5 minutes up the road to the CMHT building. I live and work within 5 minutes of here so the obvious choice. On arrival I spoke to the receptionist who I have known for years and she made a call to the office where she expected my CC to be but told she wasn’t there. She then called the other office which is half hour away and she answered and said that I should be there where she was! The receptionist passed the phone to me and instead of any apology I was told by my CC that the appointment had been made for the further away centre because I had said this was easier for me because of work! This is completely wrong and in no way logical and I now have to call tomorrow to arrange another appointment and have all that build up again.
Whilst I am happy to accept that everyone makes mistakes I am appalled that no apology was offered and that actually I was blamed for a mistake that was obviously hers. It always comes down to the staff members word against a service user’s and the staff member always seems to be believed. What made it more worrying was that I was told by the receptionist that I was the 3rd person today who was at a different location to their CC – there is definitely something wrong with the system.
So 1 week ago I was discharged from the mental health system after 16 years. Reason why – not because I have suddenly got better or discharged myself but because the system has no money to keep me on and doesn’t believe I have a ‘long term’ mental health condition!
I suffer from bi-polar disorder and whilst I am well at present I find it staggering that when I next relapse I will have to start at the beginning of the system again with strangers!
How do I feel now? Actually as I am well I am feeling very positive about things and meeting with mental health senior managers next week to continue my fight for better care for all. I worry that people with similar conditions to myself that don’t have the support I do outside of the system will be discharged and this will lead to many more problems.