Today is World Mental Health Day.
As luck would have it, I required a repeat prescription for Bipolar from my new GP (GP1) whom I registered with on Tuesday.
After losing my notes and having no record of me on the system, GP2 asked if I could pop in with my pill packets to ensure they give me the right prescription given their lack of information about me. (*shakes head* so many things wrong with that process, but I don’t wish to digress)
I took in the packets and had the following conversation with said GP2 (I paraphrased the first sentence for ease of reading/typing)
GP2: “It seems that GP1 hasn’t added any of your information to the system, and that the piece of official paper you handed in has been lost.”
Me: “okay, no problem”.
GP2: “So, you’re taking Sertraline, and Que…something?”
Me: “Yes, Quetiapine.”
GP2: “These are high doses, what is this for? Depression?”
Me: “No, it is for Bipolar. Bipolar Disorder. The medication was prescribed initially by a psychiatrist.”
GP2. “Okay. So…depression then. Are you not drowsy with this dosage?”
Me: “Yes, depending on the dose and how much sleep I get. But its not depression, its BIPOLAR”.
GP2: “Ah. Bipolar. So… depression…”
She referred to Bipolar as depression on another two occasions, at which point I was ready to re-book an appointment for concussion after bashing my head against a wall repeatedly.
Today I really wanted to write a blog post with a really positive feel, how times are changing, and how mental health has lost some of its stigma, some of its ill-informed idiocies.
However after today’s encounter, I’m afraid that well-thought blog post has found itself up that certain proverbial creek without a paddle.
No matter how much work is carried out within society to combat everyday discrimination, none of it will matter or count, if the NHS cannot begin to reform their treatment of those patients that are in need.
On top of the appalling uneducated exchange today, I am personally in charge of moving my healthcare 200 miles, and re-finding mental health services with no support whatsoever.
Currently I am well, and able to do so (I say that with optimism, I really have no idea where to begin), but what if I were ill?
What if I was incapable of finding support? What if the team of people that are supposed to be there for me in care and crisis simply….aren’t? It’s not a situation that I want to think about. However, that makes me one of the lucky ones – others don’t have that choice. Others are living it. Right now.
I haven’t had the best experience of primary care trusts. I’ve been mis-medicated and mis-informed more times that I can recall. But this latest incident really takes the biscuit. With parliament telling us time and time again that mental health funding has been cut, halved and now next-to-nothing, it is frankly, unacceptable
So today, on World Mental Health day, I pledge to make a difference.
Not a difference in stigma, or discrimination. Not speaking up and speaking out – but for everyone. This is the way I see it:
A quarter of our population should not be without basic care.
25% of society should not be ignored and deemed unimportant.
1 in 4 of our friends and family should not be shunned and silenced.
So watch out world. Watch out NHS, watch out PCTs. Mental health cuts aside, I’m coming for you.
I’m coming for the MPs, and Ministers, I’m speaking with Mental Health charities and campaigns. I’m reading up on anything and everything I can do to make sure that I, and so many others like me, can be counted. Can be seen. Can be understood. Can be heard.
For Mental Health Day, I think that is the least I can do.
I have a voice, a loud one at that…. and i’m not afraid to use it.
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If you have a concern about your local GP or mental health service, do share via the comments below. The more information I have in my arsenal the better. Thanks in advance! Sarah x